Discover the history of Washington Place
Construction of the home began in 1842 by Captain John Dominis, an Italian American ship captain and merchant, who traded in the Pacific. Unfortunately, he was lost at sea and was never able to live in the house upon its completion in 1847. In order to keep the house, his wife, Mary Dominis, chose to take in boarders, including Anthony Ten Eyck, the United States Commissioner, who suggested to Mrs. Dominis in 1848 that she name the house after America’s first president, George Washington. Permission was granted by King Kamehameha III, with the provision that the house retains the name “in all time coming.”
Washington Place, Honolulu. Oil on paper by an anonymous artist ca. 1850-1854.
Detail from No. 6 view of Honolulu, from the Catholic Church. Drawn by Paul Emmert in 1853, published in 1854. Lithograph printed by Britton & Rey, San Francisco. Hand-colored, twentieth century.
Washington Place is a mix of Greek revival and indigenous tropical architectural components. Built by John and Mary Dominis, and designed and constructed by Isaac Hart, Washington Place encompassed much of the prevalent architectural style of the early to mid-nineteenth century in the United States, more specifically New England. The features of this two and one-half story home are the lower level coral stone walls, wood frame, two-tiered verandas, and Tuscan columns. Complete with a central entrance and modeled off the Georgian floor plan, the original part of the home is symmetrical in its structure. Adapting to its families, Washington Place has expanded the grounds. It has now doubled in its original size (17,062.50 square feet with an added 7,000 square feet separate structure on 3.1 acres). The home reflects its residents, its surroundings and Hawaiʻi’s history.
This home is best known as the private residence of Queen Liliʻuokalani, Hawaiʻi’s last reigning monarch. She first moved into the home in 1862 as Lydia Pākī, the bride of John Owen Dominis, son of John and Mary Dominis, and it remained her private residence for 55 years, until her death in 1917.
Queen Liliʻuokalani in front of her home.
Washington Place today
From 1918 to 2002 the house was home to Hawaiʻi’s territorial and statehood governors. Today, Washington Place is a historic home that still serves as the executive mansion of the Governor of the State of Hawaiʻi. The home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2007.
Washington Place has remained at the heart of Hawaiʻi’s Capitol in downtown Honolulu, Oʻahu. Best known as the home of Hawaiʻi’s beloved Queen Liliʻuokalani, this National Historic Landmark is the only official residence of a state governor in the United States that was also home to a monarch. Today, the home is managed by the State of Hawaiʻi, Department of Accounting and General Services.
320 South Beretania StreetHonolulu, Hawaiʻi 96813