Hawaii USGenWebMy name is Maggie Stewart. I am both the County Coordinator as well as webmaster for the Kalawao County HI GenWeb site. Grab a cup of coffee. Sit back and get comfortable as you browse through the resources I've started to discover for doing family research in Kalawao County. If YOU have ideas or places you'd like me to link to, just let me know!

Also, if you would like to contribute information to this website or help with Kalawao County research, please contact me via e-mail. I welcome all ideas and suggestions and hope that, together, we can make this website one of the best resources for those researching in Kalawao County Hawaii!

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About Kalawao County

Kalapaupapa Peninsula Picture: Click on image to visit Hawaii Highways road photos -- Kalawao County

Kalawao County is a county located in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The county is on the Kalaupapa Peninsula, on the north coast of the island of Moloka'i. The small peninsula of Kalaupapa is isolated from the rest of Moloka'i by sea cliffs over a quarter-mile high; the only land access is a mule trail. Kalawao County is a separate county from the rest of Moloka'i, which is part of Maui County. Maui County does not claim jurisdiction over the three villages of Kalaupapa, Kalawao, and Waikolu. Some maps, however, do not show Kalawao as a separate county. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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A Brief History of Kalawao County

Inhabited from about 650 AD, the Hawaiians fished the rough surrounding ocean by outrigger canoe with nets and spears for over 1200 years.

They also farmed the land, coaxing sweet potatoes, onions and taro from the harsh volcanic soil. With the vines of the sweet potato, their main vegetable, they fed their pigs, which in turn they used to barter with other villagers in the eastern valleys.

While the peninsula was not largely settled, it was traveled much and used extensively. The entire area is divided and subdivided by low rock walls that continue for mile after mile, creating thousands of small lots of every imaginable shape.

There is no written history of the people who built them; historians theorize that they were constructed as pens for raising pigs, as windbreaks for growing crops and possibly as property boundaries and land divisions.

The early Hawaiians built fishing shrines called heiau (temple) as places to make offerings for their safety while fishing in the rough waters that surrounded the peninsula. These heiau were platforms built of stone in circular and square shapes. Some of their surfaces are filled with coral, while others have elaborate enclosures lined with flat rocks on which offerings of fish or shells were placed.

Today, the trail from Topside Molokai to Kalaupapa is traveled by mule, by hikers, and on foot by some of the workers at the settlement.

Hugging the nearly perpendicular cliffs, the trail is over three miles (5km) long and descends 1,600 feet (488m) to the peninsula. Along its course are 26 switchbacks that corkscrew in and out of canyons and ravines.

There is also a small airstrip at the northern edge of the peninsula, used daily to bring in food, supplies and visitors.

Once a year in the summer, when the seas are calm, a barge from Honolulu anchors at Kalaupapa, delivering thousands of pounds of rice, cases of beer, drums of gasoline and supplies to stock the grocery store and hospital. (From Joseph Sunderland)

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