The coming of Henry Obookiah (ʻŌpūkahaʻia) and other young Hawaiians to the continent had awakened a deep Christian sympathy in the churches and moved the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) to establish a mission in the Hawaiian Islands.
Among the other Hawaiian students at the Foreign Mission School were Thomas Hopu, William Kanui, John Honoliʻi and Prince Humehume (son of Kauaiʻi’s King Kaumuali‘i.)
When asked “Who will return with these boys to their native land to teach the truths of salvation?” Hiram Bingham and his classmate, Asa Thurston, were the first to respond and offer their services to the Board. (Congregational Quarterly)
Bingham and Thurston were ordained at Goshen, Ct on September 29, 1819; it was the first ordination of foreign missionaries in the State of Connecticut.
On October 23, 1819, the Pioneer Company of American Protestant missionaries from the northeast US set sail on the Thaddeus for the Sandwich Islands (now known as Hawai‘i.)
There were seven American couples sent by the ABCFM to convert the Hawaiians to Christianity in this first company.
These included two Ordained Preachers, Hiram Bingham and his wife Sybil and Asa Thurston and his wife Lucy; two Teachers, Mr. Samuel Whitney and his wife Mercy and Samuel Ruggles and his wife Mary; a Doctor, Thomas Holman and his wife Lucia; a Printer, Elisha Loomis and his wife Maria; and a Farmer, Daniel Chamberlain, his wife and five children.
Although a large part of the motivation for the Hawaiʻi missionary movement, Henry ʻŌpūkahaʻia unfortunately died of typhus fever in 1818 and didn’t return home to teach the gospel. However, his book, “Memoirs of Henry Obookiah,” was the inspiration for this and subsequent Hawaiian missionary companies.
The Prudential Committee of the ABCFM in giving instructions to the pioneers of 1819 said: “Your mission is a mission of mercy, and your work is to be wholly a labor of love. … Your views are not to be limited to a low, narrow scale, but you are to open your hearts wide, and set your marks high. You are to aim at nothing short of covering these islands with fruitful fields, and pleasant dwellings and schools and churches, and of Christian civilization.” (The Friend)
After 164-days at sea, on April 4, 1820, the Thaddeus arrived and anchored at Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaiʻi. Hawai‘i’s “Plymouth Rock” is about where the Kailua pier is today.
By the time the Pioneer Company arrived, Kamehameha I had died and the centuries-old kapu system had been abolished; through the actions of King Kamehameha II (Liholiho,) with encouragement by former Queens Kaʻahumanu and Keōpūolani (Liholiho’s mother,) the Hawaiian people had already dismantled their heiau and had rejected their religious beliefs.
One of the first things Bingham and his fellow missionaries did was begin to learn the Hawaiian language and create an alphabet for a written format of the language. Their emphasis was on teaching and preaching.
On July 14, 1826, the missionaries selected a 12-letter alphabet for the written Hawaiian language, using five vowels (a, e, i, o, and u) and seven consonants (h, k, l, m, n, p and w) in their “Report of the committee of health on the state of the Hawaiian language.” The report is signed by Hiram Bingham and Levi Chamberlain.
The arrival of the first company of American missionaries in Hawaiʻi marked the beginning of Hawaiʻi’s phenomenal rise to literacy. The chiefs became proponents for education and edicts were enacted by the King and the council of chiefs to stimulate the people to reading and writing.
By 1831, in just eleven years from the first arrival of the missionaries, Hawaiians had built 1,103 schoolhouses. This covered every district throughout the eight major islands and serviced an estimated 52,882 students. (Laimana)
The proliferation of schoolhouses was augmented by the printing of 140,000 copies of the pīʻāpā (elementary Hawaiian spelling book) by 1829 and the staffing of the schools with 1,000-plus Hawaiian teachers. (Laimana)
Interestingly, these same early missionaries taught their lessons in Hawaiian, rather than English. In part, the mission did not want to create a separate caste and portion of the community as English-speaking Hawaiians. In later years, the instruction, ultimately, was in English.
Within five years of the missionaries’ arrival, a dozen chiefs had sought Christian baptism and church membership, including the king’s regent Kaʻahumanu. The Hawaiian people followed their native leaders, accepting the missionaries as their new priestly class. The process culminated in Hawaiian King Kamehameha III’s adoption of Christianity and a Biblically-based constitution in 1840. (Schulz)
Over the course of a little over 40-years (1820-1863) (the “Missionary Period”,) about 180-men and women in twelve Companies served in Hawaiʻi to carry out the mission of the ABCFM in the Hawaiian Islands.
Today, the Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society, a nonprofit educational institution and genealogical society, exists to promote an understanding of the social history of nineteenth-century Hawai‘i and its critical role in the formation of modern Hawai‘i.
The Society operates the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives, comprised of three historic houses and a research archives with reading room. The Society also compiles the genealogical records of the American Protestant missionaries in Hawai‘i and promotes the participation of missionary descendants in the Society’s activities.
Through the Site and Archives, the Society collects and preserves the documents, artifacts and other records of the missionaries in Hawai‘i’s history; makes these collections available for research and educational purposes; and interprets the historic site and collections to reflect the social history of nineteenth century Hawai‘i and America.
The image shows the early Mission house and Chapel in Honolulu (the precursor of today’s Kawaiahaʻo Church.) More images are added to a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.
Historic Hawaii Foundation has developed a map and self-guided walking tour documenting twenty-five historic sites along a 3-mile route in historic Downtown Honolulu.
1 – Hawai‘i State Capitol (1969)
Hawaii’s State Capitol building houses the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, offices of state legislators, and the chambers of the state House and Senate. The Capitol was constructed at the direction of Governor John A. Burns and designed by the firms of Belt, Lemmon & Lo of Honolulu, John Carl Warnecke & Associates and Architects Hawai‘i. The building opened in 1969. Like the Hawaiian Islands, the Capitol is surrounded by water, and the outer columns that rise from the reflecting pools represent Hawaii’s palm trees.
2 – Board of Water Supply Building (1959)
The BWS building was completed in 1959 and was designed by famous architect Hart Wood in a local Hawaiian Style that combined elements of Asian and American influences. The entire building is constructed of reinforced concrete and the exterior was designed by renowned landscape architect Catherine Jones Thompson.
3 – Advertiser Building (1929)
The neo-Renaissance designed building by famed architects Walter Emory and Marshall Webb was home of the iconic Advertiser newspaper for over eighty years until the paper merged with the Star-Bulletin in 2010.
4 – Kaka‘ako Fire Station (1929)
Built in the Spanish Mission style, the historic ﬁ re station is considered to be haunted. It is located across from the graveyard of smallpox victims from the 1850s. Kamehameha III created Honolulu’s ﬁre department, making it the only one in America sponsored by royalty.
5 – Territorial Building (Kekuanao‘a) (1925)
Large fluted Corinthian columns grace the front of this classical revival-style building. A stained-glass dome is positioned above the lobby. Built as a governmental office building it continues to function as such today.
6 – Hawaii State Archives (1906)
Designed by Oliver Traphagen in the Renaissance Revival style, the building also known as Kana‘ina is currently used as the offices for the Friends of ʻIolani Palace. It was originally constructed to house Hawaiian governmental documents from before annexation based on a compromise with the US government.
7 – King Kamehameha Statue (1882)
The 18-foot bronze statue was dedicated in 1883 to represent the famed unifier of the islands, King Kamehameha I. It was sculpted by Thomas Gould in Florence.
8 – Ali‘iolani Hale (1874)
The State Supreme Court and the Judiciary History Center are located here. It is the oldest government building in Hawaiʻi. Originally commissioned as a new royal residence by Kamehameha IV, Kamehameha V decided that it should become an administrative building.
9 – ‘Iolani Palace (1882)
Home to the Hawaiian monarchy before it was overthrown in 1893, ‘Iolani Palace was built in the Italianate style with fluted cast-iron Corinthian columns, decorative iron railings, mansard-style tower roofs, and wide lanai on all sides. After the overthrow, from 1895 to 1968, ‘Iolani Palace served as the capitol of the Republic, Territory and State of Hawaiʻi. Restored to its
original grandeur, the building opened to the public as a historic site in 1978.
10 – US Post Office, Custom House and Court House (1922)
Designed by New York architects York and Sawyer, this classic Mediterranean-style structure features large roof overhangs, shaded arcades, open interior courtyards, spacious porticos and two towers. It is still currently used as the Downtown Post Office.
11-Dillingham Transportation Building (1929)
The Mediterranean/Italian Renaissance style building was designed by architect Lincoln Rogers. The building consists of three wings connected by a covered arcade and spans from Queen Street to Ala Moana Boulevard. It features an Art Deco lobby, painted high ceilings, and a classical cornice.
12 – Alexander & Baldwin Building (1929)
A design collaboration between Charles W. Dickey and Hart Wood. The building is a unique fusion of eastern and western design elements that features a double-pitched hipped tile roof, a fourth ﬂoor lanai, water buffalo heads above the ﬁrst-ﬂoor windows, and a matte glazed terra cotta exterior.
13 – Joseph W. Podmore Building (1902)
Located at 202 Merchant Street, it was constructed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style from locally quarried lava rock. It was originally built to be rented out as commercial and ofﬁce space; it maintains the same purpose today.
14 – St. Andrew’s Cathedral (1867-1958)
It took over ninety years to complete this English Gothic-style headquarters of the Episcopal diocese in Hawaii. After visiting
Queen Victoria in England, Queen Emma raised $30,000 for the Anglican Church in Hawaii and to build St. Andrews Cathedral. Beretania was the Hawaiian interpretation for Britannia.
15 – Hawaii State Art Museum (formerly the Army and Navy YMCA) (1928)
Located on the original site of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, the site was renovated and reconstructed in the late 1920s to become the Army and Navy YMCA. Designed by Lincoln Rogers, it features an open-sky courtyard; palladian windows; cast-stone detailing; iron-grille work and light ﬁxtures; and arched openings. It is now the home of the Hawaii State Art Museum.
16 – Hawaiian Electric Building (1927)
This four-story building is characteristic of an early 18th century Spanish form that features half-stilted arched windows with
Churriguera -decorated column supports, a corner cupola and a low-rise, polygonal tiled roof. The building was designed by York and Sawyer with construction overseen by Emory and Webb.
17 – YWCA Building (1927)
The ﬁrst structure in Hawaii designed completely by a woman. Julia Morgan, known for her work on Hearst Castle, designed the building in Spanish, Colonial and Mediterranean styles. It features a two-story loggia ﬂanked by the outer buildings.
18 – ‘Iolani Barracks (1871)
Built between 1870 and 1871, the barracks were home to the Royal Household Guard and are situated within the ‘Iolani Palace grounds. They were designed by Theodore Heuck. The barracks were relocated to the current position during construction of the state capital on the original site.
19- ‘Iolani Bandstand (1883)
Constructed for the coronation of King Kalākaua and Queen Kapi‘olani, the structure was moved and rehabilitated in the late 1900s. Most Friday’s at noon the Royal Hawaiian Band performs weather permitting.
20 – Washington Place (1846)
A Colonial Greek revival-style house was originally built for John Dominis, a clipper ship captain. It is most well known as the inherited residence of his daughter-in-law, Queen Lili‘uokalani. After the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, the Queen lived in Washington Place until her death in 1917. From 1922-2003, the residence housed Hawaii’s governors. It is now a house museum and used for State events.
21 – Hawaii State Library (1913)
The library’s construction was made possible through a gift from industrialist Andrew Carnegie. The Greco-Roman style building was designed by Henry Witchﬁeld and still serves today as the downtown branch of the Hawaii State Public Library.
22 – Honolulu Hale (1929)
Designed by Dickey, Wood and others, this Spanish mission style building features open-to-the-sky courtyards, hand-painted ceiling frescos, 1,500-pound bronze front doors, and 4,500-pound courtyard chandeliers. The main entry faces King Street, behind a zig-zag pattern of planters (for security reasons) and the exterior of the building is complex, with deeply fenestrated windows and balconies of carved stone. The tower is particularly complex and features varied window treatments, open and closed balconies, loggias and cast-concrete grill work.
23 – Kawaiaha’o Church and Cemetery (1842)
This is considered to be the mother Protestant Church in Hawaii. Construction started in 1837 based on Pastor Hiram Bingham’s own design of a “simple New England church”. The structure is comprised of some 14,000 coral blocks, each weighing up to 1,200 pounds. The church continues to conduct services in both English and Hawaiian.
24 – Mission Memorial Building (City Hall Annex) (1915)
Built by the Hawaiian Evangelical Association as a museum and archive to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Protestant Missionaries in Hawaii. The city took over the building during the 1940s and it has since been converted to the City Hall Annex. It is an example of Georgian architecture.
25 – Mission Houses (1821, 1831, 1841)
These are the oldest standing western structures in Hawaii. The timbers for the ﬁrst house were cut and ﬁtted in Boston. The initial house introduced New England style architecture to Hawaii. Originally utilized as housing for the missionaries, the buildings exist today as living house museums open to the public.
The image shows the layout of the Historic Downtown Honolulu tour from Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation. In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.
(Hover over the number/icon to see the title; click on the number for image and short text (clicking on logo and other links take you to respective websites.))
Although Central Union Church does not owe its existence directly to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM,) its connection with that organization has always been so intimate that the two have worked hand in hand in the islands.
The history of Central Union Church dates back to the days of the Seaman’s Bethel Church.
In 1828, churchmen in Boston had founded the American Seamen’s Friend Society to supply Bibles and religious messages to the whaling and trading ships leaving for foreign waters.
In 1833, practically the only commercial interest in these islands centered around the fleet of whalers which each season filled Honolulu Harbor or anchored off-shore. That year, the Seamen’s Friend Society sent Rev. John Diell to establish a chapel in Honolulu.
The Bethel Chapel and the seamen’s chaplaincy were dedicated on November 28, 1833, in a service attended by “the king, Kinau, and the principal chiefs … together with a respectable number of residents, masters of vessels and seamen.”
The growing population of the town led some to believe that it was time to leave the fold of the Seamen’s Friend Society and form a separate and self-supporting church, and by their efforts, in 1852, the Second Foreign Church in Honolulu came into existence.
Worshiping for four years in the old Court House, for many years known as the store of H. Hackfeld & Co., in 1856, they built a permanent house of worship at the corner of Fort and Beretania streets and the name of the organization was changed to the Fort Street Church of Honolulu.
In April 1887, Fort Street Church extended a formal proposal to unite in a new organization, and from that time until the formal union, two churches worshipped together. Selection of the new church’s name was settled by vote; the final result was Central Union 28, Church of the Redeemer 18, and Bethel Union 1.
Thus, Central Union Church began its existence. The original congregation numbered 337 members—250 from the Fort Street Church, 72 from Bethel Union, 13 from other churches and 2 on confession of faith at the first service.
By 1888, increased church membership made it apparent that the Central Union congregation was outgrowing the Fort Street building.
Central Union owned a lot on the makai-Diamond Head corner of the intersection directly across Beretania from Washington Place, home of the heir-apparent to the throne of Hawaiʻi, Mrs. John Dominis, later Queen Liliʻuokalani.
Plans for the new church were discussed repeatedly over the ensuing several years, as wishes for a “commodious and substantial church edifice” outgrew the site.
But the lot was too small for a new stone structure and enough room for churchgoers’ horse-drawn carriages; so they negotiated with Punahou Preparatory School located across Beretania Street between Washington Place and the present St. Andrew’s Cathedral, to allow churchgoers to hitch their horses in the back of the school grounds (but not in the front yard.)
Plans were completed and work begun. A special service on June 3, 1891, marked the laying of the cornerstone, placed by the oldest member of the church, Samuel Northrup Castle, and the youngest, Sophie B. Judd.
Central Union’s growth in membership and consequent increase in attendance created a real problem of overcrowding at the Richards Street location. Increased traffic noise on Beretania Street and congestion in downtown increased frustration in the congregation and they decided to move, again.
There was much searching for the “perfect” site for a new church building. Members even took to the air and flew over Honolulu in an airplane to survey possibilities. The site committee reported on May 26, 1920; it judged one location outstanding in all respects.
This 8.3-acre parcel was part of the Dillingham estate (known as Woodlawn) at the corner of Beretania and Punahou streets, “well away from the center of town” but within easy reach of the new residential areas.
The senior Dillinghams had both been members of the Bethel Union congregation before their marriage in 1869 and therefore were early members of Central Union.
To design a building that would express the church’s New England heritage, the congregation retained the Boston architectural firm of Cram and Ferguson. EE Black, Ltd. was the general contractor. Seating was planned for 750 on the main floor and 250 in the balcony.
The cornerstone was laid in 1922 following retrieval and opening of the cornerstone from the Richards Street church. Stone from the old church were transferred to the new one and were placed in the foundation of the new Central Union. The 1891 cornerstone itself was embedded high in the wall of the entrance.
“Open Air Services” were held on the new church grounds as early as June 1922, so that the congregation could watch the construction progress and enjoy the new property.
By the end of March 1924, the new building was essentially complete, and during the week of May 18, Central Union Church, also known as the “Church in a Garden”, moved to its present location on Beretania Street.
The idea of a Children’s Chapel arose, “to accommodate extensions of all the services of Central Union Church, including use by all age groups for any church function which would be better served in a small, intimate setting.” The cornerstone of the Atherton Memorial Chapel was finally laid in November 1949.
Information and images here came from ‘Central Union Church 1887-1988’. The image shows Central Union Church in 1924.