This three-story temple, built in 1912 as a meeting hall for the benevolent society Chee Kung Tong, provided Chinese immigrants with a place to preserve their cultural identity, celebrate festivities and socialize in their native tongue. After WWII, Lahaina’s ethnic Chinese population spread far and wide and the temple fell into decline. Now restored and turned into a cultural museum, it houses ceremonial instruments, a teak medicine cabinet c 1900, jade pieces dating back thousands of years and a Taoist shrine.
The tin-roof cookhouse out back holds a tiny theater showing films of Hawaii shot by Thomas Edison in 1898 and 1906, soon after he invented the motion-picture camera. These grainy black-and-white shots capture poignant images of old Hawaii, including paniolo (cowboys) herding cattle, cane workers in the fields and everyday street scenes.