Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Old Postcard Wednesday--First Church of Christ Scientist, Honolulu

This bit of history is from an article published at Honolulu Advertiser (click link to read full piece):
Isle church celebrates its 100th year

By Maureen O'Connell
Advertiser Staff Writer
Posted on: Saturday, January 30, 2010

A towering tamarind tree stands near the front door of Honolulu's First Church of Christ, Scientist. There are also expansive monkey pods and a sturdy karaka tree with a glossy canopy.

The mature greenery serves as a reminder that the property near Punahou and Wilder streets has long been carefully tended. The Christian Science movement — initiated in Boston by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866 — first formally organized a branch church here 100 years ago. The on-island membership has owned the site near Punahou School for nearly that long.

A centennial celebration set for tomorrow will include a morning service followed by tours of the historic buildings and grounds. There will also be a choral music performance. The public is invited to attend the open house events.

Designed by Hart Wood, a well-known Honolulu architect and church member, the church building was constructed in a style called Hawaiian Gothic, said Sally Hill, a church member for about five decades. Wood, she said, "blended elements from both the Hawaiian hale and the hālau" with European ecclesiastical architecture.

Hawaiian influence is evident in the church's texture-rich lava rock walls, which were constructed with hunks of rock found on the property. In addition, the church's steep roof, ceiling ribs and crossbeams, along with "massive columns," and wide lānai areas reflect Hawaiian touches, officials said.

Among the European influences is an organ screen inspired by a cathedral in Rowena, Italy. Woven into the design is the cross-and-crown emblem that appears on Christian Science books.

The overall church design, officials said, is intended to reflect the "openness, graciousness and serenity, which the teachings of Christian Science inspire."

Hill put it simply: "It feels like home." Of her spiritual dwelling place, she said, "I can expect to go there and have a sense of harmony."

The church's Sunday School building was designed by Vladimir Ossipoff, a pioneer in Hawai'i's 20th-century green architecture efforts who drew inspiration from the mingling of indoor and outdoor space, as advocated by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. . . .

This old postcard was mailed to my grandmother (who everybody called Mom) by a friend who was lucky enough to have just secured an apartment there in Honolulu. I'm tempted to Google map the address written on the back top, but think I will just imagine what it must have been like to have an apartment in Hawaii in 1952.

The sender wrote the note on the border front of the card in the same blue ink as the message on the back, but the photo of the church is b&w, so the best scan result was in grayscale (I also tried a color scan but it changed the image to a ghoulish light gray-green). Note that the sender says the picture does not do the church justice. Maybe not, but it is still a striking photo of a piece of gorgeous architecture. And from more recent photos online I can tell that the church has weathered the test of time beautifully.

Below are photos shown on the church's official website:

Quite lovely, I think. I am not a Christian Scientist like my grandmother was, but if I was visiting Honolulu and knew this church was nearby I would most likely want to see it from the outside because it's such a quaint and beautiful building.

As my mind was still wondering what Honolulu was like back in 1952, I thought ending this post with a video of someone's Honolulu Holiday 1952 was perfect. The youtuber said that some scenes were also in Manila, most likely those final seconds of the film.......



Don't Feed The Pixies said...

It's funny the things we say in total sincerity, and the fact that a card from Honolulu opened with the sentence "Well, we're in Honolulu" made me smile.

The church looks really interesting and i'm glad to see from the website pics that it is still standing.

The film is also interesting to watch: just some random person's family history, but equally a glimpse into a world that has changed forever

The bit on the plane made me want to tell you that if you ever take a night flight make sure to sit by the window as you come into land - the sight of all the lights is amazing

Lydia said...

Pixies~ Thank you for visiting and for your comment. This was sort of a lonely post until you stopped by! From an architectural standpoint, I was interested in it.
You describe the film so well. It seemed sort of haunting to me.
I flew into New York City at night my first time there. It was more magical than anything else I've experienced. If I ever get to fly into London I will try to arrange a night flight. :)



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