In ancient times, Lihue was a minor village. Līhuʻe means "cold chill" in the Hawaiian language. Lihue is located in the ancient district of Puna, the southeastern coast of the island, and land division (ahupuaʻa) of Kalapaki. Royal Governor Kaikioʻewa officially made it his governing seat in 1837, moving it from Waimea; he gave the town its name after the land he owned on Oahu by the same name.
With the emergence of the sugar industry in the 1800s, Lihue became the central city of the island with the construction of a large sugar mill. Early investors were Henry A. Peirce, Charles Reed Bishop and William Little Lee. The plantation struggled until William Harrison Rice built the first irrigation system in 1856.
Subsequent plantation owner Paul Isenberg helped German people emigrate to Lihue starting in 1881, with the first Lutheran church in Hawaii founded in 1883. Services were delivered in German well into the 1960s. By the 1930s, George Norton Wilcox became one of the largest sugarcane plantation owners, buying Grove Farm from Hermann A. Widemann. The Wilcox family home, Kilohana, has been converted into a restaurant and gift shop. The surrounding plantation now grows crops and livestock. A narrow gauge tourist railroad with vintage diesel locomotives from Whitworth and General Electric offers tours of the plantation; horse-drawn carriage tours are offered as well. The grounds are also the site of luaus, many of which are offshore excursions booked through NCL America. Lihue also houses the Kauai Museum, which details the history of Kauai.
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Updated: 26th March, 2019 4:52 PM.