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Honokaa Sugar Co. (Hawaii)

Honokaa Sugar Co.
Honokaa Sugar Co. Store
Pacific Sugar Mill Store
Rickard Plantation

Pacific Sugar Mill
Pacific Sugar Mill Store

Paauhau Sugar Plantation

Hawaiian Irrigation Co.

Full List of Plantations and Subsidiaries

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Company HistoryScope and Contents

Register of the
Paauhau, Hawaii

Accession: 84-09
2.5 cu. ft.
November 1989

Processed by
Susan M. Campbell
Patricia M. Ogburn



Paauhau Sugar Plantation Company was located on the northeast coast of the Island of Hawaii approximately 50 miles from Hilo. It was situated between Honokaa and Paauilo and occupied a rectangle about four miles long and two miles deep. The coastline is formed by bluffs averaging 300 feet in height and the cane fields extend from the edge of the cliffs back to the foothills. Some fields reached an elevation of 1,900 feet. The mill stood on a bluff 400 feet above the ocean.

Paauhau Plantation Company was started in 1878 by Samuel Parker, R.A. Lyman, W.G. Irwin and Claus Spreckels. The first cane was ground by a 3-roller mill on July 13, 1880. W.F. Irwin & Co. were the agents at that time. Paauhau Plantation Company incorporated on February 28, 1899 and became Paauhau Sugar Plantation Company. In 1910, C. Brewer & Co. became the agents.

Paauhau had an innovative system for transporting cane, which was the first of its kind in the Islands. The smooth fields Paauhau made possible the practical operation of a gravity railroad system. Cane was collected on wagons and lifted by derrick to the tramcars. Double tracks extended for a mile down the slope. The loaded car traveled by gravity to the mill on one track and cable connections drew the empty cars back to the fields on the other track. The plantation eventually had five of these tramways in operation, each having the capacity of delivering 300 tons of cane in ten hours. From the lower levels on the plantation, the cane cars were hauled to the mill by locomotive. The plantation had two locomotives, 250 cane cars and approximately fifteen miles of track.

1903, a new nine-roller mill was installed and by 1914 another three-roller mill was added, making Paauhau a modern twelve-roller mill. The finished sugar product was loaded on to steamers by means of a wire rope landing system, which was constructed in 1908. It had a capacity of handling 1,500 bags of sugar per hour. All freight received at the plantation was brought up from the steamers to the landing by the same system.

Because of Paauhau's location, irrigation was a primary concern. In 1910, a contract was signed with Hawaiian Irrigation Company to deliver 20,000,000 gallons of water daily. By 1911, two reservoirs were constructed to help conserve water. Paauhau was one of the first fully irrigated plantations.

Hawaiian and Chinese laborers planted and harvested the first sugar can crops at Paauhau. Later on Japanese, Portuguese, Puerto Ricans, Koreans, Filipinos, and Europeans were employed as day laborers and contract workers. The plantation had about 200 houses for the fee use of its employees. Since the mill was situated on the bluff near the ocean, the manager's and other salaried employees' residences were located nearby. Farther back from the ocean were the laborers quarters, a company store, post office, school, and other buildings. A dense forest of ironwood trees surrounded the village giving protection from the wind.

The plantation also had a small dairy and by natural increase in the dairy herd was able to provide beef for the plantation. An ice plant was installed near the mill in 1908, so in addition to its own refrigeration needs, Paauhau was able to supply neighboring plantations with ice.

During the 1950's, Paauhau set production records. In 1955 Paauhau Sugar Plantation Company was merged with its wholly owned subsidiary, Paauhau Sugar Company, Ltd., which became the surviving corporation. Then on December 31, 1972, Paauhau's assets were purchased by Honokaa Sugar Company.


G. Richardson 1880 - 1882
Paul Jarrett 1882 - 1883
A. Otto 1883 - 1886
Andrew Moore 1886 - 1901
James A. Gibb 3/1901 - 1909
Alexander Smith 1909 - 1915
James Campsie 2/1915 - 1916
F.M. Anderson 1917 - 1936
James Beatty 10/1936 - 1937
J.C. Carter 12/1937 - 1941
Lawrence S. McLane 6/1941 - 1946
J. Nairn Campbell 9/1946 - 1956
Herbert M. Gomez 5/1956 - 1962
A.T. (Sandy) Hossack 6/1962 - 1965
Charles G. Street, Jr. 7/1965 - ?




During October 1987, all Hamakua Sugar Company records, approximately 445 cubic feet, were removed from storage, fumigated, and brought into the Archives. The Paauhau Sugar Plantation Company records were processed in November 1989.


The Paauhau Sugar Plantation Company collection is very limited, composed of one folder of employment records and eight volumes of bonus books.

Personnel and Payroll
The employment records - 1906-1956, (HSC46/14) consist largely of C. Brewer & Co. Forms 14-3M-7-21, Application for Employment. These applications provide background information and a record of employment with Paauhau Plantation for salaried employees. Also included with some of the applications are personnel cards, which hold a photograph of the employee. For the employees whose applications are among these employment records, the following information is available: full name, position sought, age, birthplace, birth date, nationality of parents, citizenship, married, single, number of children, business interests, fidelity bond, health, education, former employment, references, position with Paauhau Plantation, salary, and reason for leaving.

The bonus books - 1917-1923 include the following information for non-salaried employees: some names, bango numbers, days worked as day labor, short contract or cultivation contract worker, leave days, total earned, bonus paid, advance, and race of workers.

The bonus book - 1954-1955 is labeled "Bonus Book: Portuguese, Puerto Rican, Japanese, Women and Minors". The following information is available for those employees: name, social security number, bango number, sex married, single, birth date, date employed, hours worked, overtime, earnings, sick leave, taxes and holiday pay.

Paauhau Sugar Plantation register in pdf format

Paauhau Sugar Plantation finding aid:
Use finding aid for Honokaa Sugar Co.


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Last updated: August 2004