Ocean View is like no other place on earth. To the unfamiliar, it is only a small town along Hawaii Belt Road (Queen Ka’ahumanu Hwy), 47 miles south of Kailua-Kona. But to those familiar with the History of Hawaii, and to the distinct community that currently resides there, Ocean View is an indispensible town to the rich diversity and development of the Big Island.
While the history of this southern-most part of the United States extends as far back as the discovery of the Hawaiian Islands, Ocean View is relatively young. It is believed that the first Polynesian explorers landed and settled near modern day Ocean View. King Kamehameha even spent some of his childhood in the area near South Point, Ocean View and Waiahukini Bay. Ocean View, however, was once part of Kahuku Ranch, and sales of the land began only 65 years ago.
As soon as the Crawford Oil Company developed a service station and a rental building in the early 80’s, Ocean View began quick growth. In 1989 the Ocean View Town Center was built, and today—only a few decades later—there are over 100 business listings and over 11,000 resident lots between the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates (mauka of Hawaii Belt Rd) and Hawaiian Ranchos (makai of Hawaii Belt Rd).
The landscape of Ocean View is rugged, having withstood three lava flows in 50 years (between 1868-1907) and spanning a significant grade from 500ft to 5,000ft above sea level. Vegetation penetrates the pronounced lava that still remains, as if to declare that Ocean View has a vibrant and healthy future. This future is marked by cultural diversity, economic development, and population growth. Much of this change has only begun in the last few decades and continues to surge forward.
For all it’s obvious qualities, Ocean View is in some ways beyond definition. Census data of the area and local accounts do not usually agree. For instance, the recorded population of Ocean View is near 5,000. Residents, however, contend that at least 10,000 people call it home. Again, the median income per household is recorded at $39k/year, but locals believe that amount is arbitrary. Instead, income hovers below the “poverty line” for most permanent residents ($29k/year for a household of four) . These disparities are a small piece of why the Ocean View puzzle is unique.
It’s been said that three kinds of people live in Ocean View: those retiring, those running, and those retreating. Those retiring find affordable property in the Aloha State with accessibility to Kailua-Kona and many of the cherished treasures of the Big island; those running find refuge away from the city, high costs of living, and unwanted relationships; those retreating find open space, fertile soil, and immediate access to rural Hawaii.