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 Hawaii Travel Guide by Kathie Fry

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Hawaii Travel --> History --> Hawaiian Monarchy --> Royal Family --> Princess Likelike --> Princess Kaiulani --> Ainahau Estate

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Ainahau Estate in Waikiki
Childhood Home of Princess Kaiulani

Ainahau was the name of the ten acre Waikiki coconut grove and estate given to Princess Kaiulani when she was born.


Ainahau Estate in Waikiki
This Ainahau Pond was Fed by the Apuakehau Stream
Photo Credit: Hawaii State Archives



Princess Kaiulani's ten acre Waikiki estate was given to her by her godmother, Princess Ruth Keelikolani, at the baby princess's baptismal ceremony. It has been said that 500 coconut palms were planted in honor of Princess Kaiulani's birth.

Princess Kaiulani's Scottish father, Archibald Cleghorn, built a two story home on the Waikiki land. At first the home was used only as a country estate, but Princess Kaiulani's family loved it so much, it soon became their full time residence. Cleghorn's wife, Princess Likelike, name the estate "Ainahau" which some sources say means "Land of the Hau Tree" and other sources say means "cool land" because of the constant breezes that flowed across the estate.

Ainahau Estate in Waikiki The picture on the right was taken at Ainahau in 1887. Princess Kaiulani is standing on the far right in this picture and her father is sitting next to her. The princess was probably about 12 years old when this picture was taken.

Archibald Cleghorn had an avid interest in horticulture. He Ainahau Estate in Waikiki imported plants and flowers from all over the world and planted them at Ainahau. Plants on the estate included mango trees, teak, cinnamon, camphor trees, date palms, sago palms, and many varieties of hibiscus flowers. Cleghorn's beautiful gardens and several streams and lily ponds made Ainahau one of the most beautiful estates in Hawaii. Hawaii's first banyan tree was imported by Princess Kaiulani's father, Archibald Cleghorn and planted on the Ainahau Estate. Cuttings from that banyan were planted in another part of Honolulu when the Ainahau estate was demolished.

Princess Kaiulani had a pony named Fairy at Ainahau and she rode him frequently on the country roads of Waikiki to visit family and friends. Fairy was housed in a stable on the grounds that was also the home of several other horses.

Princess Feeding Peacocks at Ainahau As many as fifty peacocks were allowed to roam freely on the grounds of Ainahau and Princess Kaiulani loved them dearly. The picture on the left shows Princess Kaiulani feeding her beloved peacocks shortly before she died in 1899. According to some, the peacocks of Ainahau screamed in unison at the moment Princess Kaiulani died.

Scottish poet and book author Robert Louis Stevenson was a family friend who had a home in Waikiki that was next to Ainahau. He was a frequent visitor who became good friends with Princess Kaiulani when she was about 13 years old.

Sadly, Princess Kaiulani and Princess Likelike both died young, and before their father and husband Archibald Cleghorn. When Cleghorn died of heart failure in 1910 his will left Ainahau to the Territory of Hawaii with instructions to turn it into a public recreational area called Kaiulani Park. The Territory refused his gift, some say to avoid the cost of creating and maintaining a park. Others say the gift was refused by the Territory because efforts made on behalf of Cleghorn's other heirs. Ainahau was eventually subdivided and sold to real estate developers.

Ainahau Estate in Waikiki Princess Kaiulani's childhood home at Ainahau was torn down in 1955 to make room for hotels and residential buildings. In this picture you can see the Moana Hotel, which was located across the street from parts of the Ainahau Estate. The Moana was the first real hotel in Hawaii. It opened in 1901, a year or two after Princess Kaiulani died. Today the Princess Kaiulani Hotel sits on land that was once the entrance to the Ainahau Estate.

See also:
- Waikiki Historic Trail Marker #8: Ainahau
- Princess Victoria Kaiulani Photo and Profile
- Princess Miriam Likelike Photo and Profile
- Archibald Scott Cleghorn Photo and Profile



Related Links
The Hawaiian Monarchy
Islands of Hawaii
Hawaii Travel Newsletter

Elsewhere on the Web
Honolulu Advertiser Princess Kaiulani Profile
Ainahau's History - by Princess Kaiulani Hotel's Staff
- Ainahau Grass Hut on Waioli Tea Room Grounds



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