“The Hawaiian mode of building habitations was, in a measure, ingenious, and when their work was carefully executed … A house thus thatched assumes the appearance of a long hay stack without, and a cage in a hay mow within. The area or ground within, is raised a little with earth, to prevent the influx of water, and spread with grass and mats, answering usually instead of floors, tables, chairs, sofas, and beds.”
When the Pioneer Company of American Protestant missionaries arrived in the islands (April, 1820,) through the kindness of some of the traders living in Honolulu three grass houses were offered to the five families. It is believed that these houses stood near the site of the McCandless building, at the corner of King and Bethel Streets. About 3-months after their arrival, Boki began building hale pili for the missionaries. There were three hale connected by a long covered lanai with a fourth hale used as a storage room, separated from the rest.