National Historical Park & Guided Mule Tour


Leprosy is observed in Kamuli, a Hawaiian woman living at Koloa, Kauai. This represents the first documented case of leprosy in Hawaii.

Joseph De Veuster arrives in Honolulu on March 19. He is ordained on May 31 in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu and is known as Father Damien.

"An act to Prevent the Spread of Leprosy" is signed into law by King Kamehameha V on January 3. This act authorizes the setting apart of land for the purpose of isolating persons with leprosy..

The first "shipment" of patients to the Leprosy Settlement at Kalawao, Molokai, is made on January 6. The first group consists of 9 men and 3 women.

Father Damien, age 33, arrives at Kalaupapa on May 10.
Efforts are heightened to "apprehend" and isolate all persons with leprosy.

Father Damien is "offically" diagnosed as having leprosy and the news is made public.

Father Damien dies on April 15 at the age of 49.

The Board of Hospitals and Settlement authorizes the use of the sulfone antibiotics at Kalaupapa. Sulfone therapy is started on six patients and the medication seems to produce changes overnight.

Hawaii's century-old isolation laws are abolished. Legislation calls for the use of the term "leprosy" rather than "Hansen's Disease" with the idea that a concerted effort should be made to educate the public to accept the disease under its original name. All new cases are treated strictly as outpatients.

President Carter signs Public Law 96-565 establishing Kalaupapa National Historical Park.
The State Legislature again decrees "Hansen's Disease" rather than "leprosy" to be the official terminology in Hawaii. This action is based on the feelings by persons with the disease that use of the term "leper" perpetuates the stigma still associated with the disease.

Historical Data Provided by:
The National Park Service
U.S Department of the Interior

Mahalo  For Visiting

The Book
"The Lands of Father Damien", is a spectacular, new book by a local author on the subject.

Kalaupapa National Historical Park was established on December 22, 1980. Still in its formative years, it is dedicated to the past, the present and the future. It is dedicated to preserving the memories and experiences of the past in order that valuable lessons might be learned from them. It is dedicated to providing a well-maintained community to ensure that present residents of the Settlement may live out their lives in this, their home. And, it is dedicated to the education of present and future generations with regard to a disease that has been shrouded in fear and ignorance for centuries.
The park is open Monday through Saturday, by invitation only.
Visitors must be at least 16 years of age.
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior 

In the cool Molokai uplands, a pack of mules prepare for the day's ride down to the world's most unique and formerly forbidden village of Kalaupapa. The journey begins from the Mule Barn with a mule guide briefing. You'll learn your mule's name and the Mule Skinners (guides) will teach you how to ride and control the mules. No worries, these mules are personally trained by company owner Buzzy Sproat. Well known in the Hawaii Rodeo circuit, Buzzy is also considered one of Hawaii's foremost experts on Mules. 

You will be riding down 1,700 feet of the most spectacular as well as the highest sea cliffs in the world Molokai Sea Cliffs (recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records). Located on the central northern coast of the island of Molokai, some of the more remote areas of this park include rare native habitat for several endangered endemic Hawaiian plants and animals. The boundless beauty you will experience as you traverse down the 2.9 mile trail, with 26 switchbacks, leaves most folks absolutely speechless. 

Upon arriving in Kalaupapa, you'll be met by your Damien Tours guide and for the next few hours you'll experience one of Hawaii's most remarkable tours, in a community hidden from the world for so many years. Father Damien's Grave Site (Click for larger view...)You will learn about the leper colony, its people, incredible tales of struggle and human suffering, along with stories of courage and love. 

You'll see the grave site of Father Damien, the heroic Belgium Priest who loved and served this colony of outcasts. (Click image for larger view...) Visit St. Philomena Church, where Damien preached to his banished parishioners. 

Enjoy your lunch, (included with the tour) at Judd Park on the scenic Kalawao side, overlooking sea cliffs and waterfalls, dramatic ocean rock formations and crashing surf. 

Kalaupapa, is truly a special place in Hawaii, and like no other you will ever experience. The Kalaupapa National Historical Park & Guided Mule Tour is one that even seasoned travelers cherish, as one of their most memorable Hawaii experiences

A cover story in Spirit of Aloha magazine, details the experience of a local girl on her first mule trip to Kalaupapa aboard "Friendly." Another cover story in the Hawaiian Airlines Hana Hou Magazine features one of the owners, Buzzy Sproat. Worth reading!

If you're planning a trip to the islands soon, don't miss this opportunity of a life time. You can book your adventure now through our on-line reservations form or e-mail us for more information.Send E-Mail

ALL TOURS - Monday - Saturday only. Park is NOT open Sunday.

Molokai Virtual Tour
For a spectacular virtual tour of our beautiful island, see visitmolokai.com

Molokai Visitors Association

More information about Molokai...
Hawaii Tours, Attractions, Adventures and Activity...

MOLOKA'I - Here's a little island map so you can get the lay of the land.

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