In ancient times, Kaka‘ako was an area comprised of fishing villages, fishponds and salt ponds. To Native Hawaiians, pa‘akai (salt) was valued like gold and Kaka‘ako’s salt ponds were of major importance to the area.
In the 1800s residential construction began and diverse immigrant “camps” grew. Kaka‘ako’s industrial roots began with the establishment of the Honolulu Iron Works, a metal foundry and machine shop. Small stores, churches, schools and parks were built including Pohukaina School next to Mother Waldron Park. Kaka‘ako grew and became a community built on a blue-collar work ethic, social activism and family.