Kalawao County is a small, rural county located on the eastern end of the Hawaiian island of Molokai. It is one of the smallest counties in the United States with a total land area of only 16 square miles and a population of just over 100 people. The county is made up mostly of two large valleys separated by the Kalaupapa Peninsula.
The geography of Kalawao County is characterized by steep, rugged cliffs that line much of its coastline and make it difficult to access from the sea. The cliffs are part of an ancient shield volcano that formed millions of years ago and now form a natural barrier from the rest of Molokai Island.
The two main valleys in Kalawao County are Halawa Valley and Kalaupapa Valley which are separated by the Kalaupapa Peninsula. Halawa Valley is known for its lush vegetation and contains several streams and waterfalls while Kalaupapa Valley is home to several historical sites such as St. Philomena Church, built in 1866, and numerous ancient Hawaiian archaeological sites including burial grounds, petroglyphs, and heiau (temples).
The climate in Kalawao County tends to be mild year-round with temperatures rarely rising above 80 degrees Fahrenheit or dropping below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The county also receives an average annual rainfall amounting to about 40 inches per year making it one of the wettest areas in Hawaii.
Overall, Kalawao County has a unique geography that sets it apart from much of Hawaii with its steep cliffs and lush valleys surrounded by ancient volcanic landforms providing stunning views for visitors who come to explore this remote region.
Country Seat and Other Main Cities of Kalawao County, Hawaii
Kalawao County has no formally designated county seat, but the city of Kalaupapa is considered to be the de facto county seat. Located in the center of the Kalaupapa Valley on the Kalaupapa Peninsula, it is home to many of the county’s government offices and buildings. The village of Kalawao is also located on the peninsula and is home to a small population of about 100 people.
The other main cities in Kalawao County are located outside of the peninsula and include Kaunakakai, Maunaloa, and Hoolehua. Kaunakakai is the largest city in Kalawao County with a population of nearly 3,000 people. It serves as a hub for transportation and commercial activity as well as providing access to nearby beaches and recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, and kayaking. See cities in Hawaii.
Maunaloa is another small town located southeast of Kaunakakai with a population of around 500 people. It serves primarily as an agricultural center with many farms producing tropical fruits such as papaya, mangoes, oranges, avocados, coconuts, guavas and starfruit for sale throughout Hawaii.
Hoolehua is located at the northern end of Molokai Island near Ho’olehua Airport which provides daily flights to Honolulu International Airport on Oahu Island. The town has a population of just over 1,000 people and serves primarily as an agricultural center with many local farms producing tropical fruits like papaya for sale throughout Hawaii.
Overall, Kalawao County has several small towns that provide important services for its residents including transportation hubs like Hoolehua Airport along with centers for agriculture like Maunaloa and Kaunakakai that help support local businesses throughout Hawaii’s economy.
History of Kalawao County, Hawaii
Kalawao County, Hawaii is a remote county located on the Kalaupapa Peninsula on the island of Molokai. It has an area of only 44 square miles and a population of just over 90 people. The county is most well known for being home to the former leprosy settlement in Kalaupapa, founded in 1866 by King Kamehameha V.
The history of Kalawao County dates back to the early 19th century when it was inhabited by Native Hawaiians who were living in subsistence farming communities. In 1866, King Kamehameha V established a colony for those suffering from leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) on the isolated peninsula which would become known as Kalaupapa.
The settlement was managed by the Board of Health and patients were required to live there indefinitely with no contact with family or friends outside of the settlement. By 1919, 888 patients had been sent to Kalaupapa and in 1921, it became an official part of Kalawao County.
In 1969, the state legislature passed a law that allowed those living at the settlement to leave if they wished and many did so over time. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed legislation that officially ended isolation of Hansen’s Disease patients in Hawaii and granted them full civil rights.
Today, Kalawao County is still home to around 90 people who either suffer from Hansen’s Disease or are descendants of those who did so in earlier years. The county is now designated as a National Historical Park and its unique history draws visitors from around the world each year who come to explore its remote location and learn more about its past inhabitants.
Economy of Kalawao County, Hawaii
The economy of Kalawao County, Hawaii is largely driven by agriculture, tourism and government services. Agriculture is a major source of income for the county with crops such as sweet potatoes and taro being grown in the area. Livestock farming is also popular with cows and pigs being raised for local consumption and sale. In addition, the county is home to several small businesses including restaurants, stores and car repair shops.
Tourism is another major source of income for Kalawao County, with visitors coming to explore its unique history as a former leper colony as well as its natural beauty. The county has several attractions such as a museum that showcases the history of leprosy in Hawaii along with several beaches and hiking trails.
Government services are also important to the economy of Kalawao County, providing employment opportunities for locals and essential services such as health care and transportation hubs like Hoolehua Airport. The county also receives funding from federal grants which helps to support local businesses throughout Hawaii’s economy.
Overall, Kalawao County remains a remote area but it provides important services for its residents through agriculture, tourism and government services which help to support local businesses throughout Hawaii’s economy.