The records of the Māhele ‘Āina note, Victoria Kamāmalu, a granddaughter of Kamehameha I, claimed and received the ‘ili of Keauhou during the Māhele. Victoria Kamāmalu died on May 29th, 1866, at the age of 28 years.
Her lands were inherited by her father, Mataio Kekūanāoʻa. Kekūanāoʻa died two years later, on November 24th, 1868. His lands – including those he’d inherited from his own children and relatives – were inherited by his daughter, Luta ‘Ruth’ Keʻelikōlani (Princess Ruth, half sister of V. Kamāmalu).
Keʻelikōlani died on May 24, 1883. Her lands – including those she inherited from her own father, siblings, husband, and relatives – were inherited by her cousin, Bernice Pauahi Bishop.
Bernice Pauahi Bishop (Pauahi), daughter of Laura Konia and Abner Paki, inherited the lands of her parents – Abner Paki, who died on June 13, 1855, leaving Pauahi his six (6) Māhele lands and numerous parcels; and Laura Konia, who died on July 2, 1857, leaving Pauahi her ten (10) Māhele lands.
Pauahi also inherited the six (6) Māhele lands of her aunt, ‘Akahi, who died on October 8,1877; and the lands of her cousin, Keʻelikōlani on May 24, 1883 – these lands included the ‘ili of Keauhou, which embrace Kīlauea.
Bernice Pauahi Bishop died on October 15, 1884, her combined lands were dedicated to the establishment of the trust forming the Bishop Estate and the subsequent forming of Kamehameha Schools.
On June 4, 1920, Bishop Estate agreed to a trade with the Territory of Hawaii, exchanging approximately 12,035 acres of Keauhou for Government land at Mohokea, Ka‘ū.
The agreement excluded unrecorded leases between the Estate and the Volcano House Company; OT Shipman (for Keauhou Ranch); the Kilauea Military Camp and Territorial Guard; the County of Hawai‘i; and eleven individuals, holding leasehold residential lots.
The agreement of 1920 provided the Territory of Hawaii, with the lands necessary to form the Kilauea section of Hawaii National Park. The Territory subsequently transferred the Keauhou-Kilauea parcel to the United States Government in 1922. (Maly)
In 1863, the first formal lease of Keauhou was granted by Chiefess Kamāmalu and her father, M. Kekūanaoʻa, to F.B. Swain. By 1865 the lease had transferred to C.E. Richardson, who with partners, Wm. Reed, Geo. Jones, and L. Kaina, who in addition to further developing ranching and a pulu harvesting business at Keauhou, also developed a new a Volcano House.
The facility served visitors to the Volcano, and those traveling between Kaʻū and Hilo or Puna. The growing facilities were made in a mixture of Hawaiian and western architecture. The first, all-wooden Volcano House, was built in 1877, and remains not far from where it was originally built, to the present-day.
In the years leading up to establishment of the National Park, the National Guard of Hawaiʻi and the United States Army established a military reserve (Kīlauea Military Camp) in Keauhou, for purposes of training, recreation and health. The Volcano House Hotel also secured a lease from the Trustees of the Bishop Estate to develop the Volcano Golf Course. (Maly)
The oldest on Hawaii island, Volcano golf course began in 1921 as three holes marked by stakes. (VGCC) “[T]he [initial] golf course was pasture. At that time [Arthur Brown had Keauhou Ranch and they] ran the milk cows, horses and cattle and all that. In the golf course they ran what they called their working horses and the milk cows.”
“And the golf course … the putting area was all fenced off so the cattle wouldn’t bother that. Then of course the biggest part of the ranch ran up Mauna Loa side.” (Morgan Arthur Brown Oral History Interview)
Then, in 1922, they constructed a 9-hole course, “a real golf course.” “It all came to pass when the management of the Volcano House, an up-to-date hostelry, maintained for the convenience of the … tourists, suddenly realized that it was not living up to the prescribed reputation of being up-to-date inasmuch as it had failed to provide, like other first-class tourists’ hotels, a golf course.”
“True its chief reason for existence is the Volcano, but the Englishman and his sense of honor, the hotel management felt that it could not conscientiously permit the establishment to be broadcasted as a hotel of the first-class unless it sported all the emendations credited to other first-class hotels.”
“And so, in taking stock of the Volcano House’s short comings, with was disclosed that the only thing of note which appeared to be lacking was a golf course.”
“[O]n a recent Sunday a nine-hole links was formally thrown open to those who cared to risk a few golf balls. Risk is hardly the word. Sacrifice would be better, as the course is dotted here and there with pukas (lava holes) and, although they have been wired over, the balls have an exasperating habit of slipping under the wire.”
“Then, again, if the golfer happens to be a particularly strong-armed individual, he is apt to send one skidding into the nineteenth hole – in this instance the crater itself.”
“On the other hand, the flow of lava from the crater has provided natural hazards such as bunkers and traps and the chap engaged to lay pit the course really didn’t have such a hard job of it. In fact, the course is the only one of its kind today and is certainly a unique one.”
“As everybody knows, golf requires keen nerves and concentration of mind and muscle and the ordinary golfer who attempts the volcano course after the first time usually encounters opposition from an unexpected quarter. As the volcano is in a state of constant activity, gas and steam occasionally and suddenly issue from the pukas.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 11, 1922)
“The new golf links in the section adjacent to the tree-molds are already proving popular and offer a sporting nine holes that will arouse the keenest skill of the most inveterate player.”
“The golf links, which have been laid out at the expense of the Kilauea Volcano House so will not be run for profit. A small green fee is being charged and it is hoped that in due course.”
“As the links become better known, this will be sufficient to pay the cost of a permanent attendant and to erect something in the nature of a shelter-house for the players in the event of showers.” (Star Bulletin, June 10, 1922)
From this humble beginning, the course finally grew to an 18-hole layout two and half decades later (1946). C Brewer acquired the course in 1968 and their renovations included a redesign by legendary golf course architect Jack Snyder. C Brewer also oversaw the construction of a $200,000 clubhouse, which was damaged by fire in 2019. (VGCC)
Kamehameha Schools found someone to take over the lease for the Volcano Golf Course and Country Club. In 2020, the previous lessee of the 156-acre golf course unexpectedly abandoned the property four years before the termination of the lease. (Hawaii Tribune Herald)