Port Angeles, Washington
April 6, 2003
When I arrived at the museum, I first visited the small cultural center where I paid the meager and worthwhile $2.50 "donation." There are a number of enlarged photos, photo albums, artworks, and newspaper clippings pertaining to Molokai and the Kalaupapa Peninsula. In addition, there are two videos shown. One is about the history and restoration of the sugar mill-–really interesting. The other video is a Park Service video about some restoration work of buildings on the Kalaupapa Peninsula, which was not as engaging. There is a small gift shop as well.
This mill was "rediscovered" in 1972 when some local folks became interested in restoring it. At the time, the mill was in ruins and overgrown with vegetation. Through grants and fundraising, enough money was raised to start the project. As much of the original structure was salvaged as possible--it was a delicate process to rebuild a structure held up only by the same plants that helped to ruin it. Equipment that could not be refurbished was duplicated, again using as many of the original parts as possible. The result of 16 years of hard work was a beautiful and educational museum that was dedicated on March 26, 1988.
After you see what you want to at the cultural center, the volunteer will give you a pamphlet for your self-guided tour of the mill which is located just out back. There are ten numbered posts which correspond to descriptions in the pamphlet. The first is outside and is the crusher. The crusher is in a hole in the ground outside the mill and is where the sugar cane was crushed to extract the juice. The crusher was powered by mules harnessed to a turnstile above the crusher walking around and around. The cane juice flowed into a catcher and through a pipe into the sugar mill. Inside, you will see the furnace, which supplied heat for the clarifier and evaporating pans. When the juice was clear and thick enough, it went to the cooling room. The cooling process turns the juice into sugar crystals and molasses. Centrifugals (powered by a steam engine and boiler) separate the crystals from molasses.
From journal Activities and Adventure on Molokai