Lahaina Historic Trail

Lahaina Historic Trail
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Address 648 Wharf St, Lahaina, HI 96761
A self guided tour to significant historic locations in Lahaina.

• General: Cost: Free • General: Educational • General: Photo Opportunity • Tours: Self Guided

In the 1800s, Lahaina was the main port for for whaling and fishing in Maui. It was also a vibrant plantation settlement where missionaries and immigrants settled. The Lahaina Historic Trail is a self guided tour along local historic buildings and National Landmarks. Many of the buildings are located on Front Street with bronze plaques describing the significance of each location.

There are 62 sites along the trail, and walking guides can be picked up at the Lahaina Visitor's Center on Wharf Street across from the harbor and Banyan Tree Park. Here we'll cover 28 of the most popular sites to see along the Lahaina Historic Trail here.

#1 - Master's Reading Room

Once a store room for missionaries, this room was converted in 1834 by whaling ship captains into an officer's club for sailors and their families.

#2 - Baldwin Home Museum

Baldwin Home Museum happens to be the oldest house still standing on the entire island of Maui and a Lahaina landmark. The house was originally built between 1834 and 1835 by Reverend Ephraim Spaulding in a missionary compound. In 1836 Rev. Spaulding became ill and returned to Massachusetts at which point Reverend Dwight Baldwin, a medical missionary, moved into the home with his family.

#3 - Richards House Site

This is the site of Reverend William Richards house, the the home is no longer here today. Richards was a firm believer in Hawaiian sovereignty and helped to draft Hawaii's constitution. His home was the first coral stone home builder in Hawaii.

#4 - Taro Patch Site

The lawn in front of the Lahaina Public Library was once a taro patch that was called Kapukaiao. It remained here until the late 1950s.

#5 - Hauola Stone

Ancient Hawaiians used this as a place of healing. Today you can find a brass marker that will direct you to the stone that is still visible in the water.

#6 - Brick Palace Site

This is the site of what was believed to be the first Western-style building in Hawaii. Made from locally produced brick, this palace was commissioned by King Kamehameha for his wife.

#7 - Old Lahaina Lighthouse

This is the first lighthouse built in Hawaii and it was commissioned in 1840 by King Kamehameha III to light the way for incoming whaling ships.

#8 - Pioneer Inn

The Pioneer Inn is a hotel (still in operation), home to several movies (see Popular Movies & TV Shows Filmed In Hawaii), and popular Maui landmark. Up until the 1950s, this was the only hotel in West Maui.

#9 - Banyan Tree Park

If there is one thing everyone who visits Lahaina remembers it's Banyan Tree Park. The tree was planted in 1873 to mark the 15th anniversary of Protestant missionaries in Lahaina and covers an entire acre of land.

#10 - Courthouse

The courthouse served as a palace for King Kamehameha III in the early 1800s. After a storm it was rebuilt as a courthouse, post office, and housed other government offices. In 1898 it played an important role in Hawaiian history as the Hawaiian flag was lowered and the American flag was raised here (aee The History of Hawaiian Statehood / Hawaii Admission Act).

#11 - The Fort

The Fort was built here in response to a cannon attack from sailors in the bay. Turns out the sailors weren't happy with new restrictions that the missionaries imposed on them. One of the less popular restrictions prohibited local woman from swimming out to "greet" the sailors on their ships. Typical missionaries. It was also used as a prison until 1850.

#12 - Canal & Government Site

This was a commerce and trade area where smaller boats would go out and fetch sailors form larger ships that couldn't get close to land because of the shallow waters. In the 1840s a canal was dug to make the trip less dangerous.

#13 - The Episcopal Church

Founded in 1862 by the first Episcopal missionaries, the church was originally built across the street and then moved to its current location in 1909.

#14 - Hale Piula Site

This the site of what was supposed to be a two story palace and courtyard for King Kamehameha III. The palace was never finished as the king prefered sleeping in a nearby thatched hut instead. The build became a courthouse for a while but was later destroyed by a windstorm in 1858.

#15 - Malu'uluolele Park

This area was once a village known as Mokuhinia which was surrounded by a sacred pond. In the middle of the pond was a small island called Moku'ula which was home to many ali'i (chiefs) and kings. Today it's a park.

#16 - Waine'e Church

Today this church is called Waiola Church and it was the first stone church built in Hawaii and built in 1828.

#17 - Waine'e Cemetery

This is the cemetery where Queen Keopuolani is buried. She was the first of Hawaiian royalty to convert to Christianity and wife to King Kamehameha (as well as mother to King Kamehameha II).

#18 - Hongwanji Mission

This was an early gathering place for the Buddhists of Lahaina and built in 1927.

#19 - David Malo Home Site

Malo was the author of Hawaiian Antiquities as well as a philosopher and scholar that helped shaped The Constitution and Bill of Rights.

#20 - Hale Pa'ahao / Lahaina Prison

Hale Pa'ahao / Lahaina Prison was built in 1853 and a much need place to put criminals of the whaling era. The property housed two jail cell buildings, one for men and another for women. Each building contained several cells, complete with shackles to tie up the more rowdy criminals.

#21 - Episcopal Cemetery

This cemetery is home to many early Anglicans and rich in Hawaii's history.

#22 - Hale Aloha

Translated, this means "House of Love" and it was an offering to God in appreciation for Lahaina escaping the deadly smallpox epidemic in the 1800s.

#23 - Buddhist Church

One of many temples the Japanese laborers built.

#24 - Luakini Street

This place is the site of a pretty tragic (and gross) love story of sorts. Princess Nahi'ena'ena and her brother King Kamehameha III were in love and had a child (partly as an attempt to keep the Hawaiian bloodlines pure). The baby boy only lived a few hours.The princess, who was heartbroken, die months later at the age of 21. Her funeral procession walked along this street before she was laid to rest.

#25 - Maria Lanakila Church

The original church was built on this site in 1846 and was constructed of wood with the first mass celebrated in 1841. The building here today is a concrete replica built in 1928.

#26 - The Seamen's Cemetery

Ever heard of Moby Dick? It was written by Herman Melville who is not buried here. So why mention him, because his cousin is buried here as well as one of his shipmates. How is any of this relevant? It's not but apparently that's the closest they could come to historical significance here.

#27 - Wo Hing Museum and Cookhouse

The Wo Hing Museum and Cookhouse is easy to find on Lahaina's Front Street and gives visitors a look into a social meeting hall and cook house that was used by Chinese immigrants.

#28 - The U.S. Seamen's Hospital

This was a popular hospital that treated sick or injured seamen and was built here in 1833.