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War Memorial Natatorium

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1927, Lewis P. Hobart. Kalakaua Ave., opposite Kapiolani Regional Park
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)

This reinforced-concrete swimming pool, with its centered triumphal archway, arcades, eagles, and urns, is a stripped-down version of the competition entry submitted by San Francisco architect Hobart. The competition followed the general rules of the AIA, and included among its judges architect Bernard Maybeck and dean of the University of Oregon's school of architecture, Ellis F. Lawrence. The saltwater pool, with its bathhouse and bleachers, was erected as a memorial to the men and women of Hawaii who served in World War I. The passage of Act 15 by the 1921 territorial legislature appropriated $250,000 for the construction of this monument, and stipulated that a pool of at least one hundred meters in length be incorporated into the design. At the opening of the pool, the Honolulu Advertiser noted, “It is highly appropriate that this memorial to the heroes of the World War should be a public natatorium. America went to war to assure safety and independence and the privileges and rights of a free people to all her citizens, and a part of the birthright of a free people is sound health and the opportunity for wholesome recreation. The natatorium epitomizes Hawaii's prominence in one of the world's great sports. Situated in Waikiki, it looks upon and is a part of the ocean, whereof Hawaii is the ‘crossroads.'” The natatorium was the first “living” war memorial in the nation.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "War Memorial Natatorium", [Honolulu, 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, 166-166.

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