Historic Buildings in Honolulu
Kakaako Pumping Station
The Kakaako Pump Station on Ala Moana Boulevard in Honolulu
was added to the National Register of Historic Places on
October 4, 1978.
The Kakaako Pumping Station is located on an acre
of land between the Kewalo Basin and Downtown Honolulu,
at Ala Moana Boulevard and Keawe Street.
It is a blue stone structure with arched windows, a green tile roof,
and an 80 foot tower.
Quick Facts About the Building
Building Name: Kakaako Pumping Station
Address: 653 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu
Architectural Style: Romanesque
Periods of Significance: 1900-1949
Designer: Oliver G. Traphagen
Current Owner: State of Hawaii
Historic Building Number: 78001022
Added to National Register of Historic Places: 1978
History of the Kakaako Pumping Station
The Kakaako Pumping Station was built in 1900
and it was Honolulu's first waste disposal facility.
Steam powered pumps pushed sewage 1200 feet
into the sea.
The building was designed by
architect Oliver G. Traphagen, who also designed
Moana Hotel and the Palama Fire Station.
In 1955 a new sewage facility replace the Kakaako Station,
after the new facility was built, the old one fell into disrepair,
but it remained on standby for several years.
Use Proposals in the 1990's
In 1997 Richard Weiser of the South Carolina Weiser Companies proposed
building a restaurant complex with "A Pacific Cafe" as the
first tenant. The complex would include a bakery, delicatessen,
pub, micro brewery, wine cellar, and a farmer's market. That proposal
included adding new buildings that would blend with the pumping station,
resulting in a total of 8000 square feet. The project would have been
designed and built by Charles Pankow Builders of Honolulu. This project
was approved, at least at some level, and it was expected to be
completed in October of 1998. It never happened.
In 1997 commercial fishing company Antsberg and Antsberg wanted to turn the pumping
station into a Hawaii fishing museum. That project would have used the existing
building and included fishing vessels from different time periods. The museum
would have also been used for meetings, fishing movies, and scientific presentations.
In 1998, Hawaiian music performer Henry Kapono
expressed an interest in the building for use as
a restaurant and performance venue.
In 1999 chef and restaurant developer
Wolfgang Puck expressed interest in the building,
presumably to turn it into a restaurant.
Kakaako Pumping Station Today
In 2005 the building was cleaned up when Louis Vuitton
used it as the venue for a party celebrating the opening
of his new store in Ala Moana Center in Honolulu. At that
time, non-historic concrete blocks were removed and the
land around the building was landscaped.
The Hawaii Community Development Authority has received
more then 70 proposals for future use of the Kakaako
Pumping Station building, including restaurants, museums,
and even a car dealership.
It has been estimated that completely restoring the building
will cost about $2 million.
Other Historic Buildings in Honolulu
Other Oahu Attractions
Oahu Island - Main Menu
Islands of Hawaii
Hawaii for Visitors
Elsewhere on the Web
Pumping Station Policy and Development Strategy
Louis Vuitton Opens Renovated Ala Moana Store
Sewage Plant Gets Designer Makeover
Pump Station Gets Ideas for Renewal
Brainstorming Development Ideas