Historic Homes For Sale Near Hawi, North Kohala

Eventual buyers of historic North Kohala real estate usually discover the attractions of the Big Island’s north shore from Hawi to Pololu as tourists. They come for a zip line, or ditch ride, or to have dinner at Hawi’s Bamboo restaurant.

They stop at the statue of Kamehameha I in Kapa’au and learn that this was the birthplace of the chief who united the Hawai’ian Islands, and welcomed the Europeans to his Kingdom. A few will be attracted by the quaint plantation-era architecture and rural, small-town feel and inquire about North Kohala properties for sale.

It is not surprising that our churches and buildings from the nineteenth and early twentieth century have a New England feel, as the businessmen and missionaries who shaped Hawai’i built in the style that was familiar from “back home.”

When I listed a carefully renovated plantation-era house built in the early 1900s, I discovered that there is a pool of buyers looking specifically to be caretakers of a piece of history.

Although North Kohala was not the only place where sugar cane was grown and, therefore, the “plantation manager’s home” is to be found, we are unique in currently having two of them on the market.

Plantation manager homes for sale in North Kohala

Plantation manager’s homes for sale in Hawi (MLS# 241105) and Kapa’au, North Kohala

The restored Hawi Plantation House, listed for $2,676,000, has a total of 22 rooms including 7 bedrooms and a kitchen with shiny new commercial-grade appliances. On just over 2 acres walking distance from downtown Hawi, it is almost invisible from the road behind mature landscaping. The property includes its own swimming pool and tennis court.

The Kapa’au (Union Mill) Plantation Manager’s Home has also been beautifully updated, and is on the Hawai’i State Historic Register. With 5 bedrooms and 4,297 sq. ft. of living space on over an acre, and the price has recently been reduced to only $1,000,000.

(Editor’s note: the comments below DO NOT refer to any specific listings, except where explicitly mentioned…)

What holds back prospective buyers from translating their dream of owning a historic plantation manager’s home into a purchase? The reality is that a home built in the late 1800s, or early 1900s often has tiny bedrooms with few closets, and may lack an obvious “master bedroom” with double-sink en suite master bath.

In general, locations for Plantation Manager’s homes were not selected for their ocean view, but for their proximity to town and plantation.

Fortunately, there is another historic home for sale near Hawi that has what the modern upscale buyer expects in a home.

Historic Home near Hawi with Ocean View

Renovated historic property (MLS# 242263) has privacy and unobstructed ocean views, offered for $1,200,000

With the annual Merrie Monarch Festival beginning this weekend, it is timely to mention the history of this property as having once been home to the Beamer-Solomon ‘ohana, whose Halau o Po’ohala is celebrating its 150th anniversary. When the current owners found it, the two houses on the 2-acre property were being sold in “as-is” condition and any architectural distinction was long lost.

This gave them the opportunity to renovate the structures using craftsman-quality materials, incorporating wood and elements salvaged from the historic structures. The single-story main house has two bedrooms (and yes, there is a real master with ocean view and a sumptuous master bathroom), and a kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counters, and custom cabinetry.

A second residence is connected by a deck to the main house, and has a one bedroom, one bathroom suite on each of its two stories. Both houses look out across pasture at the ocean and Maui.

This last historic property is the only one of the three that is a Hawai’i Life listing, but of course, I can show any or all of them to a real estate buyer who wants to own in historic North Kohala.

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10 Responses to “Historic Homes For Sale Near Hawi, North Kohala”

  1. Gayle Ching
    April 21, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    Hey there, Don’t forget about one of Hawaii’s best kept secrets.
    Oceanfront and secluded on 25 acres. This one of a kind Estate is nothing short of extraordinary!

  2. Beth Thoma Robinson R(B)
    April 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    @Gayle – so right! That would be the Puakea Bay Ranch oceanfront estate mentioned in this post: http://www.hawaiilife.com/articles/2010/08/hawaii-considers-change-to-oceanfront-building-rules/

  3. Matt
    April 22, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Isn’t such an interesting thing with older homes, how they’re often not oriented towards the views? I think it’s an expression of a relationship-based culture. As if the thought process is something like “the ocean and mountains aren’t going anywhere, we have a very strong relationship with them, we see them everyday. We don’t need big picture windows in our house to look out at them”.

    But, if you spent the working years of your life in a suburban sprawl, and relocated to North Kohala… the likelihood that you’d want to orient your home towards the view is much higher (unless you let the essence of that relationship-culture really influence you, as it should).

  4. Pam Deery, R(B)
    April 26, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    Beth; I consider you to be the expert on historic homes in North Kohala and if any of my clients want to know the history or “story” on those properties, I would definitely use you as my source of knowledge. You have enmeshed yourself in the community to be a valuable source of reliable information. Mahalo for sharing.

  5. Roger Meeker
    April 26, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    As the owner of the Union Mill Plantation Manager’s home described in the article, I can personally vouch that these homes are significant not just because they are old or “dated”. The reality is that they were built with great care, with quality materials, at considerable expense for their day. These homes were (and remain) architectural standouts, and there are sound construction reasons why such late 19th-century icons still exist today. Historic plantation manager’s homes are typically quite large, have spacious (not small) bedrooms, often with large bathrooms. Many have separate living quarters that once were for live-in help, but offer today’s buyers wonderful options for guest accommodations, home offices, etc. It was also not unusual for these homes to be remodeled and/or added on to by successive plantation managers over the years, and the “modern, upscale buyer” might be pleasantly surprised at what they find. The grounds that comprise these estate properties are typically very spacious, with beautiful mature landscaping and garden areas — something not easily duplicated with “newer” properties. Anyone with a true appreciation for the architectural and cultural significance of these magnificent homes owe it to themselves to take a look.

    • Keoki Wood
      October 30, 2013 at 11:40 am #

      Aloha Roger

      Cant seem to locate a good phone number for you. This not regarding real estate but i would appreciate you contacting me. 936 6923 Mahalo

      • Beth Thoma Robinson R(B)
        October 30, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

        Keoki, I know who you are and will call you.

  6. Beth Thoma Robinson R(B)
    April 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    @ Matt – these neighborhoods FEEL like real neighborhoods, the kind where people visit back and forth between houses on foot and kids play in the street.

    @Pam – I don’t know how much of an expert I am, but I’m a fan. Got the historic home bug during grad school when I spent my “spare” time putting in sweat equity on a big Victorian house in Denver.

    @ Roger–thanks so much taking the time to describe some of the pleasures of historic homes. We are fortunate to have people like you who are preserving and enjoying Kohala’s history.

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