Lunalilo Home was established by the will of High Chief William Charles Lunalilo, who died in 1874 while he was king of the Hawaiian Islands. His estate included large landholdings on the five major islands, consisting of 33 ahupua‘a, nine ‘ili, and more than a dozen home lots. His will established a perpetual trust under the administration of three trustees to be appointed by the justices of the Hawaiian Supreme Court. King Lunalilo was the first of the large landholding ali‘i to create a charitable trust for the benefit of his people.
The purpose of the trust was to build a home to accommodate the poor, destitute, and infirmed people of Hawaiian (aboriginal) blood or extraction, with preference given to older people. The will charged the Trustees with selling all of the estate’s land to build and maintain the home.
Our Original Campus in Kewalo/Makiki
In 1879, the land for the first Lunalilo Home was granted to the Estate by the Hawaiian government and consisted of 21 acres in Kewalo/Makiki, makai of the present Roosevelt High School. The construction of the first Lunalilo Home at that site was paid for by the sale of estate lands. The Home was completed in 1883 to provide care for 53 residents. An adjoining 39 acres for pasture and dairy was conveyed by legislative action to the Estate in 1888.
Our Relocation to Hawai‘i Kai
After 44 years, the Home in Kewalo had deteriorated and became difficult and costly to maintain. The trustees located a new 20-acre site in Maunalua on the slopes of Koko Head, owned by the estate of Bernice Pauahi Bishop and consisting of farmland and buildings facilities leased to the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). The Maunalua site was purchased by the Brown family (John Ii Estate, Ltd.) and given as a gift to Lunalilo Home in memory of their mother Irene Ii Holloway, daughter of John Ii, who was a close friend of King Lunalilo’s father. With Court approval in 1927, the Kewalo/Makiki property was subdivided and sold, and the proceeds were used to purchase and renovate the RCA buildings in Maunalua to accommodate 56 residents.
In 1959, with the advent of Henry Kaiser’s development of the Bishop Estate land of Maunalua surrounding Lunalilo Home, agricultural land was altered for residential and commercial purposes and the area became known as Hawai‘i Kai. In 1969, Lunalilo Home developed 15 acres of its property into a residential tract of 80 leasehold lots, leaving the remaining five acres devoted to the Home.
Pursuant to Hawai’i state law pertaining to leasehold-to-fee conversion, in 1983, under terms approved by the Circuit Court, the Trustees sold all of the residential lots. Lunalilo Home temporarily ceased operations from 1997 through 2001 to undertake major renovations to its structure. Upon reopening, it was licensed by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health as an Adult Residential Care Home (ARCH) to accommodate 42 residents.
The Present Day and Future
In recent years, Lunalilo Home has added elderly services including Adult Day Care, Respite Care, Meals-to-Go and Caregiver Support programs. While continuing to focus on serving Hawaiians, the Home has also opened it doors and services to non-Hawaiians, and provides compassionate, quality care for kūpuna of all ethnicities. In the coming years, Lunalilo Home plans to further enhance its services and facilities to increase its impact in the community and preserve the legacy of our kūpuna and the Hawaiian people.