Hayselden partners with Honolulu businessmen to organize the Maunalei Sugar Company, Ltd. Keomoku Village is built, and at one point nearly 800 employees—mostly Japanese, with smaller populations of Chinese and Portuguese—are contracted as laborers for the plantation. Close to 3,000 acres of land are cleared for planting, and a sugar mill is built and a railroad set in operation. 

The plantation closes In March 1901, and falls into bankruptcy.


James D. Dole incorporates the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, Ltd. on sixty acres of land on the island of O‘ahu.


Charles and Louisa Gay purchase a portion of the Gibson-Hayselden estate, and in a few years possess most of the land, fee simple, on Lāna‘i. The Gay family moves to Lāna‘i in late 1902. The family business is primarily ranching, but with a transition from sheep to cattle.


Charles Gay is granted fee simple ownership of all government land (8 ahupua‘a) on Lāna‘i. All ceded land rights are apparently extinguished by this action.


The Gay family, finding itself in financial difficulties, mortgages its land holdings on Lāna‘i to William G. Irwin and Company.


William G. Irwin (and his wife), Robert W. Shingle and Cecil Brown form the “Lanai Ranch Company,” which later becomes the “Lanai Company.”  The Lāna‘i Company begins foreclosure of the Gay mortgages.

Lāna‘i Company engages in forestry conservation programs on Lāna‘i. A severely limited water supply proves to be the major problem in all business endeavors on the island.


Lāna‘i Company conveys three Keomoku lots and one Lālākoa lot to Charles Gay.

George C. Munro is asked to come to Lāna‘i from New Zealand and assume the role of manager of the Lāna‘i Company Ranch. Munro, a naturalist at heart, recognizes the importance of watershed management programs, and observes that the lone Norfolk Island pine tree at Kō‘ele adjoining his house captures large quantities of fog drip from clouds passing by. He requests seeds of the pine trees from forestry officials, and has them planted on Lāna‘i Hale. 


The Lanai Company conveys its Lāna‘i holdings to Frank and Harry Baldwin of Maui, who continue the cattle ranching operation under the title of “Lanai Ranch.”


Charles Gay and family plant the first pineapple on the island, in the Lālākoa-Nininiwai section of Lāna‘i, and agree to sell harvested fruit to the Haiku Fruit & Packing Company on Maui by 1923.

The population of Lāna‘i is approximately 150 people—most of whom are descendants of traditional families of the island.

Kenneth Emory of Bishop Museum conducts an archaeological and ethnographic study of the island of Lāna‘i.


James D. Dole buys out the Baldwin interests on Lāna‘i for $1.1 million, and sets in motion plans that ultimately make Lāna‘i the world’s largest pineapple plantation.


James Dole and associates plan the construction of Lāna‘i City, Kaumālapa‘u Harbor, the plantation fields, and infrastructure needed for development of the plantation.

Dole engages David Root, James Munro, Tokumatsu Murayama, Hawaiian Dredging and others to develop the plantation.

The first buildings in Lāna‘i City are under construction.

Japanese contractors and laborers are among the first to settle into plantation life on Lāna‘i.

September 1923

Harbor improvements at Kaumālapa‘u begin, and the heart of Lāna‘i City emerges on the landscape—several stores, a church, bank, hospital, theater, and business headquarters surround the open park space (Dole Park) that forms the heart of the town. The labor yard, machine shop, and electric plant are built on the adjoining block of the city.


Three hundred acres of pineapple are planted on Lāna‘i.

Water from Maunalei Valley is pumped to the city to supply domestic purposes.

The Japanese Hongwanji Mission, across from Dole Park (now the Union Church), is built and dedicated. The Temple and a Japanese language school begin serving Lāna‘i’s new community.


Nine hundred acres of pineapple are planted on Lāna‘i.

January 31, 1926

James Dole hosts a group of some 150 dignitaries for a “day trip” to Lāna‘i to unveil the Lāna‘i Plantation.

Of the 1,000 people who now live on Lāna‘i, the primary population is of Japanese origin, with small segments of Chinese, Filipino, and others, including the Caucasian management staff. Englishman H. Bloomfield Brown becomes plantation manager.

One thousand two hundred acres of pineapples are planted and some 3,000 acres of additional land are plowed and made ready for planting.

Four thousand head of cattle are maintained under the ranch operation.


Two thousand three hundred acres of pineapple are planted on Lāna‘i, and some 25,000 tons of pineapple shipped to the cannery on O‘ahu.


Seven thousand acres of pineapple are planted on Lāna‘i, and some 50,000 tons of pineapple shipped to the cannery on O‘ahu.

Lāna‘i City grows to 500 homes.

Lāna‘i Ranch decreases its head of cattle to 3,000.


Homes for married couples are erected block by block, in numerical order.  Model homes featured two bedrooms, with large airy living rooms, spotless kitchens, running water, electricity and spacious grassed yards.

Single men’s houses were divided in two by a partition with three furnished rooms in each section. All houses have running water and electricity, and are laid out to provide ample space around each house. 


Filipino laborers arrive on Lāna‘i in large numbers, and over the following years come to make up the primary work force of the plantation.


George C. Munro retired as manager of Lāna‘i Ranch Company, remaining on in the capacity as an advisor and in on-going forestry work. Ernest “Mai‘a” Vredenburg, from the Hawai‘i island ranching family was hired as the new ranch manager.


A Catholic Church opens on Church Street (now Fraser Avenue).

The public school on Lāna‘i moves from the Kō‘ele Ranch vicinity to the present location. 


The population on Lāna‘i nears 3,500 and the acreage of pineapple under cultivation nears 20,000. Dexter “Blue” Fraser arrives to manage the Lāna‘i plantation.


One thousand five hundred residents are at work on the plantation, and seven hundred students are enrolled in Lāna‘i’s public school.

Ernest Vredenburg is appointed manager of the Lāna‘i Ranch operations.


With the outbreak of World War II, military personnel take up residency on Lāna‘i. The Buddhist priest, a store manager, and several other Japanese residents are sent to internment camps in the United States.


The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) organizes in the Hawaiian Islands.


Following the end of World War II, plantation engineers begin to mechanize all aspects of agriculture – including the plowing, spraying and harvesting of pineapple.

A new harvesting machine is developed that considerably lightens the labor of hand picking, sacking and crating the fruit and increases annual harvest capabilities. The Pineapple Research Institute and the Hawaiian Pineapple Company redesign the layout of the island’s fields to adapt them to the use of this new machine. 

The fields were laid out in blocks 132 feet wide, to accommodate booms that extended 67 feet to one side of the harvester. This “parasite” type of harvesting machine came equipped with conveyor belts that moved the hand-picked pineapple to bins fitted to trucks. The harvesting machines were set on trucks by the use of four hydraulic legs.


Pineapple workers on Lāna‘i strike to secure better working conditions and pay. “Bongo” (numbers) used to identify workers for payroll purposes are dropped in favor of Social Security numbers.


The 201-day strike by Lāna‘i plantation employees immobilizes the Hawaiian Pineapple Company. When the strike ended, employees had secured higher salaries, better benefits and working conditions, and the opportunity to purchase homes on Lāna‘i. The improved conditions won by Lāna‘i plantation employees filtered through to other plantations across the territory. 

With the increased costs of labor, Dole begins to look abroad for new planting areas.

Lāna‘i Ranch operations end.


Plantation employees on Lāna‘i buy homes offered for sale by Hawaiian Pineapple Company, the average cost of which ranges between $900 and $1,800.


Hawaiian Pineapple Company, Ltd. changes its name to Dole Corporation.


Castle & Cooke buys out Dole Corporation.


Castle & Cooke unveils plans to transition Lāna‘i from pineapple plantation to a luxury resort destination.


David H. Murdock purchases Castle & Cooke (which includes much of the island of Lāna‘i).


Castle & Cooke, Lanaians for Sensible Growth, Hui Mālama Pono o Lāna‘i, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the State Historic Preservation Division sign a Memorandum of Agreement that ensures the protection of Lāna‘i’s cultural resources and the documentation of the history of Lāna‘i for future generations.


The Lodge at Kō‘ele opens.


The Mānele Bay Resort opens.


The final harvest of pineapple on Lāna‘i takes place in October. On November 14th, a “Pau Hana” (“end of work”) gathering is held in Dole Park to commemorate the close of the pineapple era on Lāna‘i.


The Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center was organized as a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to documenting and passing Lāna‘i’s history on to present and future generations.

July 2012

Larry Ellison purchased the island of Lāna‘i—approximately 97 percent of the land on island—and engaged in building a sustainable community through the holding company, Pūlama Lāna‘i.

Traditioal Lāna‘i mele celebrating the adornment of kauna'oa and deeds of Kāulula'au in the 1400s. 'Oli by Kepā Maly.

Time line of key events in LĀNA‘I's history 

​​​Approximately 1.5 million years ago… 

…The island of Lāna‘i first rises above sea level. The lava flows of Lāna‘i spread out and join with those of Maui, Kaho‘olawe, and Moloka‘i to create low land bridges that connect the islands. With the end of the Ice Age some 10,000 years ago, sea levels rise, and faulting along the low island shelves forms channels between the islands, swallowing the land bridges.

Hawaiian Antiquity

In a time when the gods walked the earth, Kāne, Kanaloa and Kāne‘āpua first step upon Lāna‘i, landing on the leeward coast of Kaunolū at Kealaikahiki (the “Path to Kahiki”). 

The goddess Pele and members of her family find a time of peace and rest on Lāna‘i. The visit is commemorated by an ancient mele (chant), “A Nāna‘i Kaulahea” — one of the oldest known to have originated from Lāna‘i. 

Circa 1200

The first Hawaiian settlers establish residences on Lāna‘i — following settlement of areas on Maui and Moloka‘i that offered richer resources than those of Lāna‘i. Areas of settlement and resource development spread across the island, both along the shore and upland. Maunalei Valley supports the development of lo‘i kalo (taro pond fields) and the leeward coast of Lāna‘i, at Kaunolū, becomes a chiefly residence and religious center for the island.

Circa 1400

Events tied to the naming of the island, division of lands, and attempts to rid Lāna‘i of its spirit inhabitants are commemorated in the history of Kaululā‘au. Lāna‘i is affectionately known as Lāna‘i a Kaululā‘au. 

The famed Lāna‘i priest, Kawelo, battles with a priest of Moloka‘i, and prevails to ensure the wellbeing of Lāna‘i’s native inhabitants. This tradition is commemorated in the place names of Keahiakawelo, Keahi‘āloa and Kaweloahi. In modern times, the cultural landscape of Keahiakawelo is referred to as the “Garden of the Gods,” a name given by a visiting writer in 1911, and popularized by a geologist in 1924.

Circa 1500

A Spanish ship wrecks along the windward coast of Lāna‘i, and the area becomes known as “Keomoku” (the “White Ship”).

Circa 1778

Kalani‘ōpu‘u, King of Hawai‘i, invades Maui. When his attack is repelled, Kalani‘ōpu‘u’s war party encamps on Lāna‘i and in a few months have consumed all food resources, burned the forests and dry land field system, and killed many of the native residents. At the end of their stay, the invaders are reduced to eating ferns found on the island, and suffer from dysentery. This battle becomes known as  “Kamokuhī” (the “Dysentery District”).


The island of Lanai had, according to native accounts and various evidences, a population of about 6,000 people, who were “bounteously” fed by its own products.

Circa 1795-1810

During his quest to unify the islands, and in the years immediately following unification, Kamehameha I makes his summer residence on Lāna‘i at Kaunolū. It is during this period that several Lāna‘i traditions are established—notably, the stories of Puhi o Ka‘ala, and Pu‘u Pehe.


Wong Chun of China settles in the upland region on Lāna‘i to cultivate sugar cane and process it into raw sugar. One year later, Wong Chun departs from Lāna‘i with his boiler and grinders.


The ma‘i ‘ōku‘u epidemic (believed to have been Asiatic cholera) swept through the Hawaiian Islands killing more than 150,000 Hawaiians, including 2,000 native residents of Lāna‘i.


Don Francisco de Paula Marin brings the first pineapple to the Hawaiian Islands from South America.


A Protestant mission station is established at Lāhaina, Maui. The population of Lāna‘i is estimated at close to 3,000.


Four missionary schools are established on Lāna‘i, three of which, Kahalepalaoa, Maunalei and Kihamāniania, are the largest and longest in use.


The first mission meeting house and school is established on Lāna‘i in the Kahalepalaoa vicinity. Population of the island is estimated to be between 2,000 to 3,000.


Goats and sheep are introduced to the island. Native tenants herded some, while others ran wild.


The population of Lāna‘i is estimated at 2,000.


Construction of a stone meeting/school house at Kahalepalaoa begins, and a thatched school house is built in the upland area of Kihamāniania.


Construction of a stone meeting/school house at Kihamāniania (in the Kō‘ele vicinity) begins. 


Kamehameha III, King of the Hawaiian Islands, creates a land division system that apportions land among the government, the chiefs and the people, reserving many lands for himself. Five of the thirteen ahupua‘a (native land divisions) which make up the island are granted to chiefly awardees, and the eight remaining ahupua‘a are retained by the King and the government. Several small house lots and planting fields are granted to about fifty-five native tenants.


The population of Lāna‘i sinks to 604.


Mormon elders are granted a lease in the ahupua‘a of Pālāwai, and begin an “experiment” to gather Hawaiian “Saints” on Lāna‘i.  They prepare them for relocation to Utah, if and when the kingdom allows emigration.1857-


Mormon elders are recalled to Utah, and the Lāna‘i settlement is left under the care of the Hawaiian Saints.


Walter Murray Gibson arrives on Lāna‘i and reorganizes the Mormon settlement at Pālāwai.


Chief Levi Ha‘alelea sells the ahupua‘a of Pālāwai to Walter Murray Gibson for $3000, to use as a Mormon settlement.


Mormon Elders from Utah return to Lāna‘i and level charges against Gibson for misconduct—which includes Gibson’s retaining title to Pālāwai under his own name. The Elders terminate the Pālāwai experiment and most of the Hawaiian Saints leave Lāna‘i for their home islands or the new Lā‘ie settlement on O’ahu.


Walter Murray Gibson secures a lease for the ahupua‘a of Ka‘ōhai, and purchases the ahupua‘a of Ka‘ā—the largest land division on the island.


Walter Murray Gibson purchases the ahupua‘a of Keālia Kapu.


Walter Murray Gibson enters into leases with the Kingdom and other chiefly landlords for additional lands on Lāna‘i. The King and Gibson begin a sheep ranching operation, and sheep and wool are shipped from the Awalua landing.


Herds of feral goats and sheep have begun to ruin the island’s forest. Water sources dry out, and rock slides are reported to kill native tenants working irrigated taro lands in Maunalei Valley.


Walter Murray Gibson secures a lease from the Government for the ahupua‘a of Keālia Aupuni.


Walter Murray Gibson secures a lease from the Government for the ahupua‘a of Paoma‘i.


Walter Murray Gibson secures a lease from the Government for the ahupua‘a of Kamoku, and relocates his ranch operations and residence from Pālāwai to Kō‘ele (in the ahupua‘a of Kamoku). 

King David Kalākaua gives two Norfolk Island pine tree seedlings to Gibson, who plants both at Kō‘ele. One survives and is still growing at Kō‘ele.

Walter Murray Gibson secures a lease from Pane Kekelaokalani for the ahupua‘a of Maunalei.


The Kingdom Survey Division surveys and maps Lāna‘i. Significant features of the landscape are described by elder native informants.


Walter Murray Gibson secures a lease from the Government for the ahupua‘a of Kalulu and renews his leasehold interest in Kamoku.


Walter Murray Gibson purchases the ahupua‘a of Maunalei from the estate of Emma Kaleleonalani (daughter of Pane Kekelaokalani).


Walter Murray Gibson mortgages lands on the island of Lāna‘i, Maui and O’ahu, along with 40,000 head of sheep, 300 head of cattle, 200 head of horses, ranching equipment and facilities, in favor of William G. Irwin & Co. of O’ahu.


Walter Murray Gibson dies.  His daughter and son-in-law, Talula and Fredrick Hayselden, inherit Gibson’s holdings, which at the time of his death included fee-simple ownership of five ahupua‘a, and leasehold rights on all remaining lands, except for small parcels granted to native tenants not previously purchased by Gibson.


The population of Lāna‘i is reduced to 200, all of whom “are fishers, shepherds and patch cultivators.” (Whitney, 1890)]


Fredrick and Talula Hayselden engage in efforts to promote economic growth on the island. As many as 50,000 sheep are counted on Lāna‘i.


Walter Murray Gibson’s estate is settled and the lease of Government Lands in Keālia Aupuni, Pāwili, Kama‘o, Mahana and Kaunolū, are confirmed for the full term of their respective periods. Fredrick Hayselden forms the “Lanai Land Development Company”.