Kruse house moved to Waimea, restored

At the entrance of the small cemetery next to the Waimea United Church of Christ a tall monument marks the resting place of sugar pioneer Hans Peter Fay. Nearby, on a wide headstone, is an inscription inspired by an old hymn:

This is the epitaph shared by William John Kruse and Clara Putzge Kruse who met in San Francisco as teenagers, married and found their way to Kekaha during the early days of the sugar plantation era.

Mr. Kruse is fondly remembered by the former neighborhood children as “Grandpa Kruse” and stories of his mechanical engineering genius both in the sugar mill and in his back yard playground still abound. “Grandma Kruse” is also remembered fondly for her cooking and her art.

What most people will remember about the Kruses, however, is that they built a fine house in Kekaha in the mid 1920s. Clara was from Holstein, Germany and was an accomplished artist. She painted the inside of the home with bright German/Swiss style motifs and is remembered for painting stars and hearts on the kitchen floor. Mr. Kruse, who served as Mill Superintendent at Kekaha Sugar, turned the four wooden pillars in the living room and the post for the staircase himself.

Instead of a fourth wall and door, each of the upstairs bedrooms was open with a curtain for privacy. To get the beds and furniture upstairs, they hoisted them through the windows. Bobbie Waterhouse McCord, goddaughter of the Kruse’s daughter Selma Kruse Ralston, and Alan Fay, Jr. recall playing hide and seek behind the curtains as children.

Former owners of the house included the Kruse family, the Haultains, and Annabelle McBride, whose mother was an heir to Standard Oil Co.

In 2000, the property in Kekaha where the Kruse house was located was sold and the house was slated to be demolished to make way for new structures. Linda Fay Collins, president of Kikiaola Land Company, Ltd. (whose shareholders are the descendants of H.P. Fay), was keenly aware of the plantation heritage associated with the house and arranged to have it saved and moved to Waimea Plantation Cottages where it could be resettled and renovated.

On October 17, 2000, the Kruse house, divided into two sections and mounted on dollies for towing by Kikiaola Construction Company, made its moonlight journey from Kekaha to Waimea.

Architect Bob Fox worked with Kikiaola Land Co., Ltd. to position the Kruse house as the significant structure for a future view corridor to the ocean. Kikiaola Construction was contracted to do the renovations and interior designer Jerry Von Schott collaborated with Linda Collins to furnish and beautify the house.

The Kruse house was officially blessed and ready for occupancy at Waimea Plantation Cottages on September 18.

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