The cornerstone for ‘Iolani Palace was laid on December 31, 1879 with full Masonic rites. Construction was completed in 1882; in December of that year King Kalākaua and Queen Kapi‘olani took up residence in their new home. The Palace area was originally enclosed by an eight-foot high coral block wall with wooden gates. Then, Robert Wilcox and other revolutionaries broke into the grounds; after this, a decision was made to tear down the wall surrounding the grounds. In 1889, it was lowered to 3’6″. In 1892, it was topped with the present painted iron fence. New gate arrangements were made, as well. The gates before this time had been flush with the wall, but as part of the improvements, curved walls were built, recessing the gateways into the grounds.
The four principal gates each display the Coat of Arms of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and have a distinctive name and purpose: Kauikeaouli – was used for ceremonial occasions (fronting King Street;) Kīna’u – was used by tradesmen (fronting Richards Street;) Hakaleleponi – used by servants and retainers of the royal household (mauka – facing Capitol;) and Likelike – was reserved for private use by the royal family (facing State Library.) But those are not the only gates onto the Palace grounds – a smaller 5th gate is located on the mauka-Ewa wall (fronting on Palace Walk, just mauka of the Barracks.) Lili‘uokalani added a 5th gate to allow her husband (John Owen Dominis) informal access to the grounds. (There is another gate at the corner of King and Richards.)