Hawaii State Capitol

The Hawaii State Capitol is the official statehouse or capitol building of the U.S. state of Hawaii. From its chambers, the executive and legislative branches perform the duties involved in governing the state. The Hawaii State Legislature—composed of the twenty-five member Hawaii State Senate led by the President of the Senate and the fifty-one member Hawaii State House of Representatives led by the Speaker of the House—convenes in the building. Its principal tenants are the Governor of Hawaii and Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, as well as all legislative offices and the Legislative Reference Bureau.

Located in downtown Honolulu, the Hawaii State Capitol was commissioned and dedicated by John A. Burns, second Governor of Hawaii. It opened on March 15, 1969, replacing the former statehouse, the ʻIolani Palace.

Hawaii State Capitol
Hawaii state capitol from the south-east
The Hawaii State Capitol from the southeast
General information
Architectural styleHawaiian international architecture
Location415 S. Beretania Street Honolulu, Hawaii
Construction startedNovember 10, 1965[1]
CompletedMarch 15, 1969[1]
ClientState of Hawaii
OwnerState of Hawaii
Design and construction
ArchitectBelt, Lemmon & Lo and John Carl Warnecke & Associates[1]
Hawaii State Capitol & Grounds
Part ofHawaii Capital Historic District (#78001020)
Designated CP12/01/1978


Burns designed the restoration of the royal palace built by King David Kalākaua and Queen Kapiʻolani; as part of that effort, the Queen Liliʻuokalani Statue in the Capitol Mall between the capitol building and ʻIolani Palace was dedicated on April 10, 1982. The site was once Haimoeipo, the royal residence of Queen Dowager Kalama and later King Lunalilo, who died there.

Several other capitol building monuments decorate the statehouse grounds. The Beretania Street entrance features the Liberty Bell, a gift of the President of the United States and the United States Congress to the Territory of Hawaii in 1950 as a symbol of freedom and democracy. One of the more prominent monuments on the statehouse grounds is the Father Damien Statue—a tribute to the Roman Catholic priest who died in 1869 after sixteen years of serving patients afflicted with leprosy. Father Damien was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995, and canonized on October 11, 2009, by Pope Benedict XVI. His feast Day is celebrated on May 10. In Hawaiʻi, it is celebrated on the day of his death, April 15.

The Eternal Flame on Beretania Street is a metal sculptured torch that burns endlessly as a tribute to all men and women from Hawaii who served with the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy in the major and minor conflicts in which the United States was engaged. Likewise, the Korean-Vietnam War Memorial pays tribute to service members who died in those conflicts. Dedicated on July 24, 1994 by Benjamin J. Cayetano, fifth Governor of Hawaii, the monument consists of 768 black marble pedestals engraved with the names of and 312 service members of the Vietnam War. A larger marble slab bears a Hawaiian language inscription of remembrance.


Hawaii State Capitol, Honolulu
The Hawaii State Capitol is on Beretania Street.
Interior of Hawaii State Capitol from Executive Floor
Hawaii Capitol interior
Statue of Father Damien 3.jpeg
Statue of Father Damien outside the Hawaii State Capitol Building
Reflecting pool

The Hawaii State Capitol is an American adaptation of the Bauhaus style termed "Hawaiian international architecture". It was designed by a partnership between the firms of Belt, Lemon and Lo (Architects Hawaii Ltd.), and John Carl Warnecke and Associates. Unlike other state capitols modeled after the United States Capitol, the Hawaii State Capitol's distinct architectural features symbolize various natural aspects of Hawaii. Among them:

  • The building is surrounded by a reflecting pool, symbolizing the Pacific Ocean.
  • The two legislative chambers are cone-shaped, symbolizing volcanoes that formed the Hawaiian Islands.
  • The columns around the perimeter of the building have shapes resembling royal palm trees. There are eight columns in four rows at either side of the building, representing the eight main islands of Hawaii; sets of eight items appear in other places inside and along the outside of the building.
  • The Capitol is built with an open-air design, allowing sun, wind, and rain to enter; the central atrium opens to the sky and rainbows can sometimes be seen inside the building when it rains.
  • Four kukui nut trees (Hawaii's state tree) are a numerical reference to the four main counties in the State of Hawaii and the four major Hawaiian gods (Kukailimoku, Kane, Lono, and Kanaloa).[2] Sets of four items appear in many other places in the building.
  • When standing in the center of the structure, the chandeliers from both legislative chambers, which represent the sun and moon, can be seen through the glass walls, while the area that is normally reserved for a rotunda in most capitol buildings is left open to the sky. It is said that the sky is Hawaii's capitol dome.
  • German-American artist Otto Piene designed the chandeliers, which are kinetic sculptures made of small objects. The Sun chandelier in the House is made of dozens of gold-plated globes, and the Moon chandelier in the Senate is made of 620 white chambered nautilus shells. [2]

Reflecting pool algae issue

From the time the Capitol was completed in 1969, the reflecting pool has had a persistent algae growth problem, due partly to the fact the pool is fed with brackish water from on-site wells. Attempts by the state to fix the problem included introducing tilapia fish into the pool and installing an ozone treatment system.[3] The state currently has the pool lining scrubbed manually with enzymes added to the water to combat growth. Some Capitol regulars say the algae growth has come to represent the pollution of the Pacific Ocean, in an ironic twist of the original symbolic meaning of the pool.[4]

Hawaii State Capitol
Hawaii State Capitol view photographed from the rim of Punchbowl Crater

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Hawaii State Capitol". Docomomo International. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b Tsutsumi, Cheryl Chee (14 Jan 2018). "State Capitol Awash with Meaning". Historic Hawai'i Foundation. Reprinted from Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  3. ^ Bernardo, Rosemarie (2004-05-12). "Capitol looking for fix to pools' algae problem". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
  4. ^ Novak, Candice (2007-03-05). "Algae defeats state at Capitol pool". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2008-02-04.

External links

Coordinates: 21°18′26″N 157°51′26″W / 21.307341°N 157.857266°W

Downtown Honolulu

Downtown Honolulu is the current historic, economic, governmental, and central part of Honolulu—bounded by Nuʻuanu Stream to the west, Ward Avenue to the east, Vineyard Boulevard to the north, and Honolulu Harbor to the south—situated within the City of Honolulu. Both modern and historic buildings and complexes, many of the latter declared National Historic Landmarks on the National Register of Historic Places, are located in the area, 21°18′12″N 157°51′26″W.

Father Damien (Escobar)

The Father Damien Statue, also called the Saint Damien of Molokaʻi Statue, is the centerpiece of the entrance to the Hawaiʻi State Capitol and the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. A second bronze cast is displayed in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol, along with the Kamehameha Statue. The landmark memorializes the famous Hawaiʻi Catholic Church priest from Belgium who sacrificed his life for the lepers of the island of Molokaʻi. Father Damien is considered one of the preeminent heroes of Hawaiʻi, and was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2009. Cast in bronze, the statue depicts Father Damien in his later years after being diagnosed with the disease of those he attended. Much attention was given to the recreation of the disfiguring scars on the priest's face and his arm hanging from a sling.

First Hawaiian Center

First Hawaiian Center is the tallest building in the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi and the city of Honolulu, the largest city in the state. It is the world corporate headquarters of First Hawaiian Bank, the oldest and largest bank based in Hawaii. The tower is one of the most well-known buildings in Honolulu, with a striking presence at the center of downtown Honolulu's skyline.

Hawaii Capital Historic District

The Hawaii Capital Historic District in Honolulu, Hawaii, has been the center of government of Hawaii since 1845.

Hawaii Department of Public Safety

The Hawaii Department of Public Safety is a department within the executive branch of the government of the U.S. state of Hawaii. It is headquartered in Room 400 in the 919 Ala Moana Boulevard building in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Department of Public Safety is made up of three divisions.

Hawaii Senate

The Hawaii Senate is the upper house of the Hawaii State Legislature. It consists of twenty-five members elected from an equal number of constituent districts across the islands and is led by the President of the Senate, elected from the membership of the body, currently Ron Kouchi. The forerunner of the Hawaii Senate during the government of the Kingdom of Hawaii was the House of Nobles originated in 1840. In 1894 the Constitution of the Republic of Hawaii renamed the upper house the present senate. Senators are elected to four-year terms and are not subject to term limits.

Like most state legislatures in the United States, the Hawaii State Senate is a part-time body and senators often have active careers outside government. The lower house of the legislature is the Hawaii House of Representatives. The membership of the Senate also elects additional officers to include the Senate Vice President, Senate Chief Clerk, Assistant Chief Clerk, Senate Sergeant at Arms and Assistant Sergeant at Arms. The Hawaii Senate convenes in the Hawaii State Capitol in Honolulu.

Hawaii State Art Museum

The No. 1 Capitol District Building, on the site of the former Armed Services YMCA Building, now houses the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum and the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

Hawaii State Legislature

The Hawaii State Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Hawaii. The state legislature is a bicameral body consisting of a lower house, the Hawaii State House of Representatives, with 51 representatives, and an upper house, the 25-member Hawaii State Senate. There are a total of 76 representatives in the legislature, each representing single member districts across the islands. The powers of the legislature are granted under Article III of the Constitution of Hawaii.

The legislature convenes at the Hawaii State Capitol building in the state capital of Honolulu, on the island of Oahu.

Hawaii State Library

The Hawaiʻi State Library is a historic building in Honolulu, Hawaii that serves as the seat of the Hawaiʻi State Public Library System, the only statewide library system and one of the largest in the United States. The Hawaiʻi State Library building is located in downtown Honolulu adjacent to ʻIolani Palace and the Hawaiʻi State Capitol. Originally funded by Andrew Carnegie, the building was designed by architect Henry D. Whitfield. Groundbreaking took place in 1911 and construction was completed in 1913. In 1978, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places, as a contributing property within the Hawaii Capital Historic District.The building holds over 525,000 cataloged books. The entire Hawaiʻi State Public Library System has a collection of over 3 million books. Nearby is the Hawaiʻi State Archives which holds book collections of historical significance to Hawaiʻi. The Edna Allyn Children's Room houses murals by artist Juliette May Fraser depicting Hawaiian legends while the garden courtyard features a mosaic of ocean currents by Hiroki Morinoue. Barbara Hepworth's cast bronze sculptures called Parent I and Young Girl greet visitors at the lawn in front of the building.

Hawaiian architecture

Hawaiian architecture is a distinctive style of architectural arts developed and employed primarily in the Hawaiian Islands of the United States — buildings and various other structures indicative of the people of Hawaiʻi and the environment and culture in which they live. Though based on imported Western styles, unique Hawaiian traits make Hawaiian architectural styles stand alone against other styles. Hawaiian architecture reflects the history of the islands from antiquity through the kingdom era, from its territorial years to statehood and beyond.

The various styles through the history of Hawaiʻi are telling of the attitudes and the spirit of its people. Hawaiian architecture is said to tell the story of how indigenous native Hawaiians and their complex society in ancient times slowly evolved with the infusion of new styles from beyond its borders, from the early European traders, the visiting whalers and fur trappers from the Canadian wilderness, the missions of the New Englanders and French Catholics, the communes of the Latter-day Saints from Utah, the plantation laborer cultures from the Orient to the modern American metropolis that Honolulu is today.

Hon Chew Hee

Hon Chew Hee (1906 – 1993) was an American muralist, watercolorist and printmaker who was born in Kahului, on the Hawaiian island of Maui in 1906. He grew up in China, where he received his early training in Chinese brush painting. He returned to the United States in 1920 at age 14 in order to further his training at the San Francisco Art Institute, receiving that school's highest academic honor. He then taught in China until moving to Hawaii in 1935. In Hawaii, he worked as a freelance artist and held classes in both Western and Eastern styles of painting. Together with Isami Doi (1903–1965), Hee taught painting classes at the YMCA. At this time, Doi instructed the young artist in woodcarving techniques and Hee, like his master, created wood engravings drawn from the rural life in the Islands. Hee also founded the Hawaii Watercolor and Serigraph Society.Hon Chew Hee also studied in New York at the Art Students League, at Columbia University, and spent three years in Paris in the 1950s studying with Fernand Léger and Andre Lhote. He was especially greatly influenced by the art of Jean Arp.

From 1932 to the beginning of World War II, Hee lived in San Francisco, where he founded the Chinese Art Association. For the remainder of his life, he lived in Kaneohe, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, where he died in 1993.

Hee completed six murals for the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, the best known of which are The History of Medicine in Hilo Hospital and the murals that greet departing travelers at the Inter-island Terminal of Honolulu International Airport. His other murals were painted for Manoa Library, Enchanted Lake Elementary School, Pukalani Elementary School, and Mililani Library. He also produced entirely abstract works, such as Sunrise Koolau in the collection of the Hawaii State Art Museum. The Hawaii State Art Museum, the Hawaii State Capitol, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the National Taiwan Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, Missouri) and are among the public collections holding works by Hon Chew Hee.

John Carl Warnecke

John Carl Warnecke (February 24, 1919 – April 17, 2010) was an architect based in San Francisco, California, who designed numerous notable monuments and structures in the Modernist, Bauhaus, and other similar styles. He was an early proponent of contextual architecture. Among his more notable buildings and projects are the Hawaii State Capitol building, the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame memorial gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery, and the master plan for Lafayette Square (which includes his designs for the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building and the New Executive Office Building).

List of Honolulu Police Department officers killed in the line of duty

The following Honolulu Police Department (HPD) officers died in the line of duty. As of 2012, 45 HPD officers have died in the line of duty.There is no physical memorial to Hawaii law enforcement officers. However, a public law was signed in 2011 by Governor Neil Abercrombie authorizing the construction of a state law enforcement memorial at the Hawaii State Capitol using private funds.

Lynn DeCoite

Lynn DeCoitte (born May 9, 1964) is a member of the Hawaii House of Representatives for District 13 appointed by Governor David Ige to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of the late Representative Mele Carroll after the 2015 legislative session began. A former member of the Hawaii State Board of Agriculture, she resigned her position when appointed.

District 13 is a rural district encompassing parts of Maui on three inhabited islands:

Parts of Maui island: Haiku, Hāna, Kaupo, Kīpahulu, Nahiku, Pāʻia

All of Lānaʻi, and

All of MolokaʻiThe district also represents the uninhabited islands of Kahoʻolawe and Molokini.

DeCoite is a resident of Hoolehua, Molokai and owns L&R Farm Enterprises and RJ Snacks.DeCoitte has been appointed to five House committees:


Economic Development & Business



Veterans, Military, & International Affairs, & Culture and the Arts

Mabel McDowell Adult Education Center

The Mabel McDowell Adult Education Center (formerly the Mabel McDowell Elementary School) was built in 1960 in Columbus, Indiana.

The building, designed by architect John Carl Warnecke, was converted to an adult education center in 1982.

In 2001, the building was designated by the National Park Service as a National Historic Landmark because of its architecture. In its application to the National Park Service for protected status, the building is described as "significant as an early example of modern architecture in Columbus, and as an important example of the contextual work of John Carl Warnecke, a leading architect of the twentieth century." Warnecke also designed the John F. Kennedy grave at Arlington National Cemetery and the Hawaii State Capitol building.

Warnecke's design for McDowell attempted to combine functionality with open space reminiscent of an Indiana farm landscape. In his concept for McDowell, Warnecke said a "dominant characteristic of southern Indiana is the flat terrain, a horizontal theme accentuated by tall Victorian houses, barns, and silos, with picturesque groves of trees. The school design is based on the creation of similar grouping of masses and spaces in a scheme which focuses the school group into its own controlled environment, yet extends it outward to the community."

Marianna Pineda

Marianna Pineda (1925–1996) was an American sculptor who worked in a stylized realist tradition. The female figure was typically her subject matter, often in a striking or expressive pose. Major work included an eight-foot bronze statue of the Hawaiian Queen Lili’uokalani, for a site between the Hawaii State Capitol and Iolani Palace, which she used as the subject matter of Search for the Queen, a 1996 documentary she produced on the life of her subject and the sculpture-making process. Other significant work includes the figure of a seated woman in The Accusative for a site in the Honolulu, Hawaii offices of the Commission on the Status of Women. Born in 1925, in Evanston, Illinois, Pineda made her first plasticine torso by eight years old, was teaching a summer camp art class by 15, as well as taking drawing lessons on the weekend. She attributed her early interest in sculpture to the many she saw at multiple World's Fair visits, as well as on travels with her mother to Greece and Egypt, both places where sculpture dominates.

Prince Kuhio Federal Building

The Prince Kūhiō Federal Building, formally the Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Federal Building and United States Courthouse, is the official seat of the United States federal government and its local branches of various agencies and departments in the state of Hawaiʻi. Its address is 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu, Hawaii 96850.The building was completed in 1977 with a total of 929,857 square feet (86,386.5 m2) of working space.

It houses the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. the United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Honolulu Division), the offices of Hawaii's U.S. Senators, the offices of Hawaii's U.S. Representatives for Hawaii's 1st congressional district and Hawaii's 2nd congressional district, and branch offices of the United States Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, United States Department of Justice, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, among other entities.The building was named after Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole, heir to the throne of the overthrown Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, who served as Republican territorial delegate to the United States Congress from 1903 through 1922.

It was built on part of the former US Army Fort Armstrong, which was named for Samuel C. Armstrong (1839–1893), son of Hawaiian missionaries.

Across Ala Moana Boulevard is the Aloha Tower at the Honolulu harbor. Other parts of Fort Armstrong became a container terminal for military supplies.The Prince Kūhiō Building was constructed to replace the aging Federal Court, Customs House and Post Office building fronting ʻIolani Palace and adjacent to Aliʻiōlani Hale which had been built in 1922 and expanded in 1931. After being mostly vacant, the old building was renovated and put up for sale. The old building was given back to the state of Hawaiʻi and was renamed the King David Kalākaua Building in December 2003.Construction of the Prince Kūhiō Federal Building was not without controversy. The General Services Administration wanted a simple tall office tower, while local architects argued for a building more appropriate to Hawaii.

Statutes provided that all buildings between the shoreline and the foot of Punchbowl Crater could not be taller than the Hawaiʻi State Capitol. The federal government, not legally limited by local statutes, defied the statutes and constructed the building as the tallest structure in the path of the capitol building's view of the shoreline. The complex includes ten stories of offices (including a penthouse level), connected by an enclosed bridge to a six-story courthouse building (including basement).The Prince Kūhiō Federal Building was designed by Joseph G.F. Farrell's firm Architects Hawaii. Other government buildings designed by the firm include the capitol building of Palau, which opened in 2006.

The building was selected for $121 million of renovations as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The plan is to make the building more efficient by upgrading its mechanical, electrical, fire-safety, and plumbing systems.

It had already been cited as an efficient building by the Energy Star program.

Traces of asbestos were discovered during the first phase.

The second phase of construction was approved in March 2011.

Tadashi Sato

Tadashi Sato (February 6, 1923 – June 4, 2005) was an American artist. He was born in Kaupakalua on the Hawaiian island of Maui. His father had been a pineapple laborer, merchant, and calligrapher, and Tadashi’s grandfather was a sumi-e artist.

ʻIolani Barracks

ʻIolani Barracks, or hale koa (house [of] warriors) in Hawaiian, was built in 1870, designed by the architect Theodore Heuck, under the direction of King Lot Kapuaiwa. Located directly adjacent to ʻIolani Palace in downtown Honolulu, it housed about 80 members of the monarch's Royal Guard until the overthrow of the Monarchy in 1893. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 as part of the Hawaii Capital Historic District.

 State of Hawaii
Main islands
Sovereignty Movement


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