A highly detailed map of downtown Honolulu, one of the finest plans of the city made in the twilight years of the independent Hawaiian Kingdom.
This fine map is a detailed engineer's plan of downtown Honolulu, done to very precise standards of measurement and draftsmanship. Every street block is delineated, including the numerous alleyways which had developed since the 1840s. Major buildings, such as the Customs House, Central Post Office, the Royal Palace and the Aliiolani Hale (the legislature and central government building, completed in 1874), are shown.
Other notable features include the development of the Esplanade area, in the lower center of the map, an ongoing land reclamation project that had been in progress since the late 1850s, and which would not be completed until WWI is shown, with dotted lines indicating the planned areas of the project that were not yet complete. The outlines of ships in the harbor indicate the routes for berthing in the center of the port.
A novel detail is the inclusion of the "Railway Wharf" of the "Oahu Rail & Land Company". This railway, the first on Oahu, was commenced in 1889, and by the time this map was made extended for only 18.5 miles. Nevertheless, the large sea pier dedicated to the railway prefigured its growth and importance in early 20th century Oahu.
The map was commissioned by the Hawaii Survey Office, and was compiled using the finest official sources. The map's maker, Albert B. Loebenstein, was an American civil engineer and surveyor who, although not an employee of the Hawaiian Government, undertook important commissions for the Hawaiian Survey Office. He conducted numerous cadastral surveys on various islands, and in addition to creating the present map of Honolulu, authored an important report on the redevelopment of the harbor front of Honolulu in 1898.
The Hawaiian Islands were, at the time that this map was made, an independent kingdom, but one which was increasingly falling under the influence of American interests. The United States would annex Hawaii in 1898, making this plan the last detailed view of Honolulu as the capital of a sovereign state.
The plan is exceedingly rare on the market. This is the first example of the map we have ever seen on the market and one of the earliest obtainable printed plans of Honolulu.