His­tory of Pa’ula’ula

Talk on the‘Rus­sian Fort’ set for His­toric Waimea The­ater

The Garden Island - - Morning Briefing - Jes­sica Else

WAIMEA — The pile of red rocks on the south side of Kuhio High­way is much more than the Rus­sian Fort El­iz­a­beth that sparked the place’s cur­rent pop­u­lar name.

It was part of King Kau­muali’i’s own kau hale and Peter Mills, of the Univer­sity of Hawaii, Hilo, will bring that his­tory to life Fri­day at the His­toric Waimea The­ater.

“The name ‘Rus­sian Fort’ has served to ob­scure the Hawai­ian his­tory for the last cen­tury,” Mills said. “I hope to share some of what we have learned about the Hawai­ian his­tory be­hind this highly sig­nif­i­cant wahi pana.”

Mills is the au­thor of “Hawaii’s Rus­sian Ad­ven­ture: A New Look At Old His­tory,” which ex­plains the his­tory of the Rus­sian use of the space, but goes fur­ther into the Hawai­ian his­tory of the Rus­sian Fort, also known as Pa’ula’ula.

The free event is set for 6 p.m. and is open to the com­mu­nity cour­tesy of the Friends of King Kau­muali’i, which is hop­ing to con­struct an in­ter­pre­tive cen­ter in Pa’ula’ula to ex­plain the long his­tory of the place.

“It’s been on the books for Pa’ula’ula for 50 years and there’s in­ter­est in see­ing the Hawai­ian her­itage be­ing ac­knowl­edged,” said Mau­reen Fo­dale, of Friends of King Kau­muali’i.

She con­tin­ued: “So this talk is get­ting ev­ery­one back in the mood in the way of know­ing and re­mem­ber­ing the Hawai­ian her­itage, not the Rus­sians that were there for just 13 months.”

Since 2012 Friends of Kau­muali’i has been work­ing to­ward con­struct­ing an eight-foot bronze statue of King Kau­muali’i on a lava rock pedestal on a pre­pared site at Pa’ula’ula, ad­ja­cent to the Rus­sian Fort site.

The area has been main­tained by West Kauai Busi­ness and Pro­fes­sional As­so­ci­a­tion since 2009 with an av­er­age of around 500 vol­un­teer hours an­nu­ally.

The 1986 Master Plan for Kauai in­cludes a vis­i­tors’ cen­ter, ac­cord­ing to a grant ap­pli­ca­tion to the state for the statue, which is es­ti­mated to cost a to­tal of $246,000.

The grant ap­pli­ca­tion also states a 1972 ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sur­vey in­di­cat­ing there was ad­di­tional pre-con­tact ar­ti­facts at the site, which should be in­ves­ti­gated and pre­served.

Cur­rently, the sculpt­ing and cast­ings of the eight-foot statue are in the process of tran­si­tion­ing clay to bronze. Af­ter that’s fin­ished, artist-sculp­tor Saim Caglayan will send it to Kauai.

The plan is then to po­si­tion it on a six-foot high, four­foot square pedestal with a 26-foot square con­crete slab sur­round­ing the pedestal. The perime­ter of the slab would be sur­rounded by a 2 foot wide, 2.5 foot high rock wall.

Op­ti­mally, the statue will be con­structed by the sum­mer of 2019.

High­light­ing the his­tory of the Hawai­ian cul­ture in the area is im­por­tant to the com­mu­nity, Fo­dale said, and Mills said he’s look­ing for­ward to shed­ding light on the sub­ject once again.

“There is no ev­i­dence that the fort was ever gar­risoned by Rus­sians,” he said. “It was built by Kau­muali’i with the help of his peo­ple and gar­risoned and used by Hawai­ians for half a cen­tury.” ••• Jes­sica Else is a staff writer at The Gar­den Is­land News­apa­per and can be reached at 245-0452 or at jelse@the­gar­denis­land.com


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