, ,

I’d be willing to be that in your town or city there is some historic site or marker that you drive past all the time. You have a vague understanding of what happened there or why it’s important but you never stop to check it out.  Here in Honolulu Kawaiaha’o Church has been one of those places for me. A stone church with a wrought iron fence in the middle of downtown Honolulu, it sticks out a little. Recently my dad was in town and when I asked him what sort of touristy thing he’d like to do (he and my mom live on the Big Island, so they really come just to see Grace and Jane, not play tourist) he immediately thought of this place. Being a history major and somewhat of a history dork, I was game to try it.

Kawaiaha’o Church stands on what was the site of the home of some of the first missionaries to Oahu. They originally erected their sanctuary in the native Hawaiian manner, with a thatched roof. Eventually they built the current structure (and the first Christian Church on Oahu) out of coral slabs and dedicated the church in 1842. King Kamehameha III attended the ceremony. Who needs William and Kate? We’ve had royalty right here! I’m glad my dad drug the girls and I here. We went during the week so the grounds were quiet. It was neat to walk around and imagine what it would have been like to be one of those original missionaries, insisting on wearing proper wool suits and sweating to death. Directly outside is one of the only natural springs that exists on the dry Honolulu plain (that’s right folks, before sprinkler systems, Honolulu was dry and dusty, not a palm tree paradise).

Each one of these coral slabs was harvested underwater and weighs 1000 pounds. Sounds like a fun construction job, huh?

The signs says one of the high chiefesses of Hawaii used to frequent the spring that was here, one of the original rocks from her bath is built into the current fountain. Across the street you can see Honolulu Hale.

Some of the original missionaries are buried here. Probably a looooong way from what they called home.