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Maui Attractions Newsletter
March 2011
[Events] [Natural History] [Arts & Culture]
[Braddah-Nics] [Local Grinds] [Remember When]

And in case you missed them . . .

Our recent Blogs:

Natural History


(Artocarpus heterophyllus)

Jackfruit (also spelled jakfruit) is native to rain forests from India to the Malay Peninsula. It is a close relative of the breadfruit. Like the breadfruit and pineapple it is a collective fruit of fused individual fruitlets. The name “jack” was given to the fruit by Portuguese in the 16th century because it sounded like tsjaka, the Malaysian name for the fruit.

Jackfruit is the world’s largest fruit. It is oblong and firm with a light, green, bumpy rind that changes to yellow-brown when ripe. It can be three to four feet long by 18 inches wide and weigh 40 to 50 pounds, although exceptional fruit can weigh 100 pounds. The tree can bear 150 to 250 fruits a year, suspended on strong stalks along its main trunk and larger branches and even sometimes underground on the roots. Each fruit can have as many as 100 one-inch kidney shaped seeds which, when boiled or roasted, are more highly valued than the pulp. The fleshy segment that encloses the seed is the choicest part of the fruit.

Jackfruit is a valuable tree. It is prized for its sweet, delicious flavor and its fragrant, juicy, cream-colored, golden or pink flesh. (Among some cultures the flesh is rumored to have aphrodisiac qualities.) Immature fruits are eaten as vegetables, used in soups and made into pickles. Seeds are eaten boiled or roasted and the taste is similar to chestnuts. The knobby green fruit rind that encloses the rubbery fruit sections that surround the seeds and the leaves of the trees make good animal forage. The leaves, which are large, glossy, somewhat leathery and evergreen, can also be cooked as human food.

The tree can reach heights of 30 to 70 feet and provides valuable timber. The wood changes with age from yellow to mahogany and is excellent for cabinet work. The heartwood yields a yellow dye. All parts of the plant contains a sticky white latex. Latex from the fruit is used to mend earthenware utensils. Although it has many uses, there is no commercial jackfruit production except in parts of tropical Asia. In south India, the government promotes the planting of jackfruit along the country's railroads, waterways and highways to add to the food supply.

Jackfruit trees are adapted only to about the 4,000 foot elevation in humid tropical and subtropical areas. They do not need much care; just abundant moisture. Jackfruit trees tolerate higher altitudes than the breadfruit and grow in most deep, well-drained soils. They do not tolerate wet feet, however. Standing water around the roots will rot them. The plants are reportedly best propagated by seeds. Apparently root cuttings and suckers are unsuccessful. The best results are from deep alluvial soils. Trees provide agricultural shade for coffee and areca and are used as supports for pepper (Piper nigrum). They begin bearing fruit within five years of being sprouted from seed. The ripening season is several months.


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Arts & Culture


U.S. Seamen's Hospital

The U.S. Seamen's Hospital building, in the Lahaina Historic District, is located on Front Street, out of the downtown district and in what is now the first residential district toward Kaanapali. It was built as a part-time residence and party-house by the young King Kauikeaouli, who became Kamehameha III.

At the time it was built in 1833, downtown Lahaina did not extend northward (towards Kaanapali) much farther than Dickenson Street, which was then a stream alongside the present Baldwin Missionary House. The building was on a lot owned by the king which was called "Moanui." It was a short distance from the beach north of downtown Lahaina and was located at least a mile away from the homes of the missionaries, from the home of Governor Hoapili (the king's nominal guardian), as well as hidden from the prying eyes of other chiefs who might report the young king doings to his older half-sister Kinau. (Kinau was the king's regent after Queen Kaahumanu died, and she kept a tight fist on the royal treasury, making it difficult for the teenaged king to indulge in his favorite pastimes of drinking and gambling with the sailors who frequented Lahaina.)

The king approached a wealthy friend, a Honolulu merchant named William French, and proposed building an establishment that would "accommodate Masters and officers of whale ships." Mr. French thought it was a fine idea too, and an agreement was drawn up. Mr. French would finance the building of the King's house (since the King had little chance of getting the money for the venture from his older sister). The merchant would make his money back by supplying the "ardent spirits" and other items to be sold at the store which was to be run by a Chinese cook named Ah Chon, the King's official partner in the venture.

The store was on the ground floor; the king held his parties upstairs. He could anchor a vessel in the roadstead offshore and row ashore in a small boat, landing on the beach in front of the building, as fleets of war canoes once beached there in earlier days.

It is noteworthy that in 1825 (two years after the arrival of the missionaries), Governor Hoapili had strictly prohibited the manufacture, sale and use of "ardent spirits" (as well as prostitution) in Lahaina. Despite much protest and even rioting by the whalers – including a couple of bombardments of the town by crews of disgruntled sailors, the kapu stayed in effect.

The fortress in Lahaina was built in 1832 to help quell the disturbances from the whaling ships. And, in 1834, certain captains of the whaling ships organized an association for the "suppression of intemperance". As a letter from several of the captains to Governor Hoapili shows, at least some of the captains were in agreement with the governor's edict against liquor: "We do not any of us like to go to O'ahu, because bad men sell rum to our seamen. We like your island because you have a good law preventing the sale of this poison. But now, after lying here in peace for some weeks, a vessel has come among us from O'ahu with rum for sale. Our seamen are drinking it, and trouble is commencing. We now look to you for protection."

Later, a curfew was placed on visiting seamen to enforce the kapu on carousing: the sailors had to return to their ships by sundown . . . on pain of being locked up. In the midst of all this furor, the teenaged king built his house, out of the sight of the missionaries and of his more sober elders.

Besides his store, the king was also able to finance his high-flying lifestyle with the proceeds from the sale of beef and hides and tallow to the sailing ships. Great herds of cattle on the Big Island and Oahu, descendents of the bulls and cows his father, Kamehameha the Great had received as gifts, were a great resource for the young king. This part of his business operations was overseen by a Mexican cowboy, Joaquin Armas, who also lived on the property at Moanui. Armas was a bullocks catcher from Monterey, California, who knew how to run a cattle operation. The Armas family had run a cattle operation for the Catholic missions before they had become secularized.

As Kauikeaouli matured and, especially after the death of his beloved sister, Nahienaena, the king moved most of the government functions to the more commercial port of Honolulu and Lahaina became a provincial capital that remained a favorite of the king's. His former party house was leased to the U. S. Government, and between 1862 and 1884, it was used to provide health care for American sailors putting ashore at Lahaina. They named it the U.S. Seamen's Hospital.

Whaling life was very hard on the sailors. One missionary wrote about the influx of sailors, "In a few weeks, they will be thronging in, a forlorn crew, with all shapes of scurvy, rheumatism, dysentery and consumption." The hospital benefited the sailors who were ill or injured.

Until his death in 1854, the King learned the ways of modern government and he rose to meet every challenge admirably. He proclaimed Hawaii's first constitution on October 8, 1840 and promulgated another revised constitution in 1852. In 1843, he proclaimed freedom of religion, stopping the persecution of the Catholics and allowing priests to establish missions in Hawaii. In 1846, he presided over legislation which became known as the Great Mahele, which set aside certain estates as the Crown Lands, while the king gave up claim to the rest. The lands were further divided and chiefs and commoners were permitted to purchase what they would. Pressure from the foreign business community resulted in the passing of further legislation in 1850 that allowed foreigners to buy land fee simple.

Twenty years after the king's house was used as a hospital, it became St. Cross School and continued to serve as a school until 1884. At the turn of the century it was used as a parsonage for Lahaina's Anglican mission.

Then, in the 1970's the vibration from nearby condominium construction crumbled the empty structure's walls. In 1973, the Lahaina Restoration Foundation purchased the old hospital and completely rebuilt it nine years later.

The Lahaina Restoration Foundation engaged Lockwood and Rossie Frost, a husband and wife architectural team from Honoluu who specialized in historic restoration. They pried away the more modern additions made to the building in the late 1800's and the early 1900's and worked on developing a clear picture of how the building had originally looked.

The Frosts were there when a Bishop Museum team performed some excavations as part of the overall study of the building and property. A skeleton was found about two feet down – half outside and half inside the building -- in the northeast corner. (It was customary to kill and bury a body of a guard under important buildings so the spirit would guard the place forever.) The disturbed skeleton was given a new blessing by Hawaiian minister, Keoni Kukahiko, and then reburied in the same spot, so he could continue at his post.

The historic building's most notable architectural features include plenty of double-hung windows, protective overhanging eaves, and a second-floor verandah on the front side. Rebuilding was begun in 1981 by Maui architect Uwe Schulz.


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Braddah-Nics Lexicon


STANDARD: It's working! Did you get the part you needed?
BRADDAH-NICS: Eh, stay working! went get da part?

* * * * * *

STANDARD: The part I needed is obsolete. Take a look at what I did.
BRADDAH-NICS: Nah, dey no make da kine no more...try look!

* * * * * *

STANDARD: Oh, my! What a workaround!
BRADDAH-NICS: Ho, wow! Only mickey-mouse, brah! 




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Local Grinds


Pork with Tofu and Watercress



  • 2 medium Pork trays

  • 2 containers firm tofu

  • 1 large bundle watercress

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 4 tsp. patis (fish sauce)

  • ½ cup Aloha shoyu

  • Salt and pepper to preference



  • Chop pork into small strips

  • Clean and chop garlic

  • Heat your cooking pot on medium-high heat

  • Add oil, after two to three minutes add garlic

  • Let garlic cook for a minute or two, then add meat

  • Brown meat and add 2 cups of water, shoyu, patis, salt and pepper

  • Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes

  • While waiting clean watercress, rinse and cut into inch pieces

  • Chop tofu into bite sized chunks, remove excess water

  • Cook meat until it is tender, and add in watercress

  • Cover and let simmer until watercress is partially cooked

  • Stir well and add in tofu

  • Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes, then shut off heat.


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Remember When . . .


Kahului Lyceum Theater

The sign on the large building in the photograph indicates that it was the Lyceum Theater, which was located at the intersection of what is now Puunene and Kaahumanu Avenues in Kahului. The Kahului Railroad Company originally built the theater building as a warehouse. In 1912, it was remodeled and converted into a theater with a seating capacity of 700. There were also small shops running along the front of the building including the Machido Drug Store, and the Ah Kip Restaurant. The theater opened on August 19, 1912.

On November 23, 1917, a fire erupted in the film room during the showing of a movie. Fortunately, all of the patrons were able to escape unharmed. The building was totally destroyed but firefighting efforts prevented the fire from jumping to other adjoining buildings. A new theater (the subject of an earlier article) was soon built on the same site.

The exact date of the postcard is not known but was obviously taken sometime between 1912 and 1917.

Photo from the archives of the Maui Historical Society/Bailey House Museum
Historical text by Fred Woodruff, Bailey House Volunteer


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