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Helen Hoyt remembered Mrs. Dillingham around the turn of the century as "a beautiful woman with soft curly white hair. She wore silk brocaded blue gray dresses and hats with flowers to match."90 By 1920, a widow with her children grown, she was still living in the family home but when approached by the committee graciously replied that, for Central Union, she would sell Woodlawn.

To design a building that would express the church's New England heritage, the congregation retained the Boston architectural firm of Cram and Ferguson. Associate architects were Emory and Webb of Honolulu. E. E. Black, Ltd., was the general contractor. Ralph Adams Cram came to Honolulu to study the climate and conditions before drawing the final plans,91 a visit which persuaded him to add French doors along the sides of the sanctuary so that it became almost an open air pavilion. Seating was planned for 750 on the main floor and 250 in the balcony. 

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