With its crenellated medieval battlements and protruding turrets, the Hilo Armory fulfilled the proud expectations of the Hilo Tribune's March 22, 1931, coverage that “every stranger will at first glance recognize [it] as a military structure.” The building is unique in Hawaii for its use of a pressed-galvanized, sheet-metal skin over a wood frame. Imitating stone blocks, this exterior cladding was the product of Union Metal from Canton, Ohio. Upon the armory's completion, the Honolulu Advertiser noted that it was the largest building on the island of Hawaii, sugar mills and warehouses aside.
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