Lahaina Historic Trail
Extended Ninety Minute Tour
I have three pages about the Lahaina Historic Trail:
• The dotted line in the map image below is a short trail (30 minutes) that just circles around Banyan Tree Park and Lahaina Harbor.
• This page describes the long trail - the solid line in the map image below is the longer tour (additional 60 minutes) that progresses through Lahaina.
• I also have a page with a large printable Lahaina Historic Trail map. If bigger is better for you to read a map, print this map page.
The descriptions in italics below are quoted directly from the Lahaina Restoration Foundation's Lahaina Historic Trail brochure.
61. The EPISCOPAL CHURCH in the islands was founded in 1862. The present building dated from 1927, and is notable for an alter painting depicting a Hawaiian Madonna and colorful endemic plants and birds.
Walk to the side of the church - there are no walls, just open air with beams to hold up the roof. The front door is almost always open. If you enter and go to the front alter you can view the Hawaiian Madonna at the back wall.
60. (site only) HALE PIULA, “iron-roof house,” a large two-story stone building with a surrounding piazza, was built in the late 1830s as a palace for Kamehameha III. It was not a success. In fact, it was never finished. The king preferred to sleep in a small thatch hut nearby. By the mid-1840s, the king and his advisors were spending more time at Honolulu than Lahaina, and Hale Piula fell into disrepair. It was used as a courthouse for some time, and after a gale damaged it badly in 1858, its stones were used to build the present courthouse.
Return to Lahaina from Lahaina Historic Trail
58. 59. (site only) MALUULUOLELE PARK hides one of the most interesting parts of old Lahaina. Once there was a pond here, called Mokuhinia, home of a powerful water spirit in the form of a lizard or dragon. A tiny island in the pond, MOKUULA, was for decades a home of Maui chiefs, and then a residence of three Kamehameha kings.
Several important chiefs of the early 1800s were buried there. Kamehameha III used to receive visitors at the royal tomb in the late 1830s and early 1840s, showing them the large burial chamber, with its mirrors, velvet draperies, chairs and kahili (feathered staffs), and ornate coffins.
Long after the chiefs’ remains were removed, the pond was filled, the island leveled, and a ball park was created in 1918.
There is not much to see here right now. When you see the tennis and basketball courts at the south end of Front Street, you have found this site. There are long term plans to develop this into an area that matches the graphic.
56. WAIOLA CHURCH was the first stone church in the islands, built between 1828 and 1832 by natives under the direction of their chiefs for the Protestant mission. It could seat 3000 Hawaiians packed together on the floor and had calabash spittoons for tobacco-chewing chiefs and ships’ masters. A whirlwind unroofed the church and blew down the belfry in 1858; the bell, once described as “non too sonorous,” fell a hundred feet undamaged. In 1894, native royalists protesting the annexation of Hawaii by the U.S. burned the church. Rebuilt, it burned down again in 1947, was rebuilt, and was demolished by another whirlwind in 1951. The new church, dedicated in 1953, was renamed Waiola, 'Water of Life'.
The sign at both Waiola locations are confusing because they still use the old name 'Waine'e' (the street you are on) rather then the current name 'Waiola'.
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57. WAIOLA CHURCHYARD – here lies history. Here are buried the great and obscure of early Lahaina – Hawaiian chiefs and commoners, seamen, missionaries. Here and there is a reminder of the old custom of marking the tomb with a glass-framed picture. Among the stones are those of Governor Hoapili and his wife Kalakua; Ke’opuolani, (first of the chiefs to be converted to Christianity, wife of Kamehameha I and mother of Kamehameha II, Kemehameha III, and Princess Nahi’ena’ena); and pioneer missionary, William Richards.
55. Members of the Buddhist HONGWANJI MISSION have been meeting here since 1910, when they put up a small temple and a language school. The present building dates from 1927.
54. (site only) DAVID MALO’S HOUSE was near the junction of Prison Road and Waine’e Street. Malo, educated at Lahainaluna Seminary as an adult, was the first renowned Hawaiian scholar and philosopher. He developed a keen sense of judgement and was a prime mover in framing the bill of rights and the constitution. His account of the ancient culture, Hawaiian Antiquities, has become a classic. Bitter about growing white control of Hawaii, he asked to be buried “above the tide of the foreign invasion” and his grave site is on the top of Mt. Ball, above the school. David Malo Day is celebrated annually at the high school in late spring.
53. HALE PA’AHAO, “stuck-in-irons-house,” was Lahaina’s prison from the 1850s. Built at a leisurely pace by convict laborers, out of coral stone from the demolished waterfront Fort, it had the standard wall shackles and ball and chain restraints for difficult prisoners. Most of the inmates were there for desertion from ships, drunkenness, working on the Sabbath, or dangerous horse-riding.
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49.The EPISCOPAL CEMETERY on Waine’e Street contains burial sites of many early families on Maui who joined the Anglican Church after the Archbishop of Canterbury in England was specifically requested to form a church in Hawaii by Queen Emma.
50. HALE ALOHA can be seen from the cemetary. The “House of Love” was built by native Protestants in “commemoration of God’s causing Lahaina to escape the smallpox, while it desolated Oahu in 1853, carrying off 5000-6000 of its population. Completed in 1858, it was used as a church and school for many years, but by the early 1900s it fell into ruins. The County of Maui restored the structure in 1974.
51. The BUDDHIST CHURCH OF THE SHINGON SECT, with its green paint and simple wooden architectural style, is typical of church buildings put up all over Maui in the plantation era, when Japanese laborers were imported to work in the sugar fields.
52.(site only) Along LUAKINI STREET in 1837 passed the funeral procession of the tragic Princess Nahi’ena’ena. Caught between the ancient and the modern world, she alternatively worshipped the Protestant God, and yearned after the old traditions, in which a union with her brother Kamehameha III would have preserved the purity of the royal family. She had a son by the king in August, 1836. The boy lived only a few hours, and Nahi’ena’ena herself died in December. She was 21. Along the way to her burial place, a path was made through stands of breadfruit and koa trees. It became known as Luakani Street, after the Hawaiian word for the sacrificial heiau, the state temples of the old religion.
48. MARIA LANAKILA CHURCH. The first Roman Catholic mass was celebrated on Maui in 1841, and there has been a Catholic church on this site since 1846. The present church, a concrete replica of an earlier wooden structure, dates from 1928.
We attend Easter ceremonies here each year during our Maui Spring Break vacation.
47. The SEAMEN’S CEMETERY. Herman Melville’s cousin was buried here, and one of Melville’s shipmates as well, who died in the Seaman’s Hospital of a “disreputable disease.” Over the years, the marked graves of sailors gradually disappeared, until now only one or two are identifiable.
46. HALE PA’I, the printing house of Lahainaluna Seminary, founded by Protestant missionaries in 1831, turned out hundreds of thousands of pages of material in the Hawaiian language. The school is the oldest educational institution west of the Rockies and now serves as the public high school for the Lahaina area. The printing shop was restored in 1980-82 by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation under a grant from the State of Hawaii. An exhibit features a replica of the original Ramage press and facsimiles of early printing. Museum open Monday-Friday, 10am-3pm.
41. The WO HING MUSEUM on Front Street is affiliated with the Chee Kung Tong, a Chinese fraternal society with branches all over the world. This one dates from early in this century, when the local society had over a hundred members. The Chinese were amond the earliest immigrants to Hawaii and became a powerful force in the commerce of Lahaina. Museum open daily.
44. The U.S. SEAMEN’S HOSPITAL on Front Street (1833) was once the hideaway of Kamehameha III. The building was leased to the U.S. State Department in 1844 to serve as a center for the treatment of sick and injured seamen, particularily whalers who flocked to these shores between 1820 to 1860. There was scandalous talk in those days that the doctors at the hospital collected per diem fees from the government for patients long since buried in the Seamen’s Cemetery. An investigation of these charges was made in 1859, but no official action was ever taken. Next door is an early residence, typical of the homes of the sugar plantation camps.
45. The statue of BUDDHA at the JODO MISSION near Mala wharf was erected to mark the hundredth anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese plantation laborers in 1868. The grounds and building of the mission are open to the public.
This is in north Lahaina, and more of a drive than a casual walk from downtown Front Street.
Lahaina from Lahaina Historic Trail