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Louis Davis (architect)

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Title: Louis Davis (architect)  
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Subject: Clinton Briggs Ripley, President William McKinley High School, Hawaiian architecture, Merchant Street Historic District, National Register of Historic Places listings on the island of Hawaii
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Louis Davis (architect)

Louis E. Davis
Born 1884
Nationality American
Buildings President William McKinley High School (1920s), Agriculture Building (1930), Honolulu Police Station (1931)

Louis E. Davis (1884–ca. 1962) was an American architect who designed homes and public buildings in Honolulu, Hawaii.[1] During the 1920s, he was involved in laying out the new King Street campus of President William McKinley High School and designing its buildings in a Spanish Colonial Revival style.[2] He employed a similar style (Mission Revival) in designing the 1931 Honolulu Police Station on Merchant Street,[3] which harmonized well with that of the new city hall, Honolulu Hale. Both the old McKinley campus quadrangle and the Merchant Street Historic District are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Architectural styles

Davis was well known for his work in the Spanish Colonial/Mission Revival style, but he also designed a very significant building that is one of the few enduring examples of rustic Mediterranean Revival architecture in the state: the Territorial Board of Agriculture and Forestry Building (1930) at the corner of Keeaumoku and King Streets in Honolulu. For this building, he employed locally quarried sandstone with distinctive green mortar, along with concrete masonry and finer sandstone for such detailing as window sills, lintels, colonnades and casements, topped by a tiled, low-pitched hip roof without eaves.[4]

During the early 1930s, land developer Theo H. Davies & Co. hired Davis to design new homes in a "Monterey" (or Spanish eclectic) style to be built on lots being developed in the new subdivision of Kāhala.[5]

Davis is also credited as the architect of several of Hawaiʻi's classic movie theatres.[6][7] The Princess Theatre opened in 1922 at 1236 Fort Street. It was remodeled in 1939, renovated in 1958 for Cinerama, closed in 1969, then demolished.[8][9] The New Pawaa Theatre opened in 1929 at 1550 South King Street. Its exterior and distinctive Spanish-style interior was renovated in 1962, when it was renamed the Cinerama, then closed in 1999 to become an auto-parts store.[10][11] The New Palama Theatre opened in 1930 at 701 North King Street with 1,100 seats. This ornate Chinese-style building was leased and renamed the Zamboanga Theatre in 1970, but became retail space and is now a church.[12][13] The rural Waipahu Theatre, with its graceful sloping tile roof, opened in late 1930 on Depot Road, across from the Waipahu Sugar Mill. Sold in 1970, it is now a church.[14] In 1931, Davis designed the Lihue Theatre on the Island of Kauaʻi. It was damaged in two hurricanes in 1982 and 1992 and its auditorium was demolished for senior citizen housing but the facade and lobby were retained and restored.[15]

Selected works

  • Princess Theatre, November 8, 1922 (with C.B. Ripley & Ralph Fishbourne)
  • McKinley High School, 1924
  • New Pawaa Theatre, January 3, 1929
  • New Palama Theatre, April 19, 1930
  • Waipahu Theatre, December 21, 1930
  • Lipolani house, 1930[16]
  • Agriculture and Forestry Building, 1930
  • Honolulu Police Station, 1931
  • Lihue Theatre (Kaua'i), October 4, 1931



  1. ^ Sakamoto et al. (2008), p. 38
  2. ^ Sakamoto et al. (2008), p. 47
  3. ^ Burl Burlingame (16 November 2003). "Lavish doors, windows were used at ornate police station". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  4. ^ Cheever and Cheever (2003), p. 91
  5. ^ Sakamoto et al. (2008), p. 42
  6. ^ "Cinema Treasures: Louis Davis". 
  7. ^ Lowell Angell (2011). Theatres of Hawai'i (Images of America Series). Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing.  
  8. ^ Chuck Van Bibber. "Cinema Treasures: Princess Theatre". Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  9. ^ Lowell Angell (2011). Theatres of Hawai'i (Images of America Series). Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 46–55.  
  10. ^ Ross Melnick. "Cinema Treasures: Hawaii Cinerama". Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  11. ^ Lowell Angell (2011). Theatres of Hawai'i (Images of America Series). Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 58–59.  
  12. ^ KenRoe. "Cinema Treasures: Zamboanga Theatre". Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  13. ^ Lowell Angell (2011). Theatres of Hawai'i (Images of America Series). Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. p. 66.  
  14. ^ Lowell Angell (2011). Theatres of Hawai'i (Images of America Series). Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. p. 67.  
  15. ^ Lowell Angell (2011). Theatres of Hawai'i (Images of America Series). Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. p. 86.  
  16. ^ "Archives, Manuscripts, Photographs Catalog, Smithsonian Institution Research Information System: Lipolani 2000 (Garden Club of America Collection)". 


  • Angell, Lowell (2011). Theatres of Hawaiʻi. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-8160-7, ISBN 978-0-7385-8160-6
  • Cheever, David, and Scott Cheever (2003). Pōhaku: The Art & Architecture of Stonework in Hawaiʻi. Honolulu: Editions Limited.
  • Sakamoto, Dean, Vladimir Ossipoff, Karla Britton, Kenneth Frampton, Diana Murphy (2008). Hawaiian Modern: The Architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-12146-6, ISBN 978-0-300-12146-9
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