Moanalua Gardens Foundation
Cultural and Environmental Education in Hawaii
1352 Pineapple Place, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819-1754
Phone: (808) 839-5334; Fax (808) 839-3658


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Chinese Hall

An architectural gem in the gardens

Moanalua Gardens is the property of the Damon Estate. The Damon family used Chinese Hall in Moanalua Gardens to entertain commissioners, military officers, and scientific and literary people from all over the world.

Facts About Chinese Hall

  • It was not built in Hawaii. The original tile roof, upturned eaves, entranceway and intricately carved, three-dimensional wood panels were all imported from China and assembled here from 1904–1906.
  • Chinese Hall was moved to its present location in 1960 from ma kai (towards the sea) of the freeway where Servco now stands. A Japanese garden and teahouse was located in the area currently occupied by Chinese Hall.
  • Chinese Hall was used for gatherings such as private dinners and gala balls for up to 300 guests. Guests from Honolulu arrived here via the OR&L passenger train, which operated from 1896–1947.
  • Four or five musicians were stationed in a hidden, second level chamber behind a carved panel (located above the rear door). The kitchen and service entry is at the rear extension of the building.
  • The building is a blending of Oriental and Victorian design. The decorative elements are entirely Chinese but the layout and interior spaces are Victorian.
  • Look closely at the carved panels and notice the dragon, crane, peach, phoenix, pine, lotus and pomegranate. Each object is important symbolically in Chinese culture.



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revised 6 July 2007
Hawaiian diacriticals have been intentionally omitted.