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The history of sugar at Olowalu

By Staff | Jun 24, 2010

A rowboat approaches the pier and sugar mill at Olowalu. Photo courtesy of www.olowalutown.net.

OLOWALU — Sugar cultivation was first recorded in Olowalu in 1864. It began as an endeavor of Kamehameha V along with Ferdinand W. Hutchinson and James Magee.

The first operating mill to produce sugar here was built sometime during the 1870s. During its production periods, the mill hosted a boat launch wharf and pier, which was used to tie down the longboats awaiting the cultivated sugar cane being brought down from the fields.

Originally, the cane was hauled to the boats by mule; then as technology advanced and revenues increased, the sugar was transported by 24-gauge train cars. Once loaded, the boats would bring the cane to the large ships anchored offshore.

Nestled next to the mill is the Manager’s House, which truly defines “Hawaiiana.” This home once was the residence to the mangers of the mill, so that they could be close to all the mill activity as well as enjoy the benefits of coastal living.

The mill was later dismantled in 1933 and sent to the Philippines to be rebuilt there, after the Olowalu Sugar Company was sold to the now-extinct Pioneer Mill Company in 1931.  

However, the Manager’s House has been beautifully restored and decorated, and it can be rented for special events and weddings (contact Donna Posely, property manager, at 808-667-5851 for booking information).

Maintaining the tradition of agriculture, Olowalu now offers amazing opportunities to own agricultural lots, such as 255 Luawai St., which encompasses 3.7 acres with panoramic ocean views and has gone through the Condominium Property Regime process, allowing for two tax map keys for the property! It’s priced right at $879,000!

Call Greg Burns, R(S), at (808) 214-0302 or Debbie Arakaki at (808) 283-7214 in West Maui Land Company Inc.’s Real Estate Division.

(Historical information provided by Rory Frampton, land planner.)