Aloha Authentic: History of Kaumakapili Church

Aloha Authentic

HONOLULU (KHON2) — KHON2’s weekly “Aloha Authentic” segment highlights various roadways across the pae ʻāina so the meaning of their names can be uncovered.

It is time to bring attention to a church that has a story of its own.

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In the ahupuaʻa of Honolulu, which lies within the moku of Kona on Oʻahu, stands a landmark now listed in the state and national register of historic places.  

That landmark is Kaumakapili Church.

The first Christian church established on Oʻahu was Kawaiahaʻo Church in 1820, though it mainly served Hawaiian royalty and nobles. Commoners petitioned for another place of worship as a result.

A church made of mud bricks and a thatched roof was built in 1839 on a part of land named Kaumakapili. That mud-brick church became Kaumakapili Church.

It was torn down after more than 50 years and replaced with a newer brick structure. 

The building was accidentally destroyed in 1900 after its wooden steeples caught on fire when parts of Chinatown were intentionally lit in flames as a response to wipe out the bubonic plague.

The land was sold and the church relocated to another location. The new structure was built in 1910 and has evolved and been renovated ever since.  

Kaumakapili was given the nickname “Queen of the Hawaiian Churches,” during the 20th century and it still stands just as majestic today.

Did you know? Now you do!

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