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Aloha, Henke Hall

—This message by UH Mānoa Professor Douglas Vincent was originally sent to the faculty and staff of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources in response to the UH News story: Henke Hall demolition clears way for state-of-the-art science building.

Exterior of Henke Hall with yellow shower trees

Collage of photos of Henke Hall (courtesy of Doug Vincent)

Louis A. Henke


In a few days, the contractor will begin the demolition of Henke Hall. It is being demolished for the new Life Sciences Bldg. (which will replace Snyder Hall). For many of you, Henke Hall is just this dumpy, low-rise building in between Moore Hall and Kennedy Theatre, just mauka of Paradise Palms. But for some of us, it was our departmental home until 2000 when CTAHR vacated it for the then new Agricultural Sciences III building. Before the move and the merger, Animal Sciences, Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Agricultural Biochemistry Departments occupied the offices and labs in Henke Hall. Henke Hall was completed in 1956 and was dedicated, by USDA Secretary Ezra Taft Benson, during the 50th anniversary of the founding of CTAHR.

But do you know who Henke was? Louis Albert Henke was hired by President John Gilmore in 1916. Henke, originally from Wisconsin, was born in 1889 and died in 1985. Professor Henke, an Animal Scientist, taught six of the eleven courses offered in agriculture in the early days of the college. Henke pioneered the use of agricultural wastes from sugar cane and pineapple to be used as low cost animal feed for our livestock farmers. Henke retired from CTAHR in 1954 but continued to work and conduct research with students and faculty well into his 80s.

So as the bulldozers knock the building down, remember Henke Hall legacy, and reflect on those who came before us.

If you’d like to read more about UH’s buildings, you can download Victor Kobayashi’s book Building a Rainbow: A history of the buildings and grounds of the University of Hawaiʻi’s Mānoa Campus from UH Mānoa library, or read about the history of CTAHR in our Centennial book published in 2008.

Aloha, Henke Hall.

—Doug Vincent

1957 map of the UH Mānoa campus. Henke Hall is in the upper right corner.

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. With my long-time affiliation (1949-53 as a student, BA & MS; regular lecturer 1961-67; then sunmer school lecturer off-and-on until we returned to Hawai’i in 1992, when I joined the adjunct faculty in the building named for my major professor, Harold St.John) with UH, and all the time, in close association with CCTAHR, it was interesting to see an old campus map! (Apologies for the very long sentence, but I do know the German language!) The map didn’t, however, show Rock Road and the Vets’ Dorms (in the “C” area).

    And as you said, Aloh, h=Henke Hall!

  2. Henke Hall was also the home of the Horticulture Department until it moved into St. John Plant Science Bldg in 1971-72. Many of the fruit trees in the Henke Hall courtyards were planted by Dr. Richard Hamilton.

  3. Thank you Doug for reviving the memory of Louis Henke. Louis and Rachel’s only child, Jean, died in February 2014, yet there are many family members related to Louis and Rachel that remember the family fondly. I was the executor for Jean’s estate and can say the the University of Hawaii Foundation was remembered generously. I am hopeful that there will be some plaque or other significant article of memorial to preserve the memory and to allow others to be inspired by the efforts and character of “those who came before us.”

    At the March 22, 1957 dedication ceremony of Henke Hall, Dept of Ag secretary Ezra Benson said, “The opportunities which will present themselves during the second half-century of this institution’s development will be as challenging as those offered during its first fifty years. The challenges will be met, the opportunities will be fully realized if its scientists bring to their teaching and to their research the qualities for which Professor Henke has been known – resourcefulness, perseverance, integrity, imagination, patience, faith. May the endeavors of those who labor in this building, dedicated as they are to the service of mankind be crowned with conspicuous success.”

    Those seem to be fitting words for a memorial to the Henke legacy and an inspiration to those who follow.

    1. Richard. Thanks for the quotation from USDA Secretary Benson. We retrieved the signs before the building was demolished. We have a small portrait gallery in the lobby of the Agricultural Sciences Building on Campus. Our plan is to create a portrait of Louis Henke and hang it along with the building sign in the lobby of the building.

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