In 1888 a group of Maui businessmen joined together and incorporated the Haleakalā Ranch Company. The ranch, which began with the acquisition of lands owned by Charles Alexander, grew over time to include over 32,000 acres of land on Maui. Today, it is the island's largest cattle ranch withopen space from Maui’s south shoreline to the heart of Upcountry.
The Baldwin Family
The Baldwin family boasts the most influence over the Haleakalā area out of any family in recent history. The Baldwin family first landed in Hawaii in 1831 when Congregational Missionary Dwight Baldwin and his wife Charlotte arrived from Connecticut. The couple was sent to oversee the Waine'e Church in Lahaina in 1835. The Baldwin House is now preserved as a historic building on Front Street in Lahaina. Henry Perrine Baldwin, co-founder of the Sugar company Alexander and Baldwin, became a shareholder of Haleakalā Ranch in 1890. He slowly increased his ownership of the ranch in the years that followed, until he eventually owned the whole thing. Thus becoming the first president of Haleakalā Ranch. Baldwin invested a lot of time and money into the ranch. In 1927, Ranch co-owners Harry and Sam Baldwin exchanged the Haleakalā Crater area for land in Kamaole and Kihei. This land exchange enabled the establishment of Haleakalā National Park. Haleakalā Ranch stayed in the Baldwin family from 1888 until 2000 when Willard “Buzz” Stluka took over as the first president from outside the family.
Impact of the Ranch
The ranch has been an essential piece of life in Upcountry Maui for more than 125 years. It has been involved in many historical events in Hawaii from kickstarting the sport of Polo on the islands to assisting with founding the Maui County Fair. Haleakalā Ranch was involved in kickstarting the sport of Polo in Hawaii. Sam Baldwin enjoyed horseback riding and was, in fact, required to do so daily as part of his job at the ranch. Because he spent so much time on horseback, he picked up the sport of Polo. He played the sport with friends and business partners at the Maunaolu Field very frequently. This helped popularize Polo on the islands. The Maui County Fair is an annual agriculture and farm fair that is held in Upcountry. Haleakalā Ranch helped in the founding of the Maui County Fair. The ranch usually hosts the entertainment at the annual fair. The annual fair also features a rodeo, an agricultural tent, and livestock auction. Haleakalā Ranch also contributes to conservation and preservation efforts in Hawaii. The ranch partners with nonprofit organizations such as the Nature Conservancy and East Maui Watershed Partnership.About the Author: Experience Upcountry Maui with Skyline Hawai’i on a guided tour. The relaxed culture and soaring views are just the beginning of what Upcountry Maui has to offer. For more information or to make your reservation today, visit: www.skylinehawaii.com.