Tax Office Building (former) Hale Auhau – Honolulu HI


A Public Works Administration grant of $97,795 funded new construction work on the Tax Office building in Honolulu. The work was underway in 1938. Listed as Docket No. TH-1035-DS, the project was part of the PWA’s non-federal projects expenditure for the Territory of Hawaii for 1938-1939. The building, also known as Hale Auhau, which translates as “tax house,” served as the headquarters of the Department of Taxation. Designed by Henry Stuart, architect for the Territorial Department of Public Works, the building is representative of the Mission Revival or California Mission style. Architects of that era designed numerous public buildings in this style, which adapted the functional requirements of institutional facilities to the tropical climate and regional building practices of Hawaii. Since the 1980s, the building has been occupied by the Department of the Attorney General. Hale Auhai is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing property in the Hawaii Capital Historic District.

The Index to the Honolulu Advertiser & Star-Bulletin, 1929-1969 lists the timeline for the construction of the building:

Speed negotiation for site S 8/31/37 p7
Site acquired S 12/1/37 p10
Bids asked on new building S 12/3/37 p3
Low bid $177,989 by W S Ching S 1/3/38 p7
Governor Poindexter seals cornerstone S 2/7/39 p1
Building dedicated by governor S 2/18/39 p12
Still lacks furniture A 4/29/39 p3
Cain requests furniture loan A 4/30/39 07
Names suggested for building S 10/7/39 p6
Named Hale Auhau, tax house A 11/18/39 p1,2
House warming, reception set Dec 15 A
12/10/39 p3
Rites mark opening of Hale Auhau A
12/16/39 p3
Governor OK’s extra outlay A 1/10/40 p3”

Source notes

Hawaii State Archives, GOV8-18, U.S. Departments, Emergency Relief – Works Progress Administration.

Index to the Honolulu Advertiser & Star-Bulletin, 1929-1969, accessed June 25, 2017.

Hawaii Capital Historic District, National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1978, accessed June 25, 2017.

Mason Architects, Historic Honolulu Transit, Survey, accessed June 25, 2017.

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on July 3, 2017.

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Location Info

403 Queen Street
Honolulu, HI

Coordinates: 21.3053574, -157.86078710000004

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