Kalaupapa National Historical Park
Kalaupapa, United States
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Kalawao County, also known as Kalaupapa National Historical Park, is a county and National Historical Park located in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The county is on the Kalaupapa or Makanalua Peninsula, on the north coast of the island of Molokaʻi. The small peninsula of Kalaupapa is isolated from the rest of Molokaʻi by sea cliffs over a quarter-mile high—the only land access is a mule trail. The county was designated a National Historical Park by the National Park Service in 1980 to expand upon the earlier National Historic Landmark site of the Kalaupapa Leper Settlement. Its goal is to preserve the cultural and physical settings of the two leper colonies on the island of Molokaʻi.
Kalawao County is a separate county from the rest of Molokaʻi, which is part of Maui County. Maui County does not claim jurisdiction over the three villages of Kalaupapa, Kalawao, and Waikolu. Some maps, however, do not show Kalawao as a separate county.
The county does not have a county government, with the exception of a sheriff who is selected from local residents by the State Department of Health, which administers the county.
The county is coextensive with the Kalaupapa National Historical Park, and encompasses the Kalaupapa Settlement where the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, the Republic of Hawaiʻi, the territory, and the state once exiled persons suffering from leprosy (Hansen's disease) beginning in the 1860s. The quarantine policy was lifted in 1969, after the disease became treatable on an outpatient basis and could be rendered non-contagious. However, many of the resident patients chose to remain, and the state promised that they could stay there for the rest of their lives. No new patients, or other permanent residents, are admitted. Visitors are only permitted as part of officially sanctioned tours. State law prohibits anyone under the age of 16 from visiting or living there, although limited exceptions have been made for children seeing their relatives.
With a population of 90 at the 2010 census, Kalawao County's population is the second smallest of any county in the United States, behind only Loving County, Texas.
The removal of the Native Hawaiian inhabitants in 1865 cut the cultural ties and associations that preceding generations had established with the ʻaina (land) over 900 years.
Thereafter, the establishment of isolation settlements, first at Kalawao and then at Kalaupapa, led to broader dislocations across Hawaiian society as the Kingdom, and subsequently, the Territory of Hawaiʻi tried to control leprosy (also known as Hansen's disease), a much feared illness, by forcibly relocating patients to the isolated peninsula. The impact of both the broken connections with the ʻaina and of family members "lost" to Kalaupapa are still felt in Hawaiʻi today.
Hansen's disease, caused by a bacteria-based infection, has been cured since the 1940s with the introduction of modern antibiotics. There are no active cases of Hansen's disease in the Kalaupapa settlement or on the Island of Molokaʻi, and those who reside in the colony presently are the few remaining elderly former disease patients and their descendant families who wish to continue to live in the neighborhood of housing maintained on the peninsula.
The Belgian missionary-priest Father Damien brought considerable attention to the leper colony both in the late 19th century but also in subsequent literature and popular culture. (He would be canonized in 2009 as a Catholic saint.) Robert Louis Stevenson described the Molokaʻi leper colony as a "prison fortified by nature".Jack London visited in 1908 and wrote the Lepers of Molokai and Koolau the Leper in response. The 1999 movie Molokai featuring Peter O'Toole and Kris Kristofferson focuses on the story of Father Damien and the leper colony.
Long after the death of Father Damien, Belgian missionary priests from the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary continued to devote their lives to work on Molokai and assist its ex-leper flock, most recent figures including Henri Systermans and Fr. Joseph Hendricks whose death in November 2008 marked the end of this 140 year old tradition.
Kalaupapa National Historical Park, established in 1980, preserves the physical settings for these stories. Within its boundaries are the historic Hansen's disease settlements of Kalawao and Kalaupapa. The community of Kalaupapa, on the leeward side of Kalaupapa Peninsula, is still home for a few elderly surviving former Hansen's disease-scarred patients, whose memories and experiences of their ordeals with surviving the disease are cherished. In Kalawao on the windward side of the peninsula are the churches of Siloama, established in 1866, and Saint Philomena, associated with the work of St. Father Damien.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 52.33 square miles (135.5 km2), of which 13.21 square miles (34.2 km2) (or 25.24%) is land and 39.12 square miles (101.3 km2) (or 74.76%) is water (mostly the Pacific Ocean). By land area, it is the smallest county in the United States.
The county has the Kalaupapa Peninsula, which contains two of the counties towns: Kalaupapa and Kalawao. The Kalaupapa Peninsula was created when lava erupted from the ocean floor near Kauhako Crater and spread outward, forming a low, shield volcano. This was the most recent volcanic episode on the island and of the larger Wailau shield volcano, occurring after the formation of the cliffs by erosion. Today, the dormant crater contains a small lake more than 800 feet (240 m) deep.
Traditionally, the area of Kalawao County has been composed of four ahupuaʻa. The ahupuaʻa are listed below, from west to east:
Kalaupapa ahupuaʻa is located on the west side of Kalaupapa peninsula, and includes a section of Molokaʻi's coast further west. Makanalua ahupuaʻa is a strip of land in the center of the peninsula that runs to its northern tip. Kalaupapa Airport is located in the north of Makanalua ahupuaʻa. Kalawao ahupuaʻa includes the eastern coast of Kalaupapa peninsula and Waialeia Valley to the southeast. Further southeast is virtually uninhabited Waikolu ahupuaʻa in the namesake valley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 147 people, 115 households, and 21 families residing in the county. The population density was 11 people per square mile (4/km²). There were 172 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 25.85% White, 17.01% Asian, 48.30% Pacific Islander, 2.72% from other races, and 6.12% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.08% of the population.
There were 115 households out of which 1.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 16.50% were married couples living together, 2.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 80.90% were non-families. 79.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 31.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.28 and the average family size was 2.27.
In the county the population was spread out with 2.00% under the age of 18, 1.40% from 18 to 24, 18.40% from 25 to 44, 46.30% from 45 to 64, and 32.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 59 years. For every 100 females there were 98.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.80 males.
The results of the censuses of population since 1900 shows the decline of population:
The annual population estimates since the last census of population 2000 (as of July 1 of each year) show a further decline in population:
Molokaʻi Airport on the island of Molokaʻi in Maui County provides air service to the whole of Molokaʻi. Commuter air service is available at Kalaupapa Airport, which is located within the county.
Coordinates: 21°11′49″N 156°58′02″W / 21.19694°N 156.96722°W / 21.19694; -156.96722
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