View of Honolulu from Punchbowl, Anders Elias Jorgensen

Anders Elias Jorgensen (born Denmark, active United States, 1838–1876) 

View of Honolulu from Punchbowl, 1875 

Oil on canvas mounted on board Gift of Hester M., Richard C., and David E. Vanderburgh in memory of Richard M. Vanderburgh, 1981 (4954.1) 

The Danish artist Elias Jorgensen, a resident of Oakland, California, came to Hawai‘i in 1875 as a vacationing tourist. So captivated was he by the charms of the islands that he decided to stay awhile, and he sent for his easel and sketchbooks in order to so that he could sketch the scenery in and around Honolulu.

This bird’s eye view of the city looks beyond out over the crumbling remains of old Punchbowl Fort, erected to defend Honolulu, to Waikīkī and Diamond Head beyond it. Although the old fort was erected to defend Honolulu, its  cannons, of various sizes and origins, were never fired a militant shot. Instead, they called upon to fire a shot, save when pressed into service to salute incoming vessels and/or to record royal births, deaths, and marriages. The fort's only casualty was said to have been an unlucky citizen caught by the accidental discharge of a cannonball. Then as now, the rim of Punchbowl Crater was famous for the superb panoramic views of the town it afforded. The ribbonlike path of the road below its summit leads past pastures, ponds, and marshy areas to the palm- -fringed-shores of Waikīkī. Although occasional signs of habitation are visible along the way, but the area would not be developed until a few years later with the drilling of artesian wells.