Holoholo Honolulu

Advertiser building
went up in 1929

The oldest publication in the islands is the Honolulu Advertiser, which started weekly publication in 1856 as the Pacific Commercial Advertiser.

It began daily publication a quarter-century later, in response to competition from the first daily newspaper in Hawaii, the Honolulu Daily Bulletin, ancestor of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Today, the two newspapers are still in competition, making Honolulu one of the last cities in the United States where readers are given a choice of at least two dailies.

The Advertiser was purchased by annexationist Lorrin Thurston just after the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani, and the Thurston family often used the paper to promote its political ideals. During World War II, for example, Lorrin Thurston Jr. served as public-affairs officer for the military government under martial law.

The Honolulu Advertiser building, generally called the "News Building," was built in 1929 of concrete frosted over with stucco, with a red-clay hip-and-valley roof.

Originally in an L-shape facing South Street and Kapiolani Boulevard, the top floor was devoted to a radio station also owned by the Thurstons.

The exterior of the building features Renaissance Revival influences, particularly in the tile stair flanked by curved concrete railings and fluted pilasters bedecked with Ionic capitals. There is a continuous water table just under ground level that required structural columns be set well into the ground.

Just inside the entranceway is a grand staircase constructed of quarried tiles and enameled balusters. They framed what was once an open gallery with wood parquet floor, but now has disappeared. The rest of the building is quite industrial in appearance, and rightly so, as it was essentially a manufacturing plant. The rear of the complex houses printing presses and circulation and paper-storage facilities.

A major addition to the building was erected in 1956, squaring it off.

Shortly afterward, the Thurstons entered into a joint operating agreement with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, and the building was further subdivided into separate editorial spaces. In 1992, the Thurston family sold the newspaper and the building to newspaper chain Gannett, then owners of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Gannett arranged for a buyer for the Star-Bulletin, and after six years, Gannett dissolved the joint operating agreement and bought out the Star-Bulletin's owner.

The Star-Bulletin moved to new quarters, and for the first time in 40 years, the Honolulu Advertiser had complete run of the building that bears its name.


Advertiser Building

Opened: 1929
Architect: Emory & Webb
Style: Beaux Arts
Address: 605 Kapiolani Blvd.
National Register: 1979
Hawaii Register: No

The Honolulu Advertiser building was once home to the Star-Bulletin as well.

Quicktime VR Panorama
Click on pictures to view panaromas




Every Sunday in the Star-Bulletin Travel section, rediscover the charms of old Hawaii through a tour created by the Honolulu Historic Trail Committee and Historic Hawai'i Foundation and supported by the city's Office of Economic Development. The yearlong project commemorates Honolulu's bicentennial.

See Holoholo Honolulu for past articles.


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