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Palama Fire Station

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1901, Oliver G. Traphagan. 879 N. King St.
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)

A seventy-five-foot-high hose-drying tower rises above the 65 × 45–foot fire station. The building is adorned with a pair of segmental-arched doorways, round-arched balustraded loggia, and a pediment-like gabled dormer. When built, the station boasted the latest equipment, including an electric door opener and slide poles connecting the upper living quarters with the engines and horses below. The building's basic form would serve as a prototype for fire stations in Honolulu for the next thirty-five years, although none of its successors would be as ornately detailed or as meticulously crafted.

The brickwork is of note, an example of the skill of the Portuguese masons who were responsible for much of the more decorative brickwork in Honolulu at this time. The second story's alternating brick and stucco bands derive from a medieval Mediterranean tradition and remain the only known example of such craftsmanship in Hawaii. Since 1965, the building has accommodated office space, receiving a major renovation in 1981.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "Palama Fire Station", [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, 85-86.

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