It opened September 11, 1856, “That little affair at the Sailor’s Home came off on Thursday, and if the house is ever again so full of merry laughter and innocent enthusiasts, it may congratulate itself upon being the scene of a second triumph. … We have not yet heard what the receipts were. If ever an institution was introduced to public notice under happy patronage it is the Sailor’s Home. Long may it flourish.”
The nearby Seamen’s Bethel Chapel was built by the American Seamen’s Friend Society of New York, in 1833, the materials having been shipped from New London, Ct, for Honolulu via Cape Horn. It was the first edifice for the public worship of English-speaking people, erected in Polynesia. It was open to both seamen and foreign residents. The Honolulu Sailor’s Home provided mariners with room and board at a reasonable price. In this building were the offices of “Hawaiian Board and Bible Society;” office of the Friend; the “Bible and Tract Depository,” and YMCA Reading Room.