Thursday, May 24, 2012

Halehui Palace Complex

After the Battle of Nu'uanu, in the summer of 1795, Kamehameha's chiefs and followers populated Honolulu.

In those days, the area around today’s Honolulu Harbor was not called Honolulu.  Instead, each land section had its own name.  This area was oftentimes referenced as “Kou.”

In 1804, Kamehameha I first lived at Waikīkī, but then moved near the Pākākā canoe landing in 1809.  This area was then referred to as Halehui Palace Complex.

This complex was located at what is today approximately just Ewa of Fort and Queen Streets. 

The complex was surrounded on the mauka and Diamond Head sides by a fence, it consisted of many houses, for Kamehameha, Ka‘ahumanu and other chiefesses, and for his Gods and his personal attendants.

Close by were two drilling sites and a “foot racing” and maika field, where the king kept a personal eye on the performances of his warriors and chiefs.

The Hale Mua (men’s eating house) was the largest thatch building.  The next largest building was the Hale ‘Aina (women’s eating house).  Ka‘ahumanu, and others with her, slept in three small buildings nearby.

Next, along the beach of Kuloloia, was the home of the chiefess Nāmāhana, mother of Ka‘ahumanu; that of Liliha, mother of Keōpūolani, Kamehameha’s sacred wife and mother of Kamehameha’s II and III.

Then came the residence of Kalanimoku, the king's prime minister - known to the foreigners as "Billy Pitt."

Other buildings nearby included  a storage house, powder magazine, guardhouse, attendant houses, a battery of 16 carriage guns and two extensive stone storehouses for the King’s western goods.

At Kamehameha's request, O‘ahu governor Kuihelani gave Don Francisco Paula de Marin a waterfront holding of about two acres.

Marin, a Spaniard who arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in 1793 or 1794 and had become a confidante of Kamehameha, recorded in his journal, “In the end of 1809 and beginning of 1810 I was employed building a stone house for the King” (Honolulu's first permanent building.)

This was the first stone structure in Honolulu, a town that, by 1810, was “a village of several hundred native dwellings centered around the grass houses of Kamehameha on Pākākā Point near the foot of what is now Fort Street.  Of the sixty white residents on O‘ahu, nearly all lived in the village, and many were in the service of the king.”

It is unclear whether Kamehameha himself ever resided in the completed house. 

The left section of the map (where Nu‘uanu Stream empties into the harbor) identifies the area known as Kapu‘ukolo; this is "where white men and such dwelt."

Building in Honolulu, however, continued quickly with Marin and other foreign residents building their own stone houses and buildings during the ensuing decade.

A system of trails led from the village.  In the Diamond Head direction, one path led from the homes of Kamehameha, Kalanimoku, Kīnaʻu and others partially across modern Kakaʻako to Kālia (in Waikīkī.).

A second series of trails followed modern South King Street before branching off in Pāwa‘a to Waikīkī, Waialae and areas now generally East Mānoa and Mānoa Roads.

The Ewa bound path passed the homes of Kamehameha, chiefs and Marin, and followed the Diamond Head side of Nu‘uanu Stream before passing into Kapālama and taking the route of the Moanalua Freeway into ‘Aiea.

Honolulu appeared as shown here for only a short while; in the latter part of 1812, Kamehameha and most of his Court, including Liholiho, went to Hawai‘i to the Kamakahonu Royal Center, where he remained until his death in 1819.

The map image (a portion of the Ii-Rockwood map from UH at Mānoa, Hamilton Library) notes the Kamehameha compound and surrounding associated uses that made up the Halehui Palace Complex in the 1810 time frame.

Again, the Pākākā area of this complex was located at what is today approximately just Ewa of Fort and Queen Streets – the reef was filled in and land added to form what is now Aloha Tower and surrounding uses.

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