Honoka‘a landmarks placed on National Register of Historic Places

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Honokaa People's Theatre (1)_127392

Two well-known and popular community locations in the historic plantation town of Honoka’a were recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Hotel Honoka’a Club, dating to about 1927, is a two story-wood frame commercial building and is an example of the “plantation” style of architecture and method of construction, with a main floor, a rear second story addition and basement.

Also located on the main street of Mamane Street is the Honoka’a People’s Theatre that opened in 1930.

The National Park Service added these two sites to the National Register of Historic Places on Oct. 16.

These two properties were added to the Hawaii Register of Historic Places earlier in May this year. The Hawai Historic Places Review Board at that time recommended that they be nominated for inclusion in the National Register. Places included in the registers are usually significant in architecture and design, or are likely to yield important information, and their features retain their qualifying integrity.

The Hotel Honoka’a Club functioned as a local gathering place that provided guest accommodations for travelers and temporary sales space for the display of commercial samples and wares by traveling salesmen. It includes a dining room and bar facility which has served numerous local social occasions from the 1920s to the present.

The club began as a social gathering place for large numbers of unmarried males seeking entertainment after a long day’s work. It became U.S. Department of the Interior hotel accommodations, resting place and headquarters for sales personnel/drummers who traveled the island peddling their wares. Its bar operations were boosted by lack of liquor establishments in nearby Waimea town, and the alcohol needs of World War II soldiers.

Wedding receptions and high school gatherings at the club have knit the Honoka’a community together for generations.

The Honoka’a People’s Theatre is characterized by its symmetric facade with pilasters, cornice and false front parapet. It sits on a concrete foundation, which is raised toward the rear, and has a corrugated metal, front facing, gable roof with overhanging eaves and exposed rafter tails.

The theatre has been a center of community life since its opening in 1930. Its ability to accommodate both live and movie entertainment has led to extensive use as a multipurpose facility. Generations of audiences and performers have gone to the theater to experience ethnic dances, music festivals, plays and cultural exhibitions. The theater has been a venue for political/economic speeches and rallies.

Its size and facilities, as the largest theater on the island outside of Hilo, attract people to Honokaʻa.

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