[ A WALKING TOUR ]
Ali'iolani Hale was constructed as Kamehameha V's palace, but this was not meant to be. By the time it was completed, Kalakaua ruled.
Hale was first meant
to be a palace
If Ali'iolani Hale seems palatial, there's a reason: It was originally designed as a palace. Kamehameha V asked two Australian architects to whip him up a palace -- it was thought that Aussies would better understand Pacific climates and styles than Americans or Europeans -- but when the plans were unrolled, it was decided that Hawaii needed a new office building more than a palace.
Ground was broken in 1871, and the building was constructed of concrete block, just like the post office around the corner. Hawaii pioneered this type of architecture. By the time the building was opened to the Hawaii Legislature in 1874, Kalakaua was king.
Kamehameha V was remembered by the frieze across the face of the tower reading KAMEHAMEHA ELIMA, KA MOI, and Hawaiians generally thought the building was too grand for a public office. Kalakaua compensated by holding parties in the structure at night, sometimes spilling over from events at Iolani Palace across the street.
In the 1893 revolution, the Provisional Government read their declaration in Ali'iolani Hale. This event signaled the end of the Hawaiian monarchy, and government services were shifted out of Ali'iolani Hale and into Iolani Palace to underscore the point. The Judiciary branch moved in and has been there ever since. The Judiciary History Center, currently on the Diamond Head side of the first floor, provides an interesting overview of Hawaiian legal history.
Ali'iolani Hale has a coral-block foundation supporting the concrete blocks, which are "rusticated" to resembled rough-hewn granite.
The two-story building flanks a four-story clock tower. In 1942 the makai side of the building had a substantial addition tacked on, which pretty much rendered that side of the building completely anonymous.
The grounds in front of Ali'iolani Hale are as well known as the building itself, as they frame a Greek-god interpretive statue of Kamehameha I. It is one of the most photographed locations in Hawaii.
|| Thomas Rowe and Robert Stirling
|| Renaissance Revival
|| 417 S. King St.
|| 1972 No. 72000414
BACK TO TOP
BURL BURLINGAME / BBURLINGAME@STARBULLETIN.COM
Ali'iolani Hale has become one of Honolulu's most photographed buildings by default as a backdrop to the King Kamehameha statue.
BACK TO TOP
Quicktime VR Panorama
Click on pictures to view panaromas
BACK TO TOP
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.