Hale Paahao (Stuck-in-Irons House)

Hale Paahao (Stuck-in-Irons House)

Map
Corner of Prison and Wainee Sts., Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761

From a look at the records available in the old prison, Hale Paahao (“stuck-in-irons house”), built by King Kamehameha III to detain unruly sailors who refused to return to their ships by sundown, it’s easy to see which group prevailed more often than not. In 1855 there were 330 convictions for “drunkenness” and 169 for “fornication,” as well as 89 for “furious riding.” But apparently life in the prison, which is beautifully preserved, with its well-manicured yard under large monkeypod trees just off the main drag, was not all bad. Seaman William Mitchell Stetson confided in his diary: “Male and female all had freedom of the prison yard and mingled promiscuously.” And if the hardships of jail life ever did become too much of a strain, the wooden cells were barely secure and the coral restraining wall, at just over 10 feet high, was easily scaled once the sailors sobered up.

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