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Thread: Urban Fossil?

  1. #1
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    Default Urban Fossil?

    On the heels of Kalihiboy's question of what used to be where Waikele Premium Outlets now stand, I offer my own question, prompted by this visual currently standing at the corner of Fort Street and S. King Street in downtown Honolulu:



    A drab grey concrete cube attached to Pioneer Plaza and abutting S. King has been on the market for ages, and was recently gutted, presumably to finally make way for a new tenant. But as you see above, it looks like in the process, they've revealed the shell of an older, red brick building inside the east wall.

    I'm not sure if the red brick building -- which looks like it was three stories tall with a sloped roof, much like a lot of the older buildings on nearby Merchant Street -- ended up inside the shell of the newer concrete structure, or if we're just seeing the "shadow" of an older building that used to stand against what's now the wall of Pioneer Plaza. I'm thinking that it's the former, though, 'cause the floors of the red brick building line up with the current floors of the newer one.

    So, old-time Honolulu nostalgists... Does anyone remember what used to be there?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Step 1: figure out when Pioneer Plaza was built.

    From this site: http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=128821

    Floors (OG) 21
    Construction end 1978
    Last reconstruction *
    UFA *


    Building in General
    Type of construction high-rise building
    Main usages
    *
    Architectural style *
    Status completed

    Companies involved in this Building*
    architect: Architects Hawaii, Ltd.

    Other firms: Pacific Construction Company, Ltd. [Fletcher Pacific Construction Company], Englekirk Partners, Inc., Frederick H. Kohloss & Associates, Continental Mechanical of the Pacific.

    So an enterprising reporter might call Architects Hawai'i and ask what was there before they designed the new building.

    I got here in 1978, so I don't have any memory of what was there before then.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    I have been here since the summer of 1979 but I sort remember that the King Theater being around that area. I only been to that place once for the showing of Escape from New York.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    That reminds you of Escape! Kurt Russell!
    That reminds me:
    I used to hang at a bar/restaurant in on 3rd st promenade S.M.
    Lagos.
    he and his wife Goldie Hawn would sit about three feet from me in a kinda private corner...

    Corner!
    that reminds me. We lived in a house on the corner of Aalapapa and Pokole Way lanikai in da 60's

    the 60's! that reminds me. We lived off kalaheo and then later, Hele St Keolu Hills before that!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Quote Originally Posted by helen
    I have been here since the summer of 1979 but I sort remember that the King Theater being around that area. I only been to that place once for the showing of Escape from New York.
    Yeah, that sounds right. Across from Liberty House. I got here in March '78, so if the building was completed later that year I might have seen the theater before it was demolished/enclosed or whatever.

    I'm ignoring Kimo, who seems to be snarky tonight.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Linkmeister
    I'm ignoring Kimo, who seems to be snarky tonight.
    What do you mean tonight?

    A pity, though. Of all things, some random Googling turned up this earlier thread right here at HawaiiThreads.com, discussing a lot of old places... many of them right around the spot pictured above. King Theater, the original Liberty Grill, Swanky's, a giant Japanese department store that Kimo even mentioned having footage of...

    Maybe 1stwahile will know. I do think it's interesting that there's a chance that the old building at that location wasn't torn down, but was actually "swallowed" and built over by the building that's there now.

    Where exactly was the King Theater? This historic write up of the early Hawaiian press notes that the King Theater actually sat where an old press building stood previously.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    King Theater was directly across King St. from Liberty House. Had some fun times taking my daughter & her friends there when they were small kids.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    From Pz's description of hi pic and location. If it's directly across Macy's then it's where King Theater used to stand. There was a building in the corning of Bethel and N. King. Adjacent was the King Theater Building which also housed a small diner in front.

    Auntie Lynn
    Be AKAMAI ~ KOKUA Hawai`i!
    Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Well, Macy's spans the whole block along S. King between Bethel St. and Fort St. on the mauka side. On the makai side, from Bethel St. moving east, there's a small, old building right on the corner, a Bank of Hawaii parking garage, and then Pioneer Plaza -- which has the concrete cube annex pictured above. Basically, the mysterious building-in-a-building is at the corner of S. King and Fort St.

    From 1stwahine's description, it sounds like this structure might be what housed the diner "in front of" King Theater. Was that diner building red brick and three stories tall, perhaps?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Quote Originally Posted by pzarquon
    Well, Macy's spans the whole block along S. King between Bethel St. and Fort St. on the mauka side. On the makai side, from Bethel St. moving east, there's a small, old building right on the corner, a Bank of Hawaii parking garage, and then Pioneer Plaza -- which has the concrete cube annex pictured above. Basically, the mysterious building-in-a-building is at the corner of S. King and Fort St.

    From 1stwahine's description, it sounds like this structure might be what housed the diner "in front of" King Theater. Was that diner building red brick and three stories tall, perhaps?
    Hmmmmm...the diner was located on the right side facing King Theater from King Street. The building was big. There was an Insurance Company located next to King Theater for many years where Pioneer Plaza is now.

    This is bugging me. I'm going Downtown today and go look.

    Auntie Lynn
    Be AKAMAI ~ KOKUA Hawai`i!
    Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Beyond my suggestion to call the original builders/designers, you know who else might be interested? Bob Krauss.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Linkmeister
    Beyond my suggestion to call the original builders/designers, you know who else might be interested? Bob Krauss.
    tHE original builders/designers is makidiedead by now.

    Yeah, Bob Krauss is good idea.

    Auntie Lynn
    Be AKAMAI ~ KOKUA Hawai`i!
    Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1stwahine
    tHE original builders/designers is makidiedead by now.

    Yeah, Bob Krauss is good idea.

    Auntie Lynn
    Auntie, see my first post above. I meant Architects Hawaii or Pacific Construction.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Linkmeister
    Auntie, see my first post above. I meant Architects Hawaii or Pacific Construction.
    Ooops. My Bad. I apologize Linkmeister. You da man!

    Auntie Lynn
    Be AKAMAI ~ KOKUA Hawai`i!
    Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Linkmeister
    Beyond my suggestion to call the original builders/designers, you know who else might be interested? Bob Krauss.
    Indeed. But it's fun to try and puzzle this odd "fossil" on our own, first!

    For what it's worth, from what Aunty Lynn noted above, I don't think the mystery building I'm asking about is where the diner was, since I'm guessing the mystery building is actually to the left of where King Theater was, not to the right. Here's another shot of the mystery building, as taken from across the street looking southeast. No sign of the red brick core from this angle.



    From her description of the diner being on the right of King Theater and on the corner, in fact, I'm wondering if the diner may have in fact been inside the McCandless building (at the corner of Bethel and S. King), which is still standing today. 925 Bethel, home of the Group 70 International architecture firm and other small businesses.

    Here's a neat write-up on the McCandless building in the Star-Bulletin. Since it's been there since 1906, it was there when Aunty Lynn was wandering about, too. Did you know it was originally two stories, then four, then five? Looking at the building today, as the write-up notes, it's pretty obvious.

    Anyway, the write-up also includes a photo of the McCandless building from the 1920s, and it shows a shorter building next door -- where the Bankoh parking structure now stands. Now, was that the King Theater? Because if not, and if the King Theater was indeed "across from Macy's," maybe the mystery building was the King Theater!

    Here's a shot from about fifteen minutes ago, looking east down S. King at the makai side of S. King between Bethel and Fort streets.



    Basically, there seems to be only three makai "lots" fronting S. King between Bethel and Fort. Today, as you go down S. King Street, those lots are occupied by the McCandless Building, Bankoh parking, and then the mystery building (attached to Pioneer Plaza). So the question is, what was that last property back in the day?

  16. #16

    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    The photo of the McCandless building in the S-B story Pzarq posted is captioned "Hawaii State Archives." Here's the website for the archives; I tried a quick search of the photograph collection, but either I didn't construct the search properly, photos aren't indexed online, or there's some other problem.

    http://statearchives.lib.hawaii.edu/

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Thanks for the pictures!

    K-den. The diner was part of the MaCandless Building cause there was a small alley between the theater and the diner.

    The Theater was located where the Parking Lot is now.

    The building in question in my opinion ~ I Dunno!

    I asked my MAMA. She said she can't remember dat far back. She makule already. She told me, "Wat! You no moa nuttin betta else foa do? Wash clothes!!!!"

    Too Funny. Happy Aloha Friday Everybody!
    I hope this get's solved by today cause going badda my pUpule mind!!!!

    Auntie Lynn
    Be AKAMAI ~ KOKUA Hawai`i!
    Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Wasn't the Alexander and Baldwin building around there?

  19. #19

    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Quote Originally Posted by craigwatanabe
    Wasn't the Alexander and Baldwin building around there?
    The A&B building's at 822 Bishop Street, makai of the building Pzarq's trying to figure out. If you watch the News Hour on PBS you'll see a lovely pic of it, since A&B partially underwrites the show.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    So wot, Aunty, you give up?

    I couldn't get much out of the state archives web search either, Link -- lots of results for "King," none for "Theater" or "Theatre." I guess I could try and visit the archives themselves on the grounds of 'Iolani Palace... haven't been there since Bev Keever's public records class a decade ago!

    Quote Originally Posted by craigwatanabe
    Wasn't the Alexander and Baldwin building around there?
    Unless there was another Alexander and Baldwin Building, I don't think so. The Alexander and Baldwin Building I know is two blocks east and a block makai on Bishop Street.
    Last edited by pzarquon; July 21st, 2006 at 09:48 AM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Oh well the only building I was ever fond of was the Alexander Young Building/Hotel. That was my stomping grounds as a child in the 60's. My dad was part of the building's maintenance crew and I would play inside it's marbled halls from morning to early evening while my dad worked.

    The basement was incredable with many underground levels. But that's another thread.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Quote Originally Posted by pzarquon
    So wot, Aunty, you give up?
    Eh, no need shout. I give up.

    I makule already. I brains ova work. I was busy posting Hawaiian Foods on da odda thread.

    And I not going even start on his request foa cake noodles!

    Auntie Lynn
    Be AKAMAI ~ KOKUA Hawai`i!
    Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Quote Originally Posted by craigwatanabe
    Oh well the only building I was ever fond of was the Alexander Young Building/Hotel. That was my stomping grounds as a child in the 60's. My dad was part of the building's maintenance crew and I would play inside it's marbled halls from morning to early evening while my dad worked.

    The basement was incredable with many underground levels. But that's another thread.
    The AY building was notable for me mostly because there was a great bar called Boyd's on the ground floor. Remember that torpedo that made the rounds of various watering holes and other locations for a while in the late 70s-early 80s? For a while it was stuck in the wall of Boyd's.

    Bobby Acoba bartended there for a while.

    The place ran half the length of the building, but it was only about 20 feet wide, and the bar took up half the width.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Linkmeister
    The AY building was notable for me mostly because there was a great bar called Boyd's on the ground floor. Remember that torpedo that made the rounds of various watering holes and other locations for a while in the late 70s-early 80s? For a while it was stuck in the wall of Boyd's.

    Bobby Acoba bartended there for a while.

    The place ran half the length of the building, but it was only about 20 feet wide, and the bar took up half the width.
    Eh, You going wayyyyyy...back!

    Do I know you?

    hahahahahahaha

    Auntie Lynn
    Be AKAMAI ~ KOKUA Hawai`i!
    Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Urban Fossil?

    I remember the Hob Knob Restaurant on the corner of Hotel and Bishop. As a matter of fact my dad still has some of the Oneida silverwear from that restaurant after it closed down and the owners left everything behind.

    When they tore down the Makai wing to make way for the Pacific Trade Center, my dad recycled a lot of the marble and the cinder smoke stack. Our old house at 5123 Kiluaea Avenue has probably what is left of the Alexander Young Building. our front door was lined with the facade from one of the lounges, the kitchen table is made of solid marble from the fifth floor walls and the cinder walkways out in the back yard is from the cinder smokestack incinerato that stood in the back parking lot that is now the parking garage.

    The patio door is from the Aloha Airlines office that was on the ground floor. And in the dining room my dad salvage the 3/4" thick grand piano shaped glass table that graced the lobby of AYB. At our marbled wetbar stands two plaster sconches that came from Boyd's along with the bar lights that graced the establishment. All the glass in the house came from AYB as well as th copper chandellier hanging inside the master bedroom.

    Our house on Kilauea Avenue in Waialae Nui Valley is virtually what remains of the Alexander Young Building. I told the person who bought our home that this house has priceless artifacts from AYB and it should be treasured not demolished when that time is considered.

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