A Must Read: Hawaii’s Natatorium, as Seen from The Atlantic

This week’s big news about the Natatorium prompted The Atlantic to publish an absolutely must-read overview and thought piece.

The story, headlined “The Improbable Persistence of Swimming Pools Built in the Ocean,” carries the byline of The Atlantic senior associate editor Adrienne LaFrance. She’s a former reporter for Honolulu Civil Beat, and has written about the Natatorium issue before. But the format of The Atlantic really gives her room to write a “big picture” analysis with knowledge, insight, grace and passion.

The issue, she writes, isn’t just what to do with a unique 100-meter ocean pool anchoring one end of Waikiki, opened in 1927 “to honor the memory of World War I veterans.”

There is also, she writes, “the question of history. What should we save anyway? And what do we lose when we destroy a piece of the past?

In a truly poetic final paragraph, LaFrance includes these words: “[T]he old memorial is like an anchor that keeps a piece of the past from being swept out to sea.”

Read this story. Read it now.

Categories: History, National Trust for Historic Preservation, News coverage, and Uncategorized.


  1. Kimberley Barker

    What a beautiful article. I can’t wait for the day when I return to Hawaii and can swim in this beautiful living memorial. It would truly be a shame if this part of history was demolished. Mahalo for all of the work that is being done to save the War Memorial Natatorium!