Sunday, December 31, 2006
Happy New Years from Maui, where we're vacationing. Here's a photo from the beginning of a hike my daughter and I took yesterday.
Our quest was to climb from Lahainaluna high school (founded in 1831, it's the oldest high school west of the Rocky Mountains) to Pa'upa'u, a mountain where a giant "L" is carved into the mountainside (for the high school). Above the "L" is the grave of David Malo, a Hawaiian poet and historian who attended the high school during the 1830s. Malo's best known work is Hawaiian Antiquities, describing the ancient culture. The book is also important because it's one of the earliest books written in the Hawaiian language. Malo was one of the architects of the Hawaiian constitution and bill of rights. He was critical of the increasing control of the white immigrants over Hawaii and asked to be buried in the West Maui mountains "above the tide of the foreign invasion."
Back to yesterday's outing. Unfortunately we did not reach the "L" or the gravesite due to defects in our hiking guidebook, which had a sketchy map and an inadequate textual description of the route. But we went through fine grasslands and forest (mainly eucalyptus) and enjoyed tremendous views of Lahania, the ocean, and the nearby island of Lanai before we retraced our steps to the high school. As we were leaving, we met with a administrator from the high school. He was irritated with the author of our guidebook for a different reason. Before publication of the last edition, he had told the author that hikers going through the high school campus needed to get advance permission from the high school, but nothing to the effect made it into the book. Much of Maui is privately owned, and there are fewer public access trails here than I had expected to find. Many areas are posted "kapu" (no trespassing). One of the way private landowners of natural Maui make money is to license "eco adventure" companies, who escort their customers on hikes through private lands to see waterfalls, etc, and charge ridiculous prices -- $80 to $120 for several hours; $140 to $180 for full day hikes.
This morning's Seattle Times has this story about the sale of Carter's Grove Plantation near Williamsburg. It has closed because of declining attendance and is now going on the market. It will likely go into private hands. The story talks about other historic homes (like Robert E. Lee's boyhood home in Arlington), which have also recently gone into private hands.
Here's a sample from the article, about the debate over whether sale of historic homes helps preservation:
In an escalating debate, some preservation experts argue that the best way to save the nation's most precarious historic houses may be to sell them to those who can afford to restore them, or at least keep them up, as private residences. If you look around the country, this isn't a problem, it's the problem," said Douglas Horne, a preservation consultant who advised Williamsburg on its decision to sell Carter's Grove.
The article says that although the plantation "will be protected by easements to prohibit subdivision, there will be no requirement that Carter's Grove be open to the public." Sounds like the makings of a lesson in property class on the use of covenants and maybe the origins of a class on historic preservation.
More on Carter's Grove, including some stunning pictures, available here.
Alfred L. Brophy
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