Hawaii September 30, 2018
There Are More Than 40 Historic Buildings In This Special Hawaii Town
With a population of approximately 43,000, Hilo is the state’s fourth largest city. Unlike many Hawaiian cities, Hilo has never experienced huge tourist draws, which means it has stayed true to the state’s pre-World War II persona and is home to plantation-style architecture and historic storefronts. In fact, Hilo is often considered to be the state’s oldest city, and its countless historic buildings are proof. Let’s take a look at this historic destination, shall we?
Although there is little archaeological evidence, oral history of people living in Hilo — along the Wailoa and Wailuku rivers — can be traced back to 1100 AD when the first Polynesians arrived in the area. At this time, much of the eastern coast of Hawaii Island was designated as Hilo, though it has since been split into the District of South Hilo, and the District of North Hilo.
It wasn’t until the early-mid 1800s that missionaries came to this area, founding the Haili Church where modern Hilo sits today. Hilo grew consistently as an increase of sugar plantations in the surrounding areas created new jobs and drew in workers from Asia.
Two decades after Hilo expanded inland in the 1960s, the downtown district found a new purpose as the city’s cultural center and is home to a variety of galleries, museums, and the iconic Palace Theatre.
Though many of the nearby sugar plantations closed in the 1990s and caused an economic slump, the city has since experienced commercial and population growth in recent years.
From an ancient Hawaiian settlement and popular landing spot for European missionaries to a sugar cane hub and cultural center, Hilo has experienced quite the evolution throughout the years, and the city reflects that in its architecture.
While it’s hard to determine just how many historic buildings are found in Hilo, we found at least forty incredible structures with plenty of history. Many of these buildings are found on the National Register of Historic Places, and we're almost positive that there are far more than 40 historic buildings in this town.
Schools, hospitals, police stations, office buildings, storefronts, and churches are just a few of the historic buildings you’ll find in Hilo.
There are also several stunning homes that have played an important role in Hilo’s history.
History buffs will love strolling down Hilo’s streets in search of unique architecture and historic touches. There is truly no Hawaii town more special than this.
In addition to tons of history, Hilo also just so happens to be
Hawaii’s most naturally beautiful town. If you love history, you might also want to plan a visit to any of these incredible historic towns in the Aloha State.