To try to stem an epidemic of leprosy, which was a major factor in the depopulation of native Hawaiians, the Kingdom of Hawaii instituted in 1886 a century-long program of segregation and isolation of lepers. Lepers were banished to the isolated peninsula of Kalaupapa, a natural prison, on the island of Molokai. Except for a handful of private homes built by patients, the prevailing dates of construction appear to be well before World War II. Kalaupapa Peninsula is significant as a historic district at which events occurred that have made a significant contribution to Hawaii’s history. It is associated with the life of Father Damien, a person of national and international significance. It is associated with the public health and humanitarian measures of more than a century’s duration in an effort by the political ancestor of one of the States and by a U.S. Territory to save an ethnic group from extinction. Lastly, Kaluapapa Peninsula contains structures that embody the distinguishing characteristics of “institutional Hawaiian” architecture of the 1930s and earlier, which are exceptionally valuable for a study of style and methods of construction.
This list of Hawaii’s historic properties is provided as a public service by Historic Hawaii Foundation. It is not the official list of properties designated on the Hawaii State Register of Historic Places. For official designations and determinations of eligibility, contact the State Historic Preservation Division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources of the State of Hawaii at 808-692-8015.