Sunday, September 28, 2014

Maui: Prisoners in Paradise

We are talking ‘captives’ not ‘captivating’ as we take you on a tour through a bit of history in Maui’s port town of Lahaina.
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Banner over Lahaina's Main street 
MauiLanaiSF2014 029This small town, the first capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, is  now a hub of tourism on this Hawaiian island.

Once a busy whaling port and (sugar cane) plantation settlement, it continues to be a busy port town although it is day-tour boats and cruise ship tenders that ply the Pacific waters these days.

As you know a trademark of our travel lifestyle is to get off the beaten path – away from the tourist bustle – in this case, anywhere near the port.

We set off on foot as Lahaina is an easy walking town and just a few blocks away from this bee hive of commercialism we found ourselves strolling through a laid-back semi-residential neighborhood.

Soon we came to a road called “Prison Street”.  We followed it and found ourselves at . . ., you guessed it. . .a prison. A prison that is now an outdoor museum, that is.

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Hale Pa’Ahao, which loosely translated means ‘stuck in irons’ was built by convict labor. In the late afternoon we found the entryway open – there was no admission charge and no one staffing the historic site. We had the place to ourselves.

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(Note the sign says guardhouse and cells were rebuilt in 1959 – the same year Hawaii became a part of the United States, so one might assume from its worn interior today that it was still in use then.)

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As far as prison grounds go, this one seemed rather comfortable (at least in is present state) with green lawn and trees.  But it was clear that comfort was left on the doorstep of that small building that housed the prisoners:

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It appeared that it wasn’t just a place to ‘sleep off’  too much fun --  prisoners had rules. . .lots of rules, for example:

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It’s unclear how long the place housed prisoners, but the cells and stockade were reconstructed, according to historical records, as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). And then there’s the plaque in the photo above says there was a rebuild in 1959. By 1967 the place was in a state of deterioration and the Lahaina Restoration Foundation developed a plan approved by the Historical Commission to save it.

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Walls of coral border the old prison site
If only those coral walls that surround the prison could talk. . .

TRAVEL TIPS:
A number of airlines have direct flights from the Mainland US to Maui’s Kahului airport and there are several flights daily from Honolulu. You’ll need to hop the local bus or rent a car to get to Lahaina.

Map picture

Stop by the Visitor’s Center (housed in Lahaina’s historic courthouse) footsteps from the harbor and take a tour of the Museum (in the same building) – entry here is also free but donations are welcome. While there pPick up a free copy of the Historic Walking Tour map and take a self-guided tour of the area’s  62 historical sites.  Bronze plaques at the sites give brief overviews of the historic significance.

The old prison, now considered an outdoor museum, is open daily from 10 a.m. – 4  p.m.

As always, we thank you  for spending time with us today. Hope to see you back again soon – bring a friend or two with you!

Linking with Judith's Mosaic Monday at Lavender Cottage Gardening

32 comments:

  1. Fascinating history....I think I'd rather not hear what the walls have to say,but they would have some nasty tales to tell!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed this trip back in time! I suspect there were some funny tales as well as some sad ones tucked away in those old stone walls.

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  2. Thanks for the look at a part of Hawaii most tourists never see. I really enjoyed the history and your photos. Kinda' scary stuff to think about but really fascinating.

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    1. Hi Sallie, Thanks so much for your visit! Glad you enjoyed the history and the photos - always interesting to see how places developed isn't it? Hope to see you back again soon - I'll be back to your blog as well!

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  3. Paradise isn't perfect, as we're fond of saying. A fascinating glimpse into colonial and pre-colonial conditions.

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    1. May not be perfect, but it is always interesting, isn't it Betsy? I love looking back at Hawaii's rich history. Thanks much for your visit!!

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  4. What an interesting discovery. Prisons always make me sad and feel claustrophobic. When I lived in California part of my job as a reporter was interviewing inmates at various maximum security prisons. I was always so glad to leave again. :-)

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    1. I also had during a period of my employment the 'opportunity' to visit our state prison in Walla Walla. . .the experience was so haunting that I made up my mind never to do anything that would even get me in a jail, let alone a prison. I am with you - that claustrophobic feeling was just too intense for me!

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  5. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to be a prisoner in these conditions - or any others! Tasmania, our island state, has a fascinating history as a penal colony during the convict days. It is very sobering to visit, especially the female prisons I thought. Happy travels and thank you for stopping by my blog today and for your comments. It is great to be back blogging about travels.

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    1. I still have Tasmania on my list of must see places and part of the reason is because of its colorful history. Always a pleasure to visit your blog, Jill! Glad you are back~

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  6. Not what you usually see a tourist brochure but looks like an interesting spot to visit. You do find more than your fair share of off the beaten path places to see.

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    1. It isn't a tourist brochure kind of place now is it, Leigh? Certainly was interesting though! Thanks for stopping by~

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  7. Jackie, I always appreciate how true you are to your motto, with regards to visiting not only the popular haunts of a country, but also the places that may not get the attention they deserve. Yes, this isn't the happiest or hippest place to be in Maui, but it is certainly an important one, with historical relevance.

    Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week!

    xo
    Poppy

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    1. Oh Poppy thank you for such a nice observation. I do love the history of places and this one certainly was an interesting one. Hugs to you - Jackie

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  8. Honestly I din't know about this place until I read your blog. The way you captured the history of this place is remarkable. Nicely written.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and I am glad you enjoyed the post! Hope to see you as a regular at TravelnWrite!

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  9. Definitely appreciate something different and historic to do when one tires of the beaches in Maui...wait, is that possible?;-) Loved your write-up!

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    1. Good point, Jess! I am still chuckling over the thought of 'tiring of the beaches' in Maui. Glad you enjoyed the post and hope to see you back again!

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  10. What a good post. It's so important to learn and remember the history of the places we live and those we visit. Excellent photos!

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    1. Thanks so much for your visit. I agree, it is good to know a bit about the history of the place as it helps to understand and appreciate the present! Hope you'll return again!

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  11. Love that you haven't just told us about the pretty and the pure - history can be dark and devilish. Great pics and post today :)

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    1. It would have been interesting, Jo, to see this place when it was operating. But it is great fuel for the imagination! Thanks for stopping by~

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  12. I have visited several prisons and even worked in one and I've never seen grounds like those. I'm not sure I'd want to spend time inside that place though. Prison in paradise - what an oxymoron!

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    1. I guess if I were to be imprisoned, it would be nice to have grounds blanketed by green trees. . .on the flip side, I too have had occasions to visit the inside of jails and prisons and have no desire to do anything that would provide me an opportunity to stay there! Thanks for the visit Michelle!

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  13. Wow - I would never survive a place that didn't allow any conversation or laughter (or spitting on the walls for that matter)!

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    1. If I couldn't talk or laugh, Kay, I would have to spit on the walls! Thanks much for stopping by today!!

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  14. What a great find -- especially nice to have the place to yourselves. It definitely does look a bit more harsh that a place just to "sleep it off". And the rules! Although I don't think there were many in there tempted to do much laughing.

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    1. You are correct I think Cathy with your observations. While the courtyard was fine, those cells were not at all something I would want to spend much time in! Thanks for the visit~

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  15. I have been to Lahaina many times but have never until now heard of this museum. Next time.

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    1. Glad I could provide a tip for next time, Carole! Thanks for the visit and the comment!! Have a great week~

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  16. Always fun to visit abandoned buildings and imagine life when they were inhabited.

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  17. Interesting history, Jackie. Can you imagine then turning it into a hotel!

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