GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
HISTORIC: Washington Place, the former mansion of Queen Liliuokalani the state's governors, is now a National Historic Landmark. It ranks among Iolani Palace and Pearl Harbor as Hawaii landmarks on the national list. CLICK FOR LARGE
U.S. anoints queen's home as historic
Washington Place has become a National Historic Landmark
The U.S. Department of the Interior named Washington Place, the former governor's mansion, a National Historic Landmark yesterday, adding it to a list that includes Iolani Palace and Pearl Harbor.
"This is an extremely important honor for Washington Place," said curator Corinne Chun Fujimoto. "It brings it to the standing of other great historic sites not only in Hawaii, but across the nation."
The Interior Department recognized Washington Place as one of the 12 landmarks named yesterday because of its close connection with Queen Liliuokalani, who lived there with her husband, John Owen Dominis, from 1862 until her death in 1917.
Individuals and agencies across the country nominate sites, which are then reviewed by the National Park Service and designated as National Historic Landmarks by the Interior Department.
"These new National Historic Landmarks reflect some of the most important historical and cultural developments in American history," said Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne in a news release. "Each of them tells a story about us as a nation and people."
Recognition of a National Historic Landmarks allows owners to apply for small federal loans to protect and preserve the site. Chun Fujimoto estimated $5 million is needed to restore Washington Place.
Washington Place once was the official residence of Hawaii's governors. It is now a museum open to the public by appointment. Admission is free though the museum accepts donations.
Ben Cayetano was the last governor to live in the building after he and the Washington Place director decided to turn it into a tribute to Queen Liliuokalani. Gov. Linda Lingle lives in a home behind Washington Place.
"Everyone that has been associated with this place -- past governors and first ladies -- always adheres to the notion that this is the queen's home," Chun Fujimoto said. "Preserving that part of its history is foremost."
THE HISTORY OF WASHINGTON PLACE
1847: Capt. John Dominis completes the construction of his home for himself, wife Mary and son John Owen. The home is transformed into a lodging area for prominent visitors after Dominis dies at sea.
1848: The home is named Washington Place, after President George Washington, by a visiting U.S. commissioner.
1862-1917: Queen Liliuokalani lives in Washington Place with her husband, John Owen Dominis.
1918-2002: The building serves as a home to the governors of Hawaii, which was a U.S. territory until statehood in 1959.
2007: Washington Place, now a museum, is named a National Historic Landmark.
Source: Corinne Chun Fujimoto, Washington Place curator