Hamakua Mill Company in Paʻauilo

Englishmen Theophilus H. Davies and Charles R. Notley, Sr. saw the potential for sugar production in the Hāmākua district of Hawaiʻi Island. They started the Hamakua Mill Company in 1877. In the following year, Notley and his crew began planting sugarcane at Paʻauilo. The plantation fields stretched three miles across at their widest point along the ocean cliffs and six miles up the slopes of Mauna Kea to an elevation of 2000 feet. Davies hired the Honolulu Iron Works to build a mill. Like other plantation towns, Paʻauilo included a company store, a school, churches, temples, an auto repair shop and other businesses.

The Lyman Museum preserves various sugar industry records. The Hamakua Sugar Company, organized in 1984, consolidated the land of seven original companies including the Hamakua Mill Company. The collection of the Hamakua Sugar Company contains records related to road, sewer, and tunnel projects in Paʻauilo. To learn more, the Archives is open for research by appointment: https://lymanmuseum.org/archives/.

Note: Hawaiian diacritical marks comprise just two symbols: the ʻokina (glottal stop) and the kahakō (macron). We use them with Hawaiian place names, but do not add them to proper names if a family or a company does not use them.

A Hawaii Consolidated Railway train at a station with people boarding, ca. 1910. The railway tracks ran north from Hilo to Paʻauilo and from Hilo, south into Puna. The railway was also used to transport cane. A large tsunami on April 1, 1946, left extensive damage. The disaster collapsed bridges and swept an engine off the tracks. Harry A. Wessel Collection.
The Hamakua Theatre, H. Tanimoto & Sons in Paʻauilo, January 31, 1962. The movie poster is for Tomboy and the Champ, a 1961 American Western film.
The James Oshiro house in Paʻauilo, 1987. The Hamakua Mill Company provided simple, practical housing, often within walking distance of the mill. By 1910 the company employed thousands of workers.
The Paauilo Shingon Shu Kongoji, 1987. Japanese immigrant workers formed their own religious organizations and hired priests from Japan. The Kongoji Mission, which is part of Shingon or esoteric Buddhism, features a garden walk of 88 shrines, representing a group of 88 shrines in Shikoku, Japan. The Paauilo Hongwanji Mission, built in 1916, sits on a neighboring lot. The Hongwanji sect is part of Pure Land Buddhism.
The Hamakua Mill Company manager’s house, 1987. The house was built in 1909 during the tenure of Anthony Lidgate, manager of the Hamakua Mill Company until 1921. Robert M. Lindsay (1921-1933) and William F. Robertson (1933-1956) also worked as managers.