Photo Feature: S.S. “City of Honolulu”

LASSCO brochure

A 1930 LASSCO brochure

Since I was away for Labor Day weekend and have not had time to write a full post, this week’s edition of Mystery Dancer brings you a photographic treat instead. Over the past week, I corresponded with one of the authors of “Hollywood to Honolulu: The Story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company [LASSCO],” the book I mentioned in a previous post (“Ursula’s Hawaiian Adventure”). This fascinating volume chronicles the history of the company that owned and operated several cruise ships — including those that Ursula sailed on – running between California and Hawaii during the “Roaring Twenties.”

Co-author Gordon Ghareeb has generously shared with me the pages of a 1930 LASSCO promotional brochure that features several photographs of the S.S. City of Honolulu, the luxury ocean liner on which Ursula and her friend Elizabeth spent six days at sea steaming toward the Aloha State (well, U.S. “territory” back then). Sailing first-class, Ursula was one of 301 passengers on board. She may have rubbed elbows (or gone swimming!) with ex-Senator James Wadsworth of New York, movie comedy star Chester Conklin, and other prominent fellow travelers.

Ship in dock

The S.S. City of Honolulu docked at a Honolulu wharf convenient to downtown and the beach

I’m not sure if Ursula and Elizabeth shared a stateroom (or suite), or had their own rooms, but they would have been comfortable (if seasick – they did encounter some rough seas on their ocean voyage). With the City of Honolulu, LASSCO aimed to duplicate the experience “of the most palatial of hotels.” The brochure touts staterooms with comfortable beds, hot and cold running fresh water, electric fans and heaters, and ample space for clothing. (For more ship details, please see the “Hawaii-Bound” post.)

The following photos (thank you, Gordon!) will give you a glimpse of what Ursula’s life was like aboard the elegant ship.

A typical double stateroom

A typical double stateroom

Single room

A room of one’s own

Sitting room

Each deluxe suite on the City of Honolulu featured a sitting room

Suite bedroom

The bedroom of a deck suite

Suite bathroom

Deluxe suites boasted private combined shower-bathtubs


Elevator service ran between the five main decks

Dining room

The “grand dining salon” designed with Greece in mind

Music room

The music room combined French and Italian Renaissance period architecture

Music room foyer

Music room foyer

Swimming pool

Passengers enjoy the ship’s Pompeiian-style swimming pool.

Deck sports

Deck sports were popular on LASSCO ships.

Garden lounge

A corner of the garden lounge

Tea room

A cozy nook in the English verandah café tea room

The writing room

The writing room