Hilo, Hawaii, United States

History | Geography | Transport : Air : Bus | Maritime | Education | Government | Economy : Top employers | Tourism and events | Corporations and science | Culture

🇺🇸 Hilo is a place and the largest city in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States, which encompasses the Island of Hawaiʻi. Hilo is the county seat of the County of Hawaiʻi and is in the District of South Hilo. The city overlooks Hilo Bay, at the base of two shield volcanoes, Mauna Loa, an active volcano, and Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano. Mauna Kea is the site of some of the world's most important ground-based astronomical observatories. Much of Hilo is at risk from lava flows from Mauna Loa, with the bay-front being twice destroyed by tsunamis. The majority of human settlement in Hilo stretches from Hilo Bay to Waiākea-Uka, on the flanks of the volcanoes.

Hilo is home to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, ʻImiloa Astronomy Center, as well as the Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long celebration of ancient and modern hula that takes place annually after Easter. Hilo is also home to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation, one of the world's leading producers of macadamia nuts. Hilo is served by Hilo International Airport.

Hilo is home to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, ʻImiloa Astronomy Center, as well as the Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long celebration, including three nights of competition, of ancient and modern hula that takes place annually after Easter. Hilo is also home to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation, one of the world's leading producers of macadamia nuts. Hilo is served by Hilo International Airport.


History Around 1100 AD, the first Hilo inhabitants arrived, bringing with them Polynesian knowledge and traditions. Although archaeological evidence is scant, oral history has many references to people living in Hilo, along the Wailuku and Wailoa rivers during the time of ancient Hawaii. Oral history gives the meaning of Hilo as "to twist".

Originally, the name "Hilo" applied to a district encompassing much of the east coast of the island of Hawaiʻi, now divided into the District of South Hilo and the District of North Hilo. When William Ellis visited in 1823, the main settlement there was Waiākea on the south shore of Hilo Bay. Missionaries came to the district in the early-to-middle 19th century, founding Haili Church.

Hilo expanded as sugar plantations in the surrounding area created jobs and drew in many workers from Asia. For example, by 1887, 26,000 Chinese workers worked in Hawai'i's sugar cane plantations, one of which was the Hilo Sugar Mill. At that time, the Hilo Sugar Mill produced 3,500 tons of sugar annually.

Hilo, Hawaii, 1907

A breakwater across Hilo Bay was begun in the first decade of the 20th century and completed in 1929. On April 1, 1946, an 8.6-magnitude earthquake near the Aleutian Islands created a 46-foot-high (14 m) tsunami that hit Hilo 4.9 hours later, killing 159 total in the islands, with 96 deaths in Hilo alone. In response, an early warning system, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, was established in 1949 to track these killer waves and provide warning. This tsunami also caused the end of the Hawaii Consolidated Railway, and instead the Hawaii Belt Road was built north of Hilo using some of the old railbed.

On May 22, 1960, another tsunami, caused by a 9.5-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Chile that day, claimed 61 lives, allegedly due to the failure of people to heed warning sirens. Low-lying bayfront areas of the city on Waiākea peninsula and along Hilo Bay, previously populated, were rededicated as parks and memorials.

Hilo expanded inland beginning in the 1960s. The downtown found a new role in the 1980s as the city's cultural centre with several galleries and museums opening; the Palace Theater reopened in 1998 as an arthouse cinema.

Closure of the sugar plantations (including those in Hāmākua) during the 1990s hurt the local economy, coinciding with a general statewide slump. Hilo in recent years has seen commercial and population growth.


Geography Hilo is on the eastern and windward side of the island. It is classified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a place (CDP), and has a total area of 58.3 square miles (151.0 km²), 53.4 square miles (138.3 km²) of which is land and 4.9 square miles (12.7 km²) of which (8.4%) is water.


Transport: Air Hilo is served by Hilo International Airport, where Hawaiian Airlines, and Southwest Airlines operate.


Transport: Bus Hilo is served by the county Hele-On Bus.


Maritime Hilo is served by the Big Island's largest harbor, Hilo Harbor, which is on Hilo Bay.


Education Hilo is home to a number of educational institutions, including two post-secondary institutions, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College, and the Hilo and Waiakea primary and secondary school districts. Charter schools in the area serve primary and secondary students.


Government Although sometimes called a city, Hilo is not an incorporated city, and does not have a municipal government. The entire island, which is between the slightly larger state of Connecticut and smaller Rhode Island in size, is under the jurisdiction of the County of Hawaiʻi, of which Hilo is the county seat.

Hilo is home to county, state, and federal offices.


Economy The oldest city in the Hawaiian archipelago, Hilo's economy was historically based on the sugar plantations of its surrounding areas, prior to their closure in the 1990s.


Economy: Top employers According to a recent Financial Report, the top employers in the county include: 1 State of Hawaii; 2 Hawaiʻi County; 3 United States Government; 4 Hilton Waikoloa Village; 5 Wal-Mart; 6 KTA Super Stores; 7 Mauna Kea Beach Hotel; 8 The Fairmont Orchid; 9 Four Seasons Resort Hualalai; 10 Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.


Tourism and events While Hilo has a fairly significant tourism sector, it gets less than half the annual visitors as the western coast of the Big Island, which has much sunnier weather and significantly less rain, with sandy and swimmable beaches and numerous major resorts.

A main source of tourism in Hilo is the annual week-long Merrie Monarch Festival, the world's preeminent hula competition and festival, which brings in visitors and participants from all over the world. It is held in the spring of each year beginning on Easter Sunday.

The local orchid society hosts the largest and most comprehensive orchid show in the state, the annual Hilo Orchid Show, which has been presented since 1951 and draws visitors and entrants worldwide.

Hilo is home to Hawaii's only tsunami museum, mostly dedicated to the 1946 Pacific tsunami, and is notable for the banyan trees planted by Babe Ruth, Amelia Earhart and other celebrities. It is home to the Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo, shopping centres, cafés and other eateries, movie theaters, hotels, restaurants, and a developed downtown area with a Farmers Market. Downtown Hilo is bounded approximately by the Wailuku River, Kamehameha Avenue, Ponahawai Street, and Kapiolani Street.


Corporations and science The Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation is in Hilo, south of the main town off Hawaii Route 11, north of Keaʻau.

Hilo is home to most of the astronomical observatories on Mauna Kea as well as the ʻImiloa Planetarium and Museum. Astronomy has an economic impact of $100 million annually on the island. Astronomy on Mauna Kea was developed at the invitation of the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce following the collapse of the sugar cane industry.


Culture • East Hawaiʻi Cultural Center • Lyman House Memorial Museum • Merrie Monarch Festival • Pacific Tsunami Museum.

Image: Adobe Stock Allen.G #106658788

Hilo was ranked #123 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Hilo has a population of over 43,263 people. Hilo also forms the centre of the wider Hawaii County which has a population of over 201,513 people.

To set up a UBI Lab for Hilo see: https://www.ubilabnetwork.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/UBILabNetwork

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Hilo has links with:

🇨🇱 La Serena, Chile 🇯🇵 Nago, Japan 🇯🇵 Shibukawa, Japan 🇯🇵 Sumoto, Japan
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license | Nomad

Antipodal to Hilo is: 24.911,-19.725

Locations Near: Hilo -155.089,19.7253

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🇺🇸 Maui County -156.617,20.868 d: 203.8  

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🇺🇸 Daly City -122.475,37.692 d: 3726.2  

Antipodal to: Hilo 24.911,-19.725

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