About 18 months ago, we started the Elks first floor renovation project. Several weeks into the project I got a call from the general contractor, “We found a human bone in the old pool snack bar area.” I called HPD and they dispatched a police officer who then called the HPD forensic team. When they arrived, after careful examination of the remains, I asked, “Is it Jimmy Hoffa?” They said no, these bones were at least 100 years old. Apparently, these remains were covered up by the new building slab from the 1959 construction project of our present facility.
Later that day, the State of Hawai’i showed up and shut down all project construction in that area. They then mandated that we engage the services of an archeology group each time we do excavation work or backfill on the project. The retained archeology group told me to buy a box, a lock, and a chain, and that I must find a place on site to secure the remains.
Several more weeks passed and I received another call saying they found more bones in the kitchen area and that they were going to place these bones in the same box with the others. Later that day, they called to tell me the archeologist was unable to open the lock. The lock I provided them was a new and expensive lock. I drove to the Lodge and tried the key in the lock myself, but the key would only spin freely. I tapped on the side of the lock, but no luck. All it did was spin. So I cut off the lock and put on a new one. Just to be sure, after I cut the lock off, I tried the key and still it only spun.
Later that evening before returning the defective lock to the hardware store, I inserted one key and the lock worked. I tried the other and it also worked. Both keys were able to open the lock perfectly. Hmmm….Why the lock would not work is still a mystery. Maybe the two sets of bones were enemies and did not want to be in the same box with each other. We will never know.
The bones we recovered appeared to be in the backfill soil moved in from another location for our new construction project in 1959. If we had found a full set of remains, we would have been permitted to bury them in a cemetery, but because we only found several bones from two different individuals, the State required them to be buried in a small underground vault on our property. The HPD forensic team said 27 full sets of remains were found when the Outrigger Canoe Club dug out the lower level of their parking garage and building. They were able to be buried off site.
The State has officially notified us of their approved location for the burial, which is on the Diamond Head / Ewa corner of our property. It is a space about 5’x3’, near the rock wall, and will be sectioned off appropriately. This land is being deeded to the State of Hawaii and Grand Lodge is being notified of this transaction. We are proceeding with the burial plans. This will take a few months to prepare because we need to order materials which are specified by the State. We will notify our Members when the ceremony will take place.
John Nadler, Trusteeby