Fifty years ago, all of Hawai‘i state government’s elected big shots — from then-Gov. John Burns and his lieutenant governor, Tom Gill, to state senators and representatives — closed their ‘Iolani Palace offices and walked across what was then Hotel Street to America’s newest state capitol building.
As they walked into Hawai‘i’s political and governmental future, they left behind the most visible physical remnant of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i and its remarkable history.
Their steps took them out of a four-story ornate palace built in 1882 as the official residence of Hawai‘i’s kings and queens. After the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in January 1893, ‘Iolani Palace became the home of Hawai‘i’s new government — first, the provisional government in 1893, then the republic of Hawai‘i a year later, followed by the territory of Hawai‘i in 1898 and, finally, in 1959, the state of Hawai‘i.