Lāhainā on Maui

Sunday, 13 August 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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© PaulT (Gunther Tschuch)/cc-by-sa-4.0

© PaulT (Gunther Tschuch)/cc-by-sa-4.0

Lahaina (Hawaiian: Lāhainā) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Maui County, Hawaii, United States, and includes the Kaanapali and Kapalua beach resorts. As of the 2020 census, Lahaina had a resident population of 12,702. The CDP encompasses the coast along Hawaii Route 30 from a tunnel at the south end, through Olowalu and to the CDP of Napili-Honokowai to the north. As Lahaina sits on Maui, a relatively small island with limited developable area, its real estate is some of the most expensive in Hawaii.

Lele was an ancient name of Lahaina. The Hawaiian language name means “cruel sun”, describing the sunny dry climate. Lahaina’s historic district averages only 13 inches (330 mm) of rain per year, much of which occurs from December to February. In the days of native rule Lahaina was the royal capital of Maui Loa, aliʻi nui (“high chief”) of the island of Maui, after he ceded the royal seat of Hana to the ruler of Hawaii Island. In 1795, before unification of the islands, the town was conquered by Kamehameha the Great. Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845. King Kamehameha III, son of Kamehameha I, preferred the town to bustling Honolulu. He built a palace complex on a 1 acre (0.40 ha) island Mokuʻula surrounded by a pond called Moku Hina, said to be home to Kiwahine, a spiritual protector of Maui and the Pi’ilani royal line, near the center of town. In 1824, at the chiefs’ request, Betsey Stockton started the first mission school open to the common people. It was once an important destination for the 19th-century whaling fleet, whose presence at Lahaina frequently led to conflicts with the Christian missionaries living there. On more than one occasion the conflict was so severe that it led to sailor riots and even the shelling of Lahaina by the British whaler John Palmer in 1827. In response, Maui Governor Hoapili built the Old Lahaina Fort in 1831 to protect the town from riotous sailors. In 1845 the capital of Hawaii was moved back to Honolulu. In the 19th century, Lahaina was the center of the global whaling industry, with many sailing ships anchoring at its waterfront; today pleasure craft make their home there. Lahaina’s Front Street has been ranked one of the “Top Ten Greatest Streets” by the American Planning Association.

In August 2023, much of Lahaina was destroyed by wildfires. As of August 11 at least 55 people had been confirmed dead, and governor Josh Green warned that the death toll will rise. At least 11,000 people had to evacuate the area. The governor estimated that “upwards of 1,700 buildings” had been destroyed. When asked how many buildings had burned, the mayor of Maui County said “I’m telling you, none of it’s there. It’s all burned to the ground.” Among the structures destroyed were Waiola Church and Pioneer Inn.

© Dana Hutchinson/cc-by-3.0 © panoramio.com - eurimaco/cc-by-sa-3.0 Banyan tree in Courthouse Square, the largest banyan tree in the United States © Melikamp/cc-by-sa-3.0 © flickr.com - dronepicr/cc-by-2.0 U.S. Seamen's Hospital (U.S. Marine Hospital) © Joel Bradshaw Baldwin House © PaulT (Gunther Tschuch)/cc-by-sa-4.0 © PaulT (Gunther Tschuch)/cc-by-sa-4.0 © PaulT (Gunther Tschuch)/cc-by-sa-4.0 © PaulT (Gunther Tschuch)/cc-by-sa-4.0 © PaulT (Gunther Tschuch)/cc-by-sa-4.0 Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant © Cheeseburgerinparadise2002
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Banyan tree in Courthouse Square, the largest banyan tree in the United States © Melikamp/cc-by-sa-3.0
The southern end of Front Street is home to the largest banyan tree in the United States.

Front Street is a popular attraction with stores and restaurants, as well as many historical sights such as the Bailey Museum, the Lahaina Courthouse, and the Prison.

The West Maui mountains have valleys visible from the historic district of Lahaina. The valleys are the backdrop for “the 5 o’clock rainbow” that happens almost every day. The “L” in the West Maui mountains stands for Lahainaluna High School and has been there since 1904. In 1831 a fort was built for defense, and the reconstructed remains of its 20-foot (6.1 m) walls and original cannons can still be seen. Also near the small boat harbor were the historic Pioneer Inn and the Baldwin House museum in the historic district of Lahaina.

Hale Paʻi, located at Lahainaluna High School, is the site of Hawaii’s first printing press, including Hawaii’s first paper currency, printed in 1843.

The Plantation Course at Kapalua hosts the PGA Tour‘s Sentry Tournament of Champions every January.

Carthaginian II was a museum ship moored in the harbor of this former whaling port-of-call. Built in 1920 and brought to Maui in 1973, it served as a whaling museum until 2005, and after being sunk in 95 feet (29 m) of water about 1/2-mile (0.80 km) offshore to create an artificial reef, now serves as a diving destination. It replaced an earlier replica of a whaler, Carthaginian, which had been converted to film scenes for the 1966 movie Hawaii.

Halloween is a major celebration in Lahaina, with crowds averaging between twenty and thirty thousand people. The evening starts off by closing Front Street to vehicles so the “Keiki Parade” of children in costumes can begin. Eventually, adults in costumes join in. Some refer to Halloween night in Lahaina as the “Mardi Gras of the Pacific”. In 2008 the celebration was curtailed due to the objections of a group of cultural advisers who felt Halloween was an affront to Hawaiian culture. In the following years the event was poorly attended, as the street was not closed and no costume contest took place. In 2011, citing economic concerns, the County permitted the event to fully resume.

From November to May, whale-watching excursions are popular with tourists. The peak season for whale watching in Lahaina is January to March.

The humpback whale is by far the most common baleen species found in Hawaiian waters, although there have been rare sightings of fin, minke, Bryde’s, blue, and North Pacific right whales as well.

Each November, Lahaina hosts the Maui Invitational, one of the top early-season tournaments in college basketball. The event is sponsored by Maui Jim and is held in the Lahaina Civic Center.

The Lahaina Aquatic Center hosts swim meets and water polo.

Lahaina also hosts the finish of the Vic-Maui Yacht Race, which starts in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. This race started in the 1960s and is held every two years.

The historic district has preserved 60 historic sites within a small area and they are managed by the Lahaina Restoration.

Read more on GoHawaii.com – Lāhainā, Wikivoyage Lāhainā and Wikipedia Lāhainā (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.








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