Hanama`ulu Town Celebration

The Hanama`ulu Experience: The Camps

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The Camps at Hanama`ulu
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Embracing the Future
Poetry and Song
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Remembering the Past ...

Wailua Falls | 1943
Photo: Private Collection


CAMPS WERE AN INTEGRAL PART of plantation life in Hawai`i, and Hanama`ulu as a plantation town had its share of camps. The cluster of houses behind Hanama`ulu Store comprised "Up Camp." And the row of homes behind the service station, which was located where today's Shell Service Station operates, was known as "Middle Camp." This was where the Agaders, the Alayvillas, the Saritas, the Sasils, and other families, who today continue to call Hanama`ulu home, lived. And "Down Camp" was down the valley, close to Hanama`ulu Beach, centered at Hipa Road.

In addition, there were camps in and around Hanama`ulu that Lihue Plantation built for various plantation operations. There were camps for irrigation maintenance workers, for workers who opened the reservoirs and ditches in the morning and closed them in the afternoon, for pump operators, for livestock caretakers, for weed control workers, for power plant maintenance workers, etc. With more than 9,000 acres of property in Hanama`ulu, transportation needs made it necessary for Lihue Plantation to build housing close to the work sites, thus the existence of several camps.

The sources of information on some of the camps were born in the 1920s and 1930s, and their recollections are of Hanama`ulu camps that existed in the 1940s and 1950s. All the camps are gone; what remain of them are in the hearts and minds of those who lived in those camps. What we know today is what those who know the existence of the camps remember. Research on the camps is ongoing. Additions and corrections from readers are sought and appreciated.

Caleb Edgar Slocomb Burns Sr. (1884-1970) was manager of Lihue Plantation from August 1933 to April 1951. From the early 1930s to December 1945, Alexander Matthew McKeever (1877-1957) was assistant manager. He and his wife Maud and their family lived in a lovely home where Kauai Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home at the approach of Maalo Road are located today. Many remember the McKeevers' "Big Dogs!"

Down Kapaia Camp was on the hill near Immaculate Conception Church. Up Kapaia Camp was behind the church.  Kapaia was home to Benito Domingcil, Julian Macadangdang, Hilario Medrano, Casimiro Valdez, Catalino Valencia and their families.  The workers irrigated and maintained the sugarcane fields at Hanama`ulu.

Above McKeever's Neighborhood, on the right side of Maalo Road, a Filipino camp of six houses dotted the landscape. One could assume from the name (puka: hole; and suffix -ki : force) that the workers were "kalay" (an Ilocano word) men, meaning workers who weeded with hoes. Actually, the houses were situated in a dip, a puka (hole) of sorts.

The camp was about three miles above McKeever's Neighborhood, and about 1/2 mile off Maalo Road. One source remembers the upper section of Camp 9 being occupied by Filipino single men, and the lower section occupied by workers of Japanese descent.
The following workers, who were ditchmen, and their families lived at the camp: Asajiro Abe, luna (overseer); Masuichi Maesaka, Hosaku Mori, and Kinosuke Sato. Agapito Bakiano, a field man of Filipino ancestry, and his family also lived at Camp 9.

Northwest of the intersection of Upper Cane Road and Aii Cane Road is Aii Reservoir. Put another way, Aii Reservoir is on the northwestern Hanama`ulu fields, about 2-1/2 miles from the Camp 9 intersection. Aii Camp, which was home to Japanese families, was located below the reservoir. The plantation workers included: 1) Isokane, a reservoir man. 2) Noboru "Wilbur" Shimizu, who lived with the Isokane Family, later moved to Lihue and worked at Hanama`ulu Shop. 3) Nakayama was "sabidong" man. 4) Ueda. 5) Isamu Miyamoto. Filipino ditch and reservoir workers were at Aii Camp also. ("Sabidong" is Ilocano for "poison," and the word was used for "herbicide.")

Located between Aii Camp and Nagao's Place, about 1/2 mile up a dirt road off the left side of Maalo Road, the powerhouse was maintained by Akira Tamura.

Above Aii Camp, towards Wailua Waterfalls, a Japanese plantation worker by the name of Nagao took care of the canefields. The area also allowed him to raise vegetables, and Mr. Nagao today is remembered by many as being a farmer.

Peter Christian, assistant to head overseer Wilfred Baldwin, was a field supervisor, who initially lived at Waterfalls Camp. He and his family later moved to an area closer to Wailua Falls. Time has claimed the bridge above the falls, but the camp was located beyond the south end of the bridge. The Jose Bernal Family, the Bueno Family, the Oyama Family, and Jose Estrada lived at the camp also.

Webmaster's note: On January 9, 2007, I had the pleasure of meeting Milton Ching of Kapaa, Kauai. When the topic of our conversation turned to Hanama`ulu, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Milton's wife, Melanie Christian, is the granddaughter of Peter Claus Christian and the great granddaughter of Charles Claus Christian.

I, therefore, asked Milton Ching to share with me any biographical information he may have on Peter Christian, after whom one of Hanama`ulu's camps was named.

I subsequently lifted from Milton Ching's e-mail details that I am sharing here with our Website readers.

Peter Claus Christian was born on April 3, 1900, in Hanamaulu, the son of Charles Claus Christian and Emma Spencer. He was [a] luna for Lihue Plantation until his death on February 16, 1957.

A daughter of Peter Christian, who was born at Peter Christian Crossing in 1929, lives in Kapaa, a short distance from the Ching Family residence.

Charles Claus Christian, who came to Kauai in the early 1870s, was born on the island of Alsen, Soderburg, Germany, on April 21, 1851. He was an Assistant Manager for Lihue Plantation until his death on December 16, 1910. The account has it that his wife Emma was so heart-broken [by] his death, she joined him in death an hour later.

The Webmaster has an addendum to Milton Ching's information. Ethel Damon believed that Charles Christian Sr. was a Danish sailor who came to the islands like many sailors did, and he became a sugar boiler at Hanamaulu in 1878. ("Koamalu" : p. 745). When Albert Wilcox retired, Christian became head luna; otherwise, known as assistant manager at Hanama`ulu Mill. His son, Charles Christian Jr., in turn held practically the same positon with Lihue Plantation. (Posted: January 15, 2007)

Located above Wailua Falls, one must cross Wailua River and go up approximately one mile to get to the camp. One source remembers the camp being a couple of miles from Nagao's Place. The Juan Espiritu Family, the Pantaleon De Los Reyes Family, and Crisente "Pake" Padernal lived at the camp to keep their segment of the ten-mile Hanama`ulu Ditch in good working condition and to keep the sugarcane fields properly irrigated.

Located 18 miles above Wailua Falls, toward Mount Waialeale, the plant was at the end of what was called Powerhouse Road. Half-mile from Aii Camp, the plant was accessible by a plantation dirt road, off Maalo Road, pass Tanaka Reservoir, which is bigger than Aii Reservoir. Shunichi Fukumoto was the power plant man. A worker by the name of Honda maintained the three-acre grounds and even grew a flower garden.

About one mile above Tanaka Reservoir was the one-house camp of Onuma. Mr. Onuma lived alone at the camp during the week, joining his family at Hanama`ulu on weekends.

Ditchman Chutaro Inouye, his wife and eight children, made their home south of the powerhouse, about one mile above Onuma's Place.

Ditchman Fujii lived approximately 1-1/2 miles above Inouye's Place.

In the 1880s, Lihue Plantation used over 1,000 oxen to haul sugarcane to the mills at Lihue and Hanama`ulu. Mules gradually replaced the oxen, which in turn were replaced by steam locomotive beginning in 1895. However, the plantation continued to use mules for varied tasks, including the transportation of seed cane to the fields. Also, plantation overseers inspected the fields and the workers on horseback before the advent of motor vehicles, another reason for the existence of Stable Camp.

Stable Camp was located above Waterfalls Camp. Pantaleon De Los Reyes and Juan Espiritu and their families moved from Waterfalls Camp. They and Gregorio Caberto and his family were among the last plantation workers to live at Stable Camp.

North of McKeever's Neighorhood -- west of Kalepa Ridge Road and east of Okinawa Cane Road -- is Okinawa Reservoir. Okinawan workers maintained the reservoir, thus Okinawa Camp, which was closed about 1950.

Abe, Haruko. Widow of John Abe (1915-1998), who was a chemist with Lihue Plantation, retiring as laboratory supervisor in 1978. John's father was a ditchman at Camp 9. Interviewed April 16, 2005, Haruko in turn asked relatives of Lihue Plantation workers who provided her with more information on the camps on April 17, 2005, and on into the month of May.

De Los Reyes, Eugenio. Son of Pantaleon De Los Reyes, who lived both at Waterfalls and Stable Camps. A Lihue Plantation mechanic, he is a resident of Hanama`ulu. Interviewed on April 7, 2005, he continued to provide additional information in May and June.

Espiritu, Alfredo. Son of Juan Espiritu, who was assigned to Waterfalls Camp, and later to Stable Camp. A Lihue Plantation retiree, he resides at Opukea Street in Hanama`ulu. Interviewed on March 1, 2005, he continued to provide information until May.

Inouye, Kiyoshi. The youngest son of Chutaro Inouye, he is a retired electrical inspector with the County of Kauai. A resident of Lihue, he shared his recollections and knowledge of the camps with the author on May 15 & 29, 2005, and continued to give feedback until June.

Men and Women of Hawaii, 1954. Edited by Perry Edward Hilleary. Published by Honolulu Business Consultants, 1954.

Men of Hawaii, v.5. Revised. Edited by George F. Nellist. Published by The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Ltd., 1935.

Rapozo, William Neil. Employed by Lihue Plantation from 1950 to 1972. Managed Lihue Chevron service station from 1972 to 2000. Lifelong Hanama`ulu resident. Interviewed on April 5, 2005.

The Garden Island. April 14, 1998; June 9, 2004.

The Garden Island Index Authority File. Kauai Community College Library.

The Lihue Plantation News. Oct. 1952, p.3.

Villanueva, Pedro "Pete." Lived at Hanama`ulu Up Camp from 1946-1956. He started as a field worker and moved up to being a machine operator. By-passed for promotion three times, with the jobs given to co-workers he was assigned to teach, he left Lihue Plantation to join the Navy. Now lives in Las Vegas. Interviewed at Hanama`ulu on Feb. 25, 2005.

Copyright 2005 Catherine Pascual Lo
March/June 2005


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