It’s a little known fact that there is actually a royal palace in the United States. The only one of its kind in the entire nation, ’Iolani Palace has a rich history of the short-lived Hawaiian monarchy. Here are some photos of this special Lomo location.
The state of Hawaii was an independent monarchy until it was overthrown in 1893 and eventually became a territory of the USA. It remained a US territory until 1959 at which point it became one of the states of the United States of America.
Construction on ‘Iolani Palace began in 1879 and was completed in the winter of 1882. It became the official residence of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani. King Kalakaua was the first monarch to ever circumnavigate the world. He took note of the different royal palaces he visited and used many of the architecture elements when designing his own. ’Iolani Palace was considered to be a very modern building – it has indoor plumbing, was retrofitted for electrical lighting in 1887 and a recent invention called the telephone. When the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893, the ruling monarch, Queen Lili’uokalani, was charged with treason for attempting to restore Hawaii’s sovereignty. She was imprisoned in one of the palace rooms for eight months during 1895. After her release, ’Iolani Palace served as the main government office until it was vacated in 1969. Restoration efforts began shortly after.
Compared to other royal palaces around the world, ‘Iolani Palace is relatively small and lacks the interior opulence of many famous royal residences. But that shouldn’t discourage you from paying it a visit to learn more about Hawaii’s little-known history. You can take a self guided or a docent guided tour of the palace. If you don’t have time for a tour or aren’t into history (I know, not everybody is), it is still worthwhile to visit the grounds of the ’Iolani Palace for some cool photos. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed inside the palace. In addition to the palace building, there are the royal barracks, a gazebo where the Royal Hawaiian Band still plays on certain occasions, large banyan trees with air roots that look like dreadlocks, and across the street is the famous statue of King Kamehameha.
During your next visit to Honolulu, why not take a break from the beach and visit ’Iolani Palace? Bring some lunch and relax under one of the large trees that cover the grounds.