In approximately 1875, H.N. Greenwell built his stone store, establishing Kalukalu as an important commercial outpost in an isolated but growing district. Until this time, stores and warehouses were located along the seashore, at the ports of Kailua, Keauhou, Napoopoo and Hookena. With the construction of better wagon roads, it was finally possible to haul goods from the coastal docks up to the growing population of mauka Kona.
This building served the community as a post office, general merchandise store and meeting place. Mrs. Greenwell became known throughout Kona as a storekeeper, working with the help of her daughters into her 90s behind the wooden counters. Greenwell family members used the store as a sewing room, ranch office and warehouse. Morning tea was always served in the store, complete with cream, sugar and freshly baked brown bread. The store continued to supply basic supplies and food items for ranch employees until the mid-1950s under the direction of Mrs. Maud Greenwell, widow of William Henry Greenwell, the eldest Greenwell son.
This stone store is the oldest surviving store in Kona and one of the oldest buildings in the district. It is on both the state and the National Registers of Historic Places and is remarkable for its lava rock and lime mortar walls. The original roof material was slate, which was replaced in the 20th century with corrugated metal roofing. Visitors will notice Greenwell’s initials marked on each plank of the ceiling lumber.
Copyright 1998 Kona Historical Society. Reprinted by permission.