Bringing the World to Maui
Haleakalā Highway within Haleakalā National Park was built with federal relief funding in 1935 to provide automobile access to Haleakalā Crater and “bring the world to Maui.” The debate that led to its construction demonstrates that Hawai‘i’s leaders publicly and aggressively advocated for scenic roads as commercial enterprises necessary to promote tourism. Maui businessmen, primarily through the Chamber of Commerce, spearheaded the drive for the road and effectively facilitated cooperation between various institutions and individuals at the local, territorial, and national levels. Haleakalā Highway combined the National Park Service’s landscape preservation ethic with the Bureau of Public Road’s highest technical standards to produce a modern road that traversed stark, almost treeless country, yet seamlessly blended with its natural environment. Developing Haleakalā Highway was also part of a spirited competition between the islands of Hawai‘i and Maui that saw both islands in a race to attract tourists.
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