The Robert P. and Eleanor Wayson Sroat Residence, constructed in 1930, is a single-story Craftsman dwelling located in Honolulu’s Woodlawn residential neighborhood. Situated towards the back of the lush and cool Manoa Valley, the house faces southwest and the site gently slopes towards the nearby Lin Yee Chung Chinese Cemetery. The Sroat Residence was designed by Armena Louise Morse Eller (1895–1996), the earliest known woman to practice architecture in Hawaii.
The house reflects the early-twentieth-century Hawaiian style of Craftsman architecture. The facade is nicely proportioned with a double-pitched hipped roof that is braced with one-and-a-half-foot curved rafters to support the deep overhanging eaves. A large open lanai marks the facade, along with several large windows to emphasize natural light and cross-ventilation necessary in the Hawaiian tropical climate. Typical of the region, the house features a U-shaped plan, single-wall construction, and lava rock elements such as the chimney with rounded arch cap and the post-and-pier foundation that provide a rustic character to this elegantly modest dwelling.
California-born Eller arrived in Hawaii in 1928, accompanying her husband, University of Hawaii physics professor Willard Henry Eller (1892–1974). Eller had received her architectural degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and upon her arrival in Hawaii began working with the newly established Lake Building Company, run by prominent housing developer Dean Lake. Within a year, her design renderings were published in local newspapers to market “Dean Lake Built” houses. Robert P. Sroat and Eleanor Hodgins Wayson commissioned the Lake Building Company to build this residence shortly after their marriage.
There have been some alterations to the house since its construction. The original roof shingles have been replaced with composition shingles, and the lanai is now lightly enclosed. In 1958, a single-story wing utilizing the same exterior materials was added to the right side of the house. Overall, the 2,000-square-foot house is in good condition and retains its integrity of design, materials, craftsmanship, location, and setting.
Hibbard, Don, “Robert P. and Eleanor Wayson Sroat Residence,” Honolulu, Hawaii. National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, 2017. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
Horton, Inge Schaefer. Early Women Architects of the San Francisco Bay Area: The Lives and Work of Fifty Professionals, 1890–1951. McFarland and Company, 2010.
"House is Started in Woodlawn Tract.” Honolulu Star Bulletin (Honolulu, Hawaii), January 4, 1930.