Skip to main content
Kamehameha V Post Office
Main Category
Sub Category
Date Created
Location Country
21.309722, -157.863056
corner of Merchant and Bethel Streets
901-925 Bethel Street

The Kamehameha V Post Office is the oldest surviving public building in the U.S.  constructed with reinforced concrete. The success of this early structure helped establish the value of reinforced concrete as a durable construction material.

Brickmaker J.G. Osborne was chosen to provide design and construction. He  immigrated to Hawaii from Yorkshire, England, and was aware of the recent  development of Portland cement and its expanding use in Europe. It is believed that the leaders of Hawaii were anxious to adopt British skills, which influenced their selection of Osborne.

Because of Honolulu's warm climate, the concrete was carefully wetted and left to harden slowly. While this meticulous curing effort delayed the construction  schedule, the city's Superintendent of Public Works believed the care was  essential for such a novel idea as a concrete building.

"Built of the best materials and in the most faithful manner, it is calculated to stand for an indefinite period proof against the gnawing tooth of time or the ways of the elements."
- Editor, Pacific Commercial Advertiser March 25, 1871
Image Credit
Public Domain (Author's Choice)
Image Caption
Kamehameha V Post Office

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

Please support America's only magazine of the history of engineering and innovation, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to Invention & Technology.


Stay informed - subscribe to our newsletter.
The subscriber's email address.