At Koloa, Kauai, during the 1800s, there lived a very energetic and shrewd Native Hawaiian businessman by the name of Kahukini (early 1800s-1883), whose 20-acre property was located very close to St. Raphael Catholic Church, founded in 1841 by Irish-born Fr. Arsenius Walsh (1804-1869).
My introduction to McBryde Sugar Co. (1899-1996) came in 1971, when I was residing with my wife, Ginger, and our children, Michelle and Brett, in the old camp house of Ginger’s grandparents, Rita and Agapito Sadang, at Kapaa Stable Camp on Kaapuni Road.
The first contingent of immigrant Puerto Rican sugar contract laborers – 56 in number – arrived in Honolulu aboard the S.S. City of Rio de Janeiro on Dec. 23, 1900, and were sent to Lahaina, Maui on the steamer Lehua to work at Pioneer Mill Company.
On Jan. 1, 1905, the original Kauai Electric Company — a subsidiary of McBryde Sugar Company — was incorporated for the purpose of using the water of Wainiha Stream to generate electric power for McBryde, located some 34 miles away with its main office at Numila.
One of the best-known pictures ever taken by Ray Jerome Baker (1896-1954), Hawaii’s premier photographer during the first half of the 20th century, is of a 14-year-old pa‘u rider, Miss Adele Kauilani Robinson, posing on horseback at Old Plantation, Honolulu in 1910 – a reproduction of which is published with this story.
On Sunday afternoon, April 20, 1930, dedication services chaired by K. Miyasaki and S. Takata were held at Kauai’s Spalding Monument, which had been recently erected by Japanese residents of Kealia in honor of former Makee Sugar Co. owner Col. Zephaniah S. Spalding (1837-1927).
During the Great Depression some 3 million American men found work in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which established over 3,000 work camps throughout the Mainland United States and in the territories of Alaska and Hawaii, including a camp still in existence and use in Kokee.