College Hill, from Athertons to UH Presidents

For 60 years College Hill was the home of the Atherton family, who donated it in 1964 to the University of Hawai‘i as the President's residence. In 2008-9 Mason Architects designed improvements to the home, primarily structural repairs to the exterior and modifications to interior finishes. An Existing Condition Analysis and Historic Structure Report followed, to plan and prioritize future work projects.

  • The College Hill residence was built in 1902-3 on a knoll in the newly established College Hills Tract in lower Manoa Valley.
  • On land once leased by Punahou School to a dairy farm, the College Hills Tract was considered "country" when young Frank C. Atherton brought his wife Eleanore there.
  • It soon became a desirable residential area served by a streetcar, which traveled up O‘ahu Avenue and made a wide U-turn around the Atherton home on Kamehameha Avenue.
  • Designed by architect Walter E. Pinkham, the shingled two-story wood-framed house reflects the influence of the late Queen Anne, Prairie, and Craftsman styles, but its lava rock piers, ohia floors, and large lanai denote it as Hawaiian.
  • It was listed on the Hawai‘i Register of Historic Places in 2002 as part of the College Hills Tract Thematic Nomination.
  • MAI prepared drawings and specifications for:
    • Repairs to the porte cochere
    • Repairs to the foundation, floor framing, and lanai stair
    • Repair and refinishing of the deck
    • Roof and drainage repairs
    • Replacement of wood floors with ohia flooring on the first floor
    • Repair and refinishing of wooden windows and doors, frames, casework, and shelving

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Photography: MAI and Hawai‘i State Archives

College Hill was built on six lots in the College Hills Tract in lower Manoa Valley.