John T. Waterhouse and Kipu Kai

On that section of Kauai’s Haupu Range which divides Kipu from Kipu Kai, an asphalt road leads steeply upward from private property within Kipu to a crest on the mountain range, where it continues sharply downhill into Kipu Kai, isolated by mountains and the sea.

At that crest stands a stone monument overlooking Kipu Kai built in honor of Alexander & Baldwin corporate executive and board member John T. Waterhouse (1906-1984).

Born in Honolulu into a prominent kamaaina family, John T. Waterhouse bought Kipu Kai in 1948 from the sons of William Hyde Rice and Mary Waterhouse Rice: Arthur Rice, William Rice, Charles Rice, Philip Rice and Harold Rice.

Prior to Waterhouse’s purchase, Kipu Kai had originally come down through the royal family to Princess Ruth Keelikolani.

Then, on April 1, 1881, Princess Ruth sold Kipu Kai, Kipu and Haiku to William Hyde Rice, who, at her direction, had not long before gone to Honolulu with Grove Farm owner George Norton Wilcox to borrow cash from banker Charles Reed Bishop to complete the purchase.

Wilcox then took Haiku, while Rice kept Kipu and Kipu Kai for himself, but he thereafter sold Kipu Kai to his mother, Mary Sophia Hyde Rice; she left it to her grandsons, and John T. Waterhouse acquired it from them.

When Waterhouse bought Kipu Kai, the only access to it by land was by horseback or foot over a difficult old Hawaiian trail, so he bought an LCM (landing craft mechanized) to bring in supplies to the beach, and replaced the old trail with a four-wheel drive road that was eventually paved.

Waterhouse went on to establish and develop Kipu Kai Ranch by sinking wells, clearing and fencing land, planting grasses and bringing in cattle.

He never married and had no children.

His will stipulated that Kipu Kai be passed on to his nieces and nephews on the condition that when they are gone, Kipu Kai will become the property of the State of Hawaii.


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