LAHAINA – Lahaina Historic Walking Trail has a new phone app. The expansive app, designed by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation (LRF) and funded by the Maui County Economic Development Office, has been developed to provide an interactive and interpretive experience of historic Lahaina.
It contains three walking trails and 68 points of interest, highlighting cultural and historical sites, a timeline of major events in Lahaina’s history, and a live view of augmented reality features.
While a paper map is still available and can be purchased during the opening hours of the Lahaina Visitor Center and at staffed LRF museums, historically significant sites in Lahaina are now available through a phone app. which enhances the experience.
“We developed the Lahaina Historic Trail in 2000 to showcase the city’s many historic sites,” said Theo Morrison, executive director of LRF.
“Over the years, buildings have collapsed, sites have been abandoned or exceeded their previous use, and new businesses have sprung up. Interpretive plaques were installed at these locations so that their history could be shared even if only the stories from the previous use were left. Did you know that Kimo’s restaurant was once the Fuji gas station? Tommy Bahama’s Marlin Bar was the location of the Pioneer Mill Hospital, and the Holle Fine Art Gallery is the site of the old Kawaguchi Fish Market?
“Today, the Lahaina Historic Trail is accessible through an app that showcases and enhances the cultural and historical significance of the sites. The application provides multimedia content such as text, maps, photographs and artist interpretations of historical moments in time. These elements enrich the historical experience through a device that everyone owns, trusts and has in their pocket. This device is their smart phone.
Important sites, museums and buildings represent the history and culture of the city over a period of more than 500 years. To locate these sites and learn about their stories, the free Lahaina Walking Tour app can be downloaded from an online app store or from the LRF website.
The trail is easy to follow with the app, and there are also large informational map kiosks and explanatory bronze plaques set up along the route through Lahaina. The self-guided tour is a mix of influences, covering Hawaiian history, the era of whaling, missionaries, immigrant plantation life and more.
“Lahaina is a city filled with historic sites from all eras, but these sites are not always obvious or even visible”, said Kimberly Flook, Deputy Executive Director of LRF. “The Lahaina Historic Trail app brings the stories of the city of Lahaina to life through a series of historic images highlighting the 68 sites. “Unlike a printed guide, the app allows us to share information and multiple images for each site, using GPS to link that information to very specific locations. The app has the added benefit of being infinitely expandable with new photos, videos and audio that can be added in real time, automatically updating across all platforms with the push of a button.
On Monday July 26, another Front Street Historic Site received a plaque and was added to the app. Founded in 1919, the I. Imamoto store on Front Street was run by the Imamoto family until it closed in 1951. A staple in the community, the Imamoto offered fresh local kama’aina, fish and seafood. grocery store with a quick laugh and lots of talk-stories with customers.
The eldest son of an Issei fisherman, Isami “Barney” Imamoto returned to Lahaina fresh out of Hilo High School to build his business and a house on Wahikuli Road, a house he would later share with his wife Toshiko and daughters Lily Yurie and Judy Ai.
Built in 1916, the Imamoto Store building was in what was known at the time as the most beautiful building in Lahaina. Today it is home to Fleetwood’s, Lahaina Loft and other stores. Indeed, Front Street is lined with buildings dating from the 1820s which today house shops and restaurants.
“It is such an honor for my father!” said Judy Masters, Toshiko and Isami’s daughter. “It marks a time and place where a 16-year-old could actually open a store in Lahaina. It took a lot of courage. As I grew up, the store became a big influence on my own eating and possibly culinary habits. The importance my parents placed on nutrition and healthy eating is now multigenerational. “
Coco Masters, the Imamoto’s granddaughter, added: “I was delighted with the ceremony. Having the plaque made was an act of love and remembrance. It is a real gift for my mother in honor of our heritage. I hope this helps shed light on the historical significance of my grandfather’s place in the community of Lahaina. It is a role he fought for and survived the persecution of our Nisei community during WWII. It is an often forgotten time, buried under what we see today. Nonetheless, it is a time and a community worth remembering. I am extremely grateful to Theo Morrison and LRF for this little act which means so much to me and my family. “
Denise Black, Lahaina Loft event manager, reflected, “It was wonderful to meet Judy and Coco Masters and to have the plaque with their family business story placed outside of Lahaina Loft. I became very moved during the ceremony because being part of this community, and a historic site on the LRF app, is very special to me.
Although Lahaina is now best known for its more modern shops and cafes, the Trail app provides an educational glimpse into Hawaii’s past.
Designated a National Historic District in 1962, Lahaina was recognized for its well-preserved character as a 19th century port and for its social and economic importance in the 19th century. It was an important supply port for whalers in the Pacific.
Lahaina was a popular residential center for the kings of Maui before the arrival of European explorers in the late 18th century. Kamehameha I landed here when he began the conquest of Maui in 1795, and Kamehameha II established a residence here in 1819.
That same year, the first whalers arrived, marking the start of the community’s economic growth.
There is a lot to learn about Lahaina as you walk its historic trail, which is a real treasure for history buffs. LRF has done an admirable job preserving landmarks throughout the city and wants to add more plaques or historical information to their new app.
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