Constructing Kaua‘i’s Historic County Building

By August, 1912, the Honolulu architectural firm of Ripley, Reynolds & Davis had completed its architectural plans for a Kaua‘i County Building, and a call for construction bids was issued in The Garden Island newspaper on August 13, 1912.

Ripley, Reynolds & Davis were highly qualified and accomplished architects. Clinton Ripley had designed several notable buildings in the territory, Pauahi Hall on the Punahou School campus being one fine example. His partner, Arthur L. Reynolds, would go on design Honolulu’s Aloha Tower, among other buildings, and Louis E. Davis designed Honolulu’s McKinley High School.

Their plans called for a two-story frame structure modeled in the neoclassical revival style and fitted with modern offices that would combine all the county’s offices beneath its roof, and when executed, would leave Kaua‘i County in possession of the finest county seat in the territory.

By April 21, 1914, construction was nearly complete. Then on the 24th, Ripley and Davis performed an inspection, and beginning on the 27th and continuing for about 10 days, county personnel moved into the new building. A grand ball conducted by Judge L. A. Dickey was held on Saturday, May 9, 1914, the date the Kaua‘i County Building was officially opened to the public.

“Judge Dickey’s Dance,” as it was called, was a great society event. Among its guests were members of prominent Kaua‘i families of the time, such as the Rices and the Isenbergs.

Concert music on the grounds early in the evening and later in the building was performed by the Kapaia Band, while string music was supplied by the Ilima Glee Club of Waimea.

The courtrooms of Judge Dickey and Judge Sanford B. Dole and the assembly room of the Kaua‘i Board of Supervisors were used for dancing. Refreshments and food were served in abundance.

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