Wednesday, November 4, 2009


(Honolulu, HI) Historic Hawai‘i Foundation’s annual list of the most endangered historic sites in Hawai‘i is dominated by irreplaceable sites and settings that help define Hawai‘i.

“This year’s list includes buildings, archeological sites, cultural landscapes, and sacred places,” said Kiersten Faulkner, executive director. “Each is unique to Hawai‘i and each helps perpetuate our unique heritage.”

“We included fewer individual structures in favor of places in which the collective experience is threatened. While the loss of any one of these buildings or sites would be a tragedy, the loss of the Hawai‘i experience that they provide would be even more tragic,” Faulkner said.

Photo by Kirk Lee Aeder, Courtesy of Honolulu Magazine
Photo above: Lapakahi, located in North Kohala, contains two dozen archeological features from a fishing village circa 1300 AD.

Those endangered places include a 17-acre cultural compound in North Kohala; four of the last plantation-era homes on Hale‘iwa’s main thoroughfare; 12 buildings on the campus of the Waimano Training Ridge and Hospital; and the entire 20-mile corridor proposed for Honolulu’s rapid transit system. The transit corridor – perhaps the most controversial addition to the list – is included because the aesthetics of the system may fundamentally alter the context of some of the historic sites and distinctive communities along the route.

“The common denominator is that each of the places is significant for its contribution to the identity of its community, and how these places reflect the ethnic, cultural and historic diversity we treasure in Hawai‘i,” Faulkner said. “The loss of these places would change our understanding of the cultural landscapes, and rob our future.”

The list of endangered historic sites is an annual program of Historic Hawai‘i Foundation, in cooperation with Honolulu magazine and the State Historic Preservation Division. The list is intended to draw attention to threats to historic places that occur from a variety of sources, including neglect, natural disaster, deliberate demolition and incompatible new development, and to encourage community action to reverse the threats.

The 2009 Most Endangered Historic Sites list includes locations on Hawai‘i, Maui, Lāna‘i and Kaua‘i, and four locations on O‘ahu.

The annual list is compiled by Historic Hawai‘i Foundation, which sought nominations from across the state. While inclusion on the list does not automatically protect or preserve the historic places, it is hoped that the list will raise public awareness, and inspire the community to take action. The 2009 list of endangered sites and a discussion on what threatens each site is featured in the November issue of Honolulu magazine. Honolulu has partnered with HHF on the annual Most Endangered Historic Sites list since its inception in 2005.

The complete list of 2009 Most Endangered Historic Sites is:

Alekoko Pond (Nāwiliwili, Kaua‘i); also known as Menehune Fishpond, the 580-year-old fishpond next to Huleia National Wildlife Refuge is threatened by invasive mangrove trees, falling stone walls, and sedimentation. It needs repair of the walls, removal of the mangrove, and ongoing maintenance.

• The 33 Historic Structures in the Path of Honolulu’s Rapid Transit Project (Kapolei to Kaka‘ako, O‘ahu); the proposed 20 mile elevated train will affect three historic districts, a national historic landmark and 31 other historic properties along the route, primarily in feeling, association and setting. Compatible design in historic areas, education and incentive programs for preservation, and monitoring of indirect effects will all help mitigate the impact.

Hāli‘imaile Stables (Hāli‘imaile, Maui); a demolition permit is pending for the 1920’s era stables built to house horses and mules for the plantation village. Adaptive reuse of the structures would save them for the next generation.

Luahiwa Petroglyphs (Kealiakapu ahupua‘a, Lāna‘i); a fire in 2007 exposed almost 1000 petroglyphs to elements and vandalism. Stabilization and visitor interpretation could help protect them.

Chapel at Kapiolani Community College (Honolulu, O‘ahu); the chapel from the original Ft. Ruger dates to 1925 and is now used for continuing education classes at KCC. It is structurally sound, but needs repairs and repainting.
Photo left: The chapel at Kapiolani Community College, Honolulu, is structurally sound, but needs repairs and repainting.  Rae Huo Photo, Courtesy of Honolulu Magazine

Hale‘iwa Residences (Hale‘iwa, O‘ahu); four of the few remaining plantation-era houses are slated for demolition under a request for rezoning along Hale‘iwa’s main thoroughfare. Adaptive reuse and maintenance would save these authentic structures.

Waimano Ridge (Pearl City, O‘ahu); 12 buildings (1936-1954) at the Waimano Training School and Hospital are slated for demolition under a state plan.

Lapakahi (North Kohala, Hawai‘i); a 17-acre cultural complex adjacent to Lapakahi State Historical Park contains two dozen archeological features from a fishing village circa 1300 AD. The Trust for Public Land is raising funds to purchase the property and add it to the State Park.

“Hawai‘i is fortunate to have a legacy of historic places that provide all of us with a physical connection to the people and events that shaped this state,” said Faulkner. “Perpetuating the historic places of the islands provides a strong sense of identity for all people of Hawai‘i, as well as visitors who come to experience this unique destination.”

Historic Hawai‘i Foundation is a membership-based statewide nonprofit organization that encourages the preservation of historic sites across the state. For more information, or to become a member, see