HISTORY

History

Wailuku has great historical value and a vibrant cultural legacy that runs deep. From Kamehameha’s victory at Iao Valley to the birthplace of the powerful sugar industry, Wailuku played a large role in the island’s history and made a strong impact on the state of Hawai‘i.

A tremendously populated town, New England missionaries brought their beliefs and western skills to Wailuku in the mid-1800s. By the 1860s the Wailuku Sugar Company and other plantations grew and milled sugarcane. They formed ditches bringing irrigation water from the mountains to the fields and the sugar industry quickly flourished.

This new industry brought unskilled workers to Maui from all parts of the world. Many of them settled in Wailuku, expanding the town to accommodate the new immigrants. Schools, shops, banks and churches were built and in 1905 the town was named Maui’s County Seat, further expanding the growth in the town.

The growth era lasted until the late 1960s when the sugar industry began to slow. Reduced sugar operations and the development of alternative commercial centers drew business and residents away from Wailuku’s downtown area.

Much of this history is still alive throughout the town. Although a new generation of government and young business owners have moved in, the town still has that old town feel thanks to the many art deco buildings and simple plantation homes. The colorful town is a mix of the young and the old with beautiful scenery and the serene and powerful, Iao Valley.

This is Phase 1 of the Wailuku Town website launch. We are still compiling information and will continually update the site. Thank you for your patience and be sure to check for updates.