Prince Lot Kapuāiwa, who later became Kamehameha V, owned a cottage in an area now known as Moanalua Gardens next to a kalo patch, a fishpond and Chinese Hall. Moanalua Gardens is a 24-acre privately-owned public park in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The cottage, built during the 1850s, is a single-story wooden structure laid out in Hawaiian style with a Victorian motif.
The building is comprised of three separate units: a cooking and eating unit; a living and sleeping unit; and an entertaining pavilion (this third unit is a post-Kamehameha V addition). The units are all attached to each other by a series of roofed lanai.
The exterior wall of the center building is made of clapboard whereas that of the dining and kitchen hall is made of board and batten.
The exterior trim is of Victorian Gingerbread (the cresting), accenting each of the different roof styles of the units (gable, simple shed, hip, and domelike roofs). The single unifying factor of the roof in the overall building is the consistent use of wooden shingles.
The original cottage (the center unit) was very simple with minimal ornamentation. The revival of hula performances may have had some influence on the construction as the original cottage had a lanai that completely surrounded the building where hula could have been performed for invited guests.
In 1856, Prince Lot built the kitchen and dining unit as a separate building using tongue-and-groove material with vertical molded battens over the joints.
Lot Kapuāiwa, four years older than his brother Kamehameha IV, ascended to the throne at his brother’s death in 1863. Like his brother, he ruled for nine years (1863 to 1872.)
In 1864, when it appeared that a new constitution could not be agreed upon, he declared that the Constitution of 1852 be replaced by one he had written himself.
Kamehameha V (Lot) founded the Royal Order of Kamehameha I on April 11, 1865, in commemoration of his grandfather Kamehameha the Great.
The stated purpose of the order was “to cultivate and develop, among our subjects, the feelings of honor and loyalty to our dynasty and its institutions and … to confer honorary distinctions upon such of our subjects and foreigners as have rendered, or may hereafter render to our dynasty and people, important services.”
Known as “the bachelor king,” Lot Kamehameha did not name a successor, which led to the invoking of the constitutional provision for electing kings of Hawai`i.
Under the Kingdom’s 1864 constitution, if the king did not appoint a successor, a new king would be elected by the legislature from the eligible Hawaiian royals still alive. William Charles Lunalilo and David Kalākaua were the candidates; Lunalilo was the more popular of the two.
The property was transferred to Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last of the Kamehameha line. She willed (in 1884) the ahupua‘a (land division) of Moanalua to Samuel Mills Damon.
In the 1900s, Damon renovated the cottage and used it as a residence. In 1961, lattice work around the building was added, and around 1972-1973, a new shingled roof was installed.
The building has been situated at three different Moanalua sites since its original construction. It was moved to its present location in 1960.