Lahaina Rock Piles Show Maui Changing

Great piles of stone scattered in former West Maui sugar fields sometimes are mistaken for ancient Hawaiian sites, but they have a more mundane history. In the late 1940s, Pioneer Mill Manager John T. “Jack” Moir Jr. embarked upon an effort to open more land for mechanical cultivation by clearing it of rocks. Bulldozers pushed tons of rock into the piles that dot the fields, and they’re still known by the nickname given them at the time: “Moir’s Monuments.”

Red dirt and rock make up a long, low "Moir's Monument."

Red dirt and rock make up a long, low “Moir’s Monument.”

The paragraph above was going to be included in my upcoming book, The Story of Lahaina. Then I drove to Lahaina recently, and realized there are piles of rocks all over the place that have nothing to do Jack Moir. Instead, these piles are part of ongoing development on former sugar lands. I tried hard to pick out some of the original rock piles, and could find only a few I thought dated back to plantation days. They are the ones covered with beige tufts of grass, generally smaller than the giant dirt-and-rock piles pushed up by modern land movers. The picture shown here was taken in 2005 in Ukumehame, in what were once the farthest fields of Pioneer Mill. Many of the old Moir’s Monuments have probably disappeared, perhaps pushed into the giant modern rock piles that now dominate much of the land next to Honoapi`ilani Highway. Just another sign of changing times.

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4 thoughts on “Lahaina Rock Piles Show Maui Changing

  1. You find the most intriguing tidbits. Thanks! Great to know.

    • Jill

      That’s why I had to start a blog. Have to share this stuff!

  2. Madge Walls

    I always wondered aboutthose piles of rocks. Mahalo!

    • Jill

      Now there are plenty of other, bigger ones, so they’re hard to pick out.

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