State Capital of Hawaii

hawaii state capital

Arround the Hawaii State Capitol

Hawaii became the 50th state on August 21, 1959. The capital was completed in 1969 at a cost of $25 million.  As you can guess, the building serves as the center of our state government, but it’s the architecture of the building that I want to talk about.  The building is surrounded by water – this is symbolic of the Pacific Ocean surrounding Hawaii.  Look at the base of the building both left and right – the base looks like a volcano which is how the islands were formed.  Next you see eight pillars – these symbolize the eight major islands of Hawaii plus at the top they form what looks like palm tree’s.  At 7,500 pounds and 15 feet in diameter – the State Seal is in the middle of the building’s face.  On the seal you will find the State Motto “Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono” which means “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”.  The state motto is from King Kamehameha III’s words upon receiving the throne of Hawaii back from England in 1843.  Also, inside the building there is a mosaic in the middle of the floor – called “Aquarius” its different shades of blue represent the Pacific Ocean.

father damien

Father Damien Statue.

Located directly in front of the state capital building, most people are familiar with Father Damien Joseph DeVeuster. Ordained a Catholic priest in Our Lady of Peace Cathedral (just down the street on the left) in 1864, he moved to the island of Molokai in 1873.  There he established a colony, at Kalaupapa, for the victims of Hansens Disease (leprosy).  In 1889, Father Damien fell victim to the disease himself and died.  If you remember Statutory Hall in the U.S. Capital Building, Father Damien is the second statue representing Hawai’i.

royal palms honolulu

Royal Palms.

Notice the color and smooth trunks of these Royal Palm tree’s.  This is their natural color and the tree’s are called self cleaning, that is, they shed their leaves naturally which gives them the smooth trunks.

eternal flame honolulu

Eternal Flame.

Everyone asks what the flame is behind the Royal Palms.  This is the Eternal Flame, a monument dedicated to all the men and women who served in the Armed Forces.  If you look directly behind the memorial to the far distance (what looks like a mountain), this is Punchbowl, where we honor those who died in the Armed Forces.  It’s official name is The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and we’ll visit there in a another article.

Our next article looks at Waikiki Hotels.