Sunday, July 10, 2005


A parking lot atop the Liliha Library prevents the front grounds from being an eyesore. The architect was Stephen Oyakawa.

Bunkerlike library has
parking lot on top

Created in the urban renewal craze of the late 1960s, Liliha Library is one of Hawaii's busiest. Located, naturally, at 1515 Liliha Street, the bunkerlike structure is a fascinating piece of modern civic architecture.

Go inside and look up. Does the structure look vaguely familiar? Yes, it looks like the underside of an elevated freeway. It seems to be made of concrete cast into place, very strong and smooth. This is no lightly constructed crackerbox.

The reason is found up on the roof. Liliha Library's parking lot is an integral part of the structure -- cars drive up a ramp, park, and patrons can access the library from above. It's an elegant solution that keeps the grounds free of unsightly parking lot clutter.

Next, we move outside to the road and there's an old Hawaii Visitors Bureau sign marking the library. Most, if not all, Hawaii libraries sport HVB signs, and the reasons for doing so are lost in history.

We'll be focusing on such HVB sites during upcoming weeks. But we'll have to catch as catch can -- if ever there was a master list of such sites, it also is apparently unavailable.

"X Marks the Spot" is a weekly feature documenting historic monuments and sites around Oahu. Send suggestions to xspot@starbulletin.com

E-mail to Travel Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- http://archives.starbulletin.com