I wasn’t sure what to call this post. It includes a little bit of history and is essentially a discussion of the evolution of the site and building that now houses the Hawai‘i State Art Museum.
“The Queen’s Retreat” was in the district of Hamohamo (“rub gently,”) it consisted of two homes – one, called Paoakalani (“the royal perfume,”) was her principal home in Waikīkī.
The other was Kealohilani (“the royal brightness,”) located opposite Kūhiō Beach, which she referred to in her memoirs as “my pretty seaside cottage.”
Here, she retreated to relax and informally entertain family, friends and on occasion, visiting royalty. She also spent much of her time composing her songs and translating Hawaiian stories into English.
According to the Queen, the large inviting living room was a place where “all could gather in joy and hospitality.” Her home served as a comforting getaway from the pressures of business at ʻIolani Palace, several miles away.
“Hamohamo is justly considered to be the most life-giving and healthy district in the whole extent of the island of Oʻahu; there is something unexplainable and peculiar in the atmosphere of that place, which seldom fails to bring back the glow of health to the patient, no matter from what disease suffering.”
The Queen “derived much amusement, as well as pleasure: for as the sun shines on the evil and the good, and the rain falls on the just and the unjust, I have not felt called upon to limit the enjoyment of my beach and shade-trees to any party in politics … While in exile it has ever been a pleasant thought to me that my people, in spite of differences of opinions, are enjoying together the free use of my seashore home.”
After the Queen’s death, Kealohilani, as well as the pier and beach fronting the area (including the fisheries,) was transferred to Prince Kūhiō.
The Prince and his wife, Princess Elizabeth Kahanu, temporarily lived in Queen Lili‘uokalani’s Waikīkī cottage, Kealohilani, for about a year.
They razed it and constructed a new home, which they called Pualeilani (“heavenly flower lei” or “flower from wreath of heaven.”)
After Prince Kūhiō died at Pualeilani on Jan. 7, 1922, the property was given to the city; by 1938 the name of the pier, as well as the beach area fronting it, became known as Kūhiō Beach.
The surf break in front of this is still known as Queen’s, because this was facing the Queen’s home.
Kuekaunahi stream used to run through the property; this small stream paralleled Kapahulu Avenue and crossed Waikīkī Beach at the intersection of Kalākaua and Kapahulu Avenue.
The stream was eventually enclosed in a culvert and at the shore its waters were channeled into the ocean through the Kapahulu Groin.
Today, the Waikīkī Beach Marriott Resort now stands on much of what was the Queen’s Retreat.
The image shows Paoakalani in 1880. In addition, I have included other images and maps of this are in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.
After Kuakini’s death in 1844, the Palace passed to his adopted son, William Pitt Leleiohoku. Leleiohoku died a few months later, leaving Hulihe‘e to his wife, Princess Ruth Luka Ke‘elikōlani. It became a favorite retreat for members of the Hawaiian royal family.