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Frame Mission House

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  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)

The oldest, extant, Western building in the Islands, this two-story, prefabricated, Maine white pine house came around Cape Horn aboard the brig Thaddeus with the first company of missionaries to Hawaii. It was a gift of a Boston shipping firm concerned about the quality of housing awaiting the missionary wives. Erection of the house was delayed for lack of framing timbers and the permission of the king, and it was not until sixteen months after its arrival that a portion of the building was habitable.

The house's cellar has adobe walls, and its brick floor was an early use of this material in Hawaii. The Hawaiian word for brick, winihapa, derives from the name of Captain Win-ship, who brought these bricks to the Islands. The coral kitchen, built in 1823 as a separate structure, was connected to the house in 1827. The house's highly compartmentalized, lowceilinged, compact interior with its steep stairways reflects the dwelling's multifamily occupancy and its New England origins. The two-story porch at the mauka corner is of a later date.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "Frame Mission House", [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, 116-116.

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