Sugar Plantation Bash Saturday is to help get Paulo running

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The last bag of Grove Farm Museum cookies is seen, until Paula Rosa creates more using the wood-fired stove.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Paulo and a cane car sans its badges sits at Grove Farm Museum in Lihue.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Paulo, an 1887 steam-powered locomotive, sits in the yard of the Grove Farm Museum in Lihue Wednesday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Scott Johnson climbs into the cab of Paulo while setting up for the Sugar Plantation Bash at Grove Farm Museum in Lihue.

Paulo, the oldest operating steam locomotive in Hawaii, has been hauling school kids for longer than she’s been hauling sugar, said Scott Johnson, the Grove Farm Homestead Museum engineer.

On Sept. 23, 2017, the main crank pin on the engine’s right side failed, falling to the ground and rendering the locomotive helpless.

“The time has come to repair not only the pin, but all four of the worn cranks which are 131 years old,” Johnson said. “Additionally, other repairs are necessary because no major repairs have been done to the locomotive since it was restored in 1981.”

Estimates for the necessary work comes in at $30,000.

A great portion of the proceeds from the Grove Farm Museum’s first Sugar Plantation Bash on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. will be allocated toward getting Paulo up and running again.

Entrance is a $20 donation for adults, and $15 for keiki between 6 through 12 years old and admits guests to a world inside the Grove Farm Museum where Paulo will also be on display and fired up (but not running).

“Look at her,” said Paul Horner, Grove Farm Museum director. “Mabel Wilcox would have not been happy not to have the railroad tracks closer to the main house.”

In addition to Paulo’s appearance, a full day of entertainment will start, heralded by the Joyful Noise taiko ensemble.

A lunchtime presentation of cultural dances will enhance the available food offerings by several community groups, including the Aunty Ono shave ice. Also on the agenda is hula presentations as well as performances from Albert Genovia, Daryl Gonzales, D.J. Yaris, and more.

“Paulo will have its ‘pi-yu’ whistle,” Johnson said. “That way, people can still have the sounds without taking away from the enterainment. The main whistle will be on-board. Perhaps we can charge people for an opportunity to sound the big whistle — between the entertainment, that is.”

Youngsters will have access to a huge waterslide and the Amazon Zipline, and the famed Grove Farm Cookies prepared from one of Wilcox’s recipes, and using the firewood oven will also be available.

Tours of the main house at the Grove Farm museum will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. along with a number of cultural demonstrations and a silent auction.

Paulo, named after Paul Isenberg who owned Koloa and Lihue Plantation, was built in 1887 in Dusseldorf, Germany, and shipped “around the Horn” for assembly on Kauai in 1888. Paulo was one of two wood-fired steam locomotives used to build Waita Reservoir, Hawaii’s largest surrface area man-made reservoir.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or

  1. I saw a Vampire once September 7, 2018 3:54 pm Reply

    55 + 34 = 89

    Ok. There are no parts in the USA. Can they duplicate the parts?

  2. I saw a Vampire once September 7, 2018 4:21 pm Reply

    I saw this locomotive moving once. If we went back to 1888, still we would be a capitalism nation. Think about it.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.