The administrative headquarters of the Honolulu Star- Bulletin was built in 1910-11 when the newpaper was born of the merger of the Evening Bulletin and the Hawaiian Star. As recorded in Mason Architects’ National Register nomination, the reinforced-concrete building, a blend of Beaux Arts pilasters and cornices and a modern commercial aesthetic, symbolized the success, longevity, and progressivism of the newspaper’s tenure in the building, from 1912 to 1962.
The building is located at 125 Merchant Street and is an extension of the Merchant Street Historic District, which includes the Judd Block, Stangenwald Building, the C. Brewer Building, and the Alexander and Baldwin Building and was listed on the National Register in 1973.
The two-story building was internally connected, back to back, to the newspaper’s three-story production facility at 126 Queen Street, which contained the printing and engraving equipment and a rooftop garden that was used for social activities.
In its period of significance, 1912-1962, the paper was edited by Wallace Rider Farrington, who took time out to serve as Territorial Governor (1921-29) and his son Joseph Rider Farrington, who was also a member of the Territorial senate (1933-42) and a delegate to Congress(1943-54). During that time the paper was a strong advocate for statehood.
The newspaper was sold in 1961 and moved to the Kapiolani Boulevard News Building; the Merchant Street building was sold in 1966 to the Title Insurance Company, which removed the cornice and all but two pillars and gave the façade a new false front, which was later removed.
Despite these alterations, which compromise its integrity of design, materials, and workmanship, the building still retains its integrity of location, setting, and feeling, and is therefore nominated as eligible for the Register under Criterion A, association with events that made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of Hawaii’s history.
Historical photos: Hawaii State Archives, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Merchant Street, 1912, with (left to right) Star-Bulletin building, Stangenwald Building, and Judd Building. (from Hawai‘i State Archives