We wandered over one recent Saturday to Kaluanui, the former estate of Ethel and Harry Baldwin below Makawao, now the Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center.
The large, airy house faces Haleakala, and the floor-to-ceiling windows designed by C.W. Dickey frame it from almost every room. The grand dome of the mountain is there in every step, fitting since at one time the family owned much of it, including, amazingly, half the crater.
An exhibit honoring the 125th anniversary of Haleakala Ranch has formally opened, installed in a back room off the entrance. In part it tells of the relationship between Harry and Sam Baldwin, the oldest and youngest sons of Emily Alexander and Henry Perrine Baldwin, and their wives, the Smith sisters, Ethel and Kathrine.
Harry ran Maui Agricultural Co., composed of Paia and Haiku plantations, and Sam ran the ranch, but they were co-owners. Their business genius father acquired lands at the apex of four ahupua'a from various Hawaiian lesser chiefs, and old records tell the tale: 3,096 acres in Nu'u, 1,200 in Kaupo, 5,245 in Kalialinui and 2.8 in Pulehunui.
In the exhibit I appreciated seeing a list of the old pastures (without contemporary punctuation) in a ledger entry for cattle drives in 1917: Piiholo, Puulehu No. 3, Puapoe, Pa Waiu, Mountain, Ohia, Joe Cooke, Holstein, Laikea, Kalialinui, Aapueo, Waiopai, Puunianiau, Olinda, Ainahau and Paliku, the latter two inside the crater.
Sam left a desk job at A&B in Honolulu in 1915 to replace the legendary ranch manager Louis von Tempsky after his crippling fall from a horse. Tall, skinny, the shyest of the Baldwin brothers, Sam took to ranch life.
He never was the horseman von Tempsky was, but Sam Baldwin became known as an able, generous manager who was extremely good to his men. Recalled Harold Amoral, ranch foreman in later years, "He never raised his voice. Anything you asked, he'd give, but he'd think about it for a few days."
A page from Sam's diary on Dec. 28, 1917, titled "Crater trip to get cattle from Paliku" shows he was no slouch in the saddle.
"Left ranch 2:15 [a.m.]
Arr. Halemau 5:30
[ditto marks] Paliku 8:20
left [ditto] with Cattle 9:30
[ditto] bottom sliding sands 12:30
Arr. top [ditto] 2:37
[ditto] Puunianiau 4:50 left cattle there
[ditto] Ranch 6:40 [p.m.]"
A small herd of wild cattle still ranged between Ko'olau gap and Paliku at the easternmost edge of the crater, and another band between the gap and Halema'uma'u trail. A cantankerous wild bull was shot near the trail leading from Paliku and the animal's white skull remained for many years on a little hill as a trail marker.
The cattle were cleared from the crater by 1927 when representatives from the National Park Service came to Maui to see about adding Haleakala crater to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, begun in 1916 at the instigation of interior minister Lorrin Thurston with the help of Prince Kuhio.
Harry and Sam spent many hours riding the slopes with the territorial commissioner in charge of the transaction. How to value the treasure that is Haleakala crater? It was no good for pasture or agriculture. According to Peter Baldwin, Sam's grandson, they finally shook hands and said, "Let's trade acre for acre."
On Aug. 9, 1927, the ranch surrendered its private grazing lands within the crater, and received in exchange approximately 9,500 acres consisting of 3,462 acres in the lower portion of Waiohuli-Keokea; 3,020 acres of government land in lower Kamaole; 2,480 acres of Waiakoa government land and smaller pieces in the mauka tract of Waiakoa as well as the long, skinny ahupua'a of Alae.
On March 26, 1928, Haleakala Ranch bought Kamaole Ranch from Antone F. Tavares and his son Cyrus, 1,646 acres wedged between Thompson Ranch near Ulupalakua and Harold Rice's Kaonoulu Ranch. This consisted of some 70 small Hawaiian kuleana, among them the 3- and 16-acre parcels once owned respectively by the esteemed Lahainaluna Seminary teachers and Hawaiian historians David Malo and L.S. Ua.
Those dry western lands, low on the mountain, weren't good for ranching, but they served well for pineapple. And now, of course, they are highly sought for development. It's those makai lands that allow the ranch in this era of drought to maintain its beautiful pastures for all to enjoy and keep the cattle grazing.
There it was, a dividend handed up through the generations: the gift of business diversification.
* Laurel Murphy is a former staff writer for The Maui News whose "Keiki o ka 'Aina" column appears each Tuesday. She can be reached at email@example.com.