PREVENT DEMOLITION OF THE WALKER ESTATE
Historic Hawai'i Foundation
680 Iwilei Road, Suite #690, Honolulu, HI 96817
Copyright 2003-2006 Historic Hawaii Foundation unless otherwise noted
HISTORIC HAWAII FOUNDATION
URGENT: HELP PREVENT DEMOLITION OF THE WALKER ESTATE
Letters to the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting are needed to oppose a development plan to would demolish the house, carriage house and the gardens of the historic Walker Estate in Nu‘uanu. The estate, including the house and gardens, is on the National and State Registers of Historic Places.
Comments on the proposed demolition and cluster development may be addressed to:
Mr. Henry Eng Director, Department of Planning and Permitting City and County of Honolulu 650 S. King Street, 7th Floor Honolulu, HI 96813
Comments may be sent to the address above via US Mail or via fax to: (808)527-5041.
Note: Comments sent via e-mail will not be accepted.
The historic home, gardens and all buildings of the nationally-recognized Walker Estate in Nu‘uanu are proposed to be destroyed under a plan filed with the City and County of Honolulu. CCH Department of Planning and Permitting received an application for a demolition permit for all structures on the site, as well as a request for a cluster development on the property that would add 20 houses where the gardens are currently. Prior to approving any permits, the City will require the applicant to complete an Environmental Assessment of the impacts to the historic property. The environmental assessment requires public notification and comment, which will be used by Department of Planning and Permitting in determining whether or not to allow the demolition and new development.
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Questions for Historic Hawaii Foundation regarding the Walker Estate?
Proposed Removal from the Register of Historic Places
In addition to the City process, the State Historic Preservation Division also received a letter requesting that five acres of the Walker Estate be removed from the State Register of Historic Places. The initial letter included only the gardens, but a subsequent notice to the State included a statement of intent to demolish all of the buildings, including the primary residence.
Comments on the proposal to remove the site from the State and National Registers of Historic Places may be addressed to:
Dr. Kiyoshi Ikeda Chairperson, Hawai`i Historic Places Review Board Department of Land and Natural Resources 601 Kamokila Boulevard, Room 555 Kapolei, HI 96707.
State law requires that any application to remove a property from the Historic Register be heard by the State Historic Places Review Board. Public notice of the hearing is required. There are only three reasons for removing a site from the Register:
- the qualities which originally caused them to be listed have been lost or destroyed;
- proof that an error in professional judgment had been made;
- or failure to follow procedures.
Historic Hawaii Foundation believes that the Walker Estate, which has been on the National Register since 1973 and the State Register since 1982, does not meet the criteria for de-listing. Any application for removal from the Historic Registers should be denied.
About the Walker Estate
The Walker Estate was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and on the State Register in 1982. The statement of significance for the listing specifically includes extensive discussion of the six acres of grounds, the garden design, plantings and objects, and the setting for the residence.
When the estate was nominated to the National Register, the statement of significance included a description of the gardens, noting that “the landscaping includes many plants and trees unique to Hawai`i and some unique only to this garden. The various areas contain plants and trees from all over the world and are divided into the following gardens: corner garden, Japanese garden (reputed to be the oldest formal Japanese garden in Honolulu), pink garden, orchard gardens (2), rock garden, fern house, rainbow garden and entrance garden.”
Mrs. Una Walker was an avid and active member of the early historic preservation movement. She served as a Trustee to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She supported the historic designation of her home, as it was her desire to protect her historic property for all of Hawaii to share and enjoy. She was also a strong supporter of HHF. The first office of Historic Hawaii Foundation was housed in the Walker Estate carriage house in 1974 and many HHF events were held in the gardens.