1920s, the accepted style for most public architecture in Honolulu,
Hawaii, was Spanish Mission
Revival or, more broadly, Mediterranean Revival.
fire stations built on Oahu between 1924 and 1932 illustrate this
stylistic congruence, despite being designed by three different
architects. The prototype for all five appears to have been
Palama Fire Station
, built in
1901 and designed by Oliver G.
. Honolulu's Central Fire
, remodeled in 1934, is larger but somewhat similar in
style, although with Art Deco
embellishments. All seven buildings were added to the National Register of
on 2 December 1980, even though Palama Fire
Station had been added separately on 21 April 1976.
All seven fire stations are box-shaped, two-story structures, with
engine bays on the ground floor and dormitories upstairs. All have
drying towers, which were required for the cloth-covered rubber
hoses of the era in which they were built, but which also serve as
visual landmarks and decorative elements. The buildings are all of
, with white stucco walls and
tiled roofs, in a Mediterranean style. The Waikiki Fire Station
on Kapahulu Avenue
followed a similar model when it was built in 1927, but it was
extensively remodeled in 1963 to fit an evolving Hawaiian rather
than Mediterranean style, so it was excluded from the National
In 1901, just after the devastating Chinatown fire of 1900, the
city of Honolulu had three fire stations. The Central Fire Station
at that time was a lava-rock building of two-and-a-half stories
designed in 1896 by Clinton Briggs
and C.W. Dickey
in the Richardsonian Romanesque
dominated the downtown area at that time. The Makiki Fire Station
was a two-story wooden building designed by Ripley and Dickey in
1899. At the time he relocated to Honolulu in 1897, Oliver G. Traphagen had already designed many
public buildings in Duluth, Minnesota.
During the turn-of-the-century building
boom after annexation, he soon became one of the busiest architects
in the Territory
. When he was
commissioned to design the Palama Fire Station in 1901, he gave it
a Mediterranean look very different from that of the Romanesque
Station he had designed the previous year.
However, the building boom faded soon afterward. Dickey relocated to
California in 1905, and Traphagen followed in 1907, after the
1906 San Francisco
earthquake. The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 set the stage for another building boom, as
both tourism and migration helped fuel rapid growth during the
1920s. Many nationally known architects opened
offices in the islands, and their designs often reflected a
California regional style heavily influenced by the work of
Bertram Goodhue at the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in
Dickey reopened an office in Honolulu in
1920 and moved back to the islands in 1925. The new fire stations
of the 1920s and 1930s more closely reflected California regional
styles than did Traphagen's prototype in 1901.
Image:Palamafirestation.JPG|Palama Fire Station (1901), architect
Oliver G. Traphagen
Fire Station (1924), architect G. R.
MillerImage:Honolulu-Kalihi-fire-station.JPG|Kalihi Fire Station
(1924), architect G. R.
MillerImage:Old-Kakaako-firestation-front-view.JPG|Old Kakaako Fire
Station (1929), architect Solomon F.
KennImage:Honolulu-Makiki-firestation-front.JPG|Makiki Fire Station
(1929), architect Solomon F.
KennImage:Waialua-firestation.JPG|Waialua Fire Station (1932),
architect A. W. HeenImage:Honolulu-Central-Fire-Station.JPG|Central
Fire Station (1934), architect C.W.
Fire Station (1934), Art Deco
- Penkiunas 1990, pp. 250–251
- Report of the Governor of the Territory of Hawaii 1901, p.
- Neil 1975, pp. 105-106
- Penkiunas 1990, pp. 1-19
- Neil,J. Meredith (1975). "The Architecture of C.W. Dickey in
Hawai‘i." Hawaiian Journal of History 9:101-113.
- Penkiunas, Daina Julia (1990). American Regional Architecture
in Hawaii: Honolulu, 1915–1935. Ph.D. dissertation, University of
Virginia. (Published by UMI,
Ann Arbor, in 1993.)
- Report of the Governor of the Territory of Hawaii to the
Secretary of the Interior (1901). Washington: Government Printing