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8.  Kauhola Point Lighthouse Hawaii
(on Hawaii)
All these photos can be ordered, use the state # (ME12) for example
and the A, B or C, if there is more than one.

HI 8A Kauhola Point

HI 8B Kauhola Point

 

HI 8C Kauhola Point

 

     As you can see, there are some ruins out on Kauhola Point.  Ruins of the lighthouse station?  We don't know, but guess it probably was.
     .
     The day we went out there, the road was horribly muddy and impossible to hike.
     Bill Wong from ATV Outfitters in Kohala, rented a large 4 wheel drive truck and took us out there.

We have been told by Tom Dutton, Coast Guard Aids to Navigation in Honolulu, that Kauhola Point, although built at the same time as Barbers Point, never had a lantern room.  Some old photos show some kind of structure on top of both lighthouses, but I think the term used was "lantern deck".

 

Our quest to photograph every lighthouse in the United States took us over 12 years, most of our time and most of our money.  It was a wonderful journey that took us all over the Continental United States, to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.  We had some grand adventures and met many nice people, many of whom helped us on our way.

            Every quest, every adventure, has to have an end.  On the North end of the Big Island, Hawaii, when we photographed Kauhola Point Lighthouse, we had photographed every standing lighthouse in the United States.  

            Our guide, Bill Wong, of ATV  Outfitters, drove us out on the muddy, rutted road in a 4wheel drive truck, to the lighthouse.  When we were done with our photos, he took a photo of us and said “NOW you are ALL PAU!”  (Hawaiian for all done).  This lighthouse is very special to us.  A fitting finale to a long journey, it sits on a windblown cliff looking out over the Pacific.

                The first light on Kauhola Point, known as the Kohala Beacon, was built in 1897.  It was a 40 foot wooden tower with an enclosed lamp room on top. By 1904 it was called the Kauhola Point Light and was in bad condition, needing to be repaired. 

     In 1917 a frame tower with a lantern room and a lens, lighted by oil, took the place of the original lens-lantern.  This structure was meant to be temporary, but stood for 14 years, even through a fire in 1931.  The heat of the fire shattered the lantern windows and damaged part of the lens.  It was repaired so the light could be shown, but it needed replacing.

     In 1933 a new tower was built, a twin of the Nawiliwili light on Kauai.  It was 86 feet high and had a “lantern deck” and not a lantern room.  It never had a Fresnel lens, but had 2 36 inch airway beacons.

     The keepers’ house was built in 1914, and later other outbuildings were constructed.  Now only the beautiful lighthouse stands and one little outbuilding to keep it company.

     The road to Kauhola Point can be very difficult.  If it’s muddy, it is impassible and if it is in good condition, it is still a long hike.  The road winds through what were once sugar mills and sugarcane fields, now gone back to jungle.

            In October of 2006, Hawaii had an earthquake.  It struck Kauhola Point and part of the cliff fell into the ocean.  Now, the 86 foot tall tower is not only perilously close to the cliff, a Coast Guard contact tells us there are cracks in the earth within a foot or two of the lighthouse. A lighthouse friend sent us the current photos of the lighthouse showing the damage that started our quest for information.

            I contacted a Coast Guard retired friend in Hawaii.  He said:  “From the sounds of it, the cliff is now very close to the light and it is going to be a very dangerous evolution to move or recover what was lost.  It might even be dangerous servicing the light with most of the bluff gone from around the light.  I would imagine that the rest of the ground around the light is very unstable and it could fall at any time.  That would certainly be a bummer if the light is lost.”

            I have also talked to a several other civilian and Coast Guard contacts in Hawaii.  In September, the difficult road to the Kauhola Point Lighthouse was leveled so that heavy equipment could go out there to drill soil samples.  That will tell how far the damage has gone.  A decision will be made some time this winter as to what can be done.

            I believe the time for saving it has gone by, as heavy equipment could probably not get close enough on the unstable earth to stabilize, secure or move it.

            Sometime in the next year or so we will most likely be saying “Aloha” to a lighthouse that has a special place in our hearts.

 

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