Architecture of Kalawao
Buildings at Kalawao were initially influenced by the existing conditions upon arrival of the first patients in 1866. Early patients made use of existing structures and locations and used whatever materials they could find. Most buildings were situated along a single, existing road (now Damien Road) and were primitive huts or shelters. At its height in 1890, Kalawao was a large community, consisting of about 325 frame structures that provided homes and services to around 1,100 patients. The houses provided protection against the weather, and Father Damien, with the help of patients, was responsible for building about 300 of them. Father Damien was also instrumental in founding the "Home for Boys" (later called Baldwin Home) in Kalawao. The complex consisted of a number of cottages arranged around a central open space. The Baldwin Home for Boys in Kalawao was abandoned in 1932, and patients were moved to Kalaupapa. The remains of the old Baldwin Home were destroyed by fire in 1936.
Today scattered building foundations, stone walls, cemeteries, and two churches, Siloama Congregational Church and St. Philomena Catholic Church, are all that remain of this once populous community.
Did You Know?
Sea cliffs rising two thousand feet above the peninsula and ocean separate Kalaupapa from the rest of the island of Moloka'i. In 1972 this area was designated as the North Shore Cliffs National Natural Landmark, recognized as a significant example of sea cliffs in the nation's natural heritage.