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A Little Bit of HistoryOahu

HAWAIIAN MISSION HOUSES HISTORIC SITE & ARCHIVES is the site of the oldest structures in Honolulu and serves as a link to an era of signifi cant cultural change on the islands. Missionaries from New England began to arrive in 1820 with the goal of converting Native Hawaiians to Christianity, and they quickly began erecting living and working spaces.

The buildings include FRAME HOUSE (Hale Lā‘au), built in 1821 with materials shipped from Boston, and CHAMBERLAIN (Ka Hale Kamalani), built in 1831 of coral blocks cut away from the ocean reef then dried and bleached in the sun.

In 1822, high chief Ke‘eaumoku II himself pulled the first sheets of printing ever produced in the Hawaiian Islands from the mission’s press in the PRINTING HOUSE (Ka Hale Pa‘i), also located on the grounds. For the next 20 years, the mission’s printers produced millions of pages of ka palapala (the writing) using a secondhand Ramage press. Writings were printed at first in English and then later in Hawaiian.

A National Historic Landmark, Hawaiian Mission Houses is located at 533 S. King St. in downtown Honolulu, near Kawaiaha‘o Church, ‘Iolani Palace and the King Kamehameha statue. At press time, tours were available, for groups up to four people, on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, reservations required (made at least 24 hours in advance at missionhouses.org/tours-and-programs). Visit missionhouses.org, or call 808-447-3910 for updates and details.

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