Lihue Plantation managers 1849-2002

The list of managers of Lihue Plantation is long, with streets and subdivisions named for some of them, like Paul and Carl Isenberg, and Rice street, after the family of William Harrison Rice and his son William Hyde Rice.

Friedrich Weber, manager from 1900 to 1918, has the distinction of the longest tenure of any LP manager. Caleb E.S. Burns, who signed his annual reports C.E.S. Burns, was manager from 1933 to 1950.

Boston businessman and investor Henry A. Peirce is considered the founder of LP.

Here is a complete list of the managers of LP, from its first, James Marshall, to its last, Lyle Tabata.

1849-1854: James Marshall

1854-1862: William Harrison Rice

1862-1878: Paul Isenberg

1878-1893: Carl Isenberg

1893-1900: Carl Wolters

1900-1918: Friedrich Weber

1918-1932: Robert D. Moler

1932: Alfred M. McKeever

1933-1950: Caleb E.S. Burns

1951-1959: Keith B. Tester

1960-1964: Hans W. Hansen

1965-1966: W.J. “Bunt” Baldwin

1966-1971: David Silver

1971-1972: David Ballie

1972-1977: W.J. “Bunt” Baldwin

1977-1982: Lindsay A. “Tony” Fay, Jr.

1982-1983: William D. Balfour, Jr.

1983-1985: Skip Hance

1986-1988: Hiroshi “Lefty” Kawazoe

1988-1992: Mike Furukawa

1992-1996: Bob Heiserman, Bob Reid

1997-2002: Lyle Tabata

Some notes gleaned from various LP annual reports in the collection of the Kaua’i Historical Society: In 1948, the plantation recorded over $7 million in sales of sugar and molasses, net profit of $726,456, and a cash payment of $1.60 a share to shareholders. In 1949, the company’s centennial year, net profit was almost the same as in 1948, with expenses over $6 million, and profit of $500,000 after taxes.

The year Keith B. Tester took over, 1951, was the first year the annual report included pictures (black and white), and listed the names and photos of all the retirees that year. Earnings were $1.4 million, $1.05 million after taxes.

In 1956, new employee housing was built at Hanama’ulu, with some of the homes just off what is now Kuhio Highway still in existence.

In 1959, a young agriculturist named William D. Balfour, Jr. was pictured in the annual report. He would later go on to run LP, and Oahu Sugar, and be an important figure in the state’s sugar industry. He is now head of the City & County of Honolulu’s parks department, working under Mayor Jeremy Harris.

W.J. “Bunt” Baldwin is the only person to be named manager of LP on two separate occasions, first assuming management in 1965, then moving to a similar position at Kekaha Sugar Company for several years, before returning to LP in 1972.

Alfred M. McKeever likely had the shortest stay in the manager’s office at LP, serving for less than a year after Robert D. Moler died, before giving up the position to Caleb E.S. Burns, in 1933.

  1. Erin Hansen May 26, 2020 9:35 am Reply

    Thats my Grandfather from 1960-1964, Hans Hansen. He worked for Lihue Plantation as Asst. Manager for 45 years.

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