Island History

During construction of Nawiliwili Harbor, which was completed in 1930, the natural geography of Nawiliwili Bay was transformed.

Notably, the original shoreline between Kalapaki Beach and the cliff atop which the bulk sugar warehouse now stands (built in 1950) was replaced by the seawall.

This occurred after fill was dumped into the bay between the seawall and the original shoreline.

The approximate location of the original shoreline is indicated today by the portion of Wilcox Rd. that runs directly from Garden Island Inn toward the warehouse cliff.

Papalinahoa, an old kuleana, occupied that stretch of shoreline and extended inland to the bluff on Kuhiau Ridge, where Kaua‘i High School is now situated.

In the 1800s, boat passengers were landed at Papalinahoa at a point below the warehouse cliff.

Koloa chief Opunui owned Papa-linahoa while Gov. Paul Kanoa lived there from 1846-1877 in a small, thatched-roofed house at the foot of Kuhiau bluff.  When Opunui died, Solomon Kamahalo acquired Papalinahoa, where he resided in a large grass house.

Grove Farm owner George Norton Wilcox bought Papalinahoa from Kamahalo in 1886 and built a beach house there in 1887.

Wilcox also built a boat house, a wharf and a seawall at Papalinahoa.  Three small buildings in back of the beach house and a road passing through the grounds completed Wilcox’s layout.

Also at Papalinahoa was a large coconut grove, a lily pond, and a waterfall created by run-off irrigation water from cane fields planted atop Kuhiau Ridge.

George Wilcox later constructed a horse and buggy road to Papalinahoa around Kuhiau Ridge.  Part of that road still exists.  It forms the upper border of Banyan Harbor Resort.  Then it runs past the Wilcox Banyan Tree that was planted by Wilcox in 1895, and continues into the neighboring Kailikea property.     

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