Hello Friends and Family,

Memories of Lahaina, Part 3

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Here is another view of Pioneer Inn as if we were just disembarking from a ship coming from another island. The dark clouds beyond the hotel are simply storm clouds but I'll bet it looked something like this on that fateful day.

This side of the Pioneer Inn faced the famous Banyan Tree in the park next door. The first floor was leased to businesses catering to tourists. It was always fun to browse the various souvenirs, t-shirts, and tours available.

One of the most picturesque historic buildings in Lahaina was the Baldwin Missionary House. Missionaries came from the U.S. mainland to the Hawaiian islands in the 1800s to educate the Hawaiian people and introduce them to Christianity. A physician and minister named Dwight Baldwin, and his wife Charlotte, were two of those missionaries who came from Connecticut. In 1835, they moved into a house in Lahaina, constructed of stone, coral, and timber. Before the wildfire, that house stood with interior and exterior looking much like when the Baldwins lived there.

Dr. Baldwin (seen here) initially was assigned to the mission in Waimea on the Big Island and later to Waine’e Church in Lahaina. He and his wife had seven children. The eldest, David Dwight Baldwin, was a businessman, biologist, and educator on Maui. He and his sons started the first pineapple business on the island.

Another son, Henry Perrine Baldwin, married Emily Whitney Alexander in 1869 and co-founded with Samuel Thomas Alexander the partnership of Alexander & Baldwin, one of the "Big Five" corporations that dominated Hawaii's economy in the early 20th century.

Daughter Harriet Melinda Baldwin married Samuel Mills Damon (1845–1924), the son of missionary Samuel Chenery Damon, who became a wealthy businessman. Before her last grandchild died in 2004, and the estate was divided, it was one of the largest private landowners in the state.

This reminds me of the saying that the missionaries came to Hawai’i to do good and they did VERY well indeed.

Formerly on display in the Baldwin House were medical instruments used at the time. They look pretty gruesome to me.

There were not very many pharmacies (if any) available at the time therefore the doctor had to provide medicines for his patients.

This wheelchair was also exhibited in the Baldwin House. It sure looks primitive by today's standards.

I thought this piano looked magnificent sitting in their living room/parlor. It probably came from a maker on the mainland — my guess would be from New York or Boston.

All these items that were on display in the Baldwin House were lost in the fire.

Next door to the Baldwin House stood the Masters' Reading Room: The Officers' Club of Lahaina. As whaling ships, with their officers, mates, and crew began to arrive in droves and anchor in the calm roadstead of Lahaina to reprovision, town officials saw the need for ship captains to have a meeting room. So in June of 1833, Lahaina missionaries resolved to build a reading room, or gentlemen’s club retreat. They would stock it with publications, newspapers, and writing materials so officers from ships could catch up on news and update their logs.

Its upper level was exclusively for the use and comfort of ship masters, and the lower level was used as a storeroom. An observatory was set up on one side with a spyglass from which officers could watch activities at the small harbor and in the village. The rooms were large and cool and visited at all hours of the day. Lahaina’s officers’ club was a social success for the next twelve years. When more facilities became available in Lahaina, the building was put up for auction and Rev. Dr. Dwight Baldwin purchased it in 1846.

Lahaina Restoration Foundation restored and maintained the Masters’ Reading Room for decades. There were shops on the ground floor. The second floor was closed to the public but available for the LRF Board of Directors meetings. It was part of the Historic American Buildings Survey in the Library of Congress.

This building was also destroyed by the wildfire. By the way, The Washington Post used this photo of the Masters' Reading Room in their article on the wildfire. And yes, they did provide me with photo credit and paid for its use.

Here we see the Old Lahaina Courthouse which was opened in 1860, originally serving as a center for government offices and court functions during the Hawaiian monarchy as well as a customs house for whaling and trade ships.

Decades after the Kingdom of Hawaii became the Territory of Hawaii, the courthouse was rebuilt in 1925 in its current Greek Revival architectural style with a gabled roof and second-floor balcony.

A major restoration was started in 1998, and before the wildfire, the Old Lahaina Courthouse was home to the Lahaina Visitors Center, Lahaina Arts Society galleries, Lahaina Town Action Committee offices, and the Lahaina Heritage Museum. Now only the outer shell remains.

Nearby was the Lahaina Library, which was built in 1956 on a former royal taro patch that belonged to King Kamehameha III. I visited the library on one of my trips and it seemed very comfortable — combining my love of Maui and my love of reading. I can only assume that there were priceless documents or other historic items that were lost in the wildfire — so sad.

This photo shows the shoreline along Front Street. It will take a long time before this can be restored — and I doubt it will ever be the same. Both the residents of Maui and those of us who love the island have lost so much. 😢

Life is good albeit incredibly sad at times.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com