'Iolani Palace

August 20th, 2011

'Iolani Palace

King Kalakaua Portrait (sml file)

Queen Liliuokalani Portrait (sml file)

When is the last time (or have you ever visited) one of Hawaii's greatest treasures, the formal residence of Hawaii's monarchs, 'Iolani Palace?  The other day we were filming an episode of More Local Ventures (KFVE 6p Sundays) that will feature what was once the only official state residence of royalty in the United States. Mahalo to Kippen de Alba Chu, Exec Director; Rici Guild, Zita Cup Choy, Docent Educator, Lance Rae from Limtiaco Co. for accessing our crew and making the experience very special. So special that I'd like to post a series of blogs on 'Iolani Palace because one mention does not do it justice.  The palace has been meticulously restored to its former grandeur. Step quietly into this National Historic Landmark just minutes from Waikiki and you're transported instantly back to the 19th century and into the halls where Majesties, King Kalākaua and his sister and successor, Queen Lili‘uokalani, walked in another time.

Iolani Palace Grand Staircase

Did you know... the palace was completed in 1882, its cornerstone laid according to full Masonic rites on December 31, 1879 (exact location has never been found), and that in 1887 electricity was installed superseding use of electricity at the White House (1891) by four years?  'Iolani Palace combines features found in Italianate and Second Empire architectural designs on four floors with a total of 105 rooms. Telephones were installed in 1881, only five years after they were invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.

image015Place Setting by Milroy McAleer

The Palace just had a major room reveal this past spring.  The Music Room – known as the Gold Room –is the first room in twenty years to be completely restored and recreated -- reflecting the devotion to finding lost artifacts and efforts to continue restoration of the landmark are on going. During the reign of King Kalākaua and later Queen Lili‘uokalani, the music room functioned as the Monarch’s private drawing room.  Like other members of the royal family, Kalākaua and his sister Lili‘uokalani were accomplished composers and musicians. This was an intimate space for family and friends to converse and to play music on stringed instruments. Kalakaua’s favorite instrument was the ‘ukulele, while Lili‘uokalani’s favorite was the autoharp.  Between them, they produced many beautiful songs that are still performed today.  Trained in both Hawaiian and European musical traditions, they appreciated a wide range of musicals genres.  The newly restored Music Room is a visual reminder of how important music was to Palace life and Hawai‘i’s sovereigns. Make time to visit 'Iolani Palace. It is a reminder to all that the Kingdom of Hawaii was as robust as any other monarchy of its time.

Hours: Monday thru Saturday 9a - 5p.  For more info visit http://www.iolanipalace.org

Stay tuned.  We'll broadcast this special film tribute to 'Iolani Palace within the next few months. www.pacificnetwork.tv

Photos courtesy of 'Iolani Palace archives All Rights Reserved

Posted in 1 | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “'Iolani Palace”

  1. cloudia:

    The heart of Hawaii!

    Aloha from Waikiki;

    Comfort Spiral


  2. Justin:

    It is this kind of outlandish spending in the time of a deep economic recession that led to the change in governments.

  3. PacificNetwork.tv:

    Justin you may be absolutely correct about the over spending by King Kalakaua but when you are in the halls of the palace it is a beautiful tribute to an era that once was. I suppose what I'm suggesting is that if it were not for the existence of 'Iolani Palace there may not be but photographs left to tell the story. The Hawaiian monarchy existed. To imagine that the Queen of England and the royal family divest all their properties or that there needn't be the outrageous spending on a royal wedding at a time of global economic crisis seems pretty sensible. But the entire american and global press and media covered the wedding as if it were the only news of the day. Ratings were up, media responded to people's prurient interest in every detail of a royal lifestyle. At any rate, "outlandish spending" in america may not be as easy to identify. In my opinion it is on going only but instead of great artchitectual landmarks we're left with huge freeways and malls to show for it.

  4. Ken Conklin:

    Terrific attitude displayed in #3. "Let them eat cake." The Palace was completed in 1882 at a cost of $360,000 (not including the fancy plates and silverware and furniture). For comparison, the value of all the lands owned by Bernice Pauahi Bishop at the time of her death in 1884 (about 10% of all the lands of Hawaii), according to the probate court, was only $474,000. While Kalakaua was building his outrageous display of wealth and power, and taking a trip around the world (at a cost of how much more?) native families were starving to death. What arrogance!

  5. PacificNetwork.tv:

    Well Ken, not sure I agree wholeheartedly as looking back there's always complexity in why we do what we do. You're certainly not alone in your criticism of how the King handled finances. Some even say this was intrinsic to losing the throne. But this same monarch made some pretty avant garde and innovative moves including re-interpreting the Hale Naua in 1886 as a “Temple of Sciences” after becoming inspired by the Masonic movement in Europe. In an effort to preserve his native culture, King David Kalakaua invited kahuna of all studies to convene at formal gatherings, brought the Hula back, had scholars document genealogies, created events where diversity of experts in the sciences and the arts met to share knowledge of all aspects of the Hawaiian culture, and oral histories were meticulously documented -- until the organization went underground when Kalakaua died in 1891. He may have been arrogant in some respects but thank him for preserving a good deal of native culture at a most crucial time.

  6. Burton Haynes:

    Very intersting thanks for sharing with us.

  7. Francine Yagi:

    Well Ken as always you look for any venue to evoke your disdain for anything in our History!
    While annoying as that is! Hindsight is 20/20 but what it does, as with all monarchs no matter what era or country, it gives us a glimse into the influences that prevailed at the time. I agree with #5 that he did a lot of important things, but also no sitting official goes blameless for things that happened in their time in office! Those native families that were self sufficient and did not depend on a living paid with money made it just fine! There were things we were taught from young such as grow your own food and that is why when we remember the past it includes Ulu, mango, papaya, pipinolas,regular squash,hawaiian sweet potatos,etc.... in every yard so when times were hard we all shared with each other.
    If you had extra fish you could trade for any of the above to round out your meal.
    That's why everything started to go underground and the aina became even more important to both sides!