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The old Menefoglio House at Wainiha and Jackie Kahalolani Hashimoto

The big house set on a knoll beyond the hydroelectric powerhouse on Wainiha Powerhouse Road was built circa 1910 and was originally the home of Alfred Menefoglio and his wife Delfina.

An electrical engineer born in Italy, Alfred Menefoglio (1874-1932) had arrived in Hawai‘i in 1900 and had engaged in plantation engineering work on O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island before moving to Kaua‘i in 1905 to help superintend the installation of the Wainiha powerhouse and its power lines for McBryde Sugar Co.

He later became superintendent of the powerhouse and a consulting engineer for McBryde.

Menefoglio also served on the Kaua‘i Board of Supervisors for 12 years and took an active part in civic and community affairs.

Delfina Menefoglio, also from Italy, was a concert pianist who’d come to Hawai‘i in 1901 and ran a medical dispensary in a wing of their Wainiha home.

The Menefoglios occupied their home in Wainiha for many years, after which it eventually became the “McBryde supervisor’s house,” where McBryde Sugar Co. supervisory personnel and their guests could retreat on weekends, holidays and vacations.

During the 1980s, while employed by McBryde as warehouse supervisor, my wife Ginger and I and our children Michelle and Brett and other family members would often spend weekends there.

We’d explore Wainiha Valley inland of the house, with its numerous Hawaiian archaeological sites, and we’d fish for ‘o‘opu and swim in a deep Wainiha River pool not far from the supervisor’s house.

Jackie Kahalolani Hashimoto (1928-2000), the Wainiha power plant operator and supervisor house caretaker — and quite a character — would drop by and talk story with us and have a beer or two with me.

I recall that Jackie placed ti leaves in the dispensary wing of the supervisor house believed to be haunted in order to ward off malevolent spirits, and at the remote water intake station some five miles upstream of the powerhouse, I once saw him faithfully set aside ‘opa‘e for Menehune to eat.

“Yes,” he assured me, “they’re nearby.”

Kaua‘i Resources Co. now maintains the old Menefoglio house.
Source: The Garden Island

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