Jodie Chiemi Ching

Neatly displayed in the home of Hozen “Lefty” Shimabuku are precious mementos of the 32 years (1966 to 1998) he worked as a Washington Place groundskeeper, serving four Hawai‘i governors — John A. Burns, George R. Ariyoshi, John D. Waihe‘e III and Benjamin J. Cayetano. That’s a lot of memories.

But the 87-year-old Nisei’s fondest memories are of the years Gov. Burns and his wife Beatrice resided at Washington Place.

Washington Place, the white, airy, two-and-a-half-story home built in Greek Revival architectural style in 1847, was once the residence of Lydia Kamaka‘eha — the future Queen Lili‘uokalani, the last reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i — and her husband John Owen Dominis, whose father built the home. Following the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893, Queen Lili‘uokalani was held under house arrest at Washington Place for five months (in addition to a year of house arrest at ‘Iolani Palace, the former residence of her brother, King David Kaläkaua).

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