Kemo'o Farms: a short history

Old Kemo'o FarmsKemo'o Farm started in 1909 as a pig farm north of Schofield Barracks, and later moved to its present location across from Macomb Gate. Properly pronounced "kay-moe-o" in Hawaiian, "Kemo'o" means lizard or reptile. The farm expanded in 1919 to include a milk depot, and later added an ice cream parlor, coffee shop and market. In 1920, a young soldier by the name of Leo B Rodby new to Hawaii took a part time job at the farm and in 1930 he bought controlling interest in the corporation. In 1931, Leo and his wife, Carita Fisher Rodby, had a son named Richard H. (Dick) Rodby. The farm was discontinued in 1934 and a dining room overlooking the lake was opened in 1935 prompting long lines of soldiers eager for one of their sizzling steaks. During World War II, even the generals stood in line!

In 1953 Leo Rodby passed away and in 1958 his son, Dick Rodby, became the president of Kemo'o Farms, the family business. Dick Rodby is active in the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame. The Rodby family even donated the land lease under six condominiums at Kemo'o by the Lake (appraised value is $139,000) to the music organization.