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.
Born in Lihue, the child of Hannah Maria Rice, who was the daughter of missionaries William Harrison and Mary Sophia Hyde Rice, and Lihue Plantation manager Paul Isenberg, and the wife of the Rev. Hans Isenberg, the pastor of Lihue Lutheran Church, Mrs. Dora Rice Isenberg (1862-1949) recalled, in 1935, the arrival of the first Japanese on Kauai in 1868.
In July 1938, a park equipped with a horse race track, judges’ stand, baseball field and volleyball courts was opened in Wailua just north of the site of the original Lihue Airport, which had been in operation since 1934 and would cease operating in 1950, and what would become, during World War II, Marine Camp, which the county would purchase in 1946 for $10,000.