'Iolani Palace is situated in the capitol district of downtown Honolulu in the State of Hawai'i. It is the only royal palace used as an official residence by a reigning monarch in the United States and as such was declared a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Two monarchs governed from 'Iolani Palace, King David Kalakaua and Queen Lili'uokalani.
King Kamehameha V was the first monarch to envision a royal palace befitting of the sovereign of a modern state such as Hawai'i. He commissioned the construction of Al'iolani Hale to be the official palace of the Kamehameha Dynasty. In the Hawaiian language, the name of the palace literally meant House of the Heavenly King. His untimely death however meant that he could not see the completion of his palace. Ali'iolani Hale became an administrative building instead, housing the judiciary of the Kingdom of Hawai'i and various other ministries.
When King David Kalakaua assumed the throne, he shared his predecessor's dream of a royal palace befitting of the sovereign of a modern state such as Hawai'i. He commissioned the construction of 'Iolani Palace, directly across the street from Ali'iolani Hale, to become the official palace of the Kalakaua Dynasty he founded. The building was completed in 1882 and was outfitted with an elaborate fortress guard house called 'Iolani Barracks.
Upon the overthrow of the monarchy by the Committee of Safety in 1893, 'Iolani Palace was converted into the statehouse of the newly formed Provisional Government of Hawai'i. It later became the capitol building of the Republic of Hawai'i, Territory of Hawai'i and State of Hawai'i and housed the offices of their respective governors and legislatures.
Governor of Hawai'i John A. Burns oversaw the construction of the Hawai'i State Capitol directly behind 'Iolani Palace. When the new capitol building was completed in 1969, Governor Burns decided to vacate all government offices from 'Iolani Palace and begin an ambitious restoration project. Governor Burns envisioned the return of 'Iolani Palace to the people of Hawai'i in memory of the beloved royal family that had resided in it decades before. When restoration was completed, 'Iolani Palace was opened to the public for tours and special events.