The oldest house still standing on the island of Maui, Baldwin Home is a recognizable landmark in the heart of historic Lahaina. The original four-room, single level structure was built by Reverend Ephraim Spaulding between 1834-35 in what was then referred to as the “missionary compound.” This area offered a direct view to the Lahaina landing and roadstead beyond where whaling ships would anchor.
When Rev. Spaulding became ill in 1836 and returned to Massachusetts, a medical missionary, Reverend Dwight Baldwin, and his family who had been living in a grass hale (hut) in the compound moved into the home … and the legacy of a Maui pioneer began.
Newlyweds when they embarked, Baldwin and his wife Charlotte Fowler traveled by ship from New England around South America’s Cape Horn on a six-month voyage to the island of O‘ahu. They were assigned to Hawai‘i Island first, arriving on Maui in 1835. The couple had eight children, all born in Hawai‘i, although two children died of dysentery before the age of three.
As their family grew, so did the house. In 1840, a bedroom and medical study were added and in 1849, an entire second floor was completed, which is the structure you see today. The home faces prevailing winds from the ocean with larger windows in the front, consists of 24-inch thick walls (constructed of coral, sand and lava rock with rough-hewn timber framing) and high ceilings, keeping the interior cool.
Remnants of the kitchen’s foundation and firepit in the rear yard provide a snapshot of the extent to which the family used the outdoors for cooking, bathing, washing dishes and clothes, gardening and raising farm animals. Of course, there was no indoor plumbing back then. Landscaping in this compound included kukui and kou trees along with bananas, breadfruit, figs and a grape arbor. Surrounded by a freshwater stream and next to an artesian well, the home was self-sustaining.
The Baldwins led a busy, vibrant life in Lahaina, opening their home to weary travelers and ship captains to stay as overnight guests. They often received members of Hawai‘i’s royal court and visiting consuls in their home, which was always a bustling center of activity.
Rev. and Mrs. Baldwin lived in Lahaina through 1868 then moved to O‘ahu to retire near their daughter. Charlotte Baldwin died at the age of 67 years and Dwight Baldwin lived until the ripe old age of 88 years.
120 Dickenson Street (at the corner of Front Street)
Hours of Operation:
Open Daily, 10:00am – 4:00pm
Open on Fridays until 8:30pm
(Candlelit Tours take place on the half-hour from dusk to 8:00pm)
Docents are available for a guided tour.
Click on the short video
$7 – Adults (13+ years)
$5 – Seniors (60+ years)
$5 – Military (with ID)
$5 – Kama‘aina (with Hawai‘i ID)
Children 12 years & under go free.
*Admission fee allows entry to both Baldwin Home and Wo Hing Museums* Purchase a Passport to the Past for $12 and get admission to 4 of Maui’s popular museums! (Baldwin Home, Wo Hing, A&B Sugar and Bailey House)
below to learn how Rev. Baldwin inoculated the people of Maui Nui with a smallpox vaccine to prevent deaths from the smallpox epidemic of 1853: