It was a bold, out-of-the-box decision to build a pool – a pool “of Olympic proportions” – as Hawai’i’s official World War I memorial.
The story of the Natatorium’s conception, design and construction is told in the final chapter of the 1928 book Hawaii in the World War by Ralph S. Kuykendall. That chapter is available online here. In fact, the entire book is online, starting here.It’s well worth reading. And it’s well worth remembering the words of Gov. Wallace Rider Farrington to the Territorial Legislature of 1927, arguing for the rapid completion of the entire memorial: “We should not at this time hesitate to establish in enduring form our tribute to the self-sacrifice, courage and patriotism of those who answered the call to service in the day of national emergency.”
“In enduring form.” Perhaps Gov. Farrington was speaking not just to the Legislature of his day, but also to those now entrusted with making decisions about the restoration, revitalization and renewal of the Natatorium.