Once upon a time nearly 50,000 head of Herefords grazed the broad plains of the legendary Parker Ranch. Among 225,000 acres of mist-shrouded land in the Kohala Mountains, philanthropist and Broadway performer, Richard Kaleioku Smart took control of the ranch, distinguishing himself in the livestock business and making his mark in the early cattle industry of Hawaii.
A new book called Richard Smart of the Legendary Parker Ranch by William C. Bergin and Dexter Keaweehu Vredenburg exposes beautiful black and white photography of those who worked on the ranch and enjoyed the pleasure of its scenery.
Through a detailed family tree, the authors delve into the wealth and heritage of Smart, including his Hawaiian royalty legacy. He was an orphan at an early age after enduring the tragic death of his parents and infant sister, and was raised by his grandmother among the elite social circles of Honolulu and California. These challenges, tragedies and privileges impacted Smart and Hawaii’s ranching history. Harsh drought, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes and tidal waves are perhaps only a metaphor for the other challenges faced by the Ranch, and in this book, readers will discover one humanitarian’s love of ranching and theatre. Somehow, he made this unusual dichotomy work. —