Captain John Dominis was an Italian-American ship captain and merchant from New York who had been trading in the Pacific since the 1820s.
In the 1840s, he purchased property on Beretania Street. There, he started to build a home for his family, Mary Lambert Dominis (his wife) and John Owen Dominis (his son.)
The original central portion, built in 1844-1847, was designed and executed in Greek Revival Style, with supplies ordered from Boston.
Captain Dominis reportedly embarked on several trading voyages while the house was being built, using the profits to pay off accumulated debts and resume operations (it’s not clear how many trips were required to build the new home.)
It is a two-story structure with partial basement. Various additions and alterations have occurred over the years. Cellar walls and foundations are of coral stone; Walls are coral stone (approximately 2½-feet thick) faced with cement to simulate stone work. The second floor is wood frame.
In 1847, on a voyage to the China Sea, Captain Dominis was lost at sea.
The grounds were said to have been planted “by Mrs. Captain Dominis as the first private garden in Honolulu, carefully watered until the yard was a handsome, cool retreat.” By 1848 the garden was sufficiently interesting for a visitor to ask for a list of the plants in the yard.
Mary Dominis then rented out the spare bedroom to American Commissioner Anthony Ten Eyck. Impressed with the white manor and grand columns out front, Ten Eyck said it reminded him of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s mansion and that it should be named “Washington Place.” He wrote a letter to RC Wyllie stating such.
King Kamehameha III, who concurred, Proclaimed as ‘Official Notice,’ “It has pleased His Majesty the King to approve of the name of Washington Place given this day by the Commissioner of the United States, to the House and Premises of Mrs. Dominis and to command that they retain that name in all time coming.” (February 22, 1848)
In 1862, John Owen Dominis married Lydia Kamakaʻeha (also known as Lydia Kamakaʻeha Pākī.) Lydia Dominis described Washington Place “as comfortable in its appointments as it is inviting in its aspect.”
Mary Dominis died on April 25, 1889, and the premises went to her son, John Owen Dominis, Governor of Oʻahu.
Lydia was eventually titled Princess and later Queen Liliʻuokalani, in 1891. John Owen died shortly after becoming Prince consort (making Liliʻuokalani the second widow of the mansion.) Title then passed to Queen Liliʻuokalani.
Liliʻuokalani continued to occupy Washington Place until her death on November 11, 1917.
Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole, one of the heirs to the estate of Queen Liliʻuokalani, suggested that the Territory acquire Washington Place as the Executive Mansion. The Legislature appropriated funds for the purchase, and in May, 1921, the property was acquired by the Territory.
In 1922, major additions were made. These included the glassed-in lanai, the porte-cochere and the rear one-story wing with Dining Room and Kitchen. Family bedrooms were added to the second-story of this wing, later.
Washington Place became the official home of the Governor of Hawaiʻi when it was formally opened on April 21, 1922, by Governor Wallace Rider Farrington.
In 1954, the large Covered Terrace was constructed and in 1959, the second-story TV room was built above the glassed-in lanai. An elevator and the metal fire escape were added in 1963.
The Beretania Street and Miller Street sides and a portion of the rear line are enclosed with a wrought iron fence set on a concrete base.
The original tract, as owned by the Dominis family and Queen Liliʻuokalani, comprised about 1.46 acres. The Territory of Hawaiʻi acquired additional property on Miller Street, making a total of about 3.1 acres.
Across the street from the State Capitol on Beretania Street, Washington Place was the executive mansion for the territorial governors from 1918 to 1959, and, after Hawaiʻi became the 50th state, the state governor’s mansion, from 1959 to 2002.
Washington Place remains the official residence of the governor however, a new house, built on the property in 2002, is now the personal residence of the Governor of Hawai‘i. (governor-hawaii-gov)
The image shows Queen Liliʻuokalani outside Washington Place in 1893. In addition, I have added other images of Washington Place in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.
Following the overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani in 1893, the Committee of Safety established the Provisional Government of Hawaiʻi as a temporary government until an assumed annexation by the United States.
The Provisional Government convened a constitutional convention and established the Republic of Hawaiʻi on July 4, 1894. The Republic continued to govern the Islands.
From January 6 to January 9, 1895, patriots of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and the forces that had overthrown the constitutional Hawaiian monarchy were engaged in a war that consisted of three battles on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi.
This has frequently been referred to as the “Counter-revolution”. It has also been called the Second Wilcox Rebellion of 1895, the Revolution of 1895, the Hawaiian Counter-revolution of 1895, the 1895 Uprising in Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian Civil War, the 1895 Uprising Against the Provisional Government or the Uprising of 1895.
In their attempt to return Queen Liliʻuokalani to the throne, it was the last major military operation by royalists who opposed the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. The goal of the rebellion failed.
The chief conspirators who conducted the planning were four: CT Gulick, a former Cabinet Minister of Kalākaua, an American; Samuel Nowlein, a hapa haole, former Captain of the Queen’s Guard; WH Rickard, an Englishman long resident in Hawaiʻi; and Major Seward, an American long domiciled with John A Cummins, a wealthy hapa haole.
For three months, these four held frequent meetings at Gulick’s house and settled upon a plan for the capture of the city and public buildings.
Capt. Nowlein was to be commander of the rebel forces. Major Seward was to procure arms, Rickard was generally useful and Gulick was the statesman of the party.
Gulick, with the others, drew up a new Constitution, wrote a Proclamation restoring the Queen’s Government and prepared written Commissions for a number of chief officials.
On December 20th, after several days watching by five of Seward and Cummins’ men on Mānana (Rabbit Island, near Waimānalo,) the schooner signaled and was answered. The men gave the pass word “Missionary.”
They received two cases containing eighty pistols and ammunition which they first buried on the islet, but afterwards carried to Honolulu. The schooner then lay off outside for twelve days.
On the 28th, the little steamer Waimānalo was chartered by Seward and Rickard, and on New Year’s Day intercepted the schooner about thirty miles NE of Oʻahu, and received from her 288-Winchester carbines and 50,000-cartridges.
Captain Nowlein had secretly enlisted Hawaiians in squads of thirty-eight. About 210 of them assembled at Waimānalo during Saturday night and Sunday, the 6th. They captured and detained all persons passing or residing beyond Diamond Head.
Robert Wilcox, of former insurgent fame, had joined the rebels, and was placed in command under Nowlein.
Beginning on the night of January 6, 1895, several skirmishes ensued, with slight victory for the Royalists. However, their benefit of surprise was now lost and they were out-numbered and out-gunned.
On January 7, 1895 martial law was declared in Hawaiʻi by Sanford B Dole.
Three major battle grounds were involved. First, Wilcox and about 40 of his men were on the rim and summit of Diamond Head firing down on the soldiers.
Seeing no tactical importance in remaining on Diamond Head, Wilcox ordered his men to retreat to Waiʻalae. The new strategy was to move north into Koʻolau mountains then west, avoiding the Government forces in the south.
On January 7, the Royalists moved into Mōʻiliʻili where they were involved with additional skirmishes. Then, on January 8, Wilcox and his men were discovered crossing into Mānoa Valley (they were hoping to get above the city, as well as rouse more supporters.)
Wilcox and his men then escaped up a trail on the precipice to the ridge separating Mānoa from Nuʻuanu. On that ridge his men dispersed into the mountain above; Wilcox and a few others crossed Nuʻuanu that night, eluding the guards.
Some 400 of the Government forces guarded the valleys from Nuʻuanu to Pālolo for more than a week, and scoured the mountain ridges clear to the eastern Makapuʻu point.
This resulted in the capture of all the leading rebels.
As evidence against conspirators accumulated, some forty whites and 120 Hawaiians were arrested. Four foreigners and 140 Hawaiians were taken prisoners of war. The prisons were supplemented by the use of the old Barracks.
Liliʻuokalani was put under arrest on the 16th, and confined in a chamber of ʻIolani Palace.
A tribunal was formed and evidence began to be taken on the 18th. Nowlein, Wilcox, Bertelmann and TB Walker all pleaded guilty, and subsequently gave evidence for the prosecution.
On January 24, 1895, in an effort to prevent further bloodshed, Liliʻuokalani executed a document addressed to President Sanford B Dole, in which she renounced all her former rights and privileges as Queen and swore allegiance to the Republic. The president pardoned the royalists after serving part of their prison sentence.
Convicted of having knowledge of a royalist plot, Liliʻuokalani was fined $5,000 and sentenced to five-years in prison at hard labor. The sentence was commuted to imprisonment in an upstairs bedroom of ʻIolani Palace.
After her release from ʻIolani Palace, the Queen remained under house arrest for five-months at her private home, Washington Place. For another eight-months, she was forbidden to leave Oʻahu, before all restrictions were lifted.
Lots of the information here comes from an article in The Friend, February, 1895. The image shows a counter-insurgency patrol of Citizens’ Guards after the Battle of Mānoa. In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.
She was born Lydia Liliʻu Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamakaʻeha to High Chiefess Analeʻa Keohokālole and High Chief Caesar Kaluaiku Kapaʻakea on September 2, 1838.
At that time, children often were named in commemoration of an event. Kuhina Nui Kīnaʻu had developed an eye infection at the time of Liliʻu’s birth. She gave the child the names Liliʻu (smarting,) Loloku (tearful,) Walania (a burning pain) and Kamakaʻeha (sore eyes.)
In her youth she was called “Lydia” or “Liliʻu.” (She was also known as Lydia Kamakaʻeha Pākī, with the chosen royal name of Liliʻuokalani, and her married name was Lydia K. Dominis.) As was the custom, she was hānai (adopted) to Abner Pākī and his wife Laura Kōnia.
The Pākīs reared her with their birth daughter, Bernice Pauahi. The two girls developed a close, loving relationship. They attended the Chief’s Children’s School (Royal School,) a boarding school, together, and were known for their studious demeanor. Liliʻu’s brother, David Kalākaua, also was among the royal students educated there.
There Liliʻu learned and became fluent in English and studied music and the arts. (Her talent for music blossomed and she eventually wrote more than 150 songs including, “Aloha Oe.”)
At 24, on September 16, 1862, Liliʻu married John O. Dominis. Dominis’ father, a ship’s captain, had built a New England style home, named Washington Place, for his family. They lived with his widowed mother. The home later served as the former official residence of Hawai‘i’s Governor and today serves as a museum.
On February 12, 1874, nine days after the passing of King Lunalilo, an election was held between the repeat candidate David Kalākaua (her brother) and Queen Emma – widow of King Kamehameha IV. Kalākaua won.
At noon of the tenth day of April, 1877, the booming of the cannon was heard which announced that King Kalākaua had named Liliʻuokalani as heir apparent to the throne of Hawaiʻi. Liliʻu’s brother changed her name when he named her Crown Princess, calling her Liliʻuokalani, “the smarting of the royal one”.
From this point on she was referred to as Crown Princess with the name Liliʻuokalani. One of her first acts as Crown Princess was to tour the island of Oʻahu with her husband, sister and brother-in-law.
King Kalākaua died on January 20, 1891; because he and his wife Queen Kapiʻolani did not have any children, his sister, Liliʻuokalani succeeded him to the Hawaiian throne.
Kalākaua had been a staunch supporter of native Hawaiian civil rights. In part, this led to a rebellion in 1887 forcing him to sign a new constitution relinquishing his powers as head of state and relegated him to a figurehead.
Queen Lili‘uokalani sought to amend the constitution to restore some of the power lost during the reign of her brother. Local sugar planters and businessmen feared a loss of revenue and influence and instigated an overthrow.
On the afternoon of January 16, 1893, 162 sailors and Marines aboard the USS Boston in Honolulu Harbor came ashore under orders of neutrality.
To avoid bloodshed, the Queen yielded her throne on January 17, 1893 and temporarily relinquished her throne to “the superior military forces of the United States”. A provisional government was established.
The Queen issued a statement yielding her authority to the United States Government rather than to the Provisional Government:
“I Liliuokalani, by the Grace of God and under the Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the Constitutional Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and for this Kingdom.”
“That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America whose Minister Plenipotentiary, His Excellency John L. Stevens, has caused United States troops to be landed a Honolulu and declared that he would support the Provisional Government.”
“Now to avoid any collision of armed forces, and perhaps the loss of life, I do this under protest and impelled by said force yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representatives and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the Constitutional Sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.”
In 1895, Lili‘uokalani was imprisoned for eight months in ʻIolani Palace for her alleged knowledge of a counterrevolutionary attempt by her supporters.
On May 18, 1896, at 6:30 am, Lili‘uokalani was baptized and confirmed by Bishop Willis into the Episcopal Church, although she had been a long-time member of Kawaiahaʻo Church.
In her Deed of Trust dated December 2, 1909, which was later amended in 1911, Liliʻuokalani entrusted her estate to provide for orphan and destitute children in the Hawaiian Islands, with preference for Hawaiian children. Her legacy is perpetuated through the Queen Liliʻuokalani Children’s Center.
Queen Lili‘uokalani died at Washington Place on November 11, 1917, at the age of 79. After a state funeral, her remains were placed in the Royal Mausoleum at Mauna ʻAla.
The image shows Queen Liliʻuokalani in 1891. I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.