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Kamehameha Hall

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1938. 1162 Kalanianaole Ave.

The white-walled, red-roofed lodge hall for the Royal Order of Kamehameha typifies vernacular building in early-twentieth-century Hawaii. Featuring single-wall, tongue-and-groove construction and a corrugated-metal roof, the hall follows techniques long established in plantation housing. The building's double-pitched hipped roof, its placement in the center of the parcel, and its elevation on a high, grassed, rock mound, which was constructed especially for it, give the building a dignity beyond its modest form.

The Order of Kamehameha was established in 1865 by King Kamehameha V in commemoration of his grandfather, Kamehameha the Great. With its stated purpose “to cultivate and develop, among our subjects, the feelings of honor and loyalty to our dynasty and institutions and  . . . to confer honorary distinctions upon such of our subjects and foreigners as have rendered, or may hereafter render to our dynasty and people, important services,” the Royal Order included the high-ranking aliʻi (members of the Hawaiian ruling class) of the last half of the nineteenth century as well as foreign royalty. With the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893, the Royal Order went underground, and it was not until 1903 that the organization reemerged, thanks to the efforts of Prince Kuhio, albeit with the word “Royal” dropped from its name. In 1907, the Reverend Stephen Desha established the Hilo Chapter of the Order. The chapter met at the Masonic hall until it erected this building in 1938.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "Kamehameha Hall", [Hilo, Hawaii], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Hawaii

Buildings of Hawaii, Don J. Hibbard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011, 261-261.

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