The Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Grass Hut, photo by Daniel de Castro

Last October I was in paradise (also known as Hawaii!) on business for a few days but before I left, I checked in with my dad to let him know my plans. He and my mom lived in Hawaii during the 1950s so when I go he always likes to find out where I’ll be going and what I’ll be seeing.

I told him that I’d be working at our Honolulu-based headquarters in the beautiful Manoa Valley and seeing the Waioli Tea Room, also on The Salvation Army’s campus.

He asked me if I’d be seeing author Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous grass hut. When I gasped in shock, he said, “you know, the author of Treasure Island?” I had no idea that such wonders awaited!

Well, you can bet that one of my first questions when I got to Hawaii was about the grass hut. My colleague there is Daniel de Castro and he told me all about the grass hut. But he also told me that it was out for repairs so I couldn’t see it.

Here’s some of the story: The grass hut was originally on the grounds of Princess Ka’iulani’s estate in Waikiki and Stevenson would use it as a writing retreat during the six months of the year that he spent in Hawaii.

In the 1920s the hut was auctioned off and The Salvation Army was the highest bidder. It was relocated to our campus in Manoa and placed next to the Waioli Tea Room to be enjoyed by visitors to the island.

Unfortunately, the hut was flattened during a wind storm in 2003 but was recently rebuilt with the help of some dedicated volunteers and materials from the University of Hawaii’s Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences department.

Repairs to the hut are now completed and it’s available for viewing on The Salvation Army’s Manoa Valley campus. Click here to read more about it and see a historical photo at The Salvation Army’s Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division website.

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