He arrived with his entourage 127 years ago — Hawaiian Sesquicentennial Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin

Today, the Hawaiian Sesquicentennial Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin remembers when King Kalakaua arrived in San Francisco for a physician-advised vacation on December 4, 1890.

From the Daily Alta California newspaper on the following day:


King Kalakaua.

Arrival in San Francisco and Reception at the Palace Hotel.

Delightful Weather Excepting the Last Day.

He Comes To California for His Health. He Will Remain on the Pacific Coast for One Month.

The sews of the arrival of the Charleston yesterday morning caused a commotion among a number of our commercial men who are interested in affairs in the Sandwich Islands, as the announcement had been previously made that King Kalakaua was on board.

The following invitation had been sent to those who were supposed to be desirous of meeting his majesty on arrival and extending the courtesies of the city to him.

The invitation read as follows:

His Hawaiian Majesty’s Consul-General desires the pleasure of your company to assist in receiving His Majesty, King Kalakaua, Who is expected on the United States steamer Charleston about Thursday, the 4th inst. You will please meet at the Palace Hotel parlors on being notified of the hour.

The following gentlemen were invited to receive King Kalakaua on arrival: George W. Merrill, ex-United States Minister to Hawaiian Islands; General W. H. Dimond, Superintendent United States Branch Mint; ex-Governor George C. Perkins; Isaac Upham; George H. Sanderson, Mayor-elect; Barry Baldwin, T. G. Phelps, E. P. Danforth, Paris Kilbourne, Col. J. P. Jackson, Chief Justice Beatty, General S. W. Backus, M. S. Grinbaum, Joseph Hyman, R. P. Kithet, Mayor E. B. Pond and city officials, Governor Waterman, W. H. Sears, Adolph Spreckels, William Alvord, ex-Governor F. F. Low, James K. Wilson. Max Green, Charles Mayne, W. H. Bailey, S. T. Alexander, E. L. G. Steele, W. F. Whittier, ex-Senator A. P. Williams, J. B. Stetson, W. W. Montague, M. P. Jones, I. Steinhart, P. N. Lilienthal, General John T. Cutting, E. R. Lilienthal, Alexander G. Hawes, David J. Staples, Hon. Charles R. Bishop, N. W. Spaulding, Thomas B. Shannon, J. N. Morton, Senator J. P. Jones, Hon. C. N. Felton, Robert Oxnard.

The Charleston arrived in the harbor yesterday morning at 11 o’clock, and on passing Fort Point she presented a very handsome appearance, and, with the Hawaiian flag at her masthead, was saluted on passing Alcatraz Island with a royal salute.

From thence along the harbor the royal guest was the recipient of numerous courtesies from the vessels in our harbor.

The United States Coast Survey steamer Patterson, in charge of Lieutenant Dorn, dipped her flag.

A crowd of Whitehall boats and steam launches quickly surrounded the steamer, but none save the Custom House launch and the dispatch boat General McDowell were allowed alongside.

When the steamer came to anchor off Vallejo street wharf she was boarded by General Gibbon and staff, Collector Phelps and the Hawaiian Consul-General McKinley, all of whom paid their respects to his Hawaiian Majesty, and welcomed him to the city.

The King remained on the steamer until nearly 4 p. m., when he left and was taken in a steam-launch and landed on Washington street wharf.

He was then escorted to the Palace Hotel by a detachment of the Fourth Regiment Cavalry from the Presidio, with the Presidio band in advance.

The first carriage arriving at the Palace Hotel contained the King, Rear-Admiral Brown of the U. S. S. Charleston, General Gibbon, commanding the Department of the Pacific, and Colonel MacFarlane, chamberlain and private secretary of the King.

The second carriage contained Colonel K. H. Baker of the royal staff, General Greene, U. S. Army, D. A. McKinley, Consul-General for the Pacific Coast, and Lieutenant Dyer, Aid-de-Camp to Admiral Brown.

At the Palace Hotel the assembled friends of his Majesty welcomed him to San Francisco, and soon after he adjourned to the rooms which had been prepared for him on the first floor, where he held an informal reception.

The King said that his trip was a remarkable pleasant one, until they reached the Farrallones on Wednesday, when they were unable to cross the bar on account of the storm.

This detained the Charleston nearly one day; otherwise the trip was as pleasant as could be desired.

The party, consisting of the King, Colonel G. W. Macfarlane and Colonel R. H. Baker, will spend about one month in the city.

They will not go East as reported, but have come here for rest and recreation.

The King’s health has much improved since he left Honolulu. He was advised that a change of climate was necessary, by his physician, and makes this trip in consequence.

King Kalakaua has made two previous visits to our city.

Before leaving Honolulu King Kalakaua issued the following proclamation, providing for the management of affairs during his absence:


We, Kalakaua, by the grace of God, of the Hawaiian Islands King:

Agreeably to Article XXXIII. of the Constitution of Our Kingdom, we have this day appointed and do hereby proclaim and make known our beloved subject and sister, her Royal Highness the Princess Liliuokalani, as Regent of our kingdom, to administer our Government in Our name during Our absence from Our kingdom.

Done at lolani Palace, in Honolulu, this 25th day of November, in this year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety, and in the seventeenth year of our reign.

Kalakaua, Rex.
By the King.
J. A. Cummings, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Foreign Office, November 25th, 1890.

The press of Honolulu all concur in the opinion that the King could not have chosen a more favorable time to enjoy a much-needed rest and vacation from the cares and troubles of state, and that he will enjoy it in the assurance that the Kingdom is in patriotic hands during his absence, and they pray for speedy restoration to health and a safe return for his Majesty.

The departure from Honolulu is described as follows:

The start was to occur at 2 p. m., Tuesday, November 25th. On time the Charleston was under way.

On the day before starting many of the King’s subjects came on board with presents of beef, lambs, ducks, fruits, fresh vegetables for the King.

These were by the King transferred to the Admiral, who transferred them to the mess of the officers and men. This furnished a good supply on board ship during the entire trip.

All the vessels in the harbor were dressed in flags. The docks and shipping were crowded with spectators from an early hour.

The royal Hawaiian yacht fleet was trimmed with gay bunting and was prepared to take part in the first of the cruise, bidding a royal farewell at sea.

The King and his suite. Colonel MacFarlane and Colonel R. H. Baker, embarked at 1:55 p. m. and were soon on board.

The Charleston and Mohican began firing a royal salute, while Her Majesty’s steamer Nymphe manned her yards. During these performances the King reached the ship.

Promptly at 2 p. m. the anchors of the Charleston were up and she started slowly ahead.

The steamer J. A. Cummings, having on board His Excellency J. A. Cummings, Minister of Foreign Affairs, started simultaneously.

The royal Hawaiian yacht fleet slipped their anchors and got under way.

There was considerable cheering and good wishes from the shore. Many friends accompanied Minister Cummings on his steamer, where the Royal Hawaiian Band was stationed.

The bands of the Charleston and the J. A. Cummings played alternately as the vessels moved slowly out of the harbor.

There were many ladies on board the Mohican and Nymphe, who waved adieu with flags and handkerchiefs.

United States Minister Stevens and Consul-General Severance took part in the cordial demonstrations.

The King, during the trip, dined with Admiral Brown, except on one occasion, when he dined in the wardroom.

The trip was unusually pleasant until Wednesday, when they encountered a gale in the neighborhood of the Farallones, which detained them from entering the harbor until Thursday morning.

The King and suite will remain on the Pacific Coast for one month, when they will return to Honolulu.

At present they are quartered at the Palace Hotel, where they will remain until their future movements are determined upon.


The Hawaiian Sesquicentennial Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin shows with an image of King Kalakaua, circa 19th century.

Hawaiian Sesquicentennial Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin