Architectural Survey of Maui Neighborhoods Set to Begin

February 10, 2016, 8:28 AM HST · Updated February 10, 3:07 PM
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HC&S Puʻunēnē Mill. Photo by Wendy Osher.

HC&S Puʻunēnē Mill. Hawaii’s towns and landscapes are changing rapidly. The era of the sugar plantations is coming to a close. State officials say these old-time structures can provide glimpses into our past that can continue to influence the future landscape of Hawai‘i. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The State Historic Preservation Division will begin surveying residential neighborhoods on Maui, Kauaʻi, and Hawaiʻi Island starting later this month in an effort to document old time buildings, structures and places unique to Hawaiʻi’s identity.

The purpose of the surveys is to record what still exists and provide written histories for each area. State officials say these surveys will give communities an opportunity to share their stories and explain why a place is important.

The Maui survey will be conducted from February 29th to March 2nd in Wailuku, Pāʻia, Hāliʻimaile and Kula.

The surveys are funded by the Hawaiʻi State Legislature which appropriated $200,000 for the next two years through Act 89 toward the project.

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In announcing the surveys, state officials with the Department of Land and Natural Resources said, “Hawaiʻi’s towns and landscapes are changing rapidly. The era of the sugar plantations is coming to a close. The once numerous crack seed, shave ice, and mom and pop stores on small town streets are giving way to big box stores, along with one-lane bridges that were crossed with patience and a “shaka” to other drivers. These old-time buildings, structures and places distinguish our unique Hawaiʻi identity, and can provide glimpses into our past that can continue to influence the future landscape of Hawaiʻi.”

Photo by Wendy Osher.

Wailuku Market LLC in the Kaohu Store building in Wailuku. Photo by Wendy Osher.

In an effort to identify and document these remaining places, the State Historic Preservation Division will be surveying residential neighborhoods giving communities an opportunity to share their stories and explain why a place is important. “These stories can then inspire future generations to be as passionate about their history as were those who came before them,” state officials said.

Each survey will consist of two parts: first, a team of architectural historians and interns will walk the neighborhoods and photograph specific features of each building; second, a team of architectural historians will do archival research and interviews to create historic contexts for each survey area.

Anticipated project survey areas and dates are as follows:

  • Feb. 16-18: Kaua‘i — Hanalei, Kapa‘a, Līhu‘e, and Hanapēpē
  • Feb. 29 –March 2: Maui — Wailuku, Pāʻia, Hāliʻimaile, and Kula
  • March 28 – 30: Hawai‘i island — Hilo and Nāʻālehu
  • April 11 – 13: Hawai‘i island — Pāpaʻaloa and Hāwī

Field work is anticipated to be completed by May, which is celebrated as National Historic Preservation month.

The purpose of the surveys is to document buildings, and serve as a starting place for communities interested in exploring their history. State officials say the surveys will not list buildings on a historic register, and will not restrict property owners from modifying their buildings.

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