Park began as a development project overseen by the private Kapi'olani
Park Association in 1876.
common story told in Hawai'i is that King David Kalakaua had it built
and named after 'his' queen Kapi'olani. Supposedly, Kalakaua became
enamored by the importance of public open spaces after a tour of the
is what the king may have wished his subjects to believe, but the park's
origins stemmed from a plan by a group of well-connected people to create
a leasehold resort for wealthy holidaymakers, and to get a top-quality
racetrack going. The king was a shareholder."1
shares were sold at $50 each. Every owner got the right to lease a beachfront
house lot in the park, and as a result a number of residences were built
along the park's shores during the 1880s. After the overthrow of the
monarchy in 1893, many of these prime parcels found their way into private,
fee simple ownership.
Wanda Adams interviews Robert R. Weyeneth, author of "Kapi'olani
Park: A History" in Honolulu Advertiser - December 15, 2002
Hibbard and David Franzen, The View from Diamond Head, 1986.
Editor's note: The
above military photograph of Kapi'olani Park was made during an Independence
Day military exercise in 1921, showing the racetrack just a few years
before it closed.