Archaeological evidence indicates that Koloa was a heavily populated and farmed area prior to Western contact. The area's modern history began in 1835 when Ladd and Company established a sugar plantation here. In addition, Koloa's landing became the busiest on the island, provisioning ships involved in the Pacific whaling industry during the period 1840 to 1870. Sugar remained the mainstay of this community until 1996 when its mill shut down. The development of nearby Poipu as a visitor destination reinvigorated the town in the 1990s, and the two-to three-block commercial core comprises numerous remodeled plantation-era buildings. Access to the town is along Maluhia Road, with its tunnel of swamp mahogany trees, which were planted under the direction of Walter McBryde, manager of the Kauai Pineapple Cannery, and county engineer Joseph Maragne when the road was built in 1911.
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