Maui Facts & Info Photos
"Masters Reading Room"
Pictures to accompany
the Maui Facts &
The Baldwin Home - Front Street - Lahaina
A missionary and Harvard-trained
physician, Rev. Dwight Baldwin of Durham, Conn.,
and his bride of a few weeks, Charlotte Fowler, sailed from New England for Hawaii in 1830.
After first serving in Waimea, he was assigned as Pastor of Lahaina’s old Wainee Church.
The Baldwins moved into their home in 1838, and lived there until 1871.
The Baldwin home was built
in 1834, and is the oldest standing building in Lahaina.
It was constructed with thick walls of coral, stone, and hand-hewn timbers. The addition
of a bedroom and study in 1840 and a second story in 1849 accommodated six children.
The home was faithfully
restored by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation in the early 1960s,
and presents a vivid picture of the life of a missionary, physician and community force.
It is furnished with personal
and household items that belonged to the Baldwin family,
as well as other period pieces, and is open daily as a museum.
The Masters’ Reading Room
Corner of Front and Dickenson Streets
This nicely shaded and peaceful
property retains the original landscaping, as laid out by
Dr. Baldwin in 1847, and is the home of the Lahaina Restoration Foundation.
The first seamen’s headquarters
was completed by May 27th, 1834, through the
efforts of the missionaries, masters and officers of visiting ships.
The Rev. William Richards
and Ephraim Spaulding, who were conducting the mission
station at that time, appealed to the visitors to help build “suitable reading rooms
for the accommodation of seamen who visit Lahaina, as well as a convenient place
of retirement from the heat and unpleasant dust of the market.”
Most masters and ships’
officers traveled with families and relished contact
with the missionaries.
The mission put up $200,
and an appeal was made to the public and even the
skippers themselves. The result was a donation of cash and materials that could be used
in barter—thousands of yards of cloth and barrels of whale oil, among other things.
The top floor was the reading
room, exclusively for the comfort of masters
and officers. At one side, above the level of their room’s piazza, was an observatory
from which the men could observe ships at anchor, passing boats, and the general
activity of the village. The lower portion of this two-story building was used as
a store room.
The Masters’ Reading Room
was popular for at least 10 years. By 1844, however,
the number of ships visiting Lahaina annually had risen to 250, and the number of
facilities to accommodate the influx increased as well. When these were preferred
to the reading room, the mission decided to sell it to help with the seamen’s
Put on the auction block,
the reading room became the property of
Dr. Dwight Baldwin, in 1846, for $70.
The Rev. Dr. Townsend Elijah
Taylor, a seamen’s chaplain, used the room for
a study for a short time until Dr. Baldwin’s growing family overflowed from their
home into the reading room.
The unique coral block and
field-stone construction has been preserved exactly
as originally constructed, and the building now serves as the headquarters of the
Lahaina Restoration Foundation.