In the mid-1880s, EP Adams was marketing for sale ‘Hānaiakamalama,’ “formerly occupied by WL Green, Esq, as a private residence”.
But this isn’t just *any* house; Hānaiakamalama, also known as the Queen Emma Summer Palace, was the ‘mountain’ home of Queen Emma, wife of Kamehameha IV. (Its name is Lit., the foster child of the light (or moon) – it is also the name for the Southern Cross.)
“It was a delightful country home for Queen Emma and many a happy reunion of the family took place there. The last I remember was a great reception given to the Duke of Edinburgh when he was here in the Galatea in 1869.”
“It was one of the most memorable of the luaus for which Hawai‘i nei has obtained a worldwide reputation.” (Girvin, Pacific Commercial Advertiser, July 18, 1906)
It was through this land that Kamehameha the Great marched during what would become the Battle of the Nuʻuanu in April 1795.
Coincidently, Kamehameha was aided by foreigners, including John Young, Queen Emma’s grandfather, who provided the cannons and tactical know-how used in the battle. (Rivera)
The house was originally constructed by John George Lewis in 1848. John Young II (Keoni Ana) bought it in 1850 and named the home “Hānaiakamalama” (after a favorite family homestead in Kawaihae.) (Rivera) Queen Emma inherited it from her uncle, John Young II, in 1857.
Queen Emma was born Emma Naʻea in Honolulu on January 2, 1836, the daughter of a British aristocratic woman and a Hawaiian high chief.
She became the hānai child of Dr and Mrs TC and Grace Rooke, her mother’s sister, who had no children of their own. Emma grew up speaking both Hawaiian and English, the latter ‘with a perfect English accent.’
OK, back to the home …
A notice in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser (November 11, 1890) noted that the government Water Works department purchased Hānaiakamalama for $8,000.
It was acquired “for the special purpose of a site for establishing (water system) filter beds, and a distributing reservoir for the city, which was looked upon then as one of the much-needed public works recognized, as a public necessity by the then administration.”
“The scheme then under consideration and practically settled upon was part of the plans in connection with the storage reservoir above Luakaha, for the increased capacity of the Nuʻuanu system.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, April 30, 1906)
The water works plan waned and thoughts of a park at the site were considered; there was, reportedly, a proposal to tear down the house and put in a baseball diamond.
However, “Governor Carter has expressed his disapproval of the retention of the Queen Emma property in Upper Nuʻuanu valley for park purposes in a letter to the secretary of the Improvement Club in that district, which passed resolutions urging that that be done.”
“I beg to say that I do not approve of the setting aside as a public park of the Hānaiakamalama premises, for the following reasons: First. Public parks are for the relief of thickly populated districts, where the congestion is such that the residents do not have breathing spaces … “
“… Second. The taxpayers are contributing at present about all they can stand and this is not sufficient to properly take care of all those areas that are already parked.” (Carter, Pacific Commercial Advertiser, September 6, 1906)
On May 12, 1906, The Pacific Commercial Advertiser noticed, “there will be sold at Public Auction … the following certain portions of land situate in the District of Kona, Island of Oahu, TH: … The land known as ‘Hānaiakamalama’ or the ‘Queen Emma Place’ (upset price of $10,000, possession given September 1, 1906.)”
Hānaiakamalama was saved from demolition by the Daughters of Hawaiʻi.
(Daughters of Hawai‘i was founded in 1903 and is made up of women members who are directly descended from a person who lived in Hawai‘i prior to 1880. Their purpose is “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.”)
Then, the newspaper announced, “Rules and regulations bearing on Hānaiakamalama, the Nuʻuanu home of the late Queen Emma, were adopted at a meeting on Wednesday of the Daughters of Hawai‘i, which society now has charge of the home. The rules are as follows:”
“1. The object of Hānaiakamalama is to preserve articles formerly owned by the late Queen Emma and such other articles of historic interest as may be given the Daughters of Hawaii for safe keeping.”
“2. The building shall be open to visitors daily from 9 to 12 in the morning and from 2 to 4 in the after noon, excepting Sunday and other days that may be designated.”
“3. The house can only be used as a meeting place for the Daughters of Hawai‘i and cannot be engaged for any other purpose.”
“4. A fees of 25 cents will be charged all visitors, members excepted.”
“5. Visitors are requested not to handle or deface any article in the building.” (Honolulu Star Bulletin, October 19, 1916)
In addition to Hānaiakamalama, the Daughters own and maintain Kamehameha III’s birth site at Keauhou Bay, Kona. Through an agreement with the State of Hawaiʻi, the Daughters use and maintain Huliheʻe Palace in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.
Hānaiakamalama is open to the public with self – and docent-guided tours, Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat 10 am – 3:30 pm; closed Sun, Mon, Wed & major holidays; Admission fees vary ($16-Kamaaina adult docent-led).
(When you are there, look over the patio to the right (as you face the entrance); you will hear and see a portion of the Paki auwai that fed the Queen’s kalo just downhill of the patio. See the attached map.)