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County approves permit to renovate mill smokestack

By Staff | Apr 1, 2010

Lahaina Restoration Foundation’s Smokestack Committee includes (from left) David Allaire, Donna Soares, Theo Morrison, Keoki Freeland and Sammy Kadotani.

LAHAINA — The County of Maui has granted Lahaina Restoration Foundation a building permit for the renovation of the old Pioneer Mill Company Smokestack, and the long-awaited project can now move forward.

Construction is expected to begin this month and be complete by the Lahaina Plantation Days event on Sept. 10-11, 2010.  

A new barbecue benefit dinner for the smokestack renovation is scheduled for Sept. 9. Both events will be held at the site of the former Pioneer Mill on Lahainaluna Road.

Lahaina Restoration Foundation (LRF) also announced that it has raised the first $100,000 for the smokestack renovation through the sale of commemorative bricks.    

The engraved bricks will be used to create a walkway around the base of the smokestack. The walkway will include landscaping, a seating wall and plaques that will interpret the history of the plantation era.

This rendering shows what the top of the smokestack will look like when the project is done.

The brick walkway will be constructed as soon as the renovation of the smokestack is complete. Those who purchased small replica bricks will receive their bricks at that time.

The entire cost of the smokestack renovation, brick walkway, plaques and landscaping will be approximately $600,000. The sale of bricks, proceeds from the fund-raising dinner and other donations and sponsorships will be used to cover these costs.

Work will include restoring the top 14 feet of the smokestack, which was removed during the demolition of the Pioneer Mill buildings in 2006.

The top will be fabricated from steel and painted to match the new paint that will be applied to the entire landmark.

The top will replicate the design and size of the original smokestack with a flared head, four diamond-shaped insets, 40 fluted trays and the wording “PIONEER MILL-Co  LTD 1860,” marking the year the mill was founded.

LRF reported that the smokestack will be reinforced with 17 additional carbon steel tension bands. The flue will be filled in with masonry, and the flue perimeter will be outlined with brick to match the brick walkway that will surround the base of the stack.

This concrete and brick smokestack was built in 1928 to replace three steel stacks that had been in use for two decades.

Wessels Construction Co. Inc., d.b.a. Oak Park Chimney, will handle the renovations. By coincidence, Oak Park Chimney bought the Heine Chimney Company that built the smokestack.

Oak Park Chimney owns the original construction drawings for the Pioneer Mill Company Smokestack.

“We are thrilled to announce these two major milestones in our renovation project” said Theo Morrison, executive director of Lahaina Restoration Foundation.

“The plantation era was a unique time in Lahaina’s history, and the preservation of the smokestack will help tell this story for future generations.”

Sales of commemorative bricks will continue until the walkway is complete, but the price for the $100 brick will increase to $125 as of May 1. The public is urged to buy a brick now before the price increases.

Bricks may be purchased online at www.lahainarestoration.org or by calling Noe at the Lahaina Restoration Foundation office at 661-3262.