Monday, August 25, 2014


 “A little farther on we entered groves of hala, through which we continued to ride for the rest of our journey. We turned from the road to see the falls of the Kāhili River.”

“Though not large they are beautiful. Here the river falls in a jet of foam over a precipice of about 40 feet into a broad clear basin below….”  (Alexander, 1849; (Kīlauea Stream is universally referred to as “Kāhili Stream;”) Cultural Surveys)

Pukui suggests “Kīlauea means “spewing, much spreading;” associated references relate to volcanic eruptions at the place of like name on the Island of Hawaiʻi – typically referring to the rising smoke clouds.

Wichman explains the name as referring to “spewing many vapors” and traces it rather generically to the streams of Kīlauea that flow between the Makaleha Mountains and the Kamo‘okoa Ridge. The name may have originally been in reference to Kīlauea Falls itself.  (Cultural Surveys)

The relatively large volume of water flowing over a relatively wide and high drop against the prevailing trade winds (blowing approximately straight up the lower stretch of the valley) can create a large volume of diffuse mist that may have inspired the name of the land.  (Cultural Surveys)

In the Māhele, all of Kīlauea ahupuaʻa was retained as government lands; apparently no claims were made by native tenants, although there were several in a low, wide terrace along the stream in the adjoining Kāhili ahupuaʻa.

In January 1863, the approximate 3,016-acres of the Kīlauea ahupuaʻa were purchased by a former American whaler named Charles Titcomb.  Titcomb already had land holdings at Kōloa and Hanalei.  He was cultivating silkworm, coffee, tobacco, sugarcane and cattle.

Adding other leased land, he and partners Captain John Ross and EP Adams formed the Kilauea Plantation (1863,) and by 1877 the started a sugar plantation, “one of the smallest plantations in the Hawaiian Islands operating its own sugar mill”.  (Cultural Surveys)

Hawaiʻi’s earliest history with railroads is often credited to Kīlauea Plantation, whose first system opened in 1881 on three miles of narrow-gauge track to haul sugar cane.  Princess Lydia Kamakaeha (Lili‘uokalani) drove in the first spikes for the railroad bed. The plantation infrastructure grew over the next twenty years.

“The transportation system consists of twelve and a half miles of permanent track, five miles of portable track, 200 cane cars, six sugar cars and four locomotives.”

“(Kīlauea) is situated three miles from the landing at Kāhili, with which it is connected by the railway system. Sugar is delivered to the steamers by means of a cable device at the rate of from 600 to 800-bags an hour.”  (San Francisco Chronicle, July 18, 1910) The town of Kīlauea originated as the center of the sugar plantation operation; Kīlauea Sugar Plantation closed in 1970.

The Kīlauea School was founded in 1882 as an ‘English School.’  Its 54-pupils were primarily workers’ children from Kīlauea Sugar Plantation.  As the Board of Education of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi owned no land in the district, school was held in a Protestant Church and partly in an old building that belonged to the Board.

In 1894, the Board of Education of the Republic of Hawaiʻi was able to obtain a two-acre parcel of land from the plantation and a two-room school and teacher's cottage were erected (it was situated near Kūhiō Highway and Kalihiwai Road.)

By 1920, the educational facilities were greatly strained as the school boasted 239-students and 7-teachers for grades one through eight.  At the end of 1921, Kauai County purchased the present school site and the new school opened September 11, 1922; it has been in use since that time.  (NPS)

By the 1890s, much of the old kalo-growing areas of this portion of Kaua‘i were now producing rice, farmed by Chinese immigrants. There were 55-acres of land in rice production in the Kīlauea-Kāhili area in 1892 and eventually a rice mill on Kīlauea Stream.

The mill is known to have been on the stream terrace east of Kīlauea Stream. Rice and vegetable cultivation was also noted along the banks of Kīlauea Stream, circa 1925.  (Cultural Surveys)

Built in 1913 as a navigational aid for commercial shipping, the Kīlauea Lighthouse was credited with saving lives, not only of countless sailors lost at sea, but of two fliers on a historic trans-Pacific flight.

When Lt Albert Hegenberger and Lt Lester Maitland were on the first trans-Pacific airplane flight in history (June 29, 1927,) they overshot their course to Oʻahu and became lost.

They heard a strange signal and interpreted it as a radio beacon originating in the Islands. They used the signal to calculate their exact position and made the necessary adjustments to put them on course, thus enabling them to land the ‘Bird of Paradise’ safely at Hickam Field on Oʻahu.  (NPS)

Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, surrounding the Lighthouse, was established in 1985 to preserve and enhance seabird nesting colonies and was expanded in 1988 to include Crater Hill and Mōkōlea Point.  The refuge is home to some of the largest populations of nesting seabirds in in the main Hawaiian Islands.

Nearby, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) added to an existing preserved property to form the Kāhili Coastal Preserve.  The property provides public access to Kāhili Beach while safeguarding the shoreline ecosystem.  (HILT)

The image shows Kīlauea Falls, Kauaʻi.  In addition, I have added others similar images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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