Hilo (hēˈlō) [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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