LAHAINA, Hawaii -- Lahaina, Hawaii's old whaling capital, has its
visitor center back.
The center has returned to its location on the first floor of the
town's historical Court House, which reopened after a $1.5 million
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, the visitor center includes a gift
shop and the offices of the nonprofit Lahaina Town Action
Committee, its operator. Maui County closed the building early last
year for the update, which included a new roof, electrical and
plumbing systems, windows, doors and fixtures.
The Court House, which fronts Lahaina Wharf, was built in 1860
and once housed the customs house and the office of the island's
governor. The town's last major historical building to be restored,
it had not undergone a major renovation since 1925.
Plans call for a museum on the second floor and for the Lahaina
Arts Society to return to the complex. The society's offices and
the Old Jail Gallery previously occupied the incarceration
facilities in the building's basement, where the original cells are
Both moved to the Lahaina Center, a Front Street shopping and
restaurant complex, when the Court House was closed. The area
between the Court House and Front Street -- two-thirds of an acre
-- is shaded by a 60-foot-high Indian banyan tree, planted in 1873
to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Lahaina's
The tree is one of more than 30 historical sites identified with
signs, which guide a 90-minute walking tour. The sites include such
museums as Baldwin House missionary home; Wo Hing Temple, a
restored Chinese society building; the Carthaginian, a museum ship,
and the ruins of the jail and fort that date to the whaling
The sites are maintained by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation,
a nonprofit group that is negotiating with the county to manage the
Court House building. The Lahaina Town Action Committee, with 200
members, most of them local businesses, aims to promote and
maintain Lahaina's historical, cultural and commercial vitality
while preserving its past.
For further information on Lahaina, including special events
held throughout the year, contact the committee at (808) 667-9175
or fax (808) 661-4779.