Historic Manoa home for sale

What’s it like to live in a historic home? If you’re interested in buying one, you could find out yourself, as the MacIntyre house on University Ave. is now available.

When it was built in 1902 by Janet Taylor MacIntyre and her brother Malcolm, it was one of the first homes in the College Tract area of Manoa. At the time, Manoa was an agricultural community for wetland taro and sweet potatoes, as well as a dairy farming center. In 1886, development began on the Seaview Tract, followed by the Dorch-Schnack subdivision on the Tantalus side, then this College Tract near Oahu College (now known as Punahou School).

Her home is done in the elegant Queen Anne revival style, with high ceilings, formal front parlor, clear pine floors, asymmetrical façade, bay windows, decorative porch trim, multiple gables with carved verge boards, fish scale shingles and round-headed vents.

Janet MacIntyre herself is a pivotal figure in Hawaii’s (and women’s) business history. She immigrated to Hawaii from Scotland in 1900 with her brother, who needed a warmer climate for his health. In 1901, at age 31, she joined Bishop Savings Bank as an accounting clerk. In 1906 she joined the newly created Bishop Trust Company and worked with its founder, Samuel M. Damon. Through the years, she worked her way up through the company and was eventually named a director—the first woman in Hawaii to hold such a high position. In 1926, she was a director, assistant treasurer, and head of the Investment and Securities department of the company.

In 1927, she was named Outstanding Businesswoman of the Territory of Hawaii. In 1935, she became vice president of Bishop Trust, yet another uniquely high position for women at that time. MacIntyre became an advocate for women’s opportunities in the workplace, and encouraged women to get training to foster success.

Today, when driving on University Ave., you can’t miss the MacIntyre home: the front yard displays the most colorful explosion of flowers along the front and sides.

“It’s probably the most recognizable house, and the most photographed,” says owner Ron Jeffrey, who was a vice president at Princeville Corp. “When tour buses drive by, they often pull over on the side street so the tourists can come over and take pictures.

“I love flowers,” Jeffrey explains. “When I was growing up, we didn’t know we were poor, because everyone was in the same situation. But no matter what, my mother bought fresh flowers for the house every week. It makes me feel good.”

Aside from the flowers, Jeffrey says the home itself has a tranquil, almost spiritual feeling, which is why he and his wife named it “Hooluana,” which means to live in comfort and leisure.

When they first bought the home in 1992, it exuded good energy but needed a lot of restoration work. The Jeffreys kept the original configuration but added a rear extension and restored the entire interior to make it look new again—so new, the wood floors shine as if unused.

“I think it comes from my personal disposition, having worked in the hotel business. Everything has to be clean and working,” Jeffrey says. “Whoever buys this house doesn’t have to do anything, because it’s all in working order.”

Living in a home on the Hawaii and National Register of Historic Places has its benefits, like the property tax break due to its lower assessed value. However, the house needs to be maintained and preserved for its cultural value, and if it’s not visible from the street, may need to be open to the public for specific events during the year.

“We live in such a throwaway society,” Jeffrey says. “It’s important to preserve such historic sites for future generations to enjoy. You buy a house, but create a home.”

Money talk: $1,595,000 fee simple

Contact: Jeffrey Fox, Kahala Associates, 808-292-5333, Jeff@KahalaAssociates.com
Ulf Schaefer, Kahala Associates, 808-393-3850, Ulf@KahalaAssociates.com