The origins of the Hilo Hotel began in 1840, when prominent Hilo businessman, Benjamin Pitman built a mansion in an area known as Niopola, which was one of the favored resort spots of ancient Hawaiian royalty. After changing hands several times the mansion was replaced by the Hilo Hotel in 1888. The original hotel featured a two-story sprawling main building with several cottages connected to it by long verandas. The original hotel was torn down in 1956 and replaced with the ”new“ Hilo Hotel about 2 years later. That incarnation of the Hilo Hotel remained open until the hotel finally closed for good in the 1990’s.