By Curtis Narimatsu
Yes, todayâ€™s Saloon pilot cracker is from the German Ludloff brothers via the German hardtack, the Ludloffs cutting their teeth formerly w/Scot Love family on Oâ€™ahu. The Ludloff Crescent City Cracker Co. had its origin in Shinmachi between todayâ€™s bouldered driveway/Keâ€™elikolani St. & gravel road to Matson containers/Emma St.
The Ludloffs then built their massive 2 story concrete Luloff bldg. 1922 NW corner Piâ€™opiâ€™o St./Kam Ave, the exact spot where is todayâ€™s Bayside Chevron at Kam/Pauahi Sts., by where the Bayside air/water hoses are w/blank lava wall [former Pi'opi'o sign face]. In 1914 the German steamer Ahlers from Bremen berthed into Kuhio/Hilo harbor for safety as refugee ship, its British India crew deserting it.
The shipâ€™s cook Siems then married a Hilo Chinese girl & started making hardtack for Hiloites. In 1917 the Ahlers crew was interned WWI as enemy aliens & Siemsâ€™ cracker business was sold to Macaroni Factoryâ€™s Uyeno of Shinmachi [Mae Okamura's kin/kazoku]. In 1921 Tats Ikeda took over the operation, all in Shinmachi at entrance to todayâ€™s Kam Statue on SW corner Bishop St./Kam Ave, Ikeda emigrating in 1909 & operating his shoyu/soda factories in Shinmachi.
Todayâ€™s Saloon Pilot is credited to the Siems hardtack, though Hiloâ€™s Ludloffs actually are the genesis of it here. Of course, ubiquitous philanthropist Shiro Ikeda [phlegmatic solon Donald's dad â€” Donald witnessed the killer 1946 tsunami atop Donald's 2nd floor living quarters at entrance to today's Kam Statue] succeeded Shiroâ€™s dad Tats after Tatsâ€™ death 1933. Of course, later soda/creme crackers were added to the flagship saloon pilot cracker. Fortuitously, Ikeda was to move its operations to todayâ€™s BJ Penn ctr. on Kinoâ€™ole St. by the bowling alley, starting in early 1946.
The April 1, 1946 tsunami hastened such plans, closing down the original site for a month, w/the final move upland occurring in October 1946. Yes, lst Lt. Herman Ludloff of our genesis Natâ€™l Guard 1900 is our Ludloff ohana. Ludloff came long before Ikeda/Macaroni factory.
(Curtis Narimatsu isÂ a lifelong resident of Hilo who writes about the forgotten past such as the oldÂ plantation days & untold heroes.)