When asked what is special about Hawai‘i, most people have no shortage of answers. There is an abundance of riches: the aloha spirit and unique mix of both distinct and intertwined cultures; the unique ecosystems; the clear blue water and white sand; the perfect blend of temperature, humidity, wind and sunshine; cultural, performing and visual arts from slack key guitar to hula; abundant recreational offerings; food that reflects the trans-Pacific culture of Hawaii.
The residences of Hawai‘i may add yet another reason that Hawai‘i is special. The natural beauty of Hawai‘i is complemented by its neighborhoods, small towns, vernacular architecture, blend of indoor and outdoor design features, and other characteristics of the distinctive built environment of the Islands. The houses of Hawai‘i are a reflection of its physical setting and the social history.
The Hawai‘i Register of Historic Places was established to recognize many types of cultural resources. In addition to residences, it also includes other sites that tell the rich and varied history of the Hawaiian Islands. Represented on the Register are places of commerce, agriculture, education, recreation, worship, community gathering, civic interaction and, yes, housing.
We offer this Guide for Nominating Residences to the Hawai‘i Register of Historic Places in order to make the process more accessible to a wide variety of people. By answering frequently asked questions about the benefits and responsibilities, the process, and where to find information, we expect to see an increase in the number and type of sites listed on the historic register, and a renewed commitment to protecting significant historic properties.
The Guide, while written specifically for registering historic houses, may also be useful for other types of historic and cultural resource nominations. Additional technical and supplemental information is available from the National Park Service. For particularly complex districts or sites, we recommend using the services of a preservation professional with National Register experience.
Historic Hawai‘i Foundation was established to encourage the preservation of buildings, communities and sites relating to the history of Hawai‘i. The Hawai’i Register of Historic Places is an important element of ensuring that the historic legacy of Hawai‘i is kept alive and intact for the enrichment and enjoyment of both present and future generations.
It is our hope that all people who love Hawai‘i, who want to see it retain and enhance the elements that make it special, will join us in working to preserve all that is historically significant and architecturally distinctive in the Islands.