Step back into the golden age of sugar – Kilohana Plantation
Albert Wilcox originally purchased the 700 acres known as the Kilohana Tract in the late 1800s. For many years, the land was used for cattle farming. As sugar became more profitable, the tract was reduced to 36 ares and became Kilohana Plantation. Albert died in the early 1930s, and his brother, Gaylord, moved from Honolulu to take over operation of Grove Farm Plantation, a 12,000 acre sugar plantation. Over the years, Gaylord expanded the plantation to 23,000 acres.
Gaylord Parke Wilcox and his wife, Ethel, hired Mark Potter, an architect who had just arrived from New Zealand to design a 16,000 square ft. English Tudor home. Potter went on to design many homes throughout Hawaii. His most notable clients built beautiful homes in the Diamond Head area on Oahu. Later in life, Potter was quoted as saying the Wilcox commission was his favorite.
The home was richly crafted with fine woods and Art Deco detailing. Lumber and materials arrived by barge from the West Coast, with detailed moldings from England. Beautiful pine wainscoting and coffered ceilings graced the living room, hallways, foyer, library, and staircase.
Upon completion, the mansion at Kilohana Plantation was the most expensive home ever built on Kauai, and it served as both a working homestead and host to many exuberant social gatherings and important diplomatic meetings.
The home was furnished by Gump’s from San Francisco with a very art deco style. In addition, Hawaiian artifacts were proudly displayed along with other furniture and artwork from the Orient and their travels.
The courtyard of the home, now Gaylord’s Restaurant, was a focal point when it came to entertaining guests. Kilohana became the hub for many social gatherings with visitors coming from on and off island. Some off-island guests would stay for months at time, residing in their two guest cottages. Gaylord himself lived at Kilohana until his passing in 1970. In 1985, the home was leased on a long-term basis. The house and grounds were restored and opened to the public as an island visitor attraction. Kilohana has been open for over 30 years. We welcome you to visit and capture a Glimpse of Kauai’s Past while enjoying the many activities available on the property.
Visitors are encouraged to explore the home’s original and restored features while discovering rooms that have been repurposed as shops, galleries, restaurant and lounge. Take time to also enjoy a train ride, luau or rum tasting.
See also: Kilohana Plantation – with map
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