Adventures in Wiki Epistemology: Architects

Wikipedia has been making a big push to cite published sources to support the content people have added online. This year, I have been adding a lot of new content to Wikipedia after finding published sources to cite. Unfortunately, sloppy citations and unsupported speculation are just as common in print as they are online. Here are three examples from my recent, rather intense research into aspects of architectural history relating to the National Register of Historic Places listings on Oahu.

Punahou School’s Pauahi Hall: architect(s) and date completed?
A. ?, 1896 (Punahou School website)
B. ?, 1898 (NRHP #72000419, Alexander & Dodge 1941)
C. Ripley & Dickey, 1896 (Neil 1975, HJH)
D. Ripley & Reynolds, 1896 (Cheever 2003:98)

Ripley’s architectural partners were Dickey (1896-1900), Reynolds (1910-), and Davis (1913-). So the latest publication, with contributions by most of the major architects in Honolulu (Cheever 2003) seems the least reliable in this instance. Contributor Nate E. Smith, Associate AIA, was probably thinking of Ripley’s work on the University of Hawai‘i’s Hawaii Hall (1911), while Ripley was in partnership with Reynolds.

Judge Henry E. Cooper House, Manoa Valley: architect(s) and date completed?
A. Ripley & Dickey, 1897 (Neil 1975, HJH)
B. Ripley & Dickey, 1898 (Jay 1992:67)
C. Traphagen, 1898 (Cheever 2003:153)

Once again, the latest publication, with contributions by most of the major architects in Honolulu (Cheever 2003) seems the least reliable in this instance. Contributor Joseph J. Ferraro, AIA, was probably thinking of Traphagen’s work on the Punahou School President’s Home (1907).

The name of the junior architect who finished up much work contracted by Bertram Goodhue before the latter’s untimely death was:
A. Hardie Phillips (according to Honolulu sources)
B. Hardie Phillip (according to sources elsewhere)

“Hardie Phillips” sourced in Honolulu: Gaspar 1996; Haines 2009; Territorial Architecture – The Golden Age; Honolulu Star Bulletin, 1 September 1997, 28 September 2003; Localism: Territorial Style Elegance in Honolulu. Historic Buildings Tour 1.0; NRHP #80001272; Smith 1996:359; Wilcox 1972:22;

“Hardie Phillip” in Wikipedia and elsewhere: C. Brewer Building; Anna Rice Cooke; Bertram Goodhue; Honolulu Academy of Arts; Lihiwai; Mayers Murray & Phillip; Penkiunas 1990:145-182; Sakamoto 2008:34.

Once again, the received wisdom of nearly every architect in Honolulu, and every published source based on that received wisdom, has perpetuated a minor error that every Wikipedian seems to have avoided. There is no “Hardie Phillips” in Wikipedia.


  • Alexander, Mary C., and Charlotte P. Dodge (1941). Punahou, 1841-1941. University of California Press.
  • Cheever, David (2003). Pōhaku: The Art & Architecture of Stonework in Hawai‘i. Editions Limited.
  • Haines, Frank S., FAIA (2009). Exploring Downtown: A Walking Tour. Honolulu Chapter, American Institute of Architects.
  • Jay, Robert (1992). The Architecture of Charles W. Dickey: Hawaii and California. University of Hawaiʻi Press. (out of print)
  • Neil, J. Meredith (1975). “The Architecture of C.W. Dickey in Hawai‘i.” Hawaiian Journal of History 9:101-113.
  • Penkiunas, Daina Julia (1990). American Regional Architecture in Hawaii: Honolulu, 1915–1935. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Virginia. (Printed by UMI, Ann Arbor, 1993.)
  • Sakamoto, Dean, ed. (2008). Hawaiian Modern: The Architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff. Yale University Press.
  • Smith, George Everard Kidder (1996). Source Book of American Architecture. Princeton Architectural Press.
  • Wilcox, Gaylord (1972). “Business and Buildings: Downtown Honolulu’s Old Fashioned Block.” Hawaiian Journal of History 6:3-27.

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