From its opening fanfare in 1860, the Lahaina Courthouse served as a customs house for whaling and trade ships as well as a center for government offices and court functions during the Monarchy period. Constructed between 1858-1859 on the site of the Old Fort, “Lahaina Court & Customs House” was built with coral block and other materials that came from Kamehameha III’s unfinished western palace (Hale Piula), which was destroyed during a fierce Kauaula wind.
The two-story wood facade building contained a post office and collector’s office, offices for the Governor of Maui, Sheriff and District Attorney as well as a courtroom. On August 12, 1898 when the Hawaiian Islands were officially annexed to the United States, Lahaina’s assistant postmaster oversaw the lowering of the red, white and blue banner of the Hawaiian Kingdom and watched the American flag being raised in its place over this courthouse.
In 1925, the courthouse was rebuilt with a new gabled roof, entrance and second floor balcony in the Greek Revival architectural style that you see today. The courtroom, judge and tax collector’s office were upstairs. The post office and police station were on the first floor, and the jail was in the basement. They remained in use until the 1970s when the Lahaina Civic Center was constructed.