The Story of Baldwin
The Baldwin House is a historic landmark in the heart of Lahaina. It has been standing since 1834. Reverend Ephraim Spaulding is the one who built it before the civil war, this structure was originally a single-level four-room house. The original building is located in what used to be called the missionary compound and consisted of one level with only four rooms. This area offered a direct view of ships anchored in the bay and beyond.
The house has had many different additions since it was built in 1847. In 1840, a bedroom and medical study were added to the home, which can be seen today as you enter on the first floor. The second level that we see now is an addition from 1849. The home sits on the coast with large windows that face ocean winds. It’s made of 24-inch thick walls, constructed from coral sand and lava rock for a rough-hewn feel with timber framing to keep things cool inside.
The fireplace and the kitchen’s foundation in their backyard give us a glimpse into both how much they used to cook, bathe, wash dishes, and clean clothes outside. They even had an extensive garden with fruit trees! Back in the day, there was no plumbing indoors and landscaping consisted of a kukui tree next to banana trees. Freshwater streamed down from an artesian well that they utilized for sustenance.
The Baldwin family was one of the first to embrace social hospitality in Hawai‘i, welcoming weary travelers and captains with open arms. They regularly welcomed members of their royal court as well as visitors from other countries staying at nearby consulates into their home for a night or two. The house always buzzed with activity while filled guests were still awake sharing stories over dinner before bedding down on comfortable beds under warm blankets provided by the Baldwins themselves!
Rev. and Mrs. Baldwin moved to O’ahu in 1868, living near their daughter Charlotte until her death at the age of 67 years old two decades later when he continued his life on the island for another 12 years before passing away himself aged 88-years-old.
The Baldwin Home was established in 1841 by Hiram and Sarah Baldwin. The home served as a haven for the carefree children of Lahaina during that time, but it fell into disrepair after its last owner passed away from leprosy. In 1967, amid much controversy surrounding Hawaii’s historic preservation laws at the time, this site became public property when it was deeded to Lahainaluna Foundation by some descendants of those who had lived here centuries ago; they wanted to preserve their family legacy and do what is right while respecting heritage law. The inside of the museum is filled with original photographs and artifacts that represent life in 1850s America. From paintings to tableware, everything on display tells a story about how people lived during this time period. Baldwin Home Museum will remain in the public domain in perpetuity as a fascinating tribute to Dr. Baldwin and his outstanding contributions to the Maui community!
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