Part of our Lahaina Series – Part 1 Of 4
The Ultimate Lahaina Town Photo Spots List
Lahaina Tow is crowded and compact. It’s also the only full-featured, walkable”down-town” you’ll discover on Maui. On the outside, Lahaina will be a place not dissimilar to a sea town closer to home. But under the surface of trinket stores and pubs, Lahaina reveals a uniqueness not duplicated anywhere else, which makes for the perfect spots for Lahaina photography.
Stores, stores and more shops.
The number-one attraction in Lahaina is definitely”the buzz.” Great restaurants, hoppin’ night-life, swingin’ bars — and stores featuring wares ranging kind”made-in-China” trinkets to beautiful neighborhood hand crafts; out of cheap jewelery to lots of fine art.
For people quick to step toward commercialism as causing a reduction of validity in this historic region, the irony is that they’re overlooking one important truth: shopping, eating, drinking and merriment have long been a central part of Lahaina Town. Love it or hate it, the frenzy of action is tasked with background; Lahaina has been”buzzing” since well before tourism ever washed up on these shores.
While”the buzz” could fit into most any of your run-of-the-mill tourist towns, the over 40 nice art galleries in Lahaina are definitely a”distinctively Lahaina” touch. Fine art anchors this city. While you’ll definitely find lots of galleries that feature the works of local artists, and a great deal of opportunities to view and buy tropical and sea genre-specific artwork, all these are by no means the limit of the selection of artwork given. There are many well known galleries in Lahaina throughout the Earth, and several artists also have their own dedicated galleries on Front Street. When it comes to the display and sale of fine art with styles which range from the life depictions of Wyland to the psychedelia of Peter Max — Lahaina is unquestionably a participant on the world-stage.
About Friday evenings between 7-10pm the galleries offer”Art Night.” Galleries provide special occasions, including featuring musicians in person. Therefore, in case you have an interest in art — this really is a great time to roam and catch a chance to talk with a few of the artists.
Lahaina is also home to the key refuge in West Maui, and that is where the vast majority of West Maui fishing, snorkeling and whale watching tours depart. Cruise ships ferry passengers for day-trips from their anchor further out in deeper water and in addition, this is where the Moloka’i and Lana’i ferries depart. Note: If you aren’t remaining in West Maui (or using one of the ferries), Ma’alaea Harbor (and Kihei Boat Ramp) are usually greater options.
Under the already uniquely diverse surface, Lahaina has an equally rich and varied history. It is best known for its function as a significant Pacific whaling port. But whaling is simply a small slice of Lahana’s history.
Lahaina has been fundamental to key western-introduced industries like whaling, pineapple and sugar. Lahaina has been a place where immigrants landed; a place with historical sacred motives; a capital of a combined Hawai’i; and also a place where missionaries arrived to impose their ideals on a native people and seeing sailors with equal fervor. Lahaina has literally been everything from an area of battle, destruction and tragedy, to a location of royalty, party and pleasure.
Few visitors visit Lahaina for anything but what is right on the surface, and the majority of the ethnic and historic value here hasn’t yet been presented in a way that engages those not searching for it. The result is that unless you seek it out, the background here beyond construction facades and plaques ends up being barely perceptible to most.
However that does not mean culture and history aren’t right there, waiting to be coaxed out — because they are. But what it does mean is that if undergoing these things is what you are after, you are likely going to have to set out to locate them.
The simplest way for visitors to get a genuine balanced idea of what cultural richness lies below the bohemian surface is to contact Maui Nei and get in on one of the guided Lahaina tours. These folks are also closely affiliated with the recovery of Moku’ula — among the most important cultural sites in Hawaii, whose restoration has just started. I believe after restored, Moku’ula will write a second chapter in Lahaina history, and eventually become an important draw in its own right.
If you’re the self-guided kind, a photograph of this walking tour sign/map is next to the text (click through for maximum resolution) and short descriptions of the most well-known sites are included below. Many of these sites are little more than a footnote in history — so you might have a difficult time finding much information on these. If you’ve got a solid interest in this kind of history, you may even prevent the Lahaina Visitor Center in the Lahaina Courthouse (next to the Banyan Tree) and catch a similar map along with also a pamphlet titled Lahaina O Mo’olelo. (Also accessible at various kiosk locations around Lahaina — assess that the sign/map photograph for kiosk places as well.)
You can also visit the Lahaina Restoration Foundation”Historical Sites” page. I have linked items below. The Friends of Moku’ula website site has a little set of archives on specific sites as well.
Waine’e Ahupua’aAn Ahupua’a is a process of land division utilized by the pre-contact Hawaiians that have been keenly aware of the interconnection and dependence of the various parts of the watershed. They divided land in pie-slice-like divisions from the surface of the mountain into the sea, and every slice is called an Ahupua’a. The Waine’e Ahupua’a was the seat of the Ali’i (royalty) in Lahaina and comprises important pre-contact cultural treasures, most especially Moku’ula.
Called Rotten Row for its shifty practices of the afternoon, this location marks where a single particular portion of canal was built and a marketplace stood where trading has been performed between citizens and ships. It should be noted that dating from pre-contact occasions there were also a substantial canals inland which were used to send water to the Lahaina area, and also later used for transportation to the market. The canal has been filled in around the same time as Moku’ula.Lele was the Hawaiian pre-contact title for Lahaina. Lahaina was Maui had contact with the external world.
Old Fort Ruins
This is the reconstructed corner of the Old Fort which dominated Lahaina Town from 1832 to 1854. It had been constructed of coral blocks and sand, and at one time had 47 canons (salvaged from sunken vessels) atop its own walls. Its primary use was really as a prison, but it was also utilized (more for show) to guard missionaries homes from boat canon fire. Another interesting tidbit is the fact that it’s been said to have been used at dusk where a Hawaiian sentinel would”conquer a drum ” to awake all ashore that they need to return to their ships.
Old Lahaina Courthouse
Directly involving the banyan tree and Lahaina Harbor, the Old Lahaina Courthouse was originally constructed in 1859 from salvaged materials taken from the palace of Kamehameha II. Present-day tenants include the Lahaina Heritage Museum and the Lahaina Arts Society. There’s also a visitor’s centre and public restrooms.
Probably the most well-known landmark in Lahaina — the Banyan Tree was planted in 1873 by the Sheriff to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Mission. The tree was brought from India, and has been only 8′ high in the time of planting. It now has a dozen trunks, and spreads across the greater portion of an acre.
Pioneer Inn & Theatre
Just North of the Banyan Tree this building was constructed in 1901 by George Freeland to house and entertain visiting sailors. It’s now casual restaurant and a Best Western. The great grandson of George Freeland (who shares the exact same name) is also the president of the Lahaina Restoration Foundation.
Now just a marker, this suggests where William Richards’ house stood. Richards was the first Protestant missionary to Lahaina. After his missionary work, Richards made to function for King Kamehameha III as chaplain instructor and translator. He assisted in drawing up the ministry and traveled overseas as the King’s Envoy.
American Missionaries into Sandwich Islands. Arguably called the oldest standing structure in Maui, this was originally built to be used as a lounge and reading area for sea captains. This has been constructed just prior to the Baldwin Home, and was the Masters Reading Room. Visitors can not enter, and this can be a site to view from the exterior, however there’s a Hawaiian craft shop named Village Gifts & Fine Arts (808-661-5199) situated on the ground floor. LRS webpage description
Quite unfortunately filled in years ago, this is the site of where King Kamehameha’s taro patch once was. Kamehameha worked on the Taro patch himself to teach his subjects the dignity of work. Hopefully 1 day part of the this will be revived.
Brick Palace of Kamehaheha I. Only remnants and a marker remain — this is a simple structure built of brick in 1802 by Kamehameha I to welcome sailors. It is said to be the first construction in Hawaii.
Hauloa StoneIn the ocean in front of this Lahaina Library, this stone in the shape of a seat (look for the brass mark ) and was considered to possess healing properties from the early Hawaiians. Ali’i (royalty) are also thought to have given birth with this rock.
Seaman’s House & Hospital
Initially built by King Kamehameha III as his old-school variant of a”party house.” Later it was leased to the US State Dept. to take care of sick and injured sailors. One interesting note is that there is a skeleton assembled in to the structure’s northwest corner. Back in Hawaii it was ritual their remains buried beneath the support of the building and that when there was a structure built for the house of Ali’i, a commoner could be put to death. The soul of the sacrifice was said to be bound, and would become the’permanent guardian’ of the house. This fact exposes the pervasive strength that ritual played at the moment Though this house was constructed well into the period where the Aztec people had allegedly abandoned customs and adopted Christianity. LRS web page description
Lahaina Jodo Mission
The buildings are not generally available to tourists (but grounds are.) There are Buddhist works of art adorning the walls and ceiling if you can get inside. The grounds are home to what is frequently asserted to be”the biggest Buddha statue out Japan.” It is definitely impressive and beautiful (and big) — but biggest outside of Japan?!? I mean, come on — there are Buddhas in many parts of the planet that would dwarf this — obviously some other qualifications were playing”whisper down the lane” with this one.
The cousin of Herman Melleville rests here, as well as some other seamen.
48. Maria Lanakila Catholic Church
Built in 1873 this stone church replaced an adobe construction and grass hut chapels utilized previously by the congregation. This is open to people and congregants and is an operating church alike. Church website
Hale Pa’ahao (Prison)
The name literally translated means”House of Forced Detention” (commonly interpreted by visitor info to”Stuck in Irons House”, although I’ll admit it’s a lot more tricky, unfortunately it isn’t as precise a literal interpretation.) Often utilized a location to prison rowdy sailors, this prison is one of the most common historic sites.
The House of david Malo
Produced on the big Island at the ealy 1790’s, Malo is a renowned Hawaiian scholar and philosopher who relayed much of what we understand today of old Hawaii, traditions and Hula. Malo spent just a part of his life in Lahaina. At around 30 years old, Malo came to Lahaina to be educated at the very first school in Hawaii (Lahainaluna) and was also converted into Christianity (where he took the title”David’.) Malo subsequently moved into East Maui for his remaining years. Lahainaluna school (claimed to be the oldest school west of the Rockies) still enrolls Malo every year.
This church has a history of destruction and rebuilding that’ll make you wonder! The superstitious might have interpreted the events as a message, however, the congregants that were persevering simply didn’t give up. Here are the Cliff’s Notes on the background called the Waine’e Church the building lasted to be lost into powerful winds. Then to the ground it burnt in 1894, although the church was rebuilt and finished in 1832. The church burnt more, lasted a second 50 years and has been rebuilt . Again the congregants rebuilt, and in 1951 (three years period , again) the church was destroyed by”Kaua’ula” winds (ferocious winds, concentrated from the mountain valley, said to happen in the passing of Ali’i.) In 1954 the church eventually got somewhat changed its name, and helpless. Up to now, so good! Church website
Waine’e (Waiola) Cemetery
I believe the LRS hint is wrong, as I know it (and according to the church) the title of the cemetery did not change with the name of the church. Several members of Hawaiian Ali’i are buried here, such as King Kaumualii (the last king of Kauai), Queen Kekauonohi (Kamehameha II) and Princess Nahienaena (sister of Kamehameha II and III).
Once a sacred island inside an 11-acre pond, this website is one of the most essential pre-contact archeological finds and restorations in all of Hawaii. This website is in the process of restoration, but promises to be one of the keystone historical sights in Lahaina when completed. I am eagerly anticipating its restoration. The Friends of Moku’ula site has plenty of info that is excellent, and every visitor should consider donating to the cause.
An easy and gorgeous structure, the Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church was initially in a different structure constructed in 1872. Rebuilt at 1927 the construction stands on grounds, where Queen Lili`uokalani, Hawai`i’s last monarch, enjoyed vacations and holidays . Church website
Just nine feet tall as it was initially built in 1840, the lighthouse currently towers in a more commendable 55′. The LRF site does a fair job describing the numerous incarnations of this lighthouse over recent years.