“Kamehameha III, By the Grace of God, King of the Hawaiian Islands, by this Royal Patent, makes known, unto all men, that he has for himself and his successors in office, this day granted and given, absolutely, in Fee Simple unto John George Lewis, his faithful and loyally disposed subject for the consideration of Eight Hundred Dollars”.
Thus, in 1848, through Royal Patent No. 97, John George Lewis acquired 8.92-acres of land in the ili of Kaukahoku (the stars have arisen.) In the 1840s the land was separated from the city by nearly two miles of open land and tropical forest.
It was through this land that Kamehameha the Great marched during what would become the Battle of the Nu‘uanu in April 1795 (the last major battle before the unification of the Hawaiian Islands.)
(Coincidently, Kamehameha was aided by foreigners, including John Young and Isaac Davis, who provided the cannons and tactical know-how used in the battle.)
This land, a portion of a grant known as Kaukahoku was originally designated as Fort Land; that is, it was set apart for the use of the Fort, probably as agricultural land.
Sometime in the 1840s Kekūanāoʻa, Governor of the island of Oahu, leased this land to Henry A Peirce, an American merchant who had established a thriving business in the Hawaiian Islands. He named the property ‘Beleview.’ Peirce, however, soon left the Islands and the land was leased to Lewis. (Rivera)
In September 1843 Lewis notified the Hawaiian Government that at the end of the year he desired to buy the Government interest in the land for $500. The Government, however, set the price at $800 plus interest, which Lewis presumably paid. (HABS)
John Lewis, the son of Isaiah and Polly (Holmes) Lewis, was born in Hawaii and was a successful dry goods importing merchant in Honolulu. Lewis & Co later became Mitchell & Fales, Ship Chandlers, on Nuʻuanu street at Merchant street (Lewis left to become a Real Estate Broker and General Agent.) (Thrum)
Tradition claims that Lewis built the house at Kaukahoku in 1847. (HABS)
It was modeled in the Greek Revival style. It has a formal plan arrangement, wide central hall, high ceilings and floor-length hinged, in-swinging shuttered casement window.
It is one-story, over a basement, and measures about 73-feet by 51-feet. The roof is hipped over the main portion of the home and gabled over the rear lanai that was converted to a room.
Around 1850, Lewis went to Boston and engaged in business there. Before leaving, he sold the land to John Young II (Keoni Ana) for $6,000. (Young was son of John Young who assisted Kamehameha in his final battles for unification, including Nuʻuanu.)
Young gave the name Hānaiakamālama to the house (“foster child of the God Kamalama,” one of the ancestral gods his mother, a Hawaiian high Chiefess, Mary Kuamoʻo Kaoanahaeha, a niece of King Kamehameha I (Lit., the foster child of the light (or moon) – also the name given to the Southern Cross.))
John Young II was an uncle to Emma Rooke who became Queen of the Hawaiian Islands at the time of her marriage to King Kamehameha IV in 1856.
Young gave the young royal couple the use of the home in Nuuanu Valley and they found it a pleasant respite from court life at ʻIolani palace.
At his death in 1857, Young willed the property to his niece, Queen Emma, and thus Hanaiakamalama came into her possession.
She and her family continued to enjoy the home for another five years until the death of her young son, and then her husband.
Queen Emma continued to use the home as a summer house until her death in 1885. Hānaiakamālama became a center of social activity as well as a restful country retreat. (HABS)
When the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Hawaiian Islands as part of the itinerary of a round-the-world tour, Queen Emma “gave an impromptu entertainment to a large number of guests at her residence in Nuʻuanu Valley.”
“The guests enjoyed themselves at croquet and other outdoor sports on the lawn until evening when the fine room prepared for the entertainment of the Duke of Edinburgh was thrown open and dancing commenced and was kept up until about 9 o’clock”. (Hawaiian Gazette, March 2, 1870)
Queen Emma left her property after her death to Colonel Cresswell Rooke of Broomhill, Colchester, Essex, England, a nephew of her hānai father, Dr TCB Rooke, and to Queen’s Hospital.
Col. Rooke visited Hawai’i in 1903 to settle the estate. When the property was divided, the Colonel waived back rents due him, which had been given to Queen’s Hospital (in exchange for several keepsakes.) (Hackler)
In 1890, Alexander Cartwright, executor of the estate testified that Queen Emma’s old home was “in need of extensive repairs, is old and untenantable, has been unoccupied for past five years.” The land and house were put at auction and were bought by the Hawaiian Government on August 27, 1890.
When the government tried to sell the property in 1906, strong public objections to the sale were made, many suggesting that the land be set aside as a park. The government reconsidered. (HABS)
A later concurrent resolution from the legislature was adopted in 1911, “that ‘The Queen Emma Place’ in Nuʻuanu Valley, City and County of Honolulu … be set aside and reserved as a Park, to be known as ‘Nuʻuanu Park’ …”
“… and that the Governor or other proper authorities of the Territory of Hawaii are hereby requested to take, without delay, the necessary legal steps to put into force and effect the purposes of this Concurrent Resolution.”
Hānaiakamālama was later saved from demolition by the Daughters of Hawaiʻi. Today, the Daughters preserve and maintain this residence and the Huliheʻe Palace in Kailua-Kona as museums open to the public.
The restored and furnished home of Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of the Hawaiian monarchy.
The Daughters of Hawai‘i was founded in 1903 by seven women who were daughters of American Protestant missionaries. They were born in Hawai‘i, were citizens of the Hawaiian Kingdom before annexation and foresaw the inevitable loss of much of the Hawaiian culture.
They founded the organization “to perpetuate the memory and spirit of old Hawai‘i and of historic facts, and to preserve the nomenclature and correct pronunciation of the Hawaiian language.” (My mother was a Daughter.)
The property is open to the public, daily 9:00 am–4:00 pm; closed major holidays; Admission (kamaʻaina:) Adult $6, Child 17 and under $1, Seniors $4; reservations required for groups of 20 or more.