Gingerbread Filigree and Parker Ranch’s History

Many travelers have driven by the rolling green hills of Kamuela or Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii.

A few of the highway frontage homes such as the Barn or Parker School School and Theater are reflective of a decorative style featuring the gingerbread designs which originated back when Parker Ranch Patriarch Richard Smart decided to implement the concept of decorating many of the older Parker Ranch cottages with a lacy fringe which appeared to look like snow draping off eaves. Many of the homes had cut-outs of roosters, horse heads, bull horns, cattle, pigs, or anything “farm like” cut out on wooden shutters. These, although not functional as shutters, bookended either side of prominent windows.

These exterior design concepts were a nod to the Ranch lifestyle and were designed to impress visitors to the distinctive style of Waimea town making it a memorable destination. Cool rainy days were brightened by the white crisp decorations while many a fireplace reeled plumes of Kiawe smoke up into the foggy cold air. The little children wearing cowboy boots and dusted cowboy hats practiced roping and gymkhana in the pastoral setting. Their ponies dashed around under hand tooled “old school” Hawaiian Tree saddles and as Paniolos they rode into history wearing the popular Palaka print shirts. The little town was and still is a little slice of perfect sweet nostalgia.

When Lualai subdivision was created a thoughtful developer DH Horton of Schuler Homes LLC did recreate the feeling and also provided upgrade options to follow the design idea thereby embellishing new homes with Filigree options. This developer continued the visual imprint of Ranch Lifestyle upon the newer homes of the community.

Some of the older cowboy houses have not been improved in many years but if you look closely especially on roads that hug the main arteries of town you will be able to detect vestiges of the gingerbread architecture. Other buildings and businesses also have made a point to retain the town’s character by putting up some feature on the exterior which are recognizably “gingerbread like” to be enjoyed all year round. After all who doesn’t like a gingerbread house?

Contact Diane C Chavez RB at diane@hawaiilife.com

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