Albert Spencer Wilcox Building

The Albert Spencer Wilcox Building is a historic building in Līhuʻe, Kauaʻi, Hawaii. Originally a library when it opened in 1924,[3] it was later converted into the Kauaʻi Museum.[4] It has exhibits on the history of the island of Kauaʻi. It was added to both the Hawaiʻi Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[2]

Albert Spencer Wilcox Building
Kauaʻi Museum
Albert Spencer Wilcox Building is located in Hawaii
Albert Spencer Wilcox Building
Location4428 Rice Street
Līhuʻe, Kauaʻi, Hawaii
Coordinates21°58′29″N 159°22′6″W / 21.97472°N 159.36833°W / 21.97472; -159.36833
Area0.5 acres (0.20 ha)
ArchitectHart Wood
NRHP reference No.79000760[1]
HRHP No.50-30-11-09344[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 31, 1979
Designated HRHPFebruary 17, 1979
Rear view shows stone structure



The first library on the island of Kauaʻi was probably established by Reverend John Mortimer Lydgate in 1900 at his church in Līhuʻe. After moving to a temporary home in 1921, a permanent home was needed.[5] On February 3, 1922, Emma Kauikeolani Wilcox, widow of businessman and politician Albert Spencer Wilcox (1844–1919) offered US$75,000 for a public library on Kauaʻi.[6] In October 1922 architect Hart Wood was selected to design the building named in honor of Wilcox. Built with John Hansen as general contractor, it opened in 1924 to house the first public library on the island.[7]



In April 1954 a committee started raising funds for a museum to be built next to the library. Juliet Rice Wichman was chair of the committee. A granddaughter of businessman and politician William Hyde Rice, she had married Frederick Warren Wichman after the death of her first husband Holbrook M. Goodale.[8][9] The new building was designed by architect Kenneth Roehrig and named for Rice.[7] Wichman became the museum's first director, and would later co-found the National Tropical Botanical Garden and donate land to become the Limahuli Garden and Preserve to the garden.[10] The first manager of the museum was Dora Jane Isenberg Cole (1917–1988), a second cousin of Wichman sharing great-grandfather William Harrison Rice (1813–1862) but Paul Isenberg (1837–1903) as her paternal grandfather.[11]

On December 3, 1960, the museum opened to the public in the Rice building. In 1969 the state of Hawaii built a new library building, and the Wilcox building was converted to house additional exhibits of the Kauaʻi Museum, opening in December 1970.



The Wilcox building was listed on the Hawaiʻi Register of Historic Places as state historic site 50-30-11-9344 on February 17, 1979.[2] It was added to the National Register of Historic Places listings in Hawaii on May 31, 1979, as site 79000760.[12] It is located at 4428 Rice Street, 21°58′29″N 159°22′6″W / 21.97472°N 159.36833°W / 21.97472; -159.36833 (Kauai Museum) in Līhuʻe.

Family tree


See also



  1. ^ Nathan Napoka (April 1979). "Kauaʻi Museum nomination form". National Register of Historic Places. U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Historic Register Counts". Hawai'i State Historic Preservation Division. State of Hawaii. February 1, 2022. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  3. ^ Gobetz, Wally (2010-05-21), Kaua'i - Lihu'e: Albert Spencer Wilcox Memorial Building, retrieved 2019-12-12
  4. ^ "Kaua`i Museum". Kaua`i Museum. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  5. ^ Hank Soboleski (April 25, 2008). "Island History". The Garden Island. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
  6. ^ Stormy Cozad (August 2008). Kauai. Arcadia Publishing. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-7385-5644-4.
  7. ^ a b "Kauaʻi Museum". official web site. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  8. ^ Marylou Bradley, ed. (2002). "Rice Family Papers 1838–1964" (PDF). Kauaʻi Historical Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  9. ^ Hawaiian Mission Children's Society (1922). Annual report. Vol. 70. pp. 47–48.
  10. ^ "Limahuli Valley, a Living Legacy". Hawaii Stream Research Center web site. University of Hawaii. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
  11. ^ Marylou Bradley; Carolyn Dettling (2010). "Finding Aid for Isenberg Collection" (PDF). Kaua’i Historical Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 26, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
  12. ^ "National and State Register of Historic Places on Kaua'i" (PDF). Hawaii Historic Preservation Division. June 2009. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  13. ^ "Finding Aid to the Rice Family papers, 1838-1964" (PDF). Kauai Historical Society.
  14. ^ "Cooke Family History and Kūaliʻi • Manoa Heritage Center". Manoa Heritage Center. Retrieved 2020-04-06.