In 1848, John George Lewis acquired 8.92-acres of land in the ili of Kaukahoku (the stars have arisen,) of open land and tropical forest about 2-miles from the city of Honolulu. (Kamehameha the Great marched through here during what would become the Battle of the Nuʻuanu in April 1795 (the last major battle before the unification of the Hawaiian Islands.))
This land was originally designated as Fort Land, probably as agricultural land. Tradition claims that Lewis built the house at Kaukahoku in 1847, modeled in the Greek Revival style. Around 1850, Lewis sold the land to John Young II (Keoni Ana.) Young gave the name Hānaiakamālama to the house. Young willed the property to his niece, Queen Emma. Queen Emma used the home as a summer house until her death in 1885.