Waimea Town Historic Tour

Waimea Town Historic Tour, Waimea, Hawaii (A)

At the foothills of Waimea Canyon in the island of beautiful Kauai lies the historic Waimea with prized landmarks located within the very heart of the city. In 2006, Waimea Town was listed in Dozen Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historical Preservation and was included in New York Times #1 bestseller book "1,000 Places To See Before You Die" by Patricia Shultz.
Image Courtesy of May Rogers.
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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: Waimea Town Historic Tour
Guide Location: USA » Waimea
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2.0 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles
Author: May Rogers
Author Bio: May Rogers has a degree in Journalism then began her career writing news and advertisements as Research Assistant prior joining a magazine publishing group in Korea as Feature & Lifestyle writer. Currently in Hawaii, she is taking her MA in Language & Literature Education and pursues freelance writing in different forms - fashion, travel, poetry and children's. She is very passionate about photography, writing, blogging, shoe designing and traveling.
Author Website: http://www.examiner.com/hawaiian-islands-travel-in-honolulu/may-rogers
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Waimea Plantation Cottages
  • Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary
  • Gulick-Rowell House
  • Yamase Building
  • Old Stone Church
  • Waimea Theater
  • Waimea Recreational Park
  • Captain Cook Memorial Park
  • Captain Cook Landing Site
  • Russian Fort Elizabeth Park
Waimea Plantation Cottages

1) Waimea Plantation Cottages

The 1800s in Kauai marked the boom of flourishing sugar mills and vast plantations which became the core of Hawaiian life for many residents and immigrants to the island. These sugar companies built cottages for families and employees which soon developed into small communities and local towns. The vast 30-acre Waimea Plantation Cottages, once known as Waimea Sugar Mill, is now owned by Kikiaola Land Company Limited. This family-owned company created by the heirs of sugar pioneer Hans Peter Faye who came from his native Norway in the 1800s. Today, Waimea Plantation Cottages is one of the best island destinations in all of Hawaii with first-class resort amenities and suberb sceneries. The famous Grove Cafe and Waimea Brewing Co. can also be found within the plantation grounds.
Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary

2) Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary

The old walls of this Catholic Church echo with age yet it remains one of the most preserved historic churches on Kauai. It was built in the early 1940s by Reverend Raphael Smulders when he first came to Waimea along with other priests on a missionary apostolate to Hawaii in 1935. The church is a picture-perfect icon of history and serenity well-maintained by the town's community. The white walls, tall trees and the green manicured lawn are nothing but picturesque and welcoming sight to tourists and locals passing by Waimea Town. Though this church suffered two destructive hurricanes in the past years, Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Mission Church is still listed as one of Kauai's most historic sites that remains active and continues to provide service to the community to this day.
Gulick-Rowell House

3) Gulick-Rowell House

The Gulick-Rowell House was a mission home built in 1829 by the American missionary Peter Johnson Gulick when he first came to Waimea as one of the first Christian missionaries in town. Now nearing its bicentennial, this endangered limestone-covered structure is actually nowhere near its original construction, judging by its time-consumed, dilapidated appearance. Despite its abandoned state, the Gulick-Rowell house is very much considered a prized historic traditional New England architecture in Hawaii that is worthy of preservation. Current plans to restore the house to its original construction and possibly opening it to the public as a museum or an inn is still under negotiations.
Yamase Building

4) Yamase Building

This traditional two-story Japanese style building was built in 1921 by architect Murakama for Seiichi Yamase, a Japanese immigrant to the island. What is interesting about Yamase Building is how the form of the building follows the corner curve of the road. This green commercial building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places along with other Waimea Town landmarks. When Hurricane Iniki severely hit the island in 1992, it nearly destroyed the building. Restoration works on the

interior were done all the while keeping the exterior's original structural elements and character retained. Yamase Building currently houses several business tenants, one of which is the popular sandwich chain, Subway.
Old Stone Church

5) Old Stone Church

The beautiful old stone church was built by the first Christian missionaries who came to Waimea aboard the Brig Thaddeus in 1820. Two missionary couples, the Ruggles and the Whitneys disembarked and were granted land for a church and new homes by King Kaumulaulii. Permission was granted by the King as a gesture of gratitude for being his young son's escorts of honor from England. Construction of the church started in the 1830s with Reverend George Rowell as the main architect. The long, arduous construction of the church ended in 1854 when the walls and roof were finally completed. It was then that the first service was held. When hurricane Iniki hit the island in 1992, the old church was nearly destroyed. Restoration true to its original construction allows this historic church continue to provide Sunday service to the local community.
Waimea Theater

6) Waimea Theater

The historic Waimea Theater was built in 1938 and first opened to the public featuring the musical comedy film "Josette". Seating 500 patrons inside its modernistic art deco facade popular in the 1930s, the small theater sadly closed in 1972. From then on, it remained under private ownership until the County of Kauai purchased it in 1996. Restoration works started and fundings from seat sponsors helped re-open the theater to the public in 1999, making it possible for the town of Waimea to use it as an entertainment venue. Today, the renovated Waimea Theater accommodates 270 patrons with weekly movie showings, town shows as well as buttery popcorn to enjoy.
Waimea Recreational Park

7) Waimea Recreational Park

The landing fronting the Waimea Reacreational State park was once called Old Waimea Pier. The wharf became an important port following Captain Cook's first visit in 1778 that put Kauai clearly on the map. The original pier was built in 1865, served as port-of-call for trading ships for products exported from Kauai such as sugar, taro, rice, cattle, sweet potatoes and even oranges. To date, the pier continues to serve as a port to local fishing boats as well as a popular fishing spot. The peaceful park is a favorite among locals which is great for small get togethers with family and friends. Trees provide perfect shade for just about any activity - picnicking, reading a book and jogging.
Captain Cook Memorial Park

8) Captain Cook Memorial Park

The Captain James Cook Memorial Park and monument were built by the town of Waimea to commemorate his first landing on Kauai. The monument stands at Hofgaard Park across from the historic first Waimea Harbor landing, facing Ishihara Market. A symbol of knowledge and discovery, the iconic figure stands with a scroll in his left hand and a navigator's compass in the other. Popular among tourists, the site is frequented by many who admire the voyager, taking photos by the stone monument. It is also fascinating to know that this statue built by Sir John Tweed for Kauai is a replica of the one standing in his hometown in Whitby, England.
Captain Cook Landing Site

9) Captain Cook Landing Site

The British explorer Captain James Cook first landed at Waimea harbor aboard his ship HMS Resolution in 1778 as part of a voyage aimed at discovering the Northwest Passage. Upon landing, he named the Hawaiian Islands "Sandwich Islands" after the Earl of Sandwich John Montague for being a friend and big supporter of his discoveries. The people of Hawaii warmly welcomed the famed voyager and his other European companions. However, it was during his journey to the Big Island in 1779 that a

skirmish over a landing craft caused the death of Captain James Cook.

Now popularly known as "Captain Cook Landing", this historic site is centrally located between the Waimea River and the Pacific Ocean next to Lucy Wright Park.
Russian Fort Elizabeth Park

10) Russian Fort Elizabeth Park

The red Waimea soil and pieces of the collapsed walls of Russian Fort

Elizabeth are the only known remnants of the once famous fortress that brought alliance between Hawaii and Russia back in 1817. The fort was named after the Czarina of Russia after it was constructed under the direction of Georg Anton Schaeffer, a physician and agent of the Russian-American Company. The fort aimed to secure a provisioning station in

Hawaii for ships trading across the Pacific Ocean. When the Russians were forced to flee the island in 1817, Hawaiian troops occupied the fort and dismantled it in 1864 by order of the Hawaiian government.