Washington Place has been home to Hawaiʻi’s leaders and their families for generations. This timeline highlights events as well as the special guests who have visited the home.
Captain John Dominis
Spouse: Mary Dominis
Construction of Washington Place
John Dominis was an Italian-American ship captain and merchant. He purchased the Washington Place property from British Consul Richard Carlton for $600. In 1842, Captain Dominis began construction of the home using the finest materials including coral and rare woods. He hired craftsman and builders from Hawaiʻi and abroad to construct the home. While the home was being constructed, Captain Dominis embarked on a trip on the American Brig William Neilson bound for Manila and China. Unfortunately, he was lost at sea between 1846 and 1847, and he was not able to see the completion of the home.
Captain John Dominis photo credit 
Spouse: Captain John Dominis
Construction of Washington Place
Mary Dominis, wife of Captain John Dominis, took over the construction of the home after her husband was lost at sea. To help defray the home’s mounting expenses, she took in borders including Anthony Ten Eyck who named the home Washington Place. Mary Dominis was known to have created the first "European-style" private garden in Honolulu at Washington Place.
Mary Dominis was credited for bringing Santa Claus and the Christmas tree to Honolulu. Her Christmas trees were lighted with candles and its branches heavy with gifts.
In 1887, Mary Dominis celebrated the 50th anniversary of her arrival to Hawaiʻi with the Royal Hawaiian Band. Among those present were the Hon. A.S. Cleghorn, Princess Kaʻiulani, and members.
Anthony Ten Eyke; William Little Lee; A.S. Hartwell; Robert Crichton Wyllie
Spouse: John Owen Dominis
Arriving as a young princess bride in 1862, Queen Liliʻuokalani would live 55 years of her life at Washington Place. She describes Washington Place as,
“It is a large square white house, with pillars and portico on all sides, really a palatial dwelling as comfortable in its appointments as it is inviting in its aspect; its front is distant from the street far enough to avoid the dust and noise. Trees shade its walls from the heat of noonday; its ample gardens filled with the choicest flowers and shrubs; it is, in fact, just what it appears, a choice tropical retreat in the midst of the chief city of the Hawaiian Islands. ”
Queen Liliʻuokalani ascended to the throne in 1891 and moved to ʻIolani Palace, her official residence as Queen. After the passing of John Owen Dominis later that year, Washington Place became the Queen’s property. After the overthrow of the Monarchy on January 17, 1893, the Queen moved back to Washington Place. In 1895, she was arrested at her home for allegedly conspiring to overthrow the government and imprisoned at ʻIolani Palace until September of that year. She returned to Washington Place and kept under house arrest until February 1896. She lived her remaining years at Washington Place.
Living with the Queen at Washington Place were her three hānai children: Joseph Aʻea, John Dominis ʻAimoku and Lydia Aholo. ʻAimoku married Sybil McInerny Dominis and they moved into Washington Place. Their three children: John Owen Dominis (Queen’s godchild), Sybil Francis Liliʻuokalani o Keolaokalani Dominis and Virginia Beatrice Kauhanenuiohonokawailani Dominis were born at Washington Place.
Over the years, the Queen celebrated her birthday at Washington Place. For her 63rd birthday, guests arrived from all over the island. She was serenaded by the Royal Hawaiian Band led by Captain John Berger. Breakfast and a luau were served in tents on the grounds.
The Queen lived at Washington Place until her death on November 11, 1917 at the age of 79.
Queen Liliʻuokalani photo credit 
John Owen Dominis
Spouse: Queen Liliʻuokalani
John Owen Dominis was born in Schenectady, New York in 1832. He arrived in Hawaiʻi on April 23, 1837. His family lived in a home on Fort Street until Washington Place was completed in 1847. As a child, he went to Johnson’s Day School and to Royal School where he developed friendships with Hawaiian royalty.
Before the age of 20, he left for the mainland to work and returned in 1850 at the age of 22. He worked for C. Brewer and Company. He married Lydia Kamaka’ eha Pākī in 1862. John Owen held the title of Prince Consort of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and held political positions such as Secretary and Chamberlain to King Kamehameha IV, Governor of Oʻahu and Maui.
He resided at Washington Place until his death in 1891.
John Owen Dominis photo credit 
Governor Charles McCarthy
First Lady: Margaret Theresa Morgan
Purchase of Washington Place
Governor McCarthy was the fifth territorial governor but the first to live at Washington Place. In 1918, he leased Washington Place privately. In 1921, the Territorial government purchased Washington Place from the Liliʻuokalani Estate.
During the time of his stay, his wife and two daughters lived there just as it was when the Queen died, not disturbing any of its furnishings.
First daughter Margaret M. McCarthy married Oswald Steven on October 22, 1919 at Washington Place in the Waikiki makai room.
Mrs. McCarthy began the tradition of placing lei on the Queen’s armchair. For her birthday anniversaries, the Queen would open her home and receive guests while sitting in this armchair. In honor and remembrance of the Queen, the placing of lei on the Queen’s chair continues today.
Charles McCarthy photo credit 
Governor Wallace R. Farrington
First Lady: Catharine Alpine Farrington
Governor Farrington renovated the home and added an enclosed lanai (Glass Lanai), kitchen, formal dining room and the port-cochere.
Five kāhilis were presented to Governor Farrington by the employees of Territorial Capitol grounds who spent hours making them. The feathers, used for two of the kāhilis, once belonged to the Queen and later to given to Lahilahi Webb. Three were placed at ʻIolani Palace and two at Washington Place where the kāhilis remain on display in the Queen’s Parlor.
Crown Prince and Princess of Sweden, Prince of Siam, Lord and Lady Allenby, Prime Minister of Australia, Prince Takamatsu of Japan.
Wallace Farrington photo credit 
Governor Lawrence M. Judd
First Lady: Florence Bell Hackett Judd
Governor Judd added second-floor rooms which were constructed over the kitchen and dining room. This included a screened lanai, bedroom and dressing room. In 1929, the tennis court was also completed.
Major landscaping was done and designed to a more formal "European-style" landscape that included ample lawn areas and tropical plants. In 1929, 120 cuttings of coral hibiscus were started at the Government Nursery for planting at Washington Place and a magnolia tree from Hilo were brought to the grounds. Plants favored by the Queen were retained. A brick walkway, brick garden and fountain were also added to the gardens.
Aloha ʻOe Monument
The Aloha ʻOe monument was mounted near the Beretania Street gate to commemorate the Queen and her song, Aloha ʻOe. The people of Hawaiʻi helped to fund this memorial with donations of $1 a piece with the help of the Honolulu Star Bulletin. At the unveiling, Rose Tribe, who had served as a household maid to the Queen sang a rendition of Aloha ʻOe.
Entertaining at Washington Place
In honor of Prince and Princess Takamatsu, the Washington Place lanai, was elaborately decorated with baskets of palm blossoms, fruits, and seeds of different palms. Orange day lilies were entwined into lei that set across the table. Pineapples, water lemons and other Hawaiian fruit covered the table. Poi bowls were of polished coconut shells and coconut cream were served from fresh cut coconut. Roasted pig, chicken in taro, and coconut milk were on the menu.
Prince Tokugawa; Prince and Princess Takamatsu, King Prajadhipok and Queen Rambi Barni of Siam.
Lawrence M. Judd photo credit 
Governor Joseph Poindexter
During Governor Poindexter’s term, only minor repairs were done since extensive renovations were completed in the previous years.
When Governor Poindexter first moved in, he was widowed and so his daughter, Helen, served as hostess and First Lady.
During the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, a shell landed near Washington Place at about 9:30 am. Governor Poindexter was not harmed. The shell killed a man across Beretania Street.
Governor Poindexter was the first governor to entertain a president of the United States. The Governor and his daughter, Helen, hosted President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The elaborate event included entertainment by the Royal Hawaiian Band, a chorus of 300 men and women as well as musicians and hula dancers. The president was presented with a canoe paddle once owned by Queen Emma.
Helen Poindexter also hosted actress Shirley Temple. At Washington Place, she had sponge cake and two glasses of pineapple juice. Before she left, Shirley Temple sang the “Good Ship Lollypop.”
A detail of inmates from the territorial penitentiary did the grounds work at the home.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt; Shirley Temple; Walt Disney.
Joseph Poindexter photo credit 
Governor Ingram Stainback
First Lady: Cecile White Stainback
Renovations and Property
An elevator was installed since the First Lady was seriously injured during his time in office. A garage and servant quarters were also added. A “strong room” vault was constructed in the basement of the home. The purchase of property to extend Washington Place to Miller Street was approved by the Governor.
Governor Stainback was inaugurated on the patio of Washington Place at 11 am on August 24, 1942. A centennial celebration was held on June 11-13, 1946 with artifacts on display such as kāhili, furniture, documents, tableware and wardrobe.
First Lady Visits
First Lady of the United States Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, hosted by Governor and Mrs. Stainback, spoke to 75 women of the American Red Cross, USO, Office of Civilian Defense and other groups on the patio of Washington Place.
Passing of Mrs. Stainback
First Lady Cecile Stainback died on October 11, 1949 in Missouri after surgery for a brain tumor. Her funeral, attended by thousands, was held at Washington Place.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
Ingram Stainback photo credit 
Governor Oren Long
First Lady: Ida Geneva Long
One of Mrs. Long’s first duty as First Lady was to select new furniture, rugs and other items for the home. The Legislature appropriated $10,000 for this purchase.
Governor Long received the painting of the H.M.S Blonde by Robert Dampier. The painting is on display at the home today. The painting depicts the ship, H.M.S. carrying the bodies of King Kamehameha II and Queen Kamāmalu, both who died in in London. The painting was from the estate of the tenth Lord Byron.
Vice President Alben Barkley; Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida of Japan.
Oren Long photo credit 
Governor Samuel Wilder King
First Lady: Pauline Nawahineokalai Evans King
During Governor King’s tenure, renovations included cementing the patio floor as well as the installation of a solid roof over the patio after the canopy that covered his inaugural reception sagged causing a flood on the terrace. Improvements were also made to the kitchen and equipment. A radio room was added under the main staircase to give the Governor quick and easy access to his office at ʻIolani Palace.
Former President Harry Truman, Mrs. Truman and daughter Margaret enjoyed dinner at Washington Place. The former president played a semi-classical piece on the piano.
Vice President and Mrs. Richard Nixon; Crown Prince Akihito; Former President Harry S. Truman, Mrs. Truman and daughter Mrs. Margaret Truman; Madame Chiang Kai-Shek of China, Prince Akihito of Japan.
Samuel Wilder King photo credit 
Governor William Quinn
First Lady: Nancy Ellen Whitback Quinn
Governor Quinn was Hawaiʻi’s first state governor.
During Governor Quinn’s tenure, a second-floor sitting room above the Glass Lanai was added to the home.
Governor Quinn and his wife Nancy lived at Washington Place with their seven children.
One Easter, each of the Quinn children received a bunny at an event. A fence was built to contain the bunnies at Washington Place. The bunnies, however, dug tunnels below ground to breed their young. At the end of the term, it was discovered that these tunnels went almost to the end of the property to Miller Street and over 200 bunnies emerged from those tunnels.
Governor and Mrs. Quinn hosted the opening party of the National Governor’s Conference with governors from around the country attending the event featuring the Royal Hawaiian Band.
King Hussein of Jordan; King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit of Thailand; Prince and Princess Takamatsu and Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko of Japan, Leonard Bernstein and members of his orchestra.
William Quinn photo credit 
Governor John A. Burns
First Lady: Beatrice Van Vleet Burns
Repairs were made to the kitchen wing foundation and the interior of the kitchen.
First Lady Beatrice Burns planted 25 rose bushes at Washington Place. They were sent from Florida as part of United States First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson’s beautification program. The roses were meant for the state capitol building but the capitol was still under construction, so the roses were planted at Washington Place. President and Mrs. Johnson were delighted to see the thriving rose garden on their visit to Washington Place.
Governor and Mrs. Burns initiated a historical restoration project that included restoring and repairing four Robert Dampier paintings that remain on display at Washington Place. The historic paintings are nearly 200 years old today and were bequeath to Hawaiʻi by the Honorable and Rev. 10th Baron Byron of England.
Washington Place was listed on the National Register of Historic Place on June 18, 1973. This listing recognizes historical sites worthy of preservation and protection due to their significance in American history, architecture, art, archeology, engineering, and culture.
President and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson.
John A. Burns photo credit 
Governor George Ariyoshi
First Lady: Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi
First Lady Jean Ariyoshi authorized and oversaw the first cataloguing of all the historic artifacts in the home. The book Decorative Arts of Washington Place is still used today.
Mrs. Ariyoshi brought historic pieces to the home including law books belonging to John Dominis; an ʻumeke puahala that was gifted to the Queen, and the arm-chair once owned by the Queen.
Restoration and Redecorating
Restoration work focused on the Blue Room, Music Room (Queen’s Parlor), Reception Room and the Queen’s Bedroom.
Governor and Mrs. Ariyoshi entertained many dignitaries from around the world including Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip. The menu included broiled lobster Napali, crisps hearts of Mānoa lettuce, and breast capon Devonshire. Entertainment were songs by and about Queen Liliʻuokalani.
President and Mrs. Reagan; Vice President Mondale; First Lady Rosalynn Carter, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of England; Emperor Hirohito and Empress of Japan; Premier Zhao Ziyang of China; King Hussein of Jordan, President of Korea.
George Ariyoshi photo credit 
Governor John Waihee
First Lady: Lynne Kobashigawa Waihee
A second staircase was added to Washington Place from the breakfast room to the second floor allowing for private entrances and exits to the home. The sitting room was removed and the family room on the second floor was constructed.
Governor Waihee commissioned Clements Robertson in 1990 to reproduce the Queen’s Portrait for the Dining Room. The original portrait of the Queen by William Cogswell is on display at ʻIolani Palace.
First Lady Lynne Waihee, a former teacher, together with Mary Matayoshi and Dr. Glenn Grant, developed tours for young children called, “A Visit with the Queen.”
Governor and Mrs. Waihee published a book, Her Royal Highness Queen Liliuokalani: Poet, Composer, Musician, of the Queen’s music in appreciation of their years at Washington Place.
President William Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, and daughter Chelsea, Lady Margaret Thatcher, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.
John Waihee photo credit 
Governor Benjamin Cayetano
First Lady: Vicky Tiu Liu Cayetano
Governor’s Private Residence
First Lady Vicky Cayetano and the Washington Place Foundation raised funds to build a private residence on the property allowing Washington Place to become a historic home for the Governors official functions and for visitors on tours.
A sesquicentennial celebration was held October 22-26 1996 to celebrate 150 years of history at Washington Place. To commemorate this event, In Celebration of the Sesquicentennial of Washington Place 1846-1996 was published.
Governor Cayetano married Vicky Tiu Liu in a ceremony at Washington Place on May 5, 1997, followed by two large receptions on the grounds of the home.
First Lady Vicky Cayetano established the Washington Place Foundation to support the restoration efforts of the historic home and artifacts.
President William Clinton.
Benjamin Cayetano photo credit 
Governor Linda Lingle
Governor Linda Lingle was the first Governor to live in the private residence on the grounds of Washington Place.
Under Governor Lingle, restoration work was done on the Queen’s bedroom and various repairs to termite damaged wood.
Washington Place was designated a National Historic Landmark on April 4, 200 for its association with the changing role of the United States in the world community and as the residence of the last ruling monarch of Hawaiʻi, Queen Liliʻuokalani. From the 1840s through the 20th century, Washington Place has been at the center of pivotal events in Hawaiʻi, including the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893 that led to Hawaiʻi becoming a territory of the U.S.”
In a ceremony at Washington Place, United States First Lady Laura Bush announced the name of the Northwestern Hawaiian Island Marine National Monument as Papahānaumokuākea.
First Lady Laura Bush; Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan; President Arroyo of the Philippines.
Linda Lingle photo credit 
Governor Neil Abercrombie
First Lady: Dr. Nancie Caraway
Under Governor Abercrombie, the Glass Lanai was restored and repainted. The roof of Washington Place was also repaired.
Governor Abercrombie names the private residence, Hale Kiaʻaina.
First Lady Dr. Nancie Caraway created a vegetable garden.
Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar.
Neil Abercrombie photo credit 
Governor David Ige
First Lady: Dawn Amano-Ige
Extensive repairs and renovations were completed to the second floor of the home. Formerly the private quarters of the residents, the second floor was open, for the first time, to the public for tours in December 2017.
First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige together with the University of Hawaiʻi College of Tropical Agriculture, created the home’s first aquaponic garden that included fish and organic greens.
Springtime at Washington Place and Aha Mele were free musical concerts for the community. Entertainers included the Royal Hawaiian Band, Palani Vaughn, Hoʻokena, and others.
First Daughter Amy Ige married Lt. Col. Anthony Paschke on the lawn at Washington Place on December 30, 2017.
President of the Republic of Palau; Prince and Princess Akishino of Japan, Rosie Rios, former Director of the U.S. Treasury.