A Grand Dame Turns 100

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Hui Noeau Solarium, Maui, Hawaii
The solarium in July 1924, decorated for the wedding of Frances Baldwin and J. Walter Cameron. Today the room hosts lectures, workshops and community art events.

Ethel was deeply involved in community-improvement projects, and used Kaluanui’s solarium as her office. Wanting to form a society of like-minded artists, she and Frances founded Hui No‘eau in 1934. The name loosely translates as “skillful club”; members met at Kaluanui for art lessons and lectures. When membership outgrew the estate, “The Hui” moved to the old Kahului Fairgrounds.

During World War II, Harry and Ethel hosted dinners at the estate for officers stationed Upcountry. “Many Sundays, Brigadier General Robert Mittelstaedt and his aides visited Kaluanui for a horseback ride through the pineapple fields and, afterwards, dinner,” says Laurel.

Four years after Harry’s death in 1946, Ethel left Kaluanui. The property eventually became a holding of Maui Land & Pineapple Company, which was managed by Ethel and Harry’s grandson, Colin Cameron. For nearly two decades, the mansion housed presidents of Pā‘ia’s Maunaolu College, but in the early seventies, it stood vacant, until Colin offered to lease the property to The Hui, now a registered nonprofit, for $1 a year.

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