The Old Courthouse was built in 1859. The original building was constructed from timber and stones of Hale Piula,
King Kamehameha III's palace, which was destroyed by strong winds a year earlier. You can still see the foundation
of King Kamahameha palace (a landmark on the Historic Lahaina Walking Trail) just west of the Courthouse near
the Pioneer Inn.
Located next to the Courthouse you will find the ruins of the old fort, another landmark on the
Historic Lahaina Walking Trail. Built in 1832, it was reputed to be constructed next to a canal (now a paved road) to
protect the home of Reverand Richard when unruly sailors fired cannons at his house. Perhaps the sailors were angry because the
missionaries felt that the drinking and womanizing of the sailors was not acceptable behavoir in Lahaina.
After its completion it served as the customs house, thus making it the perfect spot for the
Lahaina Heritage Museum. This museum traces the history of Lahaina from the early whaling days to present time.
Many artifacts help tell the story including scrimshaw, carpenter tools, old photographs, early documents,
and a vast amount of whaling paraphenalia. This is a nice place to get out of the heat and share some history
with your family members.
After viewing the museum, take a walk into the hallway at the top of the stairwell and step
out onto the balcony. This is where you'll get a fantastic photo opportunity of the famous Lahaina harbor.
Nowadays the harbor is a launch site for various scenic ocean adventures like snorkel trips, dinner cruises
and sunset cocktail excursions. But in its heyday, sailors and whalers spent many a raucous evening at the
bar in the Pioneer Inn located just across the street.
During the late 1800's an earthquake badly damaged the building. After the building's
reconstruction, the county decided to use it as the courthouse. The Old Courthouse is now operated by the
non-profit Lahaina Town Action Committee who sponsors many cultural events in the community.
The Old Courthouse is a must see not only for its historic importance but it is also
home to the Lahaina Arts Society, Tree Gallery and the Lahaina Visitor Center. You can pick-up
a great walking tour of Lahaina map at the Visitor Center which covers many interesting buildings,
landmarks and facts about this old whaling center turned popular tourist destination.
A small gift shop on the first floor offers quaint treasures to bring home for family and friends.
If your walking legs get tired, take a break at one of the
handful of dining and drinking establishments located to the East of the
Courthouse, across Front Street, at the Wharf Cinema Center.