The 60s were characterized by a huge construction boom, much of which was attributable to the massive tidal wave damage. New businesses and residences seemed to go up overnight. On the west side of the island at Kawaihae, the Mauna Kea Hotel complex was developed on 3,000 acres of land.
During this decade, NASA selected and built an 88-inch reflecting telescope, one of the ten largest in the world, atop the summit of Mauna Kea. New military installations at South Point and Pohakuloa were built. The Volcanoes National Park was expanded. Agriculture diversified with a boost from federal grants. Anthurium, macadamia nut and papaya farms increased production. A new jet way at General Lyman Field airport and the construction of a new airport at Keahole point, Kona attracted direct flights from the mainland, accelerating the tremendous increase in tourist development. And massive construction of new national chain resorts and small businesses in West Hawaii meant more power facilities were needed.
The new W.H. Hill plant was quickly put into service in 1965 as part of an ambitious construction program to strengthen generation capability and transmission reliability.