When the Rev. John D. Paris returned to Hawaii in 1851, he was assigned to the South Kona mission field. Having lost his first wife while stationed in Ka‘u from 1841 to 1847, Paris prudently decided to build his home at a higher, cooler and perhaps healthier elevation. He chose the site of an abandoned missionary health station located at Kaawaloa mauka, overlooking Kealakekua Bay.
He built his stone kitchen and cistern in 1852. The two-story house was completed in 1853. As Paris wrote in his journal, “The lumber for it was sawed in the forest and carried down. The frame is of ohia and the clapboards and shingles of koa.” Although the original stone kitchen was ruined in the 1951 earthquake, the house survived. It is possibly the oldest wooden framed structure standing in mauka Kona today.
Paris called his new home Mauna Alani, or Orange Hill, after two “very productive” old orange trees he found growing nearby. He believed these trees were some of the original seedlings brought to Kona in 1792 by Archibald Menzies, surgeon and naturalist on board Capt. George Vancouver’s ship the Discovery. According to Paris’ great-granddaughter, who lives at Mauna Alani today, the trees are still bearing.
This private home is not open to the public, but can be seen clearly on the mauka side of Napoopoo Road, close to the junction with Highway 11. Look for a two-story white building with a red roof.
Copyright 1998 Kona Historical Society. Reprinted by permission.