Summer enrichment kids relive Kauai’s sugar era

LIHUE — Gates to the free monthly fire up open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. today at the former Lihue Sugar Mill employee parking lot.

Scott Johnson, engineer at the Grove Farm Homestead Museum, and Sam Maehata hosted the last of the county’s summer enrichment students Wednesday.

Dick Sloggett, a friend of the Grove Farm museum, rolled his car into the parking lot.

“I used to work for Grove Farm from 1948 to 1950,” Sloggett said. “I brought the last steam locomotive from Koloa to Puhi. They tore up the tracks after that.”

Visitors to the monthly free fire up days relive the days when steam locomotives were the work horses of the sugar plantations, moving sugar cane from the fields to the mill, while also working at projects such as the building of water tunnels, a truck tunnel and the Nawiliwili Harbor breakwater.

Wainiha, a 26-ton locomotive, was used to haul the train of four flatcars, which moved hundreds of students over the past four weeks.

Wainiha had the distinction of ending the 78-year run of Hawaiian steam-powered sugar cane trains, making its final load of sugar to the Lihue Plantation sugar mill on Sept. 24, 1957.

Visit www.grovefarm.net, or www.kauaitrains.com, or call 245-3202 for more information.

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