December 21, 2015

Historic Hoops: The University of Hawaii and Honolulu

Welcome to our Historic Hoops series, where we offer a guide to historic places related (at least tangentially) to a televised men’s or women’s NCAA basketball matchup each week throughout the 2015-2016 season. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or simply stuck watching with your significant other, we’re here to assist your viewing experience with some historic context beyond the hardwood.

This week’s matchup(s): Brigham Young University vs. Harvard University in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

Time: Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern

Channel: ESPNU and ESPN3
Venue: Stan Sheriff Center at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu

Opening Tip: Just as your typical students have left campus for the holidays, many a basketball team has too. Holiday season tournaments abound―generally in warm climates―which set the stage for interesting coaching wardrobe choices (Hawaiian shirts, anyone?), interesting tipoff times (noon local time for this one), and interesting settings for games. Harvard and BYU are playing in Honolulu; poor guys.

The Stan Sheriff Center

photo by: Owen and Aki/Flickr/CC By NC ND 2.0

The Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.

Fast Break: The Stan Sheriff Center opened in 1994, so we’ll focus our quest for history elsewhere.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa opened as the College of Hawaii way back in 1907―more than 50 years before Hawaii became a state―as a land grant college of agriculture and mechanical arts. The school’s oldest remaining building, now known as Hawaii Hall, was built in 1912.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, classes were suspended for two months and gas masks were issued for the commencement ceremony. In 1942, Japanese-American students formed the Varsity Victory Volunteers organization, many members of which went on to join the famed 442nd Infantry Regiment and the 100th Infantry Battalion.

Aliiolani Hale in Honolulu

photo by: Wally Gobetz/Flickr/CC By NC ND 2.0

Aliiolani Hale in Honolulu.

Three Points:

  • The Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium sits just a few miles from the University of Hawaii campus at Manoa. The Natatorium was built in 1927 to honor the 10,000 Hawaii citizens who served in World War I.
  • Hawaii’s Royal Mausoleum State Monument in Honolulu is the resting place of many of Hawaii’s late Kings and Queens, including King Kamehameha and Queen Liliuokalani, who was deposed by American businessmen in 1893.
  • The USS Arizona Memorial in nearby Pearl Harbor commemorates and honors those who died in the Japanese attack on on Dec. 7, 1941. Many of the 1,177 crew members killed during the attack remain entombed in the battleship at the bottom of the harbor.
Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial

photo by: Donna L. Ching

The Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium honors the 10,000 Hawaiian citizens who served during World War I.

Buzzer Beater: The Italianate Aliiolani Hale building in Honolulu was designed during the reign of King Kamehameha as a palace, but commissioned as a government building for the Pacific Archipelago in 1874. It was the site of the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani in 1893 and has served at the center of judicial affairs through Hawaii’s various governments since its construction.

And-1: Georgia hosts Clemson at the 1964 Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. on the SEC Network and WatchESPN. The coliseum and its roof are actually two separate structures connected by two aluminum bellows that allow the roof to be raised and lowered in accordance with the change in temperature.

David Weible is the content specialist at the National Trust, previously with Preservation and Outside magazines. His interest in historic preservation was inspired by the ‘20s-era architecture, streetcar neighborhoods, and bars of his hometown of Cleveland.

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