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Check Six – 1969: Hawaii State Capitol Dedicated

March 15, 2022

From the Bishop Museum Facebook page

On Saturday, March 15, 1969, the Hawaiʻi State Capitol building was dedicated in a ceremony attended by 3,500 people. Groundbreaking took place on November 10, 1965, after about half of the site was cleared of former structures.  

ʻIolani Palace, the seat of the independent Hawaiian nation, was appropriated and declared the “Executive Building” after the overthrow of the monarchy in January 1893. It continued as the site for government activities until the construction of this larger, dedicated capitol building. After over a decade of debate and planning over the location and appearance, the site had been selected and architectural planning began by 1960. Leading the project was Cyril Lemmon of Belt, Lemmon, & Lo (Architects Hawaii Ltd.), in consultation with John Carle Warnocke & Associates of San Francisco. 

When it opened, the Hawaiʻi State Capitol received national publicity for its modern design and unique references to forms familiar in Hawaiian landscape and material culture, which departed from the conventional model for United States government buildings.

Photo 1: The ʻIolani Barracks, constructed of coral blocks during King Kalākaua’s reign in the nineteenth century, was disassembled from the site of the new State Capitol and rebuilt on the grounds of ʻIolani Palace for historic preservation. Photo by L. E. Edgeworth, Bishop Museum Archives. SP 24186 

Photo 2: The Hawaiʻi National Guard’s Armory building stood just mauka of ʻIolani Palace on South Hotel Street (foreground) and Miller Street (left). The post of the Palace’s mauka gate is visible in this photo on the far right. The Armory was demolished in April 1965 and both of these streets were later removed for the State Capitol. L. E. Edgeworth, Bishop Museum Archives. SP 24629  

Photo 3: The Hawaiʻi State Capitol, nearly completed. Schuman Carriage car dealership (right) which had been built as the Central Union Church originally. This corner of Beretania Street (left) and Richards Street (far right) is now part of the Capitol’s open grounds. September 25, 1967. Photo by Sadie Doyle, Bishop Museum Archives. SI 101102 26

Photo 4: Reconstructed ʻIolani Barracks (lower left), ʻIolani Palace, and the Hawaiʻi State Capitol. Towards Diamond Head, considerable space being cleared for the Civic Center to compliment the Capitol building. February 1973. Bishop Museum Archives. SP 219192

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