History of Lunalilo Home
Lunalilo Home was established by the will of High Chief William Charles Lunalilo, who died in 1874 while he was king of the Hawaiian Islands. His estate included large landholdings on the five major islands, consisting of 33 ahupua’a, nine ‘ili, and more than a dozen home lots. His will established a perpetual trust under the administration of three trustees to be appointed by the justices of the Hawaiian Supreme Court. Lunalilo was the first of the large landholding ali’i to create a charitable trust for the benefit of his people.
The purpose of the trust was to build a home to accommodate the poor, destitute, and inform people of Hawaiian (aboriginal) blood or extraction, with preference given to older people. The will charged the Trustees sell all of the estate’s land to build and maintain the home.
In 1879 the land for the first Lunalilo Home was granted to the Estate by the Hawaiian government and consisted of 21 acres in Kewalo, makai of the present Roosevelt High School. The construction of the first Lunalilo Home at that site was paid for by the sale of estate lands. The Home was completed in 1883 to provide care for 53 residents. An adjoining 39 acres for pasture and dairy was conveyed by the legislative action to the Estate in 1888.
After 44 years, the Home in Kewalo had deteriorated and became difficult and costly to maintain. The trustees located a new 20-acre site in Maunalua on the slopes of Koko Head, owned by the estate of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, and consisting of farmland and buildings facilities leased to the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). The Maunalua site was purchased by the Brown family (John Ii Estate, Ltd.) and given as a gift to Lunalilo Home in memory of their mother Irene Ii Holloway, daughter of John Ii, who was a close friend of Lunalilo’s father. With Court approval in 1927, the Kewalo/Makiki property was subdivided and sold and the proceeds used to purchase and renovate the RCA buildings to accommodate 56 residents.
In 1959, with the advent of Henry Kaiser’s development of the surrounding Bishop Estate land of Maunalua, the character of the previous agriculture land was dramatically altered to that of residential and commercial, and became known as Hawai’i Kai. In 1969, Lunalilo Home developed fifteen acres into a residential tract of eighty leasehold lots, leaving the remaining five acres devoted to the Home.
Pursuant to State of Hawai’i law pertaining to leasehold-to-fee conversion, in 2883, under terms approved by the Circuit Court, the Trustees eventually sold all of the residential lots.
Lunalilo Home temporarily ceased operations from 1997 through 2001 to undertake major renovations to its structure. Upon re-opening, it was licensed by the State Department of Health as an Adult Residential Care Home (ARCH) to accommodate 42 residents.
In the ensuing years, and continuing through the present, Lunalilo Home added further elderly services to include Adult Day Care, Respite, and home meal deliveries. While continuing to focus on serving Hawaiians, the Home has also opened it doors and services to non-Hawaiians.