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What is the Lahaina Restoration Foundation?

Image Source: wikipedia Author: Joel Bradshaw

Perhaps you’ve heard about the Lahaina Restoration Foundation headquartered on Maui. Well, this nonprofit organization established in 1962 was created to explore the rich history and culture of Lahaina, Maui, through preservation of historical sites, places, cultural legacies and museums. Located at 695 Front Street in Lahaina, the foundation is a big part of the community thanks to its efforts to restore, preserve and interpret the physical and cultural legacies and history of Lahaina, which just so happens to be the very first capital of Hawaii. The goal is to share Lahaina’s well-deserved spot in history through the authentic preservation of significant cultural sites as well as traditions.

The Lahaina Restoration Foundation (LRF)

Is run by a volunteer Board of Directors who boast experience in anything from business to cultural interests. Throughout its varied history, LRF has restored approximately 12 landmarks and historic structures, all while maintaining vast collections containing:

• Artifacts
• Photos
• Manuscripts
• Maps
• Logs

Anybody can view these collections upon request.

Among the foundation’s preserved places are:

• Baldwin Home Museum
• Hale Pa‘i Printing Museum
• Lahaina Heritage Museum
• Old Lahaina Prison
• Plantation Museum
• Pioneer Mill Smokestack & Locomotives Exhibit
• Wo Hing Museum
• Masters’ Reading Room
• Lahaina Lighthouse
• Hale Aloha
• Seamen’s Hospital
• Plantation House
• Agawa Home
• Old Lahaina Courthouse
• Lahaina’s historic districts
• Interpretive signs along the Lahaina Historic Trail

If you check out this page of historical sites, you can click on each photo to learn more about each place’s history and preservation efforts that are designed to help them stand the test of time. For instance, the old Lahaina courthouse at Banyan Tree Park opened in 1860 to act not only as the center of government but also as a customs house for whaling and trade ships during the Monarchy period. It was constructed with coral block hailing from Kamehameha III’s western palace which blew down in a fierce windstorm while under construction. This two-story building was the site of the town post office and collector’s office, offices for the Governor of Maui, Sheriff and District Attorney, and a courtroom. The Lahaina Heritage Museum, located inside the courthouse, gives visitors an interactive glimpse into the rich history of various periods, including the missionary and whaling period, the Plantation era, all the way up to early tourism.

The Lahaina Restoration Foundation also sponsors several events each month to promote the culture of the town and its significant places. Every Friday, take a Candlelit Museum Tour from dusk to 8:30 p.m. at the Baldwin Home Museum, situated on the corner of Front and Dickenson Streets in historic Lahaina. It’s just $7 per person to get in ($5/kama‘aina/seniors (65+)/military, kids 12 and under FREE).

Every Last Thursday of the month, join the foundation for the Hawaiian Music Series from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. under the stars on the grounds of the Baldwin Home Museum. Bring your own blankets, mats, and low beach chairs to enjoy beautiful Hawaiian music, food and shops for a fun way to spend an evening.

If you’re a history buff and plan to go to Oahu at all during your stay, please give Hoku Hawaii Tours a call to learn a bit about our island’s history.