Waiʻoli Huiʻia Church – Most Photographed Building In Hanalei

Historic Landmark Built By Wilcox Boys To Honor Their Parents

The picturesque Waiʻoli Huiʻia Church in Hanalei is located alongside the main road just past Hanalei town. Built in 1912, the green, spired church was designed in the American Gothic style with a Roman Doric.

Filling the front gable of Waiʻoli Huiʻia Church is a large stained glass window with a pointed arch. The bell tower holds the bell that was formerly in the old Waiʻoli Belfry where it had summoned the Waiʻoli congregation since in 1843.

Just behind Waiʻoli Huiʻia Church is the original Waiʻoli Church which is now called Waiʻoli Mission Hall. It was built in 1841 along with the Belfry which is also still standing having been fully restored. Farther back on the property behind a grove of trees is the historic Waiʻoli Mission House built in the 1830s.

Wilcox Sons Pay Tribute To Their Hanalei Missionary Parents

Waiʻoli Huiʻia Church was built by Albert, Sam and George Wilcox, the descendants of the pioneering Kauaʻi missionaries Abner and Lucy Wilcox who lived for many years in the nearby Waiʻoli Mission House with their sons.

The Wilcox boys grew up to become prominent members of the Kauaʻi community and decided to build the new Waiʻoli Huiʻia Church in Hanalei to honor their parents. The cost was $10,500 including furnishings.

A 1912 Garden Island newspaper stated that “The New Church Building just dedicated at Hanalei is one of the most artistic and graceful churches on the Islands…an exceedingly well-built church…acoustically the best type of building with a charming gothic finish of steep roof and pointed windows.”

The article called the church’s stained glass windows “works of art upon which the eyes ever delight to feast,” reflecting “all the colors of the rainbow intensified.”

In the 1920s the original Waiʻoli Church, the old Waiʻoli Belfry and the Waiʻoli Mission House were all extensively restored by three Wilcox sisters: Elsie Wilcox, Mabel Wilcox, and Lucy Etta Wilcox Sloggett (the children of Samuel and Emma Wilcox). The Waiʻoli Mission House is now open for historic tours.

Waiʻoli Huiʻia Church Today

Waiʻoli Huiʻia Church continues to support an active congregation and the Sunday service features the Wai‘oli Church Choir still singing hymns in the Hawaiian language. The original Waiʻoli Church serves as the Mission Hall for the congregation and community events.

A major restoration of Waiʻoli Huiʻia Church took place in 1992 after Hurricane Iniki lifted the building off its foundation and caused severe structural damage. A dedication for the restored church took place in 1994. Wai‘oli Hui‘ia Church is listed on both the National and State Registers of Historic Places. The church has

Known for its beautiful architecture and exquisite stained glass windows and with the backdrop of verdant and waterfall-lined north shore mountains, Waiʻoli Huiʻia Church is probably the most photographed building on Kauaʻi.