Historic Lahaina

WAINE'E CHURCH

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Bold faced print is reproduced from the Lahaina Historical Guide with permission from the publisher.  Copyright 1998, Honolulu Publishing Company, Ltd.   All rights reserved.   Free copies of the Lahaina Historical Guide are available throughout Lahaina Town and the Kā`anapali resorts.

 

 

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  Wainee Church was the first stone church in the Islands. Built between 1828 and 1832 for the Protestant mission by Hawaiians, under the direction of their chiefs, it could seat 3,000-­packed together on the floor­-and had calabash spittoons for tobacco-chewing chiefs and ships' masters.

Wainee was immortalized by Michener in Hawaii as the church that just wouldn't stand­-a justly deserved reputation. In 1858 a Kauaula Valley whirlwind unroofed the church and blew down the belfry; the bell, once described as "none too sonorous," fell 100 feet but was undamaged. In 1894 royalists protesting the annexation of Hawaii by the United States burned the church. Rebuilt, it burned down again in 1947, was rebuilt, and was demolished by another Kauaula windstorm in 1951.

When the church was rebuilt after the 1951 windstorm, the front door was positioned to face the mighty Kauaula Valley, instead of being at a right angle to the West Maui Mountains.   The structure is still standing. At its dedication in 1953, the church was renamed Waiola, meaning water of life. The ridge of palms on the ocean side is among Lahaina's oldest.

Adjacent to the church is Waine`e Cemetary.

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