Pahala Sugar Company


The first commercial sugar company was founded in 1868. The Reciprocity treaty of 1876 opened up the islands to free trade of sugar and molasses. The company owned 19,500 acres of cane which were all planted and harvested by hand. Mules, horses and bullocks provided the power for transportation and cultivating sugar cane. The cane was carried to the mill by carts. Later flumes were used to bring the cane to the mill.

Over 50 miles of flume carried all the cane to the mill in Pahala before 1928.


Railroads were introduced in Ka'u in 1880. Cane was brought to loading stations where special cane carts were loaded for the journey to the mill. The railroad also ran from Pahala to Punalu'u to load up ships with the sugar.

This is a picture of the L. Chong store which was built at about 1935. The building at the far right is the administrative office.

This is a picture of the old Ka'u cottages that were built for the workers.

This is the Hawaiian Agricultural Company mill at Pahala about 1900. This mill could process 120 tons of cane per hour with a few upgrades. Unfortunately the mill has closed in March 27, 1996.

--Paul Matsuwaki

Spring, 2001

Pictures are from Pahala Sugar Plantation,Inc. Pahala, Hawaii. 1974.