Kōloa is the birthplace of the Hawaiian sugar industry. Kōloa Plantation and Kōloa Sugar Mill was the model for sugar plantations to follow. The signing of a lease by Ladd & Co. and King Kamehameha III on July 29, 1835 for land at Kōloa, Kauaʻi marked the beginning of the sugar industry which essentially created modern Hawaii. Sugar provided the Hawaiian Islands with a foundation, playing a key part in bringing the Islands into a cosmopolitan society.
A mill was completed at Maulili Pool in 1836, but only molasses was produced the first year. The next year iron rollers were imported and a new mill built the first iron sugar mill in Hawaii. Hooper proudly told his partners, “our work at Maulili will forever remain a monument and an honor to the house of Ladd § Co.” And those words held true as 4,286 pounds of sugar and 2,700 gallons of molasses were produced in 1837, marking the first real production of sugar on a commercial scale in Hawaii.
The second mill proved unsuccessful, so in 1839 a new mill site on Waihohonu Stream ‐ the site of the present Kōloa Mill ‐ was leased from the king. Completed in 1841, the remains of this structure still stand. The great square smokestack is said to bear the date “1842.”
The firm was the first to institute agricultural operations in the islands on an extensive scale “and to demonstrate to others the profits that might be obtained from the production of sugar. They inaugurated the Hawaiian system of plantations, conducted and financed by central agencies in Honolulu, and the methods of housing and caring for the labor adopted by Mr. Hooper have been continued and are still  followed by the Hawaiian sugar planters.”
When you stay in our Kaui rentals, visit the Kōloa Sugar Mill for a taste of Hawaiian History.