Hawai'i's Natatorium Deserves to be Saved

Posted on: December 4th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

Today, readers of the Honolulu Advertiser will find in their papers a call from National Trust for Historic Preservation President Richard Moe to save a long-neglected but nonetheless cherished icon of Hawai'i's past – the Waikíkí War Memorial Natatorium.

Included in the National Trust's 1995 listing of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, this Beaux Arts landmark was constructed in 1927 as a living memorial to Hawai’i's World War I veterans, and has since hosted swimming stars such as Duke Kahanamoku, Buster Crabbe, Johnny Weissmuller, and Ann Curtis in its unique 100-meter saltwater pool.

The National Register-listed structure currently faces demolition as the City of Honolulu makes plans to create a beach in its place.

"While there are plenty of other beaches, there is only one natatorium," Moe says in his piece. "The mayor should invest in Hawai'i's heritage instead of flattening it."

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