KHS seeks new home in county’s Annex Building

LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i Historical Society wants a new home.

The organization is currently located in the southwest corner of the lower floor of the three-story historic County Building.

Kaua‘i Historical Society boardmembers and its executive director are now asking the Kaua‘i County Council to approve an agreement between the County of Kaua‘i and the organization to lease the adjacent county Annex Building for 30 years.

Once the move is approved, the county will use the basement in the now-empty annex building for archiving county records, and the historical society is to assist with that job.

Moving the historical society to its new home would allow the organization a chance to expand its efforts to chronicle the history of Kaua‘i and to make more historical documents available for public use.

“It will give us an opportunity to bring out of storage all the things that we have stored.” said Mary Requilman, executive director of the Kauai Historical Society.

With more space in the new place, people will have access to a “third more of the collection,” she said.

At this time, artifacts have been stored in paid and donated storage spaces, she said.

Because the proposed lease runs 30 years, members of the Kaua‘i County Council Committee of the Whole deferred action Thursday.

Committee members said they wanted more time to review the documents before taking any action.

The historical society currently occupies space that was once the mayors office up to the recent administrations of former mayors JoAnn Yukimura and the late Tony Kunimura.

The mayor’s office was relocated to the second floor of the round building in the Lihu‘e Civic Center in the mid-1990s to allow for more effective coordination of government services.

The annex building was originally used by the Territorial Government for its Kaua‘i offices.

The historical society is proposing to restore and use only the upper floor of the annex building for now, about 3,600 square feet, Requilman said.

“Our intent is to bring it back to its original look, and to give it importance,” Requilman said.

The Annex Building was designed by Honolulu architect Hart Wood, who designed other structures on Kaua‘i, including the main gallery building of the Kaua‘i Museum, which housed the first public library in Lihu‘e, she said.

The annex building is on the federal historic register, Requilman said.

Known as the “Territorial Office” in the 1930s, the building housed the tax office, department of health, assessor’s office, land office, agricultural and forestry offices and the board of health, Requilman said.

The architectural style of the 1930-building is California mission revival, said Pat Griffin, who is working on a booklet that provides a walking tour of historical sites in Lihu‘e. “For several years this style had become popular in Hawai‘i and taken on an island look with a double-pitched roof, and other adaptations to this area.”

After the construction of the state building in Lihu‘e in the 1960s, the building housed the county Public Works Department and in recent years offices of the Kaua‘i Police Department.

The annex building also housed meeting rooms, a clerk’s office and two vaults on the top floor.

The building also boasts two bathrooms with marbled-lined floors and walls and unique period bathroom fixtures.

Requilman said it was her understanding the council will make use of more of the historic county building once the historical society moves over to the annex building.

The historical society would pay less in lease rent in exchange for helping with the archiving of county records, Requilman said.

Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and mailto:lchang@pulitzer.net

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