Happy Birthday, Paulo

Grove Farm Company is inviting the community to celebrate the 120th birthday of Paulo, its historic wood-burning steam locomotive.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Paulo will give free rides through a banana patch in cane cars while chugging, puffing and whistling as he did when first arriving on Kaua‘i from Germany in 1888.

Parking will be available at the parking lot on the road between the Water Department and the Kukui Grove cinema. A shuttle bus will run from there between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to the Lihu‘e Mill parking lot on Haleko Road.

Koloa Sugar Company is the oldest commercial sugar plantation in Hawai‘i. The mill was operated by waterpower under the ownership of Ladd & Company.

Koloa Plantation’s cut cane was hauled to the mill by ox-cart until 1882, and in that year more tha 30 miles of thirty-inch gauge, 18-pound railroad track and 50 cars were purchased and later, a Fowler locomotive.

Several years later, in 1888, a German locomotive, Paulo, named for prominent Kaua‘i sugar planter Paul Isenberg, the main advocate of a plantation railroad, was purchased for $4,000 and shipped around the Horn.

Paulo is reported to have been used as late as 1920 after which it sat on the lawn of the Koloa Plantation manager’s house until Grove Farm Company purchased Koloa Sugar Company in 1948.

Restored in 1981, Paulo is the only 19th century German-built locomotive remaining in Hawai‘i, and one of only four surviving sugar plantation locomotives on Kaua‘i. Grove Farm museum has provided free train rides to visitors and school children on the second Thursday of each month since 1975.

Wai‘oli Corporation is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt public charity, which operates Waioli Mission House and Grove Farm museums and welcomes community interest and support.

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