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Kauai County Building

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1913, Ripley and Davis. 4396 Rice St.

The boxy, two-story county building modestly continued the invocation of Beaux-Arts forms, which were so popular in Hawaii during the years immediately following the United States' annexation of the Islands in 1898. Its imposing, raised, two-story, slightly projecting entrance, replete with Ionic columns and pediment, introduced to Kauai the architecture of America's City Beautiful movement, and proclaimed the new order of government ruling Hawaii. The second concrete building in Lihue, its construction followed on the heels of Lihue Plantation Store (demolished), heralding a new era in Lihue's urban development.

This county building was one of the first commissions for the firm of Ripley and Davis, whose senior partner already had a well-established reputation in Hawaii, having arrived here in 1890. Born in Maine, Clinton Briggs Ripley (1849–1922) learned architecture in the office of his uncle William K. Ripley in Chattanooga and later Nashville, Tennessee. He moved to Los Angeles and opened an office in 1875 and practiced there for several years before relocating to San Francisco. In December 1890, he moved to Honolulu, eventually forming the partnerships of Ripley and Reynolds (1891–1895) and Ripley and Dickey (1895–1900). In 1912, Ripley formed a new partnership with Louis E. Davis, who had recently arrived in the Islands. Davis was born in California in 1884 and graduated from the Wilmerding School of Industrial Arts in 1904. He worked for various San Francisco architectural firms prior to immigrating to Hawaii. Most likely Davis designed the county building, as Ripley usually concerned himself with construction management and the business side of their operations. The two men worked together until Ripley's death.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "Kauai County Building", [Lihue, 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, 65-65.

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