Kauai: Historical Sights
Kauai is believed to be the oldest of all the islands in the entire Hawaiian chain. Fortunately for the island, its people have always exhibited appreciation for culture and history. That is why visitors can still behold some of the historical sites, which can easily take one’s interests.
Many explorers from Europe, Polynesia, and America have already dropped by the island many centuries ago. Some of them have helped and influenced the construction of some structures. Going to some historical sites will certainly make you appreciate more the history, culture, and tradition that are uniquely Kauai.
Kauai Bellstones and Structures
A bellstone found at Wailua (Highway 580), east of the island is believed to be part of a series of bellstones built across different islands of Hawaii. According to some historians, such bellstones were used to inform the people about royal events. The bellstones were struck to resonate a unique tone that can possibly be audible from distant locations.
The Alekoko, Menehune Fishpond is believed to be constructed by the Menehune, mythical little people referred to in Hawaiian legends. According to stories, the 1,000-year-old pond was built overnight. This legend has never failed to catch the fancy and interest of many tourists.
Historical Landmarks in Kauai
The Captain James Cook Monument (Hofgard Park in Waimea) was logically erected to honor its namesake, a British sailor who reached Hawaii in 1778. James Cook brought with him Discovery and Resolution ships, making him the pioneer westerner who set foot on the islands. An original monument of the sailor can be found in Whitby, England, where he was born.
The Kilauea Lighthouse was constructed in 1913. Situated at the northernmost area of the Hawaiian Islands, the lighthouse used to boast of the biggest lens aimed at guiding ships. It stopped operating in 1970 but is still maintained as a popular tourist destination. The site is close to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, where there are rare marine and bird species.
The Sleeping Giant in Kapaa located in the east of the island is another must-see historical landmark. Unlike other landmarks, this one is natural, part of the Nounou Mountain ridge. It has the resemblance to an actual sleeping giant, hence the name. According to some historians, Kauai villagers used the ridge to protect the island against invaders in the past. They lighted fires just behind the mountain to make it illuminate and look like a sleeping giant, which warded off hostile visitors.
Small Towns in Kauai
To complete your exploration of the historical sites of the island, visit several existing small towns. On top of the list will be the Waimea Town located in the west of the Kauai. This was where James Cook first landed in 1778. As mentioned, a monument was built in his honor here.
Hanapepe Town is located east of Waimea. It was a thriving village in the mid-20th century. Now, it is considered as the art capital of the island. Old Koloa Town on the south shore, on the other hand, is home to the first ever sugar mill in Kauai. The factory was built in 1835.