The Kaua’i General Plan
The Kaua’i General Plan, adopted in November 2000, calls for the expansion of Kilauea town to accommodate approximately 40 acres of additional “residential community”, a 10-acre park, and the construction of a new “by-pass” road from Kūhiō Highway to Kïlauea Point.
The legislative intent of the town expansion policy was to control the spread of “gentlemen’s estates” by directing new housing development into urbanized areas and to discourage “special permit” uses for civic and commercial uses in agricultural zones by providing for expansion of the town’s commercial core area. The purpose of the by-pass road was to provide a safer entry to town and divert the through traffic to Kïlauea Point.
The General Plan sets forth the following vision for Kïlauea:
Kïlauea’s character is expressed in its stone plantation buildings, the farms surrounding the town, and its active community association. A by-pass road runs makai from Kuhio Highway on the Hanalei side of town, providing the preferred route to the enlarged commercial area in the town center and the Kïlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. The by-pass road has a safe walkway and bike path and is the preferred route for getting to the Kïlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. The pedestrian-friendly town remains rural in character, with smooth traffic flow and residential areas protected from commercial/industrial development.
Download the Kilauea Town Plan
History of Kilauea Town
Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle is dated by geologists as far back as 5 million years. Early Polynesian travelers explored Kauai’s natural resources and observed its abundance in fish, plants, and animals. Around 1,000 A.D. the Kauai population grew as people started to settle and make Kauai their home.
On January 18, 1778, Captain James Cook from Great Britain, arrived near the Waimea shore of Kauai and wrote about his experience and observations in his journal. He talked about the plant life and the trading that went on in the villages. In 1784, Captain Cook’s journals were published which inspired an international exploration of the West. Over the next 100 years, many items were traded along Kilauea’s coast. Some of these items were fur, sandalwood, whale by-products, and sugar.
When the American Civil War erupted in 1861, the southern states seceded from the Union causing a halt in sugar manufacturing on the mainland. The price of sugar increased while the amount of labor decreased. As a result there was a growing interest in Hawaii due to its perfect climate for cultivating sugarcane. With this growing interest, the United States passed the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875 giving the US free access to Hawaii’s coast which further established the Hawaiian cities and Kilauea as thriving sea ports.
In 1863, Charles Titcomb purchased a tract of land in Kilauea and sold it in 1877 to various owners. The Kilauea Sugar Plantation became a corporation in 1899. Once the sugar cane company came to Kilauea, the local population could not support the high demand for labor. As a result, many people came to Kilauea to work in the sugar fields. Because of this influx of people, Kilauea became a mixed-plate of ideas and culture.
Kilauea Town is resilient and deeply rooted in its history and culture. In order to convey what life was like back then, we have asked a few people to share their personal histories with us. They have given us a glimpse of how much joy they experienced, the hardships they went through, how they raised their families in the plantation, and what makes Kilauea unique and still rich with history and values.
- Carol T. Kanna – story of her life living in Kilauea Plantation (mill camp)
- Ruby Fuyumi Katayama – story of her history told by her daughter, Carol T. Kanna
- Tokumatsu Gushiken – KILAUEA history written by T. Gushiken and provided by Jack Gushiken
- Tokumatsu Gushiken – Some Background History of Christ Memorial Parish Hall – written by T. Gushiken and provided by Jack Gushiken
- Tokumatsu Gushiken – story of his life in Kilauea Plantation camp – written by T. Gushiken and provided by Jack Gushiken
- Jack Gushiken – Retirement, end of an Era – story of his life Kilauea residents then and now
Thank you to all that have shared their personal accounts and photos. Without these stories, Kilauea’s history would not be complete. These individuals have stayed true to their past of humble beginnings, rich with values and diverse cultures that convey the spirit of Aloha that is truly the heart and beauty of Kilauea.