Lahaina Town, 1901
Cover Image: Masthead of Ka Nupepa Kuokoa published on November 22, 1901.
Today’s post was contributed by team member, ʻIolani Ulii.
Aloha Nūhou Monday!
In 1901, a writer from the Lahui Hawaii newspaper describes the improving conditions of Lahaina and compares it to the Lahaina of his youth. We catch a glimpse of the cultural and political landscape of Lahaina in the early 1900s—three saloons, remodeled homes, sweeping fields of sugar cane, government leaders hindering progress, and an unsettled citizen voicing discontent with a call to action. The writer’s message to Lahaina is to elect alternative candidates in order for progress to be made.
This article originally appeared in Lahui Hawaii and was reprinted by Ka Nupepa Kuokoa on November 12, 1901. Lahui Hawaii is one of the nūpepa titles that is currently not accessible online. Our Hawaiian language newspaper project, He Aupuni Palapala, will digitize the best copies of the extant issues of Lahui Hawaii so they can be readily available online for free public access.
Image: Masthead of the Hawaiian language newspaper, Lahui Hawaii, which ran from 1899 to 1902. This title is not yet available online. The title reads “Lahui Hawaii: Kona mau Pono, Pomaikai, a Kulana Holomua” [The Hawaiian People: Their Rights, Benefits, and Progressive State.] And in the circular motif, “Ma ka Lokahi ka Lanakila” [Through Unity is Victory.]
Image: “Ke Kulanakauhale o Lahaina,” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, November 22, 1901, p. 5
While our writer was in the town of Lahaina, a place he was well acquainted with in his youth, he witnessed the conditions of Lahaina improving. Many worn structures of the past no longer exist, and in their place are splendid homes of this new era. The marshy loʻi near the street inland of the ship harbor has been filled in and will make for a fine house foundation. There are currently three saloons, two of which are owned by Hawaiians, Senator White and Colonel John Richardson. That kind of ownership in Hawaiʻi, where one sins for the profits of this body, Lahaina is far ahead.
The town is almost entirely covered by the sugar cane of the Lahaina Sugar Plantation, except for the area just along the coast where the town is situated.
It seems as if the drinking water of Lahaina was seized from the public, a right that was nearly obtained by the citizens of Lahaina were it not for the exceeding iniquity of Senator White in defeating the Loan Bill for public improvements which was set aside this past legislative session. If it had passed, fresh water would be available to wash the pint glasses of that honorable one of the Malu ʻUlu o Lele;1 nevertheless, dear multitudes of Lahaina, endure patiently until the day comes for you to drink of fresh water from the mountains.
Additionally, as for the roads from Lahaina to Wailuku, it is an awful sight to see, for with the lightest rainfall, the roads are terrible beyond compare. When our writer questioned why, he was told that funds were not appropriated due to stubborn legislators from Lahaina; perhaps you, Lahaina, will be suppressed and defeated. Lahaina, you should send candidates who will oversee progressive endeavors of the land.
We are happy with the thought that the day will come that you, Lahaina, will have water pipes from the mountains and reliable roads for the citizens of the Laʻi a Lele2 to travel to and fro.
(Kuokoa, 11/22/1901, p. 5)
1&2Lele is an old name for Lahaina. “Malu ʻulu o Lele,” [The breadfruit shelter of Lele] and “Laʻi o Lele,” [The calm of Lele] are well-known epithets for Lahaina.
Image: “Ka Lei Nani Saloon,” Maui News, December 7, 1901, p. 2