Until 1917, when the Lihu‘e Armory was built, Kaua‘i’s 1st Battalion 4th Infantry Regiment of the Hawai‘i National Guard had no armory and was therefore compelled to store its equipment in inadequate accommodations inside the County Building.
It also needed to move outside of the County Building and onto an adjacent baseball field for its drills.
Similarly, without an armory, little opportunity was given its officers for becoming thoroughly acquainted with their men, and vice versa.
So, by 1916, $14,000 was raised by Kaua‘i County for the building of an armory in Lihu‘e on what today is the site of the state Office Building.
At its opening ceremony on March 24, 1917, a military ball was held in the armory’s hall — far and away the biggest hall on Kaua‘i.
The ball was, up to that time, the largest social event ever to have taken place on Kaua‘i.
A brass band, a string band, a Filipino band, many dancers and a military drill provided entertainment.
Not long after, Company “K” carried out its first drill at the armory, which included bayonet, trench warfare, grenade and rifle target training.
Over the years, the armory was also utilized for many festivities, activities and events besides military training, such as 4-H activities, county fairs, sporting events, carnivals, dances, Christmas celebrations, luaus and more.
One such event was Kaua‘i’s first county fair held on Saturday, May 27, 1922.
At this fair, ladies passed out frozen sweets, while a fortune teller assured everyone a bright future.
Other booths served up laulau, poi, chop suey, ice cream, watermelon, sliced pineapple and popcorn.
Kaua‘i’s sugar plantations and pineapple companies displayed their prize sugarcane and pineapples.
Coconut planter Alfred D. Hills exhibited copra oils and doormats made from coconut husks.
Exhibits of lauhala and bamboo work were also popular attractions.
In the evening, there was dancing with music furnished by the Lihu‘e Brass Band led by Frank Fernandez.
The Lihu‘e Armory was demolished in 1967 to make room for the state Office Building, and in 1969, the new building was dedicated.
Source: The Garden Island