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Merchant Street

Once the main street of the financial and governmental functions in the city, Merchant Street was Honolulu’s earliest commercial center. Dating from 1854, these buildings help tell the story of the growth and development of Honolulu’s professional and business community. The variety of architectural styles depict the changing attitudes and living patterns during the emergence of Honolulu as a major city.

The buildings include, Melchers (1854), Kamehameha V Post Office (1871), Bishop Bank (1878), The Friend Building (1887 and 1900), Royal Saloon (1890), TR Foster Building (1891), Bishop Estate Building (1896), Stangenwald Building (1901), Judd Building (1898), Yokohama Specie Bank (1909) and Honolulu Police Station (1931).

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Father Damon

“Samuel Damon … was known to sailors from all the Four Seas as Father Damon, pastor of the Seaman’s Bethel of Honolulu. The wife of Father Damon was the daughter of Samuel Mills of “Haystack Meeting” fame one of the five young men who met and decided that they should go out into the world to advance the cause of Christianity among heathen people.” “Beloved by all – he and his wife always collecting & caring for the poor. Old whalers like him.”

Damon came of Hawaii in 1842. On January 1, 1843 he began publication of the American Temperance Advocate, briefly called The Friend of Temperance & Seamen and then simply The Friend. Damon served as the chaplain at O‘ahu Bethel Church (Seamen’s Bethel) for 42 years, serving the sailors of vessels who entered the port of Honolulu. “Busy as was his life, he yet found time to care for all. Every traveller who has visited the isles can tell the same tale, of how ‘Father Damon’ was the first to welcome the coming, the last to speed the parting guest …”

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Samuel Chenery Damon

Samuel Chenery Damon, son of Colonel Samuel Damon, was born in Holden, Massachusetts, February 15, 1815. He was graduated from Amherst College in 1836, studied at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1838-39, and was graduated at Andover Theological Seminary in 1841.

In 1842, the Damons moved to Honolulu at the direction of the American Seamen’s Friend Society – Damon served as the chaplain at O‘ahu Bethel Church (Seamen’s Bethel) for 42 years, serving the sailors of vessels who entered the port of Honolulu. Perceiving a need for a newspaper, Damon founded ‘The Temperance Advocate and Seamen’s Friend’ (later reduced to ‘The Friend.’) Damon passed away in 1885 at the age of seventy and lies buried at O‘ahu Cemetery.

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Julia Sherman Mills Damon

The inscription on a headstone in Oʻahu Cemetery made me curious about her story: “Died in Cheyenne City, Wyoming USA, June 19, 1890.” How did

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