Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial

photo by: Donna L. Ching

National Treasures

Waikīkī War Memorial Natatorium

  • Constructed: 1927
  • Architect: Lewis P. Hobart
  • Location: Honolulu, Hawai'i

The Waikīkī Natatorium War Memorial — built in 1927 to honor the 10,000 Hawai'i citizens who served in the First World War — is a one-of-a-kind resource; no comparable structure exists in the United States. The City of Honolulu’s current plan is to demolish the Natatorium, construct a beach in its place, and reconstruct the entryway. As a place that both memorializes Hawai'i’s sacrifice in war and celebrates its indigenous swimming traditions and Olympic legacy, it is a site that is unique to both Hawai'i and the nation and should be reopened for future generations to enjoy.

On the eve of the Centennial of World War I, the Natatorium is the most recognizable representation of the participation of the citizens of the Territory of Hawai'i who served. It honors Hawai'i’s first involvement in a national event of such magnitude following its annexation by the United States in 1900. The Natatorium is also one of the first “living memorials” in the United States, serving as a public recreational facility where generations of Hawai'i’s children learned to swim.

Campaign Goals

  • Prepare a viable re-use plan for the Natatorium to operate as a vibrant aquatic facility and community resource
  • Mobilize public support for re-use by engaging the public in the environmental review process expected to begin in June 2014
  • Work with key stakeholders to secure permits for a rehabilitated site that assures the protection of public health and safety


Return to the Waikīkī Natatorium to its status as a vibrant aquatic facility and world-class public amenity.

Donate to our campaign to save the Waikīkī Natatorium War Memorial.


Share your memories of visiting the Natatorium by participate in Friends of the Natatorium’s oral history project.


More than 12,000 years of history are written throughout the sacred landscape of Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Tell your lawmakers to support the Bears Ears National Monument Expansion Act and protect this special place.

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