Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, August 9, 2003

Stevenson's 'little grass shack' in Manoa destroyed by wind

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Grass House in Manoa Valley was knocked down by strong winds on Aug. 2. The Salvation Army is seeking donations to reconstruct the historic hut.

Advertiser library photo

Strong winds are blamed for knocking down the landmark Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Grass House in Manoa Valley.

The 360-square-foot replica of Stevenson's "little grass shack" stood behind the Salvation Army's Wai'oli Tea Room until Aug. 2, when winds brought the foundation down. Salvation Army spokesman Daniel de Castro said the hut also had deteriorated over the years because of termites.

"With nature being the way it is and the windy condition in Manoa and the exposure out here, it's almost like a tropical forest. So it's to be expected," de Castro said.

The grass hut was built in 1983 to replace the original shack that was brought to Manoa in 1926. The first shack stood at 'Ainahau, where the International Marketplace stands in Waikiki, and was owned by the family of Princess Ka'iulani.

Archival photos show the princess lounging in front of the first hut. Writer Stevenson also was said to use the original hut as a retreat.

Grass house help

Anyone wishing to donate to the restoration project may send a check made out to the R.L. Stevenson Memorial Grass House Fund, The Salvation Army, 2950 Manoa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822.

The replica hut was built out of materials similar to the original, de Castro said. More than 1,000 feet of 'ohi'a logs, pili grass and coconut fronds made up most of the construction material.

The Salvation Army is hoping to rebuild Manoa landmark and is seeking donations. This time around, however, de Castro said architects will be consulted so a more durable hut can be built.

"The traditional way of constructing such a hut, we all know that it's not going to last very long," de Castro said.

He did not know, however, how much it will cost to build a new one.

"We're hoping that a lot of people have fond memories of seeing the grass shack. It's a bit of old Hawaiiana and a lot of local folks cling to those wonderful memories," he said.