Iolani Palace

iolani palace

Around ‘Iolani Palace

This is actually the second Iolani Palace. Also built on this site, the first was a one story building, constructed of coral blocks in 1845.  It was torn down in 1878 and the following year this second palace was started being completed in 1882 at a cost of $360,000.  Many tour guides will tell you that this is the only royal palace on American soil.  But, technically this is not correct.  There are three; ‘Iolani Palace, Queen Emma’s Summer Palace which is less than two miles to the north, and there is a third palace located on the Big Island of Hawai’i.  ‘Iolani Palace is the most impressive and at the time, was a very modern building.  For example, the Palace had electricity before Buckingham Palace and the White House.  It was the first palace in the world to have running water and flush toilets.  The Palace was the official residence of King Kalākaua and Queen Kapiolani.  The King died in 1891 while on a trip to San Francisco.  Since his younger brother had died in 1877, the thrown was pasted to his sister who became Queen Lili’uokalani. She remained Queen for two years and in 1893 the Hawaiian Monarchy was overthrown.  There was a Provisional Government formed in 1893 and the Republic was declared in 1894.  In 1889, President McKinley annexed Hawai’i into the United States, in 1900 it became a Territory, and in 1959 Statehood was granted.  Following the overthrow of the monarchy, Queen Lili’uokalani was imprisoned on the second floor of the Palace for six months.  After that she was sent to her private residence (Washington Place) under house arrest.  She was later pardoned and until her death in 1917, she unsuccessfully tried to regain the Hawaiian Monarchy.  From 1893 to 1968 the Palace was used as the Capitol of the Republic, then the Territory, and finally the State of Hawai’i.  Following the construction of the new capitol building in 1969, a group called “The Friends of ‘Iolani Palace” have taken on the task of restoring the Palace to its original “Royal” condition.  They are continuously restoring the Palace and now offer tours of the Palace.  ‘Iolani translated means “Heavenly Hawk”.  Admission.

coronation pavillionCoronation Pavilion built in 1883 was used for the coronation of King Kalākaua.  Originally it stood at the Palace steps but was later moved to its present location.  Weekly, the Royal Hawaiian Band gives free concerts here and newly elected governors of Hawai’i will take their oath of office under its roof.



iolani barracksIolani Barracks was originally built on the now State Capitol grounds and in 1965 moved to its current location.  Made of coral blocks, it served as the home and headquarters to the Royal Household Guards from 1871 to 1893.




This has been Iolani Palace

Next we’ll have a look at some of the other points of interest around Iolani Palace including the Kamehameha Statue, Kawaiha’o Church, Honolulu Hale and Mission Houses Museum.