How did Kaiolohia (Shipwreck Beach) originally get its name? What is the historical significance of places like Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods) and Kaunolu? Why is Puu Pehe also known as Sweetheart Rock? And what is the story behind the Cook Island Pines that appear all over Lanai City?
Lanai is blessed with an abundance of historic and cultural sites across almost every region of the island, and discovering them is a memorable adventure in itself. But to really understand the significance of these places and the people that inhabited them, a trip to the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center (LCHC) is highly recommended.
Located next to Hotel Lanai in Lanai City, LCHC is the primary resource for those looking to deepen their appreciation of Lanai and its intriguing past. This non-profit charitable community organization’s mission is to inspire people to be informed, thoughtful, and active stewards of Lanai’s heritage by preserving, interpreting, and celebrating its natural history. The facility houses archival photographs, exhibits, artifacts, and island history dating back several hundred years.
Many of the exhibits and artifacts within the LCHC focus on the 1,000 years of Hawaiian residency before the plantation era, giving visitors a glimpse of what life was like for early Hawaiian settlers who developed ways of surviving with the island’s limited natural resources. Visitors have the opportunity to learn about historic places like Kaunolu Village, one of the most culturally significant sites on the island, where well-preserved archaeological structures tell the story of an ancient Hawaiian community’s daily life. Visiting historical sites like Kaunolu is incredible enough. But discovering the cultural and historical significance of these places through the LCHC provides an appreciation that takes the experience to a whole new level.
LCHC also houses an impressive collection of memorabilia and archival photographs that center around Lanai’s more recent plantation and agricultural era, beginning in the mid 1800’s. It’s during this time that a diverse mix of people from around the world came to Lanai to work the pineapple fields, forever influencing the island and its culture. The LCHC’s plantation era exhibits tell a fascinating story of how commercial agricultural interests transformed culturally historical places like the Palawai Basin into thriving pineapple fields that became the island’s primary economic engine for decades. There are interesting archival photos from this era of immense change. Some even document the actual formation of Lanai City, and the pioneering families that moved here in the early 1900s.
The LCHC is also an invaluable resource for identifying, preserving, and protecting Lanai’s many culturally significant sites that are so important to Hawaiian history. Virtually all of these sites remain open, leaving them vulnerable to damage. Therefore, one of the primary goals of LCHC is to educate the public on how to enjoy the island’s historical sites, while preserving them for future visitors.
Through ongoing grants and programs, LCHC also seeks to educate and cultivate interest and knowledge in the history, folklore, and culture of Lanai while providing all with a sense of place and cultural attachment to the unique heritage and people of the island.
The Lanai Culture & Heritage Center is located at the Old Dole Administration building on Lanai Avenue. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Their website (www.lchc.org) houses a wealth of knowledge about Lanai and its history, as well as additional information about the center.
To contact the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center, call 808-565-7177, or email info@LanaiCHC.org
For more information, visit: http://lanaichc.org