Architecture of Kalaupapa
Buildings at Kalaupapa were primarily placed in linear arrangements along a roughly orthogonal grid of streets. Many structures were sited on individually expressed lots and were generally oriented toward the street. The hospital, stores, community hall, and majority of churches were all centrally located within the settlement. An industrial center complete with warehouses, power plant, laundry, carpenter shop, and oil house was located near the boat landing. Residential buildings, including individual homes (cottages) and group living homes, were located to the east and south. Generally speaking, the single-residence cottages were used by healthier, adult patients, whereas the group homes were for those patients who were children or else required assistance on a daily basis. Four group homes were constructed between 1888 and the 1930s, including Bishop Home, Bay View Home, new Baldwin Home, and McVeigh Home.
Today, nearly 200 buildings of the original Kalaupapa settlement remain. These buildings can be grouped into five major architectural building types—residential, community/administration, religious, and industrial/maintenance. The form, materials and stylistic features of most of these buildings are similar despite their varied historical uses. The majority of buildings feature traditional Hawaiian building styles made from local materials.
Residential buildings include early individual homes (cottages), post-World War II Hicks Homes, and group living homes. Early cottages are very similar to the standardized plans produced by the Hawaii Sugar Planter's Association in 1919 and 1930, now known as the Hawaiian Plantation Style. These houses are typified by single story wood frame buildings in a simple massing of rectilinear spaces accessed from open porches. The exterior frame consisted of vertical boards, either tongue and groove, or board and batten. Gable or hip roofs had overhanging eaves; windows and door openings were organized in singles or pairs; windows were multi-paned double hung or sliding; and doors were plank or stile and rail. The residences were raised 1.5 to 2-feet above the ground on wood posts. The kitchen and bathing functions occurred within the residence, while the laundry function was often housed separately.
Residences built after World War II are typical Hicks Homes, which was a standardized, pre-fabricated housing type popular in Hawaii at the time. Many of these buildings were erected in the 1950s and 1960s at Kalaupapa and remain in the residential areas throughout the settlement. These homes are also on raised foundations.
The group homes are similar in construction to the cottages, but on a much larger scale. The main structures are primarily single wall construction with hip roofs extending over a large front porch extending the full extent of the façade. They rest on raised foundations and have board and batten siding and double-hung windows. A number of outbuildings are associated with most of the residential buildings. These outbuildings include garages, carports, washhouses, outhouses, hothouses, sheds, poker rooms, garden houses, chicken coops, pig sties, and other ancillary buildings.
The new Baldwin Home for Boys was located at the base of the pali and historically included a large dormitory, recreation room, cottages, chapel, and rather large grove of papaya and banana trees. The Baldwin Home was shut down in 1950, and the residents were moved to a 1950s-style Quonset hut near the Bay View complex. The structures at the Baldwin Home were removed the following year and, in some cases re-located elsewhere within the settlement.
Located in the northeastern portion of Kalaupapa Settlement, the McVeigh Home consisted of a centrally located dining hall, pavilion, large dormitories for men and women, and 19 individual cottages situated along narrow driveways. Communal facilities were located in the center, while private cottages were located at the edges of the complex.
The community buildings constructed for the enrichment of patient life were typically large and centrally located. Paschoal Hall (the social hall) is the most important community building and is distinguished by its large size, central location, and orientation within a large open space surrounded by tall palm trees. The building is an example of Hawaiian Plantation Style architecture, yet atypical of the institutional plantation style because of the overall unarticulated massing of the building. The structure retained the basic elements of the Plantation Style with tongue and groove vertical wood walls, sliding windows, stile and rail doors, truncated hip roof and pre-cast concrete footings. It was used to view movies and live entertainment and to host other community meetings and events such as dances.
In addition to Paschoal Hall, there were several ethnic social halls in the settlement including the Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJA) Benevolent Society Hall, the Chinese Clubhouse, the Filipino Meeting House, and the Women's Social Club. Of these, only the AJA Benevolent Society Hall remains. Other remaining civic buildings such as the post office, community store, and bakery are residential in scale and distinguished only by their location within the community's core area.
Places of worship played an important historical role and continue to be important to the remaining residents of Kalaupapa. The main religious congregations are Catholic, Protestant, and Mormon, and to a lesser degree Buddhist. Currently there are four extant church buildings of various ages and styles within the Kalaupapa Settlement. These include Kalawina (Protestant-1854), St. Francis (Catholic-1908), Kanaana Hou (Protestant-1915), and the Mormon Church (1940).
The buildings in the industrial area are large and rectilinear warehouses, sheds, and storage structures with flat or simple gable roofs. The exceptions are food warehouse, the store, and the gas station which have simple hip roofs and are more residential in scale. Most structures were constructed on concrete slabs with concrete or unit masonry walls with few distinguishing stylistic features. The exceptions were the main warehouse built after 1931 which has modern plaster decorative elements.
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.