Wailuku River entering Pacific Ocean
Photo by: kewl, Creative Commons

Wailuku is a census-designated place (a place designated by the census bureau for statistical purposes and has no form of municipal government of its own) and is the capital of Maui County, Hawaii. It is located in the Kahului-Wailuku metropolitan area and its name is Hawaiian for “water of destruction”.

The town used to be the main destination in Maui in the early 20th century until it was overshadowed by nearby resort towns. But for those who prefer to rest in the town itself, there is The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono, which is located at Kahookele Street.

History buffs will get a kick out of Wailuku, as it is home to several historical sites.

Ka’ahumanu Church was named after Queen Ka’ahumanu, an early convert to Christianity, who requested that a church be built in her name. The request was granted in 1876. Today, Sunday services are conducted here, with hymns and invocation done in the Hawaiian language.

The Wailuku Civic Center Historic District is a group of five buildings that currently house both the governmental offices of Maui County and the State of Hawaii. They were designed and built from 1901 to 1931 by architect C. W. Dickey.

The Chee Kung Tong Society Building was formerly a society hall for Chinese immigrants and was built in 1905. It was then converted into a dormitory in 1928 until years of neglect led to its collapse in 1996.

The Bailey House Museum was formerly a seminary and was built in 1833. Funding problems forced the seminary to shut down in 1847 and was then made part of a sugar plantation. Today, the house hosts several pre-colonial artifacts, paintings, and snail shells.

The Haleki’i-Pihana Heiau State Monument is home to two ancient heiau, or temples. Pihana is the older heiau, dating from the 11th century, and Haleki’i was built two centuries later.

Wailuku is the place to be if you want to learn more about the rich history of Hawaii.

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