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Nawiliwili Lighthouse

Nawiliwili Lighthouse, Kauai, Hawaii
© Hank Soboleski.
The above picture shows Nawiliwili Lighthouse as it looked in 1967.

In 1897, the Republic of Hawaii obtained a lease from Lihue Plantation Co. on Ninini Point in Nawiliwili as the site for the construction of a wooden, 40-foot tall, trestle-frame light tower with a little lamp room set atop it, painted white. A small house for Manuel Souza, the first Ninini Point light keeper, and his wife, Marie, was also built nearby.

Each evening just before sunset, Souza would climb the light tower to light an oil lamp, which he would tend throughout the night. Then about 1/2-hour after sunrise each morning, he would extinguish the light, clean the lamp and polish the reflector, which was visible at sea for 10 miles.

Souza's other duties consisted of maintaining the tower, his house and the grounds for $6 per month plus his living quarters.

When Souza resigned in 1903 after complaining of an insufficient salary, Carl Blum became Ninini Point light keeper at $8 a month.

In 1906, the original light tower was replaced with a 33-1/2 foot tall, white, wooden mast with a new lamp. At its base, a modest house painted white with lead-colored trimmings and a red roof was built. Both mast and house were rebuilt in 1923 and repaired in 1926.

Oliver Kua, light keeper from 1918 through 1939, the last of seven light keepers at Ninini Point, who would retire when the U. S. Coast Guard took over lighthouse service, would climb that wooden mast each morning, lower the lamp and service it.

In 1933 a new house was built for Kua with three bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and bathroom, with outbuildings close by, and the 86-foot tall cylindrical concrete lighthouse presently at Ninini Point was also built. This light house was automated in 1953.