It’s situated on the sand dunes midway between Wailuku and Kahului on the main highway … it was named and renamed four different times: Wailuku Junior High School (1928) … Wailuku Intermediate (1932) … Wailuku High School (1936) … Baldwin High School (1939.)
Let’s look back …
In December of 1924 a resolution was introduced by Supervisor R. A. Drummond to establish a new high school in or near Wailuku.
While Maui High School was available for students pursuing a secondary school education (back then, it was located in Pā‘ia,) the supervisors felt that it was too far and inconvenient for students to travel to Hāmākuapoko and that a high school should be located near the population center of the island.
But it took a while for the High School to be built. First, in 1928, Wailuku Junior High School was constructed. Situated in the heart of Wailuku, it drew students from Waiheʻe, Kihei, Waikapu and Wailuku.
Enrollment skyrocketed from 225-students in 1928 to 498 in 1931. The next year the school name changed to Wailuku Intermediate. After four years the name changed again, to Wailuku High School.
By 1937, Maui High School was becoming crowded and a new school was needed to relieve pressure from the school. However, building a new high school was not a unanimously approved plan.
As reported in the Maui News (June 5, 1937): “Talk of building a new high school found Supervisor HL Holstein asking the question as to whether the school was being built so as to thrust another batch of white collar job hunters on the market or whether a vocational school was being built that would teach a man a trade so he could earn a living.”
The supervising principal, Richard E Meyer, pointed out that only 25% of students who began the first grade finished the twelfth and that the new school was to be a senior high school with some shop and vocational work.
The community received news that on October 6, 1937 the legislature provided funding for the new school construction. Fifty acres of land were purchased below the sand hills.
A number of Honolulu architects submitted their applications to the Department of Education, including CW Winstedt and CW Dickey.
However, as a cost saving measure, plans and specifications were prepared by Department of Public Works architect Henry Stewart and County architect Noboru Kobayashi.
Bids for the first unit, the Cafeteria, were called on November 1938. Construction for the shop unit began in December. Then bids for the last four units, which were the largest, administration, homemaking, science and utility buildings, were awarded.
In April 1939, Harry Baldwin, president and manager of Maui Agriculture Company, turned up the first shovel of earth, marking the beginning of the construction of these units.
On October 27, 1939, ceremonies were held celebrating the final inspection and acceptance of the administration and classroom unit. The school then received its lasting name, Henry Perrine Baldwin High School. Later that year the auditorium was built.
Students and teachers moved furniture and equipment into the new buildings before beginning the 1939 Christmas vacation and after vacation, January 8, 1940, students started at their new school.
The school’s namesake, Henry Perrine Baldwin (born August 29, 1842 in Lahaina,) was a son of Dwight and Charlotte Fowler Baldwin, early American Protestant missionaries to Hawai‘i.
He and Samuel Thomas Alexander, another son of American Protestant missionaries (William Patterson Alexander and Mary Ann McKinney Alexander,) grew up together, became close friends and went on to develop a sugar-growing partnership – Alexander & Baldwin (A&B.)
In 1883, Alexander and Baldwin formalized their partnership by incorporating their sugar business as the Pā’ia Plantation also known at various times as Samuel T Alexander & Co, Haleakala Sugar Co and Alexander & Baldwin Plantation.
By spring of 1900, A&B had outgrown its partnership organization and plans were made to incorporate the company, allowing the company to increase capitalization and facilitate expansion.
A&B was one of Hawaiʻi’s five major companies (that emerged to providing operations, marketing, supplies and other services for the plantations and eventually came to own and manage most of them.) They became known as the Big Five.
Hawaiʻi’s Big Five were: C Brewer (1826;) A Theo H Davies (1845;) Amfac – starting as Hackfeld & Company (1849;) Castle & Cooke (1851) and Alexander & Baldwin (1870.)
What started off as partnership between two young men, with the purchase of 12-acres in Maui, has grown into a corporation with $2.3 billion in assets, including over 88,000-acres of land.
(In 2012, A&B separated into two stand-alone, publicly traded companies – A&B focusing on land and agribusiness, and Matson on transportation.)
A&B is the State’s fourth largest private landowner, and is one of the State’s most active real estate investors. Its portfolio includes a diversity of projects throughout Hawaiʻi, and a commercial property portfolio comprising nearly 8-million square feet of leasable space in Hawaiʻi and on the US Mainland. (Lots of information here is from Baldwin HS, NPS and A&B.)
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My husband, a Baldwin grad, adds that the students and teachers carried the furniture from the present-day location of Iao School. This was quite a long walk! He heard this story from teacher Alfred Kaumeheiwa and once saw a film of the undertaking.