In 1930, at a cost of about $18,000, Albert Horner, Jr., the manager of Hawaiian Canneries Co. of Kapaa, Kauai, built a two-story, 14-room frame mansion, designed by Honolulu architect Ralph A. Fishbourne, at Waipouli, Kauai, on property where the Lae Nani condominiums are now situated.
And, in 1962, during filming of the movie “Donovan’s Reef” on Kauai, Horner’s mansion served as the fictional home of the character William “Doc” Dedham, portrayed by actor Jack Warden.
Directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne, the “Donovan’s Reef” cast also included Elizabeth Allen, Lee Marvin, Dorothy Lamour, Cesar Romero and a multitude of local extras.
Another Kauai residence featured in the movie was the home of Robert Allerton on Lawai Bay, now part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden.
Allerton’s home appeared as the governor’s residence in which actor Cesar Romero, playing the part of a French colonial governor, resided.
Koolau School’s one-room schoolhouse, teachers cottage, and clapboard Hawaiian Protestant church can also be seen in the movie.
The school, which closed in 1960, once stood by the old graveyard on Koolau Road in Moloaa.
After Albert Horner (1893-1964) died, his Waipouli mansion — the home also of his wife Phyllis, son Albert Jr, and daughters Mary and Marjorie — was sold and later renovated by Marshall Derby, a California steel tycoon at a cost of around $300,000 for use as a VIP guest house and a rental to movie stars.
Still later, the half-million dollar “old Horner house,” as it was subsequently called, was acquired by developer Melvin Ventura, who in 1978 had it moved in seven sections by Transportation Dynamics of Honolulu at a cost of $72,000 to an upland site four miles away on Kuamoo Road overlooking Wailua Valley, a short distance mauka of the Opaekaa Falls Lookout.
Ventura reportedly also paid approximately $500,000 for the six-acre hilltop site upon which Horner’s old house was reassembled for use as his private residence, which remains standing to this day.