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Hale Pai
Pacific American-News Journal

`Okakopa - October 1996 Volume 2 Issue 10

 Hale Pa`i O Lahainaluna

(Printing House of Lahainaluna)

Hale Pa`i O Lahainaluna, the Lahaina Restoration Foundation’s printing museum, is now open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hale Pa`i is located on the campus of Lahainaluna High School.

The history of Hale Pa`i parallels the development of the printing industry in Hawaii. The first company of missionaries who arrived in the islands included a printer by the name of Elisha Loomis, who set up the mission at the Honolulu station.

When the first company of missionaries came to the Sandwich Isles, the Hawaiians did not have a written language. The Hawaiian language was difficult to put into letters of the alphabet since there were so many slight variations in the pronunciation of many letters. The missionaries had to develop a written language to be able to start printing books, pamphlets and other materials in order to teach the Gospel of Christianity. The first book printed in Hawaii, in 1822, was a Hawaiian spelling book.

In 1831 the need for a printing press at Lahainaluna was realized. A temporary building was constructed and a Ramage Printing Press arrived from Honolulu in 1834. On February 14, 1834 the first edition of "Ka Lama Hawaii" was the first newspaper printed West of the Rocky Mountains. According to Lorrin Andrews, the first principal of Lahainaluna, "Ka Lama Hawaii" was designed for three purposes: first to give the students of the high school the idea of a newspaper as a medium of communication; second, to communicate ideas which do not have a proper place in the curriculum, or sermons; third; to provide a forum for the students themselves.

In 1837 a permanent coral and stucco building was finished. This building still stands and is the present Hale Pa`i Printing Museum and school display. The first paper money (school scrip) was printed here. This was used to pay for work done for the school. Engraving on copper plates was also done. The Hawaiian students became very skilled in engraving and turned out some beautiful works of art.

Hale Pa`i continued to be used for printing purposes until printing was discontinued in 1846. After that, it was primarily used for a school room.

In 1964 Hale Pa`i was turned over to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation. Hale Pa`i now houses a replica of the original printing press (the whereabouts of the original press is unknown), several books, and examples of early engraving, and rare copies of Sheldon Dibble’s "History of the Sandwich Islands," published at Hale Pa`i in 1834, and Lorrin Andrews’ English-Hawaiian Dictionary published in 1846.

A school display showing the various aspects of the school program and life will be on permanent display.

Lahainaluna was founded in 1831 by missionaries, and then, after the turn of the century, became part of the school system of the Territory of Hawaii. Lahainaluna School boasts one of the most colorful campuses anywhere. Landscaped with the lush greenery of Polynesia it sits like a jewel on the hillside above old Lahaina town.

Hale Pa`i, built in 1837, is the site where the first news paper West of the Rocky Mountains was published. It is the only original building standing on the campus today. It presently houses an exhibit of the building and the various aspects of the High school.

All of the above history on Hale Pa`i and Lahainaluna was researched from a booklet that was prepared under the direction of Robert Schuman, head of the art department at the time that the booklet went into press, along with several students of Lahainaluna School.

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Copyright 1996 Hale Pai Pacific American-News Journal
Last modified: February 28, 1998

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