Hawaii is Home to an Abandoned Town Most People Don’t Know About

Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches, volcanoes, and tropical climate. But did you know that there is also an abandoned town hidden in the lush greenery of the island of Kauai?

The History of Kōloa

The town of Kōloa was once a thriving sugar plantation community, founded in 1835 by Ladd & Co. It was the first commercial sugar plantation in Hawaii, and it produced millions of pounds of sugar over the years. The town grew along with the industry, and by the 1890s, it had a population of over 4,000 people, mostly immigrants from China, Japan, Portugal, and the Philippines. Kōloa had schools, churches, stores, a hospital, and a railroad that connected it to the nearby port of Nawiliwili.

However, the sugar industry declined in the 20th century, due to competition from other regions, labor disputes, and environmental issues. The plantation closed in 1996, and the town was gradually abandoned by its residents. Many of the buildings were demolished or left to decay, and the railroad tracks were removed. Today, only a few structures remain, such as the old mill, the post office, and the stone church. The town is now a ghost town, surrounded by overgrown vegetation and wildlife.

The Future of Kōloa

Despite its abandonment, Kōloa still has some historical and cultural significance. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is part of the Kōloa Heritage Trail, a self-guided tour that showcases the town’s history and landmarks. Some of the buildings have been restored or preserved, and there are plans to create a museum and a cultural center in the area. The town also hosts an annual plantation days celebration, which features music, food, crafts, and activities that honor the town’s legacy.

Kōloa is a hidden gem in Hawaii, a reminder of the island’s past and a potential source of its future. It is a town that most people don’t know about, but one that deserves to be explored and appreciated.

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