Waipahu was one of Oʻahu’s last sugarcane plantation towns and this outdoor museum tells the story of life on the sugar plantations, especially the local O‘ahu Sugar Company. Though the village is definitely showing its age, you can still learn plenty about the lives of plantation workers on a visit. The setting is evocative: a fertile little valley surrounded by working-class neighborhoods.
The 90-minute tours start on the hour and take in buildings typical of an early 20th-century plantation: a Chinese cookhouse, a Japanese shrine and replicated homes of the seven ethnic groups – Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Puerto Rican and Filipino – that worked the fields. Many of these modest structures are now on the National Register of Historic Places.