War Memorial Natatorium

War Memorial Natatorium
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Address 2815 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Closed memorial dedicated to those who served WWI. Today, it's nothing more than a parking lot and bathroom.

• General: Cost: Free • General: Educational • Cultural & Historical: Memorials / Statues

The War Memorial Natatorium is a memorial to those who served in the "great war", which is World War I. It is the facade you see in our picture above with an open air salt water swimming pool behind that.

It opened in 1927 and because it wasn't maintained over time it eventually fell into disrepair and was shut down. The insides remain closed and off limits but you can visit the outside portion. Back in 1997 the plan was to renovate it so some sort of ridiculous environmental impact study was done that took a year and cost over $1 million.

In 1998 plans were approved (at nearly $12 million!) to renovate it and open it back up and it should have opened in 2005. Yes, that would mean taking seven years to make what is just a swimming pool. Wow, that's island time at its finest (see Hawaii Living: Island Time)!

In 2001 there were some tear-ups and a group formed to stop the renovation. Of course, not before a restoration plaque was made and mounted to the building in 2000. Yes, a plaque just to say it was being renovated was created and mounted! And we wonder how the renovation train got derailed!

In just 3 years almost half of the renovation money was spent, the project stopped, and it's sat there ever since. That's some very prime real estate and this thing just sits there falling apart? Probably not how those who served would want to be memorialized.

Right now it's nothing more than a parking lot and bathrooms for nearby Kaimana / Sans Souci Beach @ Waikiki. Should it be fixed? Should it be removed? Hard to say, but clearly either option is better than what it is right now. This also sort of brings up the issues with memorials in general, which is the fact that they cost a lot money to run and maintain over the years! It sounds good to memorialize an event or people but nobody ever thinks about the ongoing maintenance costs of those memorials.