Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

The Big Island: Kailua-Kona, Part 1

Even a voggy (volcanic fog) day in Kailua-Kona feels wonderful. Looking across Kailua Bay, one sees two of the historic landmarks for which Kailua-Kona is recognized. The first is Moku`aikaua Church, which is the oldest Christian church in the Hawaiian Islands (more photos in a future LAHP). The second is Hulihe`e Palace, the building on the waterfront, at the right of the photo.

Hulihe`e Palace was built by John Adams Kuakini, the second Governor of the island of Hawai`i. It was completed in 1838, one year after the construction of Moku`aikaua Church, which sits just across Ali`i Drive.

The Palace was built by foreign seamen, of native lava rock, coral lime mortar, koa and `ohi`a timbers. The floors and most of the interior wood (doors, framing, etc.) are koa — my favorite wood in all the world — it is so beautiful. During the tour, I learned that the interior walls were also made of koa which was later plastered over because it was the European fashion at the time influencing the Hawai`ian tastes.


After the death of the Governor, the palace passed to his adopted son, who died shortly thereafter and was then inherited by his wife, Princess Ruth Luka Ke`elikōlani. The Palace became a favorite retreat for the extended royal family and eventually purchased by King David Kalakaua.

During the time of King Kalākaua the Palace was extensively remodeled. The lanai were widened. The exterior was stuccoed and the interior plastered. Decorative ceilings, crown moldings, gold leaf picture moldings, crystal chandeliers and redwood pillars were added.

In 1925, Hulihe`e was purchased by the Territory of Hawai`i to be operated as a museum by the Daughters of Hawai`i as has been done ever since.

In modern times, we tend to forget that in those days, the kitchen was a dangerous place, leading to many structure fires that could engulf and destroy the entire residence. People of means tended to build a kitchen somewhat detached from the main building.

The two-story lanai is a wonderful design feature of this home, overlooking Kailua Bay and the ocean beyond.

Here the view from the upper lanai takes one back to the ancient times — walking in the footsteps of Hawai`ian royalty.

The interior has many artifacts from the time of the Monarchy, however the Daughters of Hawai`i do not allow photography of the interior (even without flash or tripod). Fortunately, they have an excellent website that displays quite a few interior shots — click here to check it out.

On the grounds, one also finds a fish pond — which, you may recall from earlier issues, was used to keep fish alive for later consumption. Pictured here is the sluice gate which allows a flow of fresh water and young fish into the pond but does not allow the escape of larger fish.

And here is a small school of fish in the fish pond. Not sure if they can get out or not — if not, they may be on the menu any day now.

The grounds of the palace are beautiful and tranquil — despite the fact that the palace is right on a very busy street. Here we see the tangled roots of a banyan tree.

Last, and certainly not least, we see a beautiful hibiscus flower. What a lovely way to end this issue.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com