O‘ahu in 1930: One of Hawai‘i’s Must-See Buildings Makes Its Debut in Honolulu

The four-story building was one of the tallest on the street.

HONOLULU Magazine emerged as Paradise of the Pacific in 1888, commissioned by King Kalākaua himself, making it the oldest continuously publishing magazine west of the Mississippi. Here’s a dive into our archives.


bishop street


The $1 million Alexander & Baldwin building makes its debut. “Situated on the corner of Merchant and Bishop, two of Honolulu’s principal downtown streets, the colorful terra cotta building stands in a tropic setting of coconut palms,” says Paradise. “Adding a typically Hawaiian touch, both to the large entrance foyer and to the interior of the building, are beautiful panels of Hawaiian marine scenes in art tile. The balcony is delightfully decorated with palms and tropic plants.”


At the time, architect C.W. Dickey’s four-story building was one of the tallest on the street. Now, it’s flanked by the Bank of Hawai‘i tower and Topa Financial Center. A&B’s headquarters still houses more than 100 employees. The historic structure is listed as one of the state’s 25 must-see buildings and public spaces by USA Today.


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Learn more about the evolution of covers in HONOLULU Magazine and Paradise of the Pacific: 125 Years of Covers, available at shop.honolulumagazine.com.


Find more photos from Honolulu’s past every Thursday on Instagram @honolulumag.