Built in three years and completed in 1882, ‘Iolani Palace is the only royal palace on US soil. The ceremonial laying of the cornerstone of the palace took place in 1879. A copper time capsule containing photographs, documents, currency, and the Hawaiian census was sealed inside the cornerstone.
Between the laying of the cornerstone and the completion of the palace, King Kalakaua had circumnavigated the globe in 1881 and seen how other monarchs lived and wanted the palace to live up to the standards of the rest of the world. The furnishings and interior are the best of the best in the Hawaiian Kingdom at that time.
Kalakaua had also visited Thomas Edison’s studio in the US which led the way to electric lighting installed at the palace in 1886, four years before electric lights were installed at the White House in Washington D.C. The total cost for building and furnishing Iolani palace was $343,595 – $8.9 million in today’s dollars. ‘Iolani Palace is located directly across from Ali’iolani Hale and the King Kamehameha Statue.