First known as Makawao Foreign Church and Congregation, Makawao Union Church received a charter from the Hawaiian government in 1861, although the Reverend Jonathan Green had been holding services in his Makawao home from 1857.
Reverend Green came to Hawaiʻi in 1828 with the Third Company of missionaries, and served at various locations until 1843.
He then helped the Hawaiian people in the Makawao area form the first self-supporting church in Hawaiʻi at Poʻokela. He continued to serve as the pastor of this church as well as the Makawao Union Church which was started to meet the needs of the English speaking, foreign community around Makawao.
A church was built in 1861 at the location of the present Makawao cemetery, and continued to serve the community until 1888, when a parishioner, Henry Perrine Baldwin, donated land and built a new church outside of Paia, which was closer to the population center of the district.
This church was built on the foundation of Baldwin’s former sugar mill at Paliuli, near Rainbow Gulch. This frame church was dedicated on March 10, 1889, and served the community until it was torn down in 1916 to make way for the present memorial church.
In 1914, the Pā‘ia Community House was built adjacent to the church for the express purpose of serving not only the church’s congregation, but the greater community, and was in continuous use by various island groups for plays, concerts, dances and other gatherings.
After Baldwin’s death in 1911, his family built a new stone sanctuary in his memory. The new building designed by noted architect CW Dickey is a basically Gothic design in the style of the English village church.
It combines a Norman tower with a distinctively Hawaiian roofline. With its intricate, carved-oak interior and unique pew arrangement, the sanctuary has long been noted for its exceptional structural design.
When this church building was dedicated in 1917, Harry Baldwin, eldest son of Henry Perrine and Emily Baldwin, gave the principal address and stated, “Makawao Union Church is built to provide a permanent meeting house for the people of this community and future comers for the purpose of upholding and improving the moral and religious standing of the community for generations to come.” (Maui Weekly)
“The first and second Sundays in September hundreds of Maui people were in attendance at the services of dedication of the Henry Perrine Baldwin Memorial Church of Paia. A deeper impression upon worshippers has seldom been made in this Territory than during these two Sundays.” (The Friend, September 1917)
“Our sanctuary building is a real landmark in the Pā‘ia – Makawao area – a constant reminder of the historical significance of our church and its relationship with Henry Baldwin,” said present church pastor Rev. Schlicher, during the church’s 150th anniversary celebration. (Maui Weekly)
“Besides being a pioneer in Hawai‘i’s sugar industry, Baldwin was a deeply religious man who gave of his time, wealth and services to his church, his community and the people of Hawai‘i.”
In 1843, Samuel Thomas Alexander and Henry Perrine Baldwin, sons of pioneer missionaries, met in Lāhainā, Maui. They grew up together, became close friends and went on to develop a sugar-growing partnership.
In 1869, they purchased 12-acres of land in Makawao and the following year an additional 559-acres. That same year, the partners planted sugar cane on their land marking the birth of what would become Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.
By 1876, the partners had expanded their sugar acreage and begun to seek a reliable source of water for their crop. Although not an engineer, Alexander devised an irrigation system that would bring water from the windward slopes of Haleakala to Central Maui to irrigate 3,000 acres of cane – their own and neighboring plantations.
In 1883, Alexander and Baldwin formalized their partnership by incorporating their sugar business as the Pāʻia Plantation also known at various times as Samuel T. Alexander & Co., Haleakala Sugar Co. and Alexander & Baldwin Plantation.
In 1889, Baldwin was instrumental in forming the Hawaiian Sugar Company Plantation at Makaweli on the island of Kauai, and oversaw the construction of the Hanapepe ditch on that island.
In 1894, he and Samuel Alexander formed Alexander & Baldwin which operated as the San Francisco agent for their plantations.
The Articles of Association were filed June 30, 1900 with the treasurer of the Territory of Hawaiʻi. Alexander & Baldwin, Limited became a Hawaiʻi corporation, with its principal office in Honolulu and with a branch office in San Francisco. They were one of Hawaiʻi’s Big 5.