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In 2012, the Maui Friends of the Library and the Rotary Club of Lahaina partnered in a $300,000 modernization of the Lahaina Public Library without use of public funds. Some 20 contractors donated services. SCROLL DOWN FOR A SLIDE SHOW ON THIS AMBITIOUS PROJECT SUPPORTED BY SOME 80 VOLUNTEERS.

In 2016, plans are well underway to landscape the library front lawn to celebrate Hawaiian culture and add a garden of Native Hawaiian plants.

An MFOL committee conceived and developed preliminary plans for the lawn project in 2014. Subsequently the project was handed off to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation which whose its Image project envisioned a revitalization of the Lahaina harbor. This project, supported by a generous grant from Maui County, is now underway. The library landscape portion is expected to be completed in 2016.


THE LAHAINA PUBLIC LIBRARY: A modern new interior, a re-landscape of the front lawn to celebrate Hawaiian culture

Mahalo for visiting the Lahaina Library facelift and landscaping site.  

You are in good company, since there have been more than 3600 views of this extensive site since its launch in 2012.  

Note that the first section refers to the new landscaping project.  By scrolling down you will come to upwards of 60 posts on the facelift itself. You can also click on the links at the top for quick overviews of the library before and after, and much more. 


Planners are putting the finishing touches on a plan to celebrate Hawaiian culture on the front lawn of the Lahaina Public Library by showcasing native trees and telling more of an in depth story of how kings and queens who made Lahaina their home in the early 19th century and made important decisions on the site that shaped the development of the Hawaiian Kingdom. 

The Maui Friends of the library initiated, planned and set the stage for the development of the project  placing special emphasis on consulting with the Hawaiian community.  The plan has been incorporated in Project Imagine launched by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation with a vision of improving the harbor and adjoining lands.  

View the these pages  for details:





Content of the site continues to evolve to assure shows proper respect for Hawaiians place in Lahaina history.cropped-taroimg_40192.jpg 






The front lawn of the Lahaina Public Library where kings and queens once walked, worked and reigned deserves better.   In the heart of Lahaina’s historic district that for 25 years was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, the lawn was once a kalo (taro) patch tended by  royalty. The Maui Friends of the Library with the help of the community plans to adorn this land once again with trees and kalo that well could have been present almost 200 years ago.

The goal is to beatify the site by showcasing plants native or brought to the islands that have played an important part of the culture and to acquaint thousands of passing visitors and residence with the story of the Hawaiian people in Lahaina.

The Kings Garden Project is the culmination of a 5-year initiative spearheaded by the Maui Friends of the Library that started with the $300,000 renovation of the interior of the building itself where volunteers and contractors provided all new flooring, bookcases, desks, computers, and fresh paint on all the walls inside and out.  Now comes the final phase, re-landscaping the lawn.

Yesteryear, in a garden like setting amid cultivated fields fed by mountain streams, King Kamehameha I and later Kings built a foundation for one of the most progressive monarchies the world had ever seen–the Kingdom of Hawaii. Lahaina became the capital of the monarchy.   The great king stood in this place where the library sits, prostrated himself before commoners to show his respect for them, and tended his Royal Taro Patch.  Queen Ka’ahumanu stood and lived on this spot and reigned as regent.

Near this spot, Kamehameha III and missionaries wrote the constitution that served the monarchy until its overthrow in 1893.

From Land where the library sits, hundreds of anchored whaling ships made Lahaina one of the most important whaling ports in the world.  Within view of the present Lahaina Library lawn, the Lahaina harbormaster lowered the Hawaiian flag and replaced it with the stars and stripes to fly over the territory and state to this day.

In 1901, George Freeland built Lahaina’s first hotel on the left portion of the rectangular site toward Front and Wharf Street that leads directly to the harbor

In 1957, two years before statehood, the community and territory built the present library a rectangular plot halfway between the ocean and Front Street.


The library structure on the northern portion of the rectangular site sits in the middle with a large lawn facing Front St. and a large area toward the ocean side of the library where King Kamehameha built the first royal brick palace.

Research by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation in 1962 produced a plan for the Front Street lawn that was never implemented. One of the recommendations was that a new Royal Taro Patch be installed in the approximate location. It is believed that the original stones for the Taro Patch wall are still scattered on the site. The MFOL plan in coordination with the Hawaiian community would make the Taro Patch and the restoration of its original wall a reality.

Tens of thousands of visitors during holidays and throughout the year pass directly in front of the Library lawn each year. Hundreds of Hawaiians walked the town’s paths and proudly have the town of Lahaina in their heritage.   What better place than the entrance to the Library to tell the story of the early Hawaiians.


To show respect for the aina and celebrate the historic nature of the site, the Lahaina Public Library’s  Kings Garden Project has been developed by landscape specialist Shawn McLaughlin, owner of Garden View Landscaping, consultation with Native Hawaiians, David Yamashita, landscape architect with the County of Maui and Bill Mitchell, landscape architect, with Hawaii Land Design.   The plan transforms the landscape with native plants and trees along side a new taro patch

The Front Street lawn plan includes the following elements:


  • Installation of a taro patch to be planted and maintained by Native Hawaiians;
  • Restoration of a stone wall thought to date back many centuries;
  • Installation of Native Hawaiian and Polynesian introduced trees that will serve the added purpose of providing shade;
  • Clearing overgrowth and reclaiming native trees already present
  • Installation of an irrigation system;
  • Addition of native plants around the perimeter of the library;
  • Widening and the Front Street sidewalk (to be completed by the county);
  • Addition of benches;
  • Addition of a new walkway inside the Library lawn boundary to provide safer passage for pedestrians alongside Pioneer Inn;
  • Addition of historical panels to increase appreciation of the culture and Hawaiian history;
  • Addition of descriptive signage for trees and plants;
  • Addition of area for periodic demonstrations.




An area important to Hawaiian culture, the site once was home to King Kamehameha’s taro patch and his “brick palace.”  In a departure from the practices of most ali’i, the great king actually tended the taro.  Boulders still on the site are believed to be from pre-contact days. Planted in August, the taro is flourishing.

The library front lawn where the improvement will be installed.


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Lahaina Public Library Patronage Doubles

Since the opening of the modernized Lahaina Public Library by the Rotary Club of Lahaina and the Maui Friends of the Library in November, 2012, visitors have doubled.

Work is currently underway planning a third phase of the project, a landscaping of the library’s front lawn and the addition of a commemorative taro patch and Native Hawaiian plants and trees.

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Hawaii Senate Education Chair Jill Tokuda Visits Library, praises community effort

Touring schools and education related facilities Hawaii State Education Chair Jill Tokuda (with lei)  visited the renovated Lahaina Public Library July 24  and praised the work  as a model of good community involvement.  Briefing Tokuka and   State Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran on the left  were ,  left to right, Librarian Madeleine Buchanan, Rotary Club of Lahaina Committee Chair  Sara Foley,  super volunteer John Tryggstad  and Dorothy Tolliver, super volunteer and president respectively of the Maui Friends of the Library, partner in the project.  Tokuda said she was impressed by the work of the Maui Friends of the Library (MFOL) and the Rotary Club of Lahaina and the library’s beautiful setting in Lahaina. Not pictured but part of the briefing, Rotarian Norm Bezane, project communicator chair and photographer.


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LAHAINA LIBRARY OPENING ON TV: Rotary Club of Lahaina/Maui Friends of the Library Timeline blog

When the late videographer Kenny Hulquist who had taped hundreds of hours of Lahaina happenings accepted our invitation to film the Lahaina LIbrary Grand opening, no one knew it would be one of his last gigs. Kenny passed away a few weeks after he put this video up on You Tube. There we also find a Honolulu TV report. Go to these sites to see learn about the grand day.

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LEAVING A LEGACY IN 2012: Rotary Club of Lahaina/Maui Friends of the Library Facelift Timeline

Patrons are continuing to applaud the facelift of the Lahaina Public Library. With “the dust settled,” we as Rotarians and the board of the Maui Friends of the Library have come to realize that this achievement not only had an impact on making Lahaina a better place in 2012. It will contribute to making Lahaina a wonderful community for decades to come, The most frequent comment we get about the modernization is about the wonderful floor. For this we can thank Rotarian Uwe Schulz who passed away in November. Uwe’s best architectural advice was that we had to do it right. And so instead of covering over the floor,
we removed the asbestos laced tile floor down to the bare concrete and repainted it with a distinctive designed created by volunteer Rick Cowan. Thus the work of Uwe, chief on site architect of Whalers Village, restorer of Lahaina historical landmarks, also lives on at the modern new Lahaina Public Library. FACELIFT TIMELINE  IS HEADING TOWARD A MILESTONE:  2500  VIEWS OF THE POSTS

Uwe Schulz reviewing plans at Lahaina Public Library
Uwe Schulz reviewing plans for library facelift that will be enjoyed by generations to come  with Sara Foley (left) and Librarian Madeleine Buchanan