Just across the street from Hawaii’s State Capitol building in downtown Honolulu is Washington Place, the former home of Queen Liliuokalani. Twelve of Hawaii’s governors also lived in the home. In 2001 a new 5,000-square-foot governor’s residence was constructed on the same land as Washington Place, which became a museum for visitors to learn more about Hawaii’s history.
A historic interpretive center exhibits personal effects of the Queen as well as historical documents. The home is also used as a public reception area and was named a National Historic Landmark in 2007. Merchant and sea captain John Dominis, who was also the father-in-law of Queen Liliuokalani, finished building Washington Place in 1847 after five years of construction. The two-home was built in the Colonial Greek Revival style. A wealthy New England trader, John Dominis sailed for China in 1846 to acquire elegant furnishings for Washington Place. He disappeared at sea and was never seen again. For many years after the disappearance of her husband, the widow Dominis was still seen gardening on the property.
The name of Washington Place was chosen by King Kamehameha III to honor the United States President George Washington. Queen Liliuokalani lived in Washington Place for 55 years, though part of this time she was confined there after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. Queen Liliuokalani passed away at Washington Place in 1917. On the sidewalk outside the home is a plaque with the words Aloha ‘Oe, the famous song penned by the Queen.
Washington Place is located at 20 South Beretania Street in downtown Honolulu and open to the public on special occasions. Call 586-0248 to inquire about tours of Washington Place.