Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Please nominate a threatened historic site to the list of the 9 Most Endangered Historic Sites in Hawai‘i. In partnership with Honolulu Magazine and the Hawai‘i State Historic Preservation Division, Historic Hawai‘i Foundation annually names additions to the Most Endangered list, which will be published in Honolulu Magazine in the fall.

Nominations will help us determine additions to this list by identifying historic sites across Hawai‘i that are in danger of being lost, whether by neglect, disaster or deliberate demolition. While inclusion on the list does not protect the sites, it does draw attention to the risk of loss and helps to compel action.

If you know of a historic site that should be added to the list, please let us know by completing the nomination form on our website.

Be sure to include information about the location of the site, why it is historic, how it is endangered, how it could be preserved, and a photograph. You can also alert us by phone (808) 523-0800 or by emailing Katie Kastner at

Thursday, July 16, 2009

State Historic Preservation Division Risks Losing Federal Funding

Your help is needed to save the state's federal funding and regulatory authority protecting Hawaii's historic resources. See the bottom of this post for contact info.

The Perfect Storm

The wave of federal funding is meeting an understaffed and overwhelmed regulatory agency in Hawaii. The result is both inadequate protection of historic resources and frustrated timelines for beginning important projects.

In late July, the National Park Service (NPS) is scheduled to evaluate Hawaii's State Historic Preservation Division's (SHPD) compliance with federal mandates under the National Historic Preservation Act, including the requirement to provide adequate professionally-qualified staff. SHPD receives over $500,000 in annual federal funding to meet these requirements.
If SHPD loses its federal standing to review and approve federal undertakings, that function will be reassigned to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). Every Hawai‘i-based preservation review would be overseen by ACHP in Washington. This is unprecedented in the 40 year history of the National Historic Preservation Act, and is a completely unknown and unpredictable process. It is anticipated that review and approval processes would be substantially delayed.

Millions of dollars and dozens of capital projects are at risk. These include the Navy’s $50,000,000 Shipyard Modernization project; the Air Force’s $30,000,000 efficiency improvement and consolidation project; the Department of Transportation’s plans for improvements to airports, harbors and roads; and the Federal Transit Authority’s plan for a Honolulu Rapid Transit system. All of these proposals must receive review and concurrence of plans to protect and mitigate impacts to historic resources from the State Historic Preservation Officer before they can proceed.

he capital projects funded by the millions of dollars of federal stimulus money making its way to Hawai‘i will significantly alter the way we travel, where we live, how we learn, what our visitors experience, and how we settle our islands. These “shovel ready” projects offer badly needed jobs and help ensure that our public facilities are best equipped to handle the challenges of tomorrow.

These federally-supported projects will also have impacts on many historic resources across the state: military installations; transportation facilities of roads, airports, harbors, rail and bridges; schools; and neighborhoods. If handled poorly, the projects could be significant threats to those historic and cultural places. Hawai‘i must be careful that these projects have adequately assessed their effects and have made commitments to preserve and protect our treasured historic places.

In normal times, the preservation and environmental statutes enforced by public agencies provide a safety net. These safety nets ensure that impacts are disclosed and that agreements are made to minimize harm of our precious resources.

Unfortunately, the State Historic Preservation Division, which is charged with regulatory oversight regarding historic sites, is so underfunded and understaffed, it risks losing its federal funding for next year. The current State budget cuts and the anticipated furlough/lay-off of State employees further complicate the situation, as does the Administration’s position of prohibiting hiring of special-funded positions or using contractors, even though these solutions are funded separately and would have no effect on the state’s general fund.


The State Historic Preservation Division currently has 8 vacant positions, including 3 that are federally-funded and 2 that are specially-funded.

Several federal, state and county governments have expressed interest and willingness to provide special funding for additional positions to help expedite review of major projects that require historic preservation compliance under both federal and state law. These funders include the Hawai‘i State Department of Transportation (DOT) and a private funder on Kaua‘i.


Please contact Governor Lingle and ask her to:

  • Allow the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) contract qualified professionals to perform critical tasks, and
  • Allow the SHPD to spend its funding from federal and non-state sources.
See a Sample Letter
Mailing Address:
The Honorable Linda Lingle
Governor, State of Hawai`iExecutive Chambers
State Capitol
Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813
Phone: (808) 586-0034
Fax: (808) 586-0006

Questions for Historic Hawaii or about this alert? Call Kiersten Faulkner at (808)523-2900 or email

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

NOAA, UH to Survey 19th century shipwreck off Lanai

Return to Shipwreck Beach Project
Maritime Heritage Resources Survey July 6-20, 2009
Photo right: Steam ship’s boiler, stern section of unidentified wreck site near Yamada’s, Shipwreck Beach, Lanai (Courtesy of NOAA & UH Manoa)

The Hawaiian Islands, with their long history of intensive maritime activity, have witnessed the loss of hundreds of ships, creating wrecks scattered along the rugged coastline. Many of these sites represent historic steamships and sailing schooners, reflecting the busy inter-island trade during Hawaii’s formative ranching and plantation period in the mid to late 19th century. The reefs surrounding the island of Lana`i not only presented natural hazards to this navigation, but also provided steamship owners like Inter Island Steam Navigation Company a place to dispose older vessels, and “Shipwreck Beach” on Lanai’s north shore soon became the rotten row of Hawaii’s historic maritime past. Surveying these historic resources opens a window on Hawai‘i’s maritime and plantation legacy.

The systematic study of these historic resources on Lanai began in 2001 with the survey of the naval vessel YO-21 (a Pearl Harbor “survivor”) and the SS Hornet, an inter island cattle carrier associated with Lanai Ranch. The Return to Shipwreck Beach project 2009 will continue this work. NOAA’s Maritime Heritage Program in the Pacific Islands region, in partnership with the University of Hawaii’s Marine Option Program, will offer six university students five days of training in maritime archaeology surveying techniques. The team will then spend ten days camping at Shipwreck Beach (July 11-20), recording features of an unidentified 19th century steamship wreck site. They will be assisted in shoreline work by students from Lanai Elementary and High School. Web site and brochure material will highlight heritage preservation for this very special natural, cultural, and historic place.

The project will be conducted in collaboration with the Lanai Cultural and Heritage Center, the Lanai Elementary and High School, the Lanai Archaeological Committee, Alu Like Inc., and the Coalition for a Drug Free Lanai. The Return to Shipwreck Beach project is supported by a NOAA Preserve America Initiative Grant, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and the University of Hawai‘i Marine Option Program. For more information, contact Hans Van Tilburg at 808-271-4187 or

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Obama childhood home considered for demolition

The Honolulu Advertiser reports on the future of one of President Obama's childhood homes. This home, situated on Oahu Ave. in Manoa is owned by Honolulu Christian Church, located nearby. Until the home's connection to President Obama was reported in the Honolulu Advertiser in November 2008, the church intended to demolish the home in order to expand the church's facilities.

The land is zoned for residential use, which limits the types of uses that could replace the home.

The home was built in the 1920s, but is not listed on the state or national registers of historic places. However, a place on the registers does not protect an historic home or building from demolition.

Monday, July 6, 2009

State Releases Funds for Land Conservation Projects

Governor Linda Lingle recently approved the release of $3.3 million from the State's Legacy Land Conservation Fund to preserve some 3700 acres of Hawaii's natural and cultural places. The State's funds will be matched with $6.6 million from the Federal government and $1.5 in private funds to purchase the land located on Oahu and the Big Island of Hawaii.

These land parcels were recommended to the state's Board of Land and Natural Resouces by the Legacy Land Conservation Commission, a nine-member commission of cultural, agricultural and natural resource experts and representatives from each county. The parcels were chosen based on their cultural, archeological and natural resource values.

Approved projects for the 2009 Grants:
  • $982,956.50 to the State of Hawai‘i for the acquisition of 3,582 acres in Honouliuli Preserve, Wai‘anae Mountain Range (O‘ahu);
  • $450,000 to the State of Hawai‘i for the acquisition of 65.56 acres in Hamakua, Kailua (O‘ahu);
  • $7,000 to the State of Hawai‘i for the acquisition of 7 acres in North Kohala (Hawai‘i);
  • $1,250,000 to the State of Hawai‘i for the acquisition of 17.05 acres in Lapakahi, Kohala (Hawai‘i);
  • $609,425 to the Maui Coastal Land Trust – for the acquisition of an agricultural conservation easement over 27.44 acres, in Pupukea, North Shore (O‘ahu), to be held by the North Shore Community Land Trust.

State agencies, counties and non profit land conservation organizations can apply for the grants to fund the acquisition of Hawaii's cultural and natural places for preservation and conservation. Grants are awarded annually to recipients who match at least 25% of the total project costs.

Learn more..

Honolulu Magazine's Editor's Page

Some buildings become heirlooms, best handed down.
by A. Kam Napier

Read the article..

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Akaka leads the fight to save Tomb of the Unknowns

“The commitment to restoring the authentic monument is consistent with the best of American traditions: we do not discard our national treasures”
- Senator Daniel Akaka

Thanks in no small part to Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetary will remain an authentic memorial to those who lost their lives in battle.

After the Army Corps announced plans to replace the monument with a replica, Akaka and Webb championed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 which required a study of options for the aging structure.

In September of 2008, the report required by the Akaka/Webb amendment outlined several possible means of repairing and preserving, rather than replacing, the now-weathered monument at the tomb. Following the report, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Arlington National Cemetary committed to restoring the monument rather than completely replacing it.

“The commitment to restoring the authentic monument is consistent with the best of American traditions: we do not discard our national treasures,” said Senator Akaka. “I applaud the Army and Arlington National Cemetery for making the right decision, and thank my friend Jim Webb for his work on this issue.”

“I am pleased the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has decided to repair rather than replace the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery,” said Senator Webb. “This decision ensures that the historical integrity of this unique memorial will be preserved for future generations of Americans who visit the tomb to honor our men and women in uniform who gave their lives for our nation.”

According to an announcement from Senator Akaka's office, "The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery is a monument to honor those who do not return from battle. It is a tangible tribute to their service, as well as a place for their families and others to contemplate their absence."

For more information on the restoration plans, click here for a release issued by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.