Hidden Museum Find On Big Island

Looking for a unique stop when visiting the Kona Coffee Farms? I was and found the H.N. Greenwell Store. With the help of costumed interpreters, I was soon shopping in the 1890’s.

This is a living history museum so everyone gets in on the act. After a short orientation, I took on the role of a Hawaiian rancher. To help in this process, I was given period garments, a shopping list, and items to trade.

Now a national landmark, the H.N. Greenwell Store was built in 1873 and restored two years ago. Greenwell was a rancher and entrepreneur. His store was one of the first in Kona mauka and is now the oldest in the area.

Once inside the historic building, I was amazed at the museum quality reproductions. The shelves were stocked like they would have been over a century ago and the scent of salted fish, coffee beans, and rawhide filled the air.

A costumed interpreter showed me around the store and helped with my purchases. She described life in the Kingdom of Hawaii and gave insight to the person I was portraying.

Once outside and back in 2008, I walked around the grounds to the smell of fresh coffee roasting next door at the Greenwell Coffee Estate.

In addition to the H.N. Greenwell Store, the Kona Historical Society also offers a Living History Coffee Farm and Kailua Village Walking Tour.

Details: H.N. Greenwell Store is open Monday-Friday from 10am to 2pm. Admission is $7.00 for adults and $3.00 for children. Located on Mamalahoa Highway (Highway 11), about 14 miles south of Kailua-Kona, between mile markers 111 and 112.

2 thoughts on “Hidden Museum Find On Big Island”

  1. Hi Pua and Keoki,

    We’ve driven by the H.N. Greenwell store many times and never thought to stop either. Thanks for spreading the word about this living history museum. It’s a unique find and worth the visit.

    Aloha from Rob
    Beat of Hawaii

  2. Wouldn’t you think that while living on the Big Island for so many years, we should have visited this special Kona store some time?! Well, we never did but certainly will and will recommend it to Big Island visitors, Mahalo and aloha, Pua and Keoki

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