Wednesday, June 29, 2022|
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Two Hamakua landmarks will be listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Historic Preservation Division has received notice from the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., that the two landmarks in Honokaa — Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church and the Awong Brothers store — have been approved to be in the register, according to a press release from state Sen. Lorraine Inouye of Hilo.
The church was nominated for inclusion in the register in January 2021. The store was nominated in September 2017.
The Historic Hawaii Foundation’s website describes the church as “significant as a small-town religious institution, centerpiece for religious and social activities, and catalyst for ethnic mixing in church and town. The church’s blended congregation was comprised of Portuguese, Puerto Ricans, Filipinos, Native Hawaiians and other immigrant members through the years. The diversity of cultures paved the way for the ethnic mixing in a church that fostered similar cultural exchange with the small businesses in town prevalent throughout the plantation era.”
“The church was the center of family gatherings for all of the plantation workers and their families,” Inouye said in the press release. “As a sugar plantation child, it was very meaningful to have a place for me and my family to gather with the community. I am excited to have learned that the church is one of very few that continues to hold the Holy Ghost Festival and procession.”
The Awong Brothers Store is described by the foundation as historically important as a representative of Honokaa town.
It began with the completion of the building in the 1870s. Awong Brothers Store’s 50th anniversary was observed in 1968. The building is recognized as an important center for commerce, social and cultural activity for the town’s community.
The building is also “a fine example of a commercial, plantation-style building rendered in wood, reflecting the materials and carpentry skills available at the time of construction in Hawaii during the late 19th century.”
Today the Awong Brothers Store, which closed in 1971, is home for the North Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union.
“I am very pleased that the Awong Brothers old store has finally gotten its due recognition as a place of historic importance that will be preserved into the future,” Inouye said.
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