During an evening hike, a wrong turn took us to the creepy side of the woods. Although every instinct was telling us to turn around, our curiosity would not let us leave without taking a quick peek inside.
As the jungle had begun reclaiming the forgotten mansion, we could not see an obvious entrance. As we pushed our way through the dense understory, we were able to navigate to a covered patio. Following the walkway around the ruin lead us to this friendly dragon, who showed us the way…
Some savage must of come through here and kicked the door right off of its hinges.
So we began our investigation.
If this was a closet, it was surprisingly spacious. Although walk-in closets are common in the mainland, I had not seen one since I moved to Hawaii. Having a closet the size of a bedroom is a true sign of wealth, especially in the islands.
Although the house was obviously from a former century, I was surprised by how modern the remaining fixtures and amenities appeared.
This was the door we came through.
Interesting how the lighting can totally change the mood of the exact same scene (from junky to creepy).
As we continued, it became clear that this place was in a sever state of disrepair. The roof had been rotting and began caving in. The wooden floor beneath it was very wet and looked quite soft. We would have to proceed with caution. Who knows when this place could come down.
As we our way towards the kitchen, we looked through the door of the pantry. Here the floor had completely given out (perhaps under the weight of a previous explorer). The last thing we wanted was to fall into some compartment beneath an old creepy house and ended up with face full of rusted nails and splinters. So we skipped this room.
There was nothing particularly remarkable about the kitchen, other than it’s overall eerie atmosphere.
Other than mural of the dragons we saw on the walls earlier, I hadn’t really been paying much attention to the graffiti on the walls, until I spotted these little guys.
I began noticing them everywhere. Something about them really helped to break the sinister vibe this house was giving off.
At least the murals were pretty fun. It gets to be a bit much when you’re exploring some really hair-raising place and people have drawn/written all sorts of disturbing things all over the walls.
This must have been the main living/dining room. Some of the features that first stood out to me were the high ceilings (which are awesome) and the presence of a fireplace. If you have ever visited Oahu, there is little to no need for fire places in your house. The island’s annual average temp is about 73° F (± 6° F).
From the outside, we could definitely tell that there was a second floor. But after walking around the place, I was sort of concerned about the structural integrity of the stairs, or if the floor on the second level would even be able to hold us. There was a small compartment beneath the stairs (like the one Harry Potter lived in) and another room still behind the stairs (with a sink in it but no toilet), which was a bit more mysterious.
We very carefully wen up the stairs. On the second was one big room (perhaps the master bedroom).
I’m sure the views of the garden/ranch must have been amazing back in the day, but the jungle’s lush canopy was also a sight to behold.
All I could think of, while we were looking out the windows, was how creepy it would be if someone had been looking out the windows when we first walked up to the house.
Again, we ran into these little sword fighting minions upstairs.
In another corner of the room, a battle was imminent. To avoid witnessing any minion bloodshed, we moved on to the next room of the second floor.
The adjacent room looked like a scene straight out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre… Seemed like a good time to turn around.
Going into another walk in closet, we noticed a very short trap door. Perhaps it lead into the attic or to untold hidden treasures and wealth…
I wasn’t much in the mood for crawling through small compartments in a bug infested, crumbling abandoned house in the middle of the jungle. We might just have to save that for another day.
We went back down the stairs with extreme precaution. We didn’t want any accidents.
The camera flash and our headlamps make a lot of the pictures seem bright and illuminated. But without the camera flash, the house was pitch black inside. I remember seeing this doorway and being overcome with the urge to bolt out of the building as fast as I could. But there was all sorts of debris on the ground, so I would have likely wiped out
A bit further in the woods was another, smaller, abandoned structure. Unfortunately, this old house was completely boarded up and we could not find a way in.
Although all kinds of fascinating stories could be made up about this place, I was really intrigued by it and wanted to find our a little more. As it turns out, the two properties were once known as the Boyd/Irwin Estates. The plantation home we explored was build in 1893 and is now the oldest standing building on this side of Oahu. Many years ago, it was home to William and Fannie Irwin, who had accumulated enormous wealth in the sugar cane industry. For many years, William Irwin’s company was the leading sugar agency in the kingdom and the one originally used by the West Maui Sugar Association. The Boyd estate (property on which the smaller house was located) was established in 1869. Despite appearing more humble than the Irwin house, the Boyd estate would often host lavish parties for dignitaries and aristocrats. The Boyd family would even invite Hawaii’s Royal Kalakaua family to many of their parties. It is thought that the Boyd family’s wealth was made from cattle ranching. Although these places look completely rundown and shabby (due to time and vandalism), you have to imagine these places back in the day. There use to be a long and wide carriageway lined by huge palms on each side. The property used to be immaculately landscaped to resemble a pristine botanical garden. The homes have amazing views of the Koolau mountain range, as well as the Olomana peaks. The homes were probably more like resorts back in their day.
Sadly, without any plans to restore these properties, they will likely fall further into disrepair until they are just an unrecognizable pile of rotten wood amongst the jungle’s understory. We also found out, the hard way, that this place is on private property. As fascinating as these aged ruins are, I cannot in good conscious recommend exploring them. Not just because it’s private property, but because I really believe people could get hurt. If you do decided to check it out realize that you are doing so at your own risk. Be safe!