History

By , June 19, 2010 2:54 am
Charles Lindberg grave on Maui, Hawaii.
Image via Wikipedia

Visit A Historic Church

The legacies of churches around Maui today are a testimony to the missionaries. They even today reflect the austerity of those first missionaries. Some churches of special interest include the Kaahumanu Church in Wailuku. This Hawaiian language church was named after Queen Kaahumanu, one of the most important converts to Christianity. Another beautiful church is the Holy Ghost Church in Waiakoa. The Portuguese church is over 100 years old. The details of the church is impressive, especially it’s alter with gold leaf and exquisite statuary all recently restored.

Explore Historic Lahaina Town
The Lahaina Town literal translation is “merciless sun”. That sounds undesirable but for hundreds of years Lahaina was the chosen area of Hawaiian royalty. Steeped in history, the whole town is considered a National Historic Landmark and is also a part of the Maui County Historical District. The Lahaina Historical Foundation continues to lead the way in the refurbishment and restoration of old landmarks and buildings. Its primary goal is to retain the look and “feel” of historic Lahaina without adversely affecting visitors. All concerned realize that it is sensible to “modernize” in the old way. Many movies have been made here and you may recognize some locations from the popular movie “Hawaii” staring Julie Andrews and Max Von Sydow. A car is not an asset in Lahaina Town. You will see and enjoy more by taking walking tours at your own pace. If time permits, 2 1/2 – 3 hours will get you through most of historic Lahaina. If time is really short, then one 30 – 40 minute walk will cover the highlights. If you need to cool off and take a dip in the ocean, there is a nice beach at the south end of town to 505 Front Street Mall. There you’ll find lounge chairs and showers available for public use.

Pay Homage To A Famous Aviator
Charles Lindbergh, the first man to cross the Atlantic in an airplane, traveled around the world and visited many beautiful places. When it was time for him to depart on his final journey, he chose to leave from Kipahulu, Maui. There’s a peacefulness surrounding the Palapala Hoomau Church and the adjacent cemetery. A Chinese Banyan spreads its branches protectively over the entrance to the church’s enclosed yard. Simple concrete stepping stones lead into the limestone coral church built in 1857. At first, the church is deceptively simple. A plain, dark brown cross seems to be the only ornament, but as you walk further into it, there is a painted glass window of Jesus Christ. The window is displayed in a niche on the side of the church. Samuel F. Pryor, who was Charles Lindbergh’s close friend and neighbor, commissioned a New Zealand artist to do the window for the church when Pryor restored it many years ago. Outside, you can see Lindbergh’s grave under the shade of a Java plum tree. Before he died, Lindbergh sketched out a simple design for his grave and coffin. He asked his Hawaiian neighbors to dig his grave and to build his coffin. The grave is 12 feet deep, approximately 10 feet wide and lined with lava rock. The coffin is a plain, eucalyptus wood box. On the morning of August 26, 1974, one of the world’s most famous aviators died. His body was clothed in his favorite working clothes, a long sleeve shirt and worn pants, and placed into his coffin. Around noontime, a pick-up truck transported it to the church without fanfare. A scant 14 people witnessed its arrival and attended the short ceremony inside the church. There were no elaborate funeral wreathes and messages of condolences from around the world. Anne Morrow Lindbergh sat alone in the first pew, her neighbors gathered behind her protectively. A lone reporter was reluctantly admitted to the gathering…a silent witness to record the occasion for the public. Freshly picked flowers, entwined into a lei, were placed on the coffin. Bouquets of yellow ginger arranged simply in tall vases decorated the pulpit. After the ceremony, the men carried his coffin to his grave and lowered it into the ground. A dump truck stood by on the side to pour its load of smooth beach pebbles over the grave. It was pau, Charles A. Lindbergh was home. The peacefulness that Lindbergh sought in his life is still felt at Kipahulu. On his grave is inscribed, “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea…” from Psalms 139. The next line reads, “even there thou hand shall lead me.” Take that invisible hand and let it lead you through the cemetery to the Kipahulu Lighthouse. Enjoy the beautiful view, the sound of the ocean crashing on the rocks far beneath the cliffs. Listen for the rustle of the breeze in the trees. At the Pryor home that was located just a short half-mile away from the church, there was a sign posted on a pine tree, “If there is a heaven on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.”

See An Ancient Heiau
A heiau is a Hawaiian temple or religious place. The basic structure was about the size of a basketball court and surrounded by specially built walls. All that remains today are the basic structures, made of stone. Traditional heiaus were made of wood and leaves. Some held terrible fear for the islanders as human sacrifices were regular occurrences. Others were places of refuge or sanctuaries for the disadvantaged. Two of Maui’s most interesting Hawaiian historical heiau sites are the Halekii and Pihana State Monuments. Due to a reconstruction effort in 1958, Halekii heiau better represents the original structure. The two heiaus are large, intact and, situated on the top of a sand dune. These temples were very important structures for the island’s early alii (Hawaiian chiefs).

Visit A Cowboy Town Of The 90′s

Makawao – Hawaiian for “where the forest begins” – is the center and the heart of the area generally known as Upcountry Maui. Nestled among the hills along the road to Haleakala National Park, this is where the pineapple fields cease and tall eucalyptus and jacaranda trees shade Maui’s green pastures; where the first paniolos (cowboys) set up home in the early 20′s when cattle was first introduced to the Island. Today Makawao reflects the eclectic nature of Maui’s community. The building could be used for a Hollywood western movie set and it’s not unusual that the pickup trucks are slowed down by horse riders in full rodeo attire. On the 4th of July weekend, this is where Maui County holds its yearly parade and the local Roping Club hosts the biggest rodeo of the year in Hawaii. But more and more, Makawao reflects the multi-cultural origin of the latest immigrants to the island: artists and musicians, Europeans and new-agers. One of the best and most renown Italian restaurant in the State shares the town’s only crossroad with a Mexican tavern. A major holistic health center shares the sidewalk with one of the most intriguing galleries exclusively devoted to Maui’s artists’ crafts and artwork. But what makes a visit to Makawao a must is the people you’ll meet in its eateries and stores: Maui’s community tending to its day-by-day chores. You may drive through the winding roads of Upcountry Maui and fall in love with some of the most romantic residences in Maui, nestled between eucalyptus trees or overlooking a horse pasture of rare beauty (Drive slow, peacocks and ducks are crossing!). Or you may meet and mingle with Maui people where they go when they want to meet people. They might tell you where to find that magic trail in the forest or that hidden waterfall which you will never find on the map and which will add a really unique experience to your vacation. Spend some time sipping cappuccino on the porch of the local Deli, overlooking the town’s traffic: that’s what everybody else here does when they want to know the latest gossips in the community! Chatter with the owners of the local stores, they all will have great stories for you to bring back home. It will add to your Maui visit an unexpected collection of memories and insights about the real pulse of the island, as it used to be and as it is now. Only a mile and a half off the highway to the Haleakala Crater (#37) and six miles from the road to Hana (#36). Makawao is what makes Maui a paradise to live in. You might be tempted to move in as well! See Recommended Advertisers on Ad Index page 70.

Visit Three Distinctive Whale Museums

Whaler’s Village Shopping Center in Kaanapali has two very interesting museums. They are on the top floor and are right across from each other. Admission is free. At the original exhibit, we get a good look at the life of many of the people involved in the whaling industry. There is a reconstructed part of a whaler showing the crews’ quarters. We begin to realize their joys at being in a fun port like Lahaina in the mid 19th century. Their voyages often would last 6 months or more. The history of the era is accurately depicted through photos, drawings, artifacts and many fine examples of scrimshaw. Across the hall is Hale Kohola, House of the Whale. Follow the evolution of these gentle giants from the earliest times to the present. The exhibits are augmented by the showing of several informative videos during the day. Admission is free and there is an extensive gift shop. Part of the proceeds go towards whale conservation efforts. In Lahaina Town, at the dock, is the Brig Carthaginian. Her rigging is accurate and she houses a very interesting museum. A fully restored whaling boat is below decks. One can hear a full explanation of the actions of the crew as they went to harpoon a whale and the harrowing events that followed! Phones are available that have whale sounds playing continuously. Many pictures and artifacts show the tough life of mid 19th century sailors. Videos are continuously shown and are a highlight. Admission is $3 and includes a print of the brig suitable for framing. Here again, most of the proceeds go for whale related activities.

Take A Walking Tour Of Lahaina (Part I)

We begin at the Masters reading room and the Baldwin Home. The former is at the corner of Front and Dickenson Streets and houses the Lahaina Restoration Foundation restored in 1970 to it’s unique coral block and fieldstone construction. The two story Baldwin House is the oldest standing structure in Lahaina. It was built in 1834 for the missionary Dwight Baldwin and his family. It also served as a medical office, seamen’s chapel and a general center for missionary activity. It has been accurately restored and is open daily. On to the harbor. The dominating view is of the rigging of the Carthaginian. She is a faithful replica of a 19th century brig, the small fast freighters used for trade in the “Sandwich Islands” in the mid 1800′s. Her square rigging is correct and she has some neat exhibits on whales and whaling on board. A small donation is required to board her. The Carthaginian is open daily. Right in front of the Carthaginian is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in the Pacific. It was built in 1840 by King Kamehameha to aid the many whaling ships visiting Maui. An about face brings one face to face with the Pioneer Inn, a very well preserved hotel originally built in 1901. Additional rooms were added in 1965. Even with the stern rules for guests, the Pioneer Inn was the only available hotel in West Maui until the late 1950′s. The bar and dining room have a varied collection of artifacts from days gone by. The echo’s of the rowdiness of yesterday still resound through this wonderful landmark. The bar was a favorite of Errol Flynn and Spencer Tracy. A few steps from the Pioneer Inn is one of the world’s largest Banyan trees. When it arrived from India it had one trunk and was only 8 feet tall. It was planted in April 1873 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of missionary activities in the islands. Today that little tree has grown to 12 major trunks, is over 50 feet tall and provides shade to over two-thirds of an acre in the courthouse square where the Visitors Center and Lahaina Art Society Gallery are also located. The tree park like setting is a meeting place, a center for art displays on the weekend and many festivities. Every evening the tree comes alive with the sounds of thousands of mynah birds. As we stroll towards Front street we have a choice. If time is short, we can be satisfied with a quick highlight tour and turn left back to our starting point, otherwise we turn right and continue on.

Take A Walking Tour Of Lahaina

We turn right and walk towards 505 Front street, the corner of Front and Shaw Streets. On first sight, the NW corner looks ordinary. We are looking at Maluuluolele Park. Now, we must use our imaginations as the park holds much history. A long time ago there was a pond that was home to a powerful water spirit disguised as a lizard. In the center of the pond was an island where many of Maui’s royalty lived. Three Kamehameha kings called this little island home. An opulent burial tomb was also there. Just close your eyes and see, the splendor that was home and ultimately a burial ground of great Hawaiian Kings. The pond was filled in and the island was leveled in 1918. The whereabouts of the powerful waterspirit is still a mystery. Continuing down Shaw Street we come to Wainee Church and churchyard. It was the first stone church built in Hawaii between 1828 and 1832. The church has had a precarious history. The belfry was blown down in 1858, the bell fell 100 feet and was undamaged, the church suffered a fire in 1894 but was rebuilt, and burned again in 1947, rebuilt and demolished by a whirlwind in 1951. The new church was rebuilt in 1953 and renamed Waiola, “The Water of Life”. It is still standing. Any ideas about waterspirits??? It is worthwhile spending some time in the churchyard reading the stones. Some very famous people are buried here. Wainee Street to the prison that is appropriately named, Hale-Paahao, Direct translation is “stuck-in-irons-house”. The construction pace was less that feverish as the inmates (drunken sailors and others who were guilty of other serious crimes such as dangerous horseback riding) were the direct labor.

Tour The Historic Landmarks In Lahaina

Just a short stroll to Front Street on the other side of Lahainaluna Street we find the Wo Hing Temple, built in 1909 as a chapter of the Chinese Chee Kung Tong, a 17th century fraternal society with branches throughout the world. The Chinese were brought here to work in the sugar cane fields. They prospered and became a force in the community. The largest statue of Buddha outside of Japan resides in the Jodo Mission. It is located on Puunoa Point, “The hill freed from taboo”. The Buddha is majestically surrounded by a serene park. It was erected in 1968 to celebrate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants 100 years ago.

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