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Kualapuu

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Originally the headquarters for Molokai Ranch, this town became a center of pineapple production in the 1920s, when the ranch leased the property to California Packing Corporation, which later became Del Monte. Following the termination of Del Monte's operations in 1982, Molokai Ranch subdivided the lands into house lots, giving former Del Monte employees the first right to buy. The town has foundered, retaining much of its character in the process. Kalae Highway serves as an axis for the town. On the east side stand the company office, housing for managerial staff and skilled workers, and a tennis court. To the west of the highway is the field operations complex, including the field office, which is now used as a coffee shop, and a six-block camp of worker housing, a market, post office, and church. The camp, once painted a uniform gray, now abounds with color. Most of the original houses remain with their board-and-batten or tongue-and-groove walls and corrugated roofs. Although remodeling and additions are evident, these changes, for the most part, are not overly jarring or distracting, despite a few houses now sporting second stories or pseudo-tile roofs. The pretensions of a Tudor Revival addition display the most extreme departure from the plantation past. At the edge of the camp sits a new park, constructed by the Maui County Parks Department in 1998.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Don J. Hibbard

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