Lihue Plantation Building
Rice Street, Lihue Hawaii 96766
The plantation was one of the oldest sugar plantations in the Hawaiian Kingdom. Original investors in the Lihu`e Plantation were Henry Pierce, a Boston businessman; William Little Lee, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; and Charles Reed Bishop, one of the founders of what today is known as First Hawaiian Bank. The Lihu`e Plantation was, no doubt, one of the best financed, most modern, and one of the costliest in the kingdom.
It takes about 500 gallons of water to produce one pound of sugar, and it takes 1,000,000 gallons of water to irrigate 100 acres of sugar cane a day. Fortunately, water is abundant in the Lihu`e area from the summits of Mount Wai`ale`ale and Mount Kawaikini. Before the Plantation could irrigate the fields, it first had to develop a method of efficiently bringing the water from the mountains to the sugar cane fields. Some of the acreage went almost all the way to the ocean. In 1856, Lihu`e Plantation’s Rice Ditch became a landmark ditch of Hawaii.The ditch was operated by Harrison Rice. It spanned 51 miles with 18 intakes and was the largest project of its kind in Hawai`i. This amazing water collection system was a major factor in Lihu`e Plantation’s success. In the 1990’s, the plantations began to close one at a time. The Lihu`e Plantation ceased operations on November 17, 2000 after 151 years of sugar production.
The Lihu`e Plantation Company made phenomenal history on Kaua`i and in Hawai`i.