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ISLAND HISTORY: The McBryde Sugar Co. plantation village at Wahiawa, Kauai

Founded in 1899 and demolished in 1985, the McBryde Sugar Co. plantation village at Wahiawa, Kauai was comprised of Camp 2 and Camp 3, situated in and above Wahiawa Gulch between Port Allen and Numila.

The two camps were part of a network of 18 McBryde plantation camps, and contained over 100 employee houses, a mom and pop store, a Buddhist temple, a community hall, a Japanese-language school, a ball field, and more.

Old-timers remembered Wahiawa.

Gerald Hirata, who grew up in Wahiawa during the 1950s, said his parents were born there, and his grandparents were contract laborers from Japan who’d settled in the village in 1899.

Senator Daniel K. Inouye also had roots in Wahiawa, since his immigrant grandparents, Asakichi and Moyo Inouye, likewise took up residence at Wahiawa in 1899.

Shizuko Kato came to Wahiawa from Hiroshima at the age of 16 and noted: “I came from Japan alone in 1921 to marry a man I’d never met. I worked 45 years in the sugar fields. I have two children, nine grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren.”

Ichiro Izuka, born in 1911, remembered spending 10 hours a day working alongside adults and other children in the cane fields at age 10 and said, “It was a tough life. It made us strong. It taught us how to survive.”

Born in 1883, Kamako Nakasone came to Wahiawa from Japan in 1912 as a picture bride, also, to marry a man she’d seen in photographs but had never met.

She recollected that “I worked in the fields and later took in laundry, washing clothes for single men in the camp. We had no washing machines. And, during World War II, I did laundry for soldiers stationed in a nearby army camp.”

Incidentally, while working for John Batchelder’s trash company in 1971, I collected rubbish at the McBryde manager’s house at Brydeswood, Camp 2, Camp 3, nearby Camp 7, Numila and Numila Store, the McBryde mill, Camp 11 above Lawai Gulch, and Port Allen Camp.

There were still a good many houses in Camp 2 and Camp 3 at that time.
Source: The Garden Island

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