Maui Blog - Georgie Hunter R(S): Historic Downtown Paia - Maui Hawaii - Sugar Plantation Town

Historic Downtown Paia - Maui Hawaii - Sugar Plantation Town

maui sugar cane fields in bloom - Hawaii 

Welcome to Paia - Maui Hawaii

(see an artist's view of Historic Downtwon Paia and Makawao - short video)

Welcome to Paia Maui Hawaii, 96779          PAIA MAP

If you come to Maui and drive east from the airport, along the Hana Highway, you'll come to the small oceanfronttown of Paia.  It's all historic!  Paia Maui was once a thriving sugar plantation town in the 1800's with a sugar mill, hospital, train station, worker housing and commercial district.  Paia was actually 2 towns back then... Paia with the mill, the railroad station (now a retail home furnishings store) and the housing, and Lower Paia along the shoreline, where the shops and restaurants and movie theaters were located, serving the community. 

I guess you could say the whole downtown oceanfront area is pretty much the historic district, as there has not been a lot of new construction in the center.  New buildings, like our Post Office are built to keep the character of the town consistent.  Old and new mix it up for special events.

Being an oceanfront location, Paia has experienced tsunamis in historic times.  In April 1946, Paia experienced the largest tsunami in Hawaii's recorded history, which was the result of an earthquake originating in Alaska.   Only 1 person in Paia perished in that event.

Once upon a time, Paia was a busy place, with one of the biggest populations on the island, and the oldest sugar plantation on Maui.  Before Kahului was built - this is where a lot of the sugar cane workers lived.  The very first phone line in the Hawaiian Islands was installed in Paia, according to old timers.  A lot of the old stuff has gone already, like movie theaters, most of the camp houses, and shops. 

Even in the 28 years I have been frequenting Paia I have noticed a lot of the old time shops close their doors and become Real Estate offices!  Our office is located in what used to be a gas station back in the day.  The local Thai Food restaurant is also in an old service station, at the other side of town, about a block away.  Get your hair and nails done in a unique setting.

 

 Paia Maui shops on Baldwin Ave.

A lot of the shops in Historic Paia were run by Japanese and other immigrant families who originally came out as indentured workers to work in the fields.  Paia's local people were a mix of Americans, Asians, Puerto Ricans, Portuguese, and Native Hawaiian who lived and worked together in harmony, as they do now.  As they prospered, some would start their own enterprises to serve the needs of their neighbors.  You can still see some of these names on the stores:

  • Horiuchi Market
  • Nagata Store
  • Ikeda Store
  • Bersamin's
  • Quinsaat
  • Garcia

Aerial picture of Paia now, which isn't a whole lot different from this perspective.

 

Maui Moonbow boutique

 

Old is new in Paia... some things never change.  You can shop for so many timeless things in such a small place:

  • surfboards - sport of Hawaiian kings
  • aloha shirts- keep cool in the tradewinds
  • hula skirts - classic beach wear
  • jewels and gems - from around the Pacific Rim
  • shells souvenirs - from the seven seas
  • coconuts by the truckload
  • fresh fish and fish tacos
  • fish prints - a Japanese art goes Maui style
  • local pottery - hand thrown and built in Haiku workshops
  • glass art - creations for the home

 

If you're thinking about moving to Paia, check out some other posts in the Paia relocation package.

link to eastmaui.com website for The Hunter

 Call or EMAIL directly to The Hunter

Maui Realtor Georgina M. Hunter R(S) 808 283-0635

Team member: Jim Sanders Realty Inc.  Paia HI 96779

Would you like to receive my PAIA NEWSLETTER?   OCEANFRONT MAUI FOR SALE

 

 

Comment balloon 20 commentsGeorgie Hunter R(S) 58089 • April 06 2008 11:18PM

Comments

You're doing such a beautiful job on your presentations of your island Georgina! You surely are the expert for your area!
Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Century 21 Liberty Homes) about 10 years ago

Thanks Sally!  Likewise for you.  I hope you're getting plenty busy from all the calls and emails.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) about 10 years ago
Georgina- Gorgeous photos and I love the buildings! It is so nostalgic and historic. I enjoyed your entertaining style of presenting history. 
Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) about 10 years ago
Georgina, What a quaint little town. Real Estate offices, huh? I wouldn't mind owning a bit of RE there! We have many little towns in Texas that dwindled such as this one. Commerce moves and leaves behind the workings of a busy city! It is very beautiful. I love your pictures. Later in the rain~Deb
Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 10 years ago

Katerina - Paia is a cute town, and it's seen much busier days.  Today though it's got a lot of colorful characters.

Debra - The work may be gone, but the beauty is still what attracts people.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) about 10 years ago
Georgina, Paia looks like such a lovely little town. My family and I were blessed to be able to visit Hawaii last year...It was even more beautiful than I'd always dreamed it would be! 
Posted by Kim Southern- "Sold" with Southern Hospitality, Greetings from the North Georgia Mountains! (Century 21 In the Mountains) about 10 years ago
Kim - thanks for dropping in.  You're right, it is more beautiful than pictures can show.... .there's also the wonderful smell of flowers in the air, the sound of the waves, the warmth of the sun.... I don't need to tell you!
Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) about 10 years ago
No...please...tell me!! 
Posted by Kim Southern- "Sold" with Southern Hospitality, Greetings from the North Georgia Mountains! (Century 21 In the Mountains) about 10 years ago
OK.... sand between your toes, fluttering of the palm trees, bright flowers, fresh sahimi and cold beer after a hard day's work, all kinds of yummy things to eat, star filled night skies..... I could go on and on.  : )
Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) about 10 years ago
Wonderful job ! Love the pictures ! Thanks for allowing us to walk down memory lane with you !
Posted by Melissa Grant, The Law of Attraction In Life & Business (A Serendipity World) about 10 years ago
Melissa - thank you for  taking a stroll down Paia's main street.
Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) about 10 years ago

Georgina:

This is a great post it makes me want to charter a plane for a vacation. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Alan Kirkpatrick, Alan in Austin (Austin Texas Homes) about 10 years ago
Georgina, I just love Paia...I should after all the money I spent there. All kidding aside, Paia I found to be down to earth and unique.  Missing it all, already.
Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) about 10 years ago

Alan - Chartering a plane might be your best bet these days - or try the new Alaska Air routes.

Hi Gena - I got some cute video of Paia today and will be working on it.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) about 10 years ago

Hi Georgina - what a really nice post this is, and I love these pictures - so colorful and happy!  Your header picture is beautiful.  Thanks for sharing the history of this area - nicely done.

Ann

Posted by Ann Cummings, Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent (RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine) about 10 years ago
Ann - I'm so glad you enjoyed this post - I have lots more pictures, but not enough time.
Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) about 10 years ago

Georgina ...  Ohhhhhhhhhhh I miss Hawaii, my all time favorite travels are in Maui and on the Kona coast.  Beautiful pictures, great blog and thanks for the nostalgia.

C. Lange

Posted by Michael and Cheron Lange, Associate Broker, GRI (Solutions Real Estate) about 10 years ago
Cheron - You're right, Maui and Kona are pretty special.  They're getting a lot of vog over on the Big Island right now - a new eruption in Hale Maumau.
Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) about 10 years ago
Georgina, Thanks for sharing your beautiful Island with us.  You do a great job marketing it!  I sometimes wish that I had never boarded that plane and stayed!
Posted by Tony & Darcy Cannon, The C Team (Aubrey and Associates Realty) about 10 years ago
Tony and Darcy - Did you get a tear in your eye as the island faded out of sight?
Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) about 10 years ago

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