Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Baldwin House – Lāhainā, Maui

The oldest house in Lāhainā, construction on the Baldwin House began on this coral-and-rock structure in 1834 and was completed in 1835.

The thick walls were made of coral and stone.  The structure was sturdy consisting of hand-hewn timbers.  In 1840, a bedroom and study was added, and in 1849, an entire second story was completed.

The home itself, the household furniture, the aged photographs and artifacts, the displays and library present a picture of the missionary who was both a physician and a constructive community force.

The faithful restoration of the Baldwin Home by the Lāhainā Restoration Foundation is based on careful documentary and archeological research.

It is part of the Lāhainā National Historical American Buildings Survey.  It was deeded to the Lāhainā Restoration Foundation by the HP Baldwin Estate in 1967.  It can never be sold and will remain in the Public Domain in perpetuity.

The owner, the Reverend Dwight Baldwin had his medical training at Harvard College prior to his theological studies.  He was one of the early missionaries to Hawai‘i.
On December 3, 1830, he married Charlotte Fowler (1805–1873), the daughter of Deacon Solomon Fowler of North Branford, Connecticut.

Shortly thereafter, on December 28, 1830, they sailed on the ship New England from New Bedford, Massachusetts with the Fourth Company of American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions; they arrived in Hawai‘i on June 21, 1831.

His educational background coupled with many natural abilities guided him to be helpful in the establishment of a system of just and democratic laws and most importantly the education of the Hawaiian people who learned much besides religion.

They were taught reading and writing in Hawaiian and English trained in agriculture and mechanics, studied the practical arts in the high school above Lāhainā; and finally learned to understand constitutional government, diplomacy and finance.

As a practicing physician, Rev. Baldwin treated and helped save the people of Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.

A series of epidemics swept through the Hawaiian Islands, whooping cough and measles, soon after followed by waves of dysentery and influenza; then, in 1853, a terrible smallpox epidemic.

Although precise counts are not known, there were thousands of smallpox deaths on O‘ahu; Baldwin is credited with keeping the toll to only a few hundred on Maui.

Dwight Baldwin was patriarch of a family that founded some of the largest businesses in the islands.  His son, Henry Perrine Baldwin (1842–1911) and Samuel Thomas Alexander (1836–1904; also son of a missionary) met in Lāhainā, Maui.

They grew up together, became close friends and went on to develop a sugar-growing partnership that spanned generations and left an indelible mark on Hawai‘i – Alexander & Baldwin (one of Hawai‘i’s Big Five companies.)

In addition, sons Henry Perrine Baldwin and David Dwight Baldwin laid the foundation for what is now known as Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc in the late 1800s through the acquisition of land and formation of associated companies.

In 1870 Dwight and Charlotte moved to Honolulu as their health deteriorated and lived with their daughter Harriet (called "Hattie").  Charlotte died October 2, 1873, and Dwight died on January 3, 1886; they are buried at the Kawaiahaʻo Church cemetery.

Lāhainā Restoration Foundation oversees and maintains 11 major historic structures in Lāhainā and provides tours of the Baldwin House.  Hours of Operation: Open Daily from 10 am – 4 pm ($5 Kama‘āina admission); Candlelit Tours Fridays 6 pm - 8:30 pm ($6 Kama‘āina admission)

Image shows the Baldwin House.  In addition, more images of the Baldwin House are in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.

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