Lahaina is costal town on the west side of the Valley Isle of Maui. Lahaina has a total area of around 9 square miles with a population of approximately 12,000 Local residents. During the heavy tourist seasons, Lahaina accomidates nearly 40,000 people.
Two million people, or approximately 80% percent of all of Maui tourism per year visit Lahaina. From beaches to restaurants, Lahaina has some of the best attractions Maui has to offer. Lahaina’s Front Street has been ranked one of the “Top Ten Greatest Streets” by the American Planning Association. Banyan Tree Square features one of the largest banyan trees in the world planted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Christian missionaries.
Lahaina is home to one of the best luau’s in the Hawaiian Islands, The Old Lahaina Luau.
Historic Hawaiian Town
Besides being a popular tourist destination Lahaina has over a thousand years of rich history.
The town was called “Lele” during ancient times. The name Lahaina means “cruel sun” in the Hawaiian language, describing the sunny dry climate as Lahaina averages only 13 inches of rain per year.
During ancient times Lahaina was the royal capital of Mauiloa, the 5th Moi of Maui, the 5th ruling King of Maui. Although, the Kingdom of Maui only controlled the west side of the island as it was still divided in two.
Hundreds of years later in 1795 Lahaina was conquered by Kamehameha the Great during his quest to unite the Hawaiian Islands. Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845 before Kamehameha the 3rd moved it to Honolulu.
During the mid 19th century, Lahaina was the center of the global whaling industry with many sailing ships anchored at its waterfront; It was also the arrival of Christian missionaries. Conflict was evident as Hawaiian Monarchy, missionaries, and whalers tried to gain control over Lahaina.
Ruins of the Lahaina Fort, which was built to defend Lahaina against whalers, pirates and scavengers.
Immigrant migration took place during the late 1800s to early 1900s. Sugar crop plantations was Lahaina’s main industry. The Lahaina-Kaanapali Pacific Railroad steam-powered train was used to haul sugar.
Lahainaluna High School, founded in 1831 is the oldest post-secondary school west of the Mississippi River.
Lahaina Historic District
The Lahaina Historic District was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1962. At that time it was described:
Long the residence of Maui kings and chiefs, Lahaina preserves the atmosphere of a mid-19th century Hawaiian seaport, when it was a favorite port of call for American whalers. It was also the center of missionary activities.
The district contains several significant points of interest including the Old Court House, churches, and the missionary Baldwin House.