The 104-year old Wo Hing Society temple on Front Street is currently undergoing major repairs due to ground termites. Wo Hing Museum & Cookhouse are temporarily closed during this work.
When ground termites were found in one of the posts supporting the upper lanai last year, that post and the surrounding area were treated but the termites’ point of entry was not specifically located. Lahaina Restoration Foundation’s chief engineer realized that the termites could return. The Foundation submitted a proposal and subsequently received a grant to fund the restoration project. County of Maui then issued Historic District and Special Management Area Exemption permits for the work.
Bracing, demolition and repair work began this month, and the contractor found that the termite damage was more extensive than originally thought. A.H. Builders will be replacing all eight supporting posts on the front of the building, four on the upper lanai and four on the lower level. In addition to replacing the damaged wood posts and reinforcing the structure, the contractor is working to establish the point of entry of termites into the building so this type of infestation can be prevented in the future.
When Wo Hing Society constructed the wooden building in 1912, its members had a place to retreat for spiritual purposes in the temple room upstairs and for socializing in the meeting hall downstairs. Here’s an interesting piece of trivia from Jim Luckey’s book, Luckey Come Lahaina: Most of the lumber used in the building was cut at the turn of the 20th century from old-growth Douglas Fir. Jim calculated that there were two-and-a-half miles of railing parts around the exterior lanais. In partnership with the Wo Hing Society, LRF faithfully restored the temple from December 1981 to December 1982.
To learn more about this iconic building from Lahaina’s plantation era, visit Wo Hing Museum & Cookhouse. Please check back for the re-opening date!