Resources for Visitors
Kamehameha V Post Office
In downtown Honolulu, on the corner of Bethel and Merchant Streets, the Kamehameha V Post Office stands. In 1871, it became the first building in the Pacific to be constructed entirely of precast concrete blocks reinforced with iron bars. The building was named in honor of Hawai'i's fifth king, who ordered the construction of the building in 1870. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the 19th century when Honolulu was burgeoning with life as a key trading point in the Pacific Ocean, one big thing was missing: postal service. In 1850, Mr. H. M. Whitney became Honolulu's first-ever postmaster. It was a new era; Hawai'i now had greater access to the world. Of course, trade with foreign countries increased following this milestone.
The King Kamehameha V Post Office was built in 1871 by J.G. Osborne. The pre-cast concrete construction method was so successful, Osborne applied the same technique in building the Ali’iolani Hale. In 1922, the post office moved to another building on Merchant and Richards Streets, undergoing several changes over the years. In its place, the King Kamehameha V Post Office became a district court. Today, it houses the Kumu Kahua Theater.