Mahalo to Zita Cup Choy for pointing out this related article in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser, 1913.


King Kalakaua’s Mirrors the Pet Object of Souvenir Hunters—Kamehameha Knocked.

Daring souvenir collectors, willing to run the risk of a term in prison to gratify their desires, made a bold attempt to carry off a number of mirrors and bronze frames from the Capitol Building some time Wednesday night. It is believed that the collectors were frightened while at work and for that reason did not accomplish their purpose.

Roland Green, keeper of the Capitol, yesterday morning discovered the work of the would-be souvenir owners on the first terrace of the Ewa side of the building. They had succeeded in partially breaking two of the mirrors from their fastenings on the wall. A board holding one of the glasses in place was broken in two in tearing it from its lodgment. Green had the glasses and bronze frames removed to the basement of the Capitol where they will be repaired, resilvered and returned to their positions on the Capitol wall.

During the past few years several of these mirrors have been torn from their fastenings and carried away. Though malihinis, sightseeing and treasure hunting on the island, have been accused of the depredations it is said that kamaainas have had knowledge of at least one or two of them.

Kamehameha’s statue has not escaped the destructive onslaughts of the vandals. Several heads of the little bronze images at the base of the statue have been knocked off and carried away by the curio-seekers.

The mirrors, however, seem to have the most attraction. These mirrors are set in elaborate circular bronze frames surmounted by the coat of arms of King Kalakaua, bearing the initials of that monarch supported by two perfectly carved cherubs. It is stated that these frames originally cost $250 each and many were installed around the terraces of each floor of the palace. The idea of putting them in place is said to have originated with the King and were designed for the purpose of aiding in illuminating the palace grounds.

This was in 1883. Gas was then the modern method of illumination in Honolulu as well as on the mainland. Gas fixtures were arranged in front of each of the glasses. When these were lighted the mirrors were intended to cast the reflection to the surrounding grounds. It is said that this innovation cost the monarchy about $20,000.

For a year after the completion of the new palace it is said that King Kalakaua had one of the best illuminated palaces in the world, though practically the full capacity of the local gas plant was required to accomplish this purpose. By that time the good King learned that, after all, his bright mirrors were not the success they should be. Soon afterward the electric lights came and the gas fixtures were removed. Since then the mirrors have not only been sought after by curio hunters but have been the object of much speculation on the part of tourists.

Many of these strangers have figured that the mirrors were installed on the palace walls by the King with a view of aweing visiting native subjects, many of whom, according to fiction, had never gazed into a looking-glass.

It remained for Keeper Green to give the true version of their cause of their installation.

“It is strange how some people look upon this Capitol Building as a curio pile,” said a territorial official yesterday. “The fact that the former palace of the King is being used as the seat of a democratic government seems to appeal to them strongly and but for the vigilance used by the watchman and others the entire building would be carried off by souvenir hunters within a few years.”

[This is most likely the basis of the Hawaiian-Language article in the Kuokoa, 1/17/1913, p. 6.]

(Pacific Commercial Advertiser, 1/10/1913, p. 6)


Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Volume LVII, Number 9494, Page 6. January 10, 1913.

More Decorating the Kamehameha Statue, 1912.


Leading Hawaiians Decorating the Statue of Kamehameha yesterday.

(From Wednesday’s Advertiser.)

Cloaked in leis from helmet to feet the stalwart and majestic Kamehameha looked out over city and mountains in the light of a perfect day, thousands of holiday makers shut up shop and went out to play yesterday in honor of the first king of Hawaii Nei and scores of horsemen passed before the statue keeping the old Kamehameha Day custom.

Aside from the pleasant weather, which is a traditional accompaniment of the day, the decorating of the statue and the Hawaiian races and luau at Kalihi there was not much to remind the public of Kamehameha, and it would seem that the public determined to turn the occasion into a playful Sunday. There were no pa-u riders, although a number of horsemen on all grades and classes of steeds rode about town in groups. Many of them were cowboys in full regalia.

There were a few Hawaiian flags in evidence, one or two consular flags and hundreds of bare flag-poles. Evidently the brilliant sun was relied upon to bring out the natural colors of Honolulu’s setting so the bunting was deemed unnecessary.

An enormous crowd turned out to see the marathon runners come in from Haleiwa, another enormous crowd made a pilgrimage to aquatic and other sports at the Kalihi races and luau, and it seemed that half of Honolulu crowded about the Athletic Field at Punahou and tried to climb the fence while all the youngsters in town were inside drinking pop and playing games at the Central Union Church’s picnic.

Beaches Crowded.

The beaches were crowded all day and the sunburn “took fine” on a thousand or more lily complexions. At nine o’clock yesterday morning the crowds began to gather along King street and by noon the police were busy keeping people off the car tracks and pulling the absent minded from in front of tooting automobiles between Kalihi and Waikiki. The bicycle and foot races stirred up as much enthusiasm and drew as big a holiday crowd as a pa-u parade in the old days when Kamehameha was honored in true Hawaiian style. The old Portuguese statue worshiper who performs his unique rites before the judiciary building daily was not in evidence yesterday. He probably got a glimpse of his old friend the king in his giddy, gaudy holiday rags at long range and thought him lacking in the dignity which should hedge a real worshipful deity.

Draping the Monarch.

The work of clothing the deep chested monarch in flowers was done yesterday morning by the Order of Kamehameha. Fifty members of the lodge marched from the Odd Fellows building to the statue about eight-thirty o’clock carrying their flowers and leis and after the decorating formed in a circle in front of the statue where they were addressed by Kaukau Alii Chung Hoon, Sr. The ceremony closed with the singing of Hawaii Ponoi. There was a large general attendance of spectators at this function.

When the mounted police squad came back from the Punahou picnic they were as weary as a force of fond mothers after getting the youngsters washed and dressed for Sunday school. For about five hours they had hopped from one corner of the athletic field to the other persuading the irrepressible small boys on the outside that they were not invited and that entrance was to be had at the gate and by ticket. The Central Union Bible class was entertaining the Kakaako and Palama mission schools and the latter were certainly entertained.

At the close of the races the big down-town crowds dispersed, the few stores that were open in the forenoon closed, Absalom stretched out in the middle of the sidewalk at Fort and King and had a snooze and a Sabbath-like calm brooded over the city of palms and poi, as the poet might say.

[Found on Chronicling America!]

(Hawaiian Gazette, 6/14/1912, p. 2)


The Hawaiian Gazette, Volume LV, Number 39, Page 2. June 14, 1912.

Decorating the Kamehameha Statue, 1912.

[Found under: “Local News”]

All members of the Ahahui Kamehameha Division 1 are requested to assemble in the Building of the Secret Society, Odd Fellows, at 10 in the morning of this coming Sunday, June 9, 1912, to go on to pray in Kawaiahao Church, as is done in all past years; and they are also ordered to assemble within Kapiolani Hale at half past 8 on the morning of Tuesday, the 11th of June, 1912, to go and decorate the statue of Kamehameha I in front of the Government Building. Do not forget this order!

(Kuokoa, 6/7/1912, p. 8)

Ua makemakeia na lala apau...

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke XLVIII, Helu 23, Aoao 8. Iune 7, 1912.

Kamehameha Statue, 1882.

[Found under: “LOCAL NEWS”]

The Kamehameha I Statue brought by the captain of the clipper ship Dalhousie [Earl of Dalhousie], and purchased by the Government, was set up on the Waikiki side of the grounds of the Government Building. A small structure was built and the statue stands within it. It is heard that the plan of the Managing Committee is that all the flaws be redone.

(Kuokoa, 5/6/1882, p. 3)

O ke Kia Hoomanao o Kamehameha I...

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke XXI, Helu 13, Aoao 3. Mei 6, 1882.