Friday, May 28, 2010

Alexander Young Hotel - Honolulu, Hawaii

The 300-room Alexander Young Hotel was built in 1902 at a cost of $2 million (initially, it had just under 200 rooms.) The hotel was built by Alexander Young, who came to Hawaii from Blackburn, Scotland in 1865. Mr. Young invested in sugar plantations and eventually became president of the Waiakea Mill Co. He also bought the famous Moana Hotel in Waikiki and the original Royal Hawaiian Hotel (which was not in Waikiki, but instead at Hotel and Richards Streets near the Iolani Palace.)

Alexander Young became a citizen of the Kingdom of Hawaii and served in the House of Nobles between 1887-1892. He also served on an advisory council for the Provisional Government after the overthrow of the Kingdom.

The Young Hotel was used by the military in both World Wars. During WWI, the U.S. Army used the second floor.  During WWII, the military occupied most of the hotel.  In 1964, the hotel was converted to offices. In 1980, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which did nothing to protect it from demolition the following year. Too bad. While it may not have been a spectacular building, it was definitely an important part of Honolulu's history. Here's a drawing of the lobby by the architect. And here's the back of the card:

12 comments:

  1. I think it's funny that this might be the postcard someone sends home from Hawaii. Of all the sights you see there, the one you want to share with the folks at home is a big gray hotel?

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  2. Interesting what some people do with their fortunes. Hawaii sounds like the perfect spot to invest and build up another business.

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  3. My first impression was pretty similar to Keri's- this sure doesn't look like the kind of architecture you would build in the land of sunny sands and tropical breezes....

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  4. It must show most of the hotel, I wonder if people sent it with a arrow where they stayed. He would think his name would live on through the hotel,what a shame it was demolished.

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  5. just wanted to let you know i enjoy seeing both the front and backs of all these cards! thank you sharing!!

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  6. After the Waiakea Mill Sugar Plantation closed in Hilo, we moved to Honolulu. I remember that my father worked at the hotel from 1956 - 1964. He worked in the broiler room in the basement. There was a bakery by the front door and he would bring home chunks of chocolate. I remember playing in the hotel, sneaking into rooms and running up and down the stairs. It was so much fun. Some people see it as a big gray building. I see it as a playground. Wish I had this postcard.

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  7. Alexander Young was my great-great grandfather. The hotel was not simply the "big gray building" it appears to be; it was the place where you went to see and be seen if you aspired to a sort of social prominence at the time. The Roof Garden was the scene for most of the parties that would accomplish this.

    Thanks for posting the postcard - it reminded me of growing up in Hawaii in the 1970s. By that time, the Young Building was mainly doctor's offices and the like - not much left to remind anyone of its more celebrated days. I doubt many people remembered its more storied past when it was torn down in 1981.

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  8. drlani and Caravan,
    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your memories of the hotel. It's not just a postcard anymore now that your personal stories have been added. I hope you stop by again.

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  9. I had never heard of the Alexander Young Hotel until this morning. I purchased some things from an auction last weekend and just went through and found two silver plate serving pieces that are stamped 'Alexander Young Hotel' on the bottom. Apparently I made a good purchase. Thank you for the information.

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  10. To Caravan 70 - What was the street address for this hotel? It was torn down in 1981 and I haven't been able to find any records online to give me an idea where it was situated in downtown Honolulu. I'm guessing the hotel was oriented on the hillside so that it's length overlooked the ocean (there was a neat rooftop garden where guests dined and relaxed), but I'd like to be certain. This is for inclusion in a historical novel. Thanks! Steve

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  11. To Caravan 70 - my great great grandfather too!

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  12. What a shame the decedents never got the business dna from him... Nice memories, zero legacies, lazy days, soft ocean sprays, tennis and golf was all they played. Chorus: and it all went belly up, with toddies at sunset on the terrace, it all went belly up!

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