Barack Obama's Neighborhood
    Barry Slept Here  |   Punahou Days  |   The Neighborhood  |   Oahu Tour  |   Family  |   Friends  |   Houses of Worship

Barry Obama Slept Here

1961 - 6085 Kalaniana'ole Highway

6085 Kalaniana'ole Highway  

Excluding his four years in Indonesia (between 1967 and 1971), Barack Obama's life was spent in half a dozen residences, primarily in Honolulu's Makiki neighborhood. His first boyhood home however, was on 6085 Kalaniana'ole Highway in Hawaii Kai district about 5 miles east of Makiki. This bungalow, located behind the main home, was Barry Obama's first childhood home. Photo courtesy of Greg Knudsen.

1962 to 1963 - 1427 Alexander Street


Records indicate that by 1963 the Dunhams had shifted to a two-bedroom apartment (#110) at 1427 Alexander Street in the Makiki area. The previous year Obama Sr. separated from his wife (Stanley Ann Obama) and moved from Hawaii to attend Harvard University on scholarship. In 1963, according to an article in the Honolulu Advertiser, when she was a University of Hawaii sophomore, Ms. Obama's residence was listed in a UH directory as 2277 Kamehameha Ave, several blocks from the University. One can speculate that she and son Barack visited her parents (Madelyn aka "Toot" and Stan aka "Gramps") at the Alexander Street apartment. (Note that the old structure that stood on 2277 Kamehameha Ave in the sixties was recently demolished and was replaced with a brand new structure.)

1964 to 1967 - 2234 University Ave


In 1964 the elder Dunhams, along with Barack and their daughter, shared a four-bedroom 1947 home at 2234 University Ave in Manoa Valley, one of the neighborhoods that border Makiki. Upper middle class and very stable, Manoa Valley is one of the preferred residential areas in Honolulu. The Honolulu Advertiser notes that "this single-story Manoa home with its wide-open veranda and sprawling front and back lawns, was within walking distance of Noelani Elementary School, which Obama attended." (Noelani at the time was considered one of the best public grammar schools in town and remains so). The extended family resided together in this home through 1967. The Advertiser opines that the Manoa era "represents what might have been the most traditional home life of Obama's childhood."

Barack Obama's residence shifted again in 1967 when Ann Dunham married another UH student, Lolo Soetoro and the couple, along with 6-year-old Barack moved to moved to Jakarta, Indonesia.

1971 to 1979 - 1617 S. Beretania, #1206 Punahou Circle


In 1971, Barack Obama returned to Honolulu to live with his grandparents, who had moved to unit #1206 at the Punahou Circle Apartment building on 1617 S. Beretania in Makiki. In 1973 the elder Dunhams along with young Barack shifted to apartment 1008 in the same building. Constructed in 1965 and still in existence today, the monolithic 96-unit building looks to be threadbare and dated. A white plastic table and chairs sit beneath a shabby portico--unlikely targets for thieves. On one apartment balcony tiny American flags flap in the breeze. Punahou Circle was Barry Obama's principal residence throughout most of his Honolulu schooling (1971-79) and remained the home of his grandmother until her death in November of 2008.

1974 to 1976 - 1839 Poki Street


Ann Soetoro moved back to Hawaii in 1973 to study anthropology at the University of Hawaii. By this time she had separated from her second husband (Lolo Soetoro) and had in tow Maya, Barack's 3-year-old sister. Both mother and child moved into a nine-unit apartment at 1839 Poki Street, about six blocks from her parent's Punahou Circle apartment. In an International Herald Tribune story Maya said that her first memories were of Poki Street. "There was a big chair, and we would rock and rock together until it fell backwards." She said she would torture her brother in all the usual ways - blocking his view of sports on TV and building impediments with toys for him to trip on.

Birthday notice in August 13, 1961 Honolulu Advertiser

Courtesy of the Honolulu Advertiser

©2008 Rob Kay | Terms of Use