The losses in Lahaina from the fire now include the historic Baldwin Home, which houses the restoration foundation’s main office and was considered the oldest house still standing on the island of Maui. It was built between 183-35 by the Rev. Ephraim Spaulding, a missionary from Massachusetts who prized its proximity to the waters where whaling ships once anchored.
The home contained the wooden rocking chairs that the family of the Rev. Dwight Baldwin had shipped all the way from their East Coast home in the 1830s when he took over the compound, their son’s antique shell collection and the medical instruments that Dr. Baldwin, a missionary and physician, had used to vaccinate much of Maui against smallpox.
Unlike others in Lahaina whose families in the area stretch back generations, Ms. Morrison, 75, from Berkeley, Calif., happened upon the town while sailing around the Hawaiian islands in 1975. She said her mind was made up when she walked down Front Street, once known as a vacation spot for Mark Twain and as a gathering point for whalers, now a thoroughfare of art galleries and restaurants. “I walked down Front Street,” she said, “and decided this was my place.”
Originally called Lā-hainā — which roughly translates as “cruel sun” in the Hawaiian language, a nod to the area’s dry, sunny climate — Lahaina was known before the fire as a place where one could reflect on more than 1,000 years of Hawaiian history simply by walking through town.
The Front Street area includes, near Shaw Street, the Moku’ula archaeological site that once served as the kingdom’s capital; Prison Street, which served as the monarchy’s prison; buildings dating back to the whaling, missionary and plantation eras of Hawaiian history; and the trinket shops and retail outlets now symbolizing tourism’s importance in Hawaii.