Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Palace In Honolulu

Iolani Palace, Honolulu (Wikipedia)
Did you know that there is a genuine royal palace in the United States? I didn't. It is Iolani Palace in Honolulu, now a museum, but in the 19th century home to two Hawaiian rulers, King Kalakaua and Queen Lili"uolalani.

Iolani was built in 1879 (and finished in 1882) in the what is now known as Hawaiian Renaissance style, on the site of an earlier stone mansion. This first house had been owned by a missionary; later it became a meeting hall for Hawaiian chiefs, as well as the site of a royal mausoleum. In 1844 the first Iolani Palace was built, but was smaller and much less grand than the 1879 replacement.

Throne room at Iolani Palace, 19th century
In 1885 travel writer John Shertzer Hittell wrote that it was about 17,000 square feet and that the tower in the center of the palace was 80 feet tall. Hittell added that it boasted "a fine reception-room, a ball-room, a library, a crown room and a plate-room." And in 1891, Helen Mather attended a gala party at the Palace, describing what sounds like a delightful place:

We walked through the different apartments; lovely flowers exhaled perfume on every side, while innumerable wax candles shed a soft light in rooms where the more dazzling effect of electricity would have seemed vulgar...The supper, spread in the grand dining-hall, showed skill and taste in every detail. Rare flowers from the palace conservatory and grounds lent their sweet presence...Immense candleabra with colored candles were at either end, while a ship, comprised of delicate flowers, occupied the center.

When the King and Queen came in, they were toasted in French sparkling wine, and then presumably everyone ate a delicious feast. Doesn't that sound wonderful? You may not be able to buy something quite like Iolani Palace when you are checking out Honolulu Real Estate, but there are some gorgeous houses there - old and new - nonetheless. The one on the left is one of my favorites - imagine relaxing on the veranda enjoying the hilltop views! You can save your house searches, find lots of beautiful homes for sale, and have a great time doing it.

Just add a ship made of flowers, some colored candles, a little sparkling wine, and the amazing climate and ambiance of Honolulu - for your very own Honolulu palace.

Sources:
Hittell, John Shertzer. Hittell's Hand-book of Pacific Coast Travel (Bancroft, 1885), p 210.
Mather, Helen. One Summer In Hawaii (Cassell, 1891), pp 63-64.
Images from Wikipedia.

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