Hilo hē´lō [key], city (1990 pop. 37,808), seat of Hawaii co., on Hilo Bay of Hawaii island; settled by missionaries c.1822, inc. as a city 1911. The second largest city in the state, a port of entry, and the only metropolitan area on Hawaii island, Hilo is the trade and shipping center for an orchid, papaya, and macadamia-nut region. Fish and prawns are also important, but tourism is the leading source of income. Among Hilo's points of interest are the peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa , which rise behind the city; the Lyman Mission House (c.1839); a state park in the bayfront area; and an island park in Hilo Bay. The Univ. of Hawaii at Hilo is also in the city. Hilo was badly damaged by tsunamis in 1946 and 1960; after the latter the lowland area was drained and a hill 26 ft/8 m above sea level was constructed.
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