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Old Prison (Hale Pa'ahao)
Invalid designation
Location 187 Prison Street; At the corner of Waine'e and Prison Street in Lahaina
Built 1852
Architect Unknown
Architectural style Coral Block Fortification
NRHP reference # 66000302
Added to NRHP August 20, 1900

Hale Pa'ahao (lit. translation Stuck-in-Irons-House in the Hawaiian language) is a former prison on the island of Maui located in Lahaina. Built in 1852 and finished in 1854, it served as replacement quarters for prisoners who were originally held at the local fort at Lahaina Harbor. Abandoned before 1900, it was restored at various times until being restored to it's current state in 1988 by the Lahina Restoration Foundation. It currently serves as a museum.

Before Hale Pa'ahao[edit]

Before the Prison Act of 1851, sailors and native persons that committed crimes that would warrant their incarceration were usually housed at a Fort at Lahaina Harbor. However, the conditions at the Fort led to prisoners being taken ill or injured; several reports by the Fort Physician were made to illustrate this problem that a more suitable alternative made to .address the problem.

Reasons for lockup[edit]

Crimes usually ranged from desertion of a ship to reckless riding and rape. Fines from these criminal acts would often amount to wages well beyond what some made; a Cabin boy in the 1850's would make less than $4 a year, while a ship captain would make $50 in that same timeframe.

Prison Act of 1851[edit]

On July 11, 1851, the Prison Act was approved, allowing the construction of Hale Pa'ahao and abandonment of the Fort. When the fort was dismantled, prisoners used some of the coral bricks from the fort to build the walls of the prison. Hale Pa'ahao opened in 1854.

The prison grounds had two cellblocks with other auxiliary buildings such as a kitchen and toilet facilities. A gatehouse housed the master and his family, who was tasked with watching over prisoners and keeping records. A catwalk was placed along the wall where a guard would be able to watch the grounds from high up.

Abandonment[edit]

The property was abandoned sometime in the late 1800's; around the early 1900's, it was temporarily used as a Boy Scout Barracks.

Restoration[edit]

As part of a Works Progress Administration scheme, the grounds of the Prison were restored in the 1930's as a project overseen by the County of Maui. In 1957, the gatehouse and several of the structures burned to the ground, and the gatehouse and one of the cellblocks were replicated in a 1959 restoration project overseen again by the County of Maui using convict labor from Olinda Prison. In 1988, the Lahaina Restoration Foundation restored the site to it's current condition.

Current status[edit]

The site is usually open to the public during daylight hours and contains a few displays pertaining to the use of the Prison site. The cellblock has one open cell and another cell "occupied" by a dummy with sailor ramblings playing from a hidden boombox.

Outside, several other displays are seen, including several ship items and a rusted 1923 Ford Model T donated by a local family to the LRF.

Etymology Note[edit]

Hale in the Hawaiian Language means House, and Pa'ahao has several meanings in the Hawaiian language depending on use, with Hale Pa'ahao being a translation for prison or jail. Due to the use of shackles and other heavy iron restraints, a literal translation can be A house where one is stuck in iron restraints. Signs and pamphlets made by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation and guidebooks often cite the literal translation of Hale Pa'ahao (Stuck-in-Irons-House).

References[edit]

http://www.lahainarestoration.org/halepaahao.html

Further reading[edit]

[[Category:1854 architecture]] [[Category:Registered Historic Places in Hawaii]] [[Category:Maui County, Hawaii]] [[Category:Works Progress Administration]]