Ali’iolani Hale

 

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Ali’iolani Hale means “House of the Heaavenly King” and is the name of the oldest government building in Hawaii. Located in downtown Honolulu, the Ali’iolani Building is home of the Hawaii Supreme Court, Hawaii law library, court administration offices, and the Judiciary History Center. Ali’iolani Hale is located directly behind the King Kamehameha Statue and across the street from Iolani Palace and Honolulu Hale.

The Ali’iolani Building was designed by Australian Thomas Rowe in an Italian Renaissance Revival as the royal palace for King Kamehameha V. In Hawaiian, “Ali’iolai” means “House of the heavenly King”, Ali’iolani was also one of the given names of Kamehameha V. On February 19, 1872 King Kamehameha V laid the cornerstone for the building that he had commissioned as a government office building not a palace. He died before the building was completed. It was dedicated in 1874 by King David Kalakaua.

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Built between 1871 and 1874, the Ali’iolani Hale was constructed of concrete block that were cast and fitted to resemble cut stone. The structure is two stories tall with a four story central clock tower. The structure features lanais with Ionic columns with an arched entrance and arched windows. The interior features a two-story open rotunda with a balcony surrounding it on all sides; the interior has been extensively altered since its original construction.

The Aliiolani Hale is significant in the history of Hawaii as the place of the reading of the declaration of the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Island during the Revolution of 1893. This declaration marked the overthrow of the traditional Hawaiian monarchy and the beginning of government by American interests which eventually led to statehood for Hawaii. The Ali’iolani Hale is also significant as a fine example of monarchy period architecture.

Ali’iolani Hale is located at 417 South King Street in downtown Honolulu, next to the Territorial Office Building, the United States Post Office Customs Building, and across the street from Iolani Palace, Kanaina Building, Hawaii State Library, and Honolulu Hale.

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