History of Hale 'Ohu
The property occupies a 5-acre botanical and rainforest estate that dates back to 1886, when King Kamehameha V deeded the land to the Lyman missionary family.
Our historic property was built by the children and grandchildren of David and Sarah Lyman. David and Sarah arrived from New England in 1832 and became prominent missionaries in Hilo. You can visit their Lyman Mission House and the Lyman Museum in Hilo.
The story begins in 1868 during a week-long Mauna Loa eruption, tsunami and landslide in the Ka’u district. 77 people were killed and all homes destroyed. King Kamehameha V asked the people of Kona and Hilo to send aid to Ka’u with missionaries leading the effort. David and Sarah Lyman’s son, Frederick, gathered some volunteers and set out to help. On the trail through the village of Volcano, his wagon broke an axle. Seeking refuge from the rain, his party slept under the wagon and in the morning cut an 'ōhi'a treelimb to fashion a new axel.
Years later, when the Lymans wanted to build a summer home in a cooler climate, they remembered the spot in Volcano where Frederick’s wagon had broken down. A nine-acre plot of land was deeded from King Kamehameha V (1830-1872) before his death to the Lymans. David and Sarah’s children and grandchildren named the home Hale ‘Ohu, or “House in the Mist.”
The main house was constructed in two parts. The front section was built in 1886 in a Connecticut farmhouse style using lumber from Puget Sound, Washington and redwood from Mendocino, California. In 1900, a sugar plantation-style addition was added to the back of the house when electricity came to the area. Originally, the ground floor was used as the stables, but was enclosed in the 1930s or 1940s.
According to legend, the driveway is the only portion of the old foot and horse trail from Hilo to Kīlauea still in existence. On old maps, the trail is known as “two shoulders and a coffin wide.” When a newer road was built from Hilo, the driveway was kept as the only historic piece of the older road in the village.
The house remained a vacation home for the family until 1941.
In 1941, due to rationed food and gas supplies during WWII, the Lymans moved back to Hilo permanently. For the next 30 years, the house was used as storage for the Lyman Museum and Mission House.
In 1973, the Morse family purchased the property from Orlando Lyman, great- grandson of David and Sarah Lyman. Gordon Morse (1927-2019) and Joann Morse (1926-2012) established My Island Inn in 1985 renting out rooms in the main house. In 1988, they added the three-room garden suites in a separate structure. After many years of welcoming guests and sharing their slice of paradise, the Morse family sold the property in 2016.
Today, Hale 'Ohu Bed & Breakfast consists of the three garden suites. The office is located in the main house, which is now used as a private residence.
Gabrielle and Nicole Naughten, twin sisters from the San Francisco Bay Area, purchased the now five-acre property from the Morses. After extensive renovations that began in January 2017, Hale ‘Ohu Bed & Breakfast began welcoming guests in July 2017.
Gabrielle and Nicole have traveled extensively around the world. They moved to Volcano in January 2017 to realize their lifelong dream to own and operate a B&B. With much aloha, they welcome you to enjoy their House in the Mist.
Read more about how we got Hale 'Ohu off the ground in this Travel Weekly article.
State of Hawai'i Department of Taxation Transient Accommodations Tax ID: TA-150-974-2592-01.
County of Hawai'i Bed & Breakfast Special Permit No. 966.
Member since July 2017 of the Hawai'i Visitors & Convention Bureau. View our listing on their Go Hawaii website. Plus, visit the Go Hawaii website to learn more about activities and events on the Big Island or to get a copy of the The Island of Hawai'i 2020 Official Visitor's Guide. Be sure to check out our advertisement on page 59.