Saturday, July 7, 2012

Maunaʻolu Seminary - Makawao, Maui

The last of the female seminaries that was begun by the missionaries was initially called the Makawao Family School.  Reverend Claudius B. Andrews and his wife, Anne Seward Gilson Andrews, began it in 1861 in a location above Makawao Village on the island of Maui.

Maunaʻolu Seminary is an out-growth of the “East Maui Female Seminary.”  It first sprang into existence, through the earnest desire of the Andrews for a school for Hawaiian girls, where they might he educated in the atmosphere of a Christian home, and so be equipped for their future life work.

Mr. Andrews purchased a piece of land called “Maluhia,” selecting a site about 2,000-feet on the slopes of Haleakalā.

It was here that Mr. and Mrs. Andrews with their family first conceived the idea of a "Home School" for Hawaiian girls, as Mr. Andrews said, "Where the girls are to be taught as my own daughters".

It was not so much the idea of book knowledge as that in the early years of the child-life they would be given the essential elements of true character building, looking to future development of Hawaiian womanhood.

 A year after the school began, Mrs. Andrews died.

Throughout the next seven years, Reverend Andrews received help from a variety of people, and attendance grew to 70 students.  But then, in 1869, the school building burned; the school was temporarily closed, but reopened in 1871.

Reverend Andrews, along with his second wife, Samantha Andrews, were in charge of operating the school.  (The second Mrs. Andrews was a sister of his first wife.)

Miss Helen E. Carpenter was engaged as an assistant teacher.  Both Samantha Andrews and Helen Carpenter were graduates of Mount Holyoke Seminary.  In 1874, the latter was appointed principal.

Throughout the following years, the curriculum included the usual academic courses in reading, mathematics, literature, history, language (all instruction was in English), geography, spelling, civics and the Bible.  The industrial departments included sewing, domestic arts and culinary.

During the last two decades of the 19th century, the school was nicknamed the Mount Holyoke Seminary of the Hawaiian Islands due to the connection of its instructors with that American seminary and the large number of Hawaiian Islands ministers' daughters in attendance.

Additions to the buildings and aid from both the Government and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) led to the enrollment climbing to 100 students.

At the end of the century, all the female seminaries in Hawai‘i began to lose students to the newly-founded Kamehameha School for Girls.

This latter school was established in 1894; it was not technically a seminary or founded by missionaries, but all the girls enrolled were Hawaiian, and its curriculum was very similar to what was used at the missionary-sponsored seminaries.

After a second fire in 1898, Maunaʻolu Seminary moved into temporary quarters in the buildings of the old Haleakala government boy’s school, also above Makawao.

In 1900 Maunaʻolu was rebuilt in a place closer to Pā‘ia on land known as Pu‘u Makani (windy hill).  This was brought about by the generosity of the honored trustee, Mr. Henry P. Baldwin.

Maunaʻolu Seminary continued to exist through the 1920s, offering a high school diploma to their graduates.  Its last commencement was in June 1942.

The school was used for the military hospital during World War II.  Reopened in 1950 as a coeducational junior college run by the Hawaiian Evangelical Association of Congregational Christian Churches, Maunaʻolu Community College offered the last two years of high school and the first two years of college.

A four-year college curriculum was developed in 1969, but the college had difficulty attracting students.

In 1971, Maunaʻolu College was acquired by United States International University, and later by the County of Maui. The college is no longer in existence.

The image is an undated drawing by Edward Bailey of the Maunaʻolu Seminary.  In addition, I have added some other images of the school in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.


  1. I'm very interested in what you've written about the school as my great, great grandfather was Claudius Buchanan Andrews who started the East Maui Female Seminary and I have been trying to find information about the history and what remains of the buildings etc.

  2. I attended Maunaolu College the first two years after it was purchased during 1971-73. There will be a Maunaolu College "All Years" Reunion held on June 13-14, 2014 at the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa in Lahaina.

    1. Who can be contacted regarding alumni organization for this college. I have a very old photo album of students from the school and would like to turn it over to Alumni or a museum.

  3. Kahu Kalei Ka'awalauoleDecember 16, 2014 at 7:29 PM

    Does anyone know where the original school was located? I'm very interested in learning more as my great great grandmother was one of the schools first attendees.

  4. Lat - 20°53'11.02"N
    Long - 156°20'23.83"W

    Approximate location