Hawaii getaway: A blast to Lahaina’s historic past

LAHAINA, Maui — This tropical city could also be higher recognized for its touristy memento outlets and cafes, however a stroll alongside Lahaina’s waterfront yields a glimpse into Hawaii’s previous, from its whaling days to King Kamehameha’s extracurricular actions.

Some strolling tour maps recommend that you simply embrace 28+ historic stops in your stroll — and begin early within the day, so that you don’t swoon from the warmth as you ponder Herman Melville’s cousin’s grave and a tennis courtroom that was as soon as the location of a sacred pond. We could also be die-exhausting historical past buffs, however 28 looks like so much. In addition to, there’s a seashore ready — and the promise of margaritas.

So we’ve narrowed the sector to an eye fixed-popping eight and traced a path that leads from Lahaina’s spectacular banyan tree to dinner and cocktails. Contemplate it a Lahaina historical past appetizer. And in case you’re nonetheless hungry for extra, take a look at the in depth path map designed by the Lahaina Restoration Basis (lahainarestoration.org), which has spent many years restoring and mapping sixty five traditionally essential websites in Kamehameha’s royal capital.

1 The Banyan Tree

This monumental tree isn’t just the centerpiece of Lahaina’s courthouse plaza. It’s a Hawaiian icon and one of many largest banyans within the U.S. The tree was simply eight-ft tall when it was imported from India in 1873 and planted to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of American Protestant missionaries.

Seize a espresso — or higher but, a scoop of Heavenly Hana ice cream at Lappert’s (693 Entrance St.) — to take pleasure in within the shade as you ponder the historical past of this island nation and what occurred when Christian missionaries arrived right here. You’ll haven’t any drawback discovering shade: The tree, which has 12 main trunks, is greater than 60 ft tall. Its branches shade a 2/three-acre expanse of the park.

Particulars: Open 24/7 at Lahaina Banyan Courtroom Park, 671 Entrance St., Lahaina

2 The Previous Fort

Built from coral blocks, the 20-foot tall walls of the Old Fort were toppedwith 47 cannons. What you see here now is a partial reconstruction, done in 1964. (Hawaii Tourism Authority)
Constructed from coral blocks, the partitions of the Previous Fort have been topped with forty seven cannons. (Hawaii Tourism Authority) 

The banyan is definitely planted on the grounds of the historic Fort at Lahaina, which was inbuilt 1832 to guard the city from cannon hearth. Within the first half of the nineteenth century, whaling ships anchored off Lahaina’s shores by the tons of, their sailors wanting to re-provision and luxuriate in a bit shore depart. The carousing was minimize brief in 1825, when Hawaii’s royal household enacted a kapu — a spiritual ban — that prohibited prostitution and alcohol gross sales. Years of protests, rioting and dying threats ensued, a lot of it aimed toward missionaries, who sailors blamed for encouraging the royal decree.

In 1827, a British whaling ship fired cannons over a missionary’s home, which prompted the queen to order an previous mud and sand fort rebuilt into one thing extra substantial. Constructed from coral blocks, the 20-foot tall partitions of the Previous Fort have been topped with forty seven cannons. What you see right here now’s a partial reconstruction, executed in 1964.

Particulars: Open 24/7. Discover the ruins on the southwestern fringe of the park.

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3 Old Courthouse

See that cream-colored, Greek Revival building with the terra cotta tile roof? Originally built as the Lahaina Court and Customs House in 1860, this was the place where the Hawaiian flag was retired and the new U.S. flag raised in 1898, when the American government — incited by U.S. business titans and Sanford Dole, the son of missionaries to Hawaii and a cousin of the Dole pineapple family, whose empire rose in 1899 — annexed a sovereign country and deposed Queen Lili’uokalani.

Today, this beautiful building, which was renovated in 1998, is the home of the Lahaina Visitor Center and, upstairs, the Lahaina Heritage Museum (lahainarestoration.org).

Details: Open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free admission. 648 Wharf St. at Banyan Tree Park

4 The Pioneer Inn

Lahaina's historic Pioneer Inn was built in 1901, at a time when there wereno guest lodgings on the islands. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)
Lahaina’s historic Pioneer Inn was built in 1901. (Jackie Burrell/Staff) 

Maui’s first hotel was opened by a 6-foot, 5-inch Royal Canadian Mountie in 1901 at a time of immense change. Theodore Roosevelt had just become president. The Victorian era had just come to a close. And for the next 50 years, the Pioneer Inn would be Western Maui’s only lodging option — and a popular Hollywood filming site. Today, the hotel and saloon are owned by Best Western, so guests get air-conditioning and Keurig coffeemakers, along with that sense of history.

Before you go inside, though, stop and look at the Lahaina Lighthouse on the waterfront across the street from the hotel. King Kamehameha III had a 9-foot tall lighthouse built here in 1840, its lamp fueled with the whale oil procured in Lahaina’s waters. It predates any lighthouse on the U.S. Pacific coast. In 1866, the lighthouse was expanded to 26-feet and the whale oil was replaced by kerosene. The 55-foot tall lighthouse — with its Fresnel lens — you see today was built in 1905.

Details: 658 Wharf St., Lahaina; www.pioneerinnmaui.com

5 Hauola Stone

Look for the brass marker pointing the way to a sacred stone half-submerged in the water. For centuries, it was used as a royal birthing seat. According to legend, a Hawaiian queen had to give birth in one of these chairlike stones, lapped by ocean waves, for her child to carry the royal lineage.

6 Baldwin Home Museum

Whatever your views on Hawaii’s missionary experience, Dwight Baldwin, a Harvard-educated doctor and missionary to Maui, is a figure worth celebrating for this fact alone: His insistence on vaccination in 1853 saved Maui, Molokai and Lanai’s residents from the smallpox epidemic that killed 12,000 people on Oahu and the Big Island. Baldwin spent months traveling from village to village to administer immunization shots.

Today, the Baldwin family home is a museum that offers a look back at 19th-century missionary life, from medical equipment to mosquito net-draped beds and games of Konane, a Hawaiian game similar to Chinese checkers that uses black and white rocks on a wooden gameboard. The Masters’ Reading Room is right next door and worth a peek, as well.

Details: Tickets $5-$7. Open daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and until 8:30 p.m. on Fridays at 120 Dickenson St.; Lahaina

7 Wo Hing Museum

Today the Wo Hing Society temple houses a museum. As for the name, Wo meanspeace and harmony, and Hing means prosperity. (Hawaii Tourism Authority)
Today the Wo Hing Society’s temple houses a museum. (Hawaii Tourism Authority) 

Chinese immigrants first arrived on Maui on 19th-century trade or whaling ships. If you’ve driven the Road to Hana, you can thank Chinese labor for building that challenging road’s many bridges. In 1912, the Wo Hing Society — Wo means peace and harmony, Hing means prosperity — built this two-story building, with a temple upstairs. The first floor now houses a museum.

Details: Admission is $5-$7, but admission to the Baldwin House covers both museums. Open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily at 858 Front St., Lahaina; lahainarestoration.org/wo-hing-museum

8 U.S. Seamen’s Hospital

This stone-front building was commissioned as an inn for sailors in 1833 by Kamehameha III and later used as a hospital for injured seamen. It had a much more colorful purpose, too. Situated on the outskirts of town, it was a good mile from the missionary settlement — and the king needed a rendezvous spot for trysts with his sister, the Princess Nahi’ena’ena. The idea of sacred marriages between royal siblings is an ancient one, and it extends back through generations of Hawaiian royal lineage. As you might guess, the missionaries did not approve.

Details: 1024 Front St., Lahaina; lahainarestoration.org/seamens-hospital

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