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Linekona School (McKinley High School)

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McKinley High School
1908, H. L. Kerr. 1111 Victoria St.
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)

The first building specifically constructed to house a public high school in Hawaii, this Renaissance Revival school was built during an economically depressed moment in Hawaii's history. As with almost all turn-of-the-twentieth-century public buildings in Hawaii, it reflects the Islands' new territorial status through its Beaux-Arts composition. However, it makes a unique statement within the genre by the use of concrete blocks molded to resemble volcanic bluestone. The imitation stone, manufactured at architect Kerr's brick-yard, is of high quality and is the best example of this material in Hawaii.

Operating as McKinley High School until 1923, that institution moved to larger quarters on S. King Street (OA94). Renamed Lincoln Elementary School, the building witnessed the inauguration of the “English standard plan” in Hawaii. This program was instituted in response to demands voiced by an increasing number of mainland families who immigrated to Hawaii, but could not afford to send their children to private school at Punahou. Fearing the influence pidgin English might exert on young minds, admittance to an English-standard-plan school required the passing of an oral English-language examination, which resulted in an overwhelmingly Caucasian population at the school. Lincoln Elementary School relocated in 1956, and the building was renamed Linekona. It housed special education and adult education services until the 1980s, when it was renovated and made an educational annex of the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

The semicircular portico with its balustraded parapet, although somewhat awkwardly handled, makes a dramatic entrance focal point. The interior retains its central staircase, and the corridors reflect the original decor with a tongue-and-groove wainscot.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "Linekona School (McKinley High School)", [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, 133-133.

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