Aloha and welcome to our page about Keaau, Hawaii! There is no doubt you will be traveling through this rustic old western style town on your way to see Volcano National Park or the Lava Flow. This small village is about 82 miles from Kailua Kona, almost exactly due east. Keaau is only 17 minutes from Hilo, Hawaii and is right at the junction that will take you down to the Puna District for many natural wonders and Hawaii Attractions. The population of Keaau was 2,253 in the last census, 2010.
The history of Keaau, formerly known as Ola’a, was directly affected by the good and bad of the Hawaii Consolidated Railroad and the sugar fields of yesteryear. When the sugar industry started to boom on the Big Island in the 1800s, a wealthy businessman named Dillingham ordered the creation of the Hawaii Consolidated Railroad. The railway boosted the economy of several connected towns, including Keaau. It made the possibilities explode with development and new infrastructure. In 1899 the Ola’a Sugar Mill and Puna Sugar Mill were built in Keaau. The tsunami of 1949 took out the railroad, but by then there was sufficient road base put into place that has kept the access to Keaau open to homeowners and visitors. By 1984 the sugarcane industry though drew to an end, in its place came a variety of other crops. Keaau boasts their Orchids, Papaya, Bananas and huge assortments of other plants growing in green houses all over the area. The Pacific Floral Exchange, located downtown, was established in 1989, it is a large property with green houses full of flowers and Orchids, like Queen Sago. You can tour and purchase live plants or bouquets here. Since a wide variety of Orchids thrive in Keaau, it a no-brainer why this industry is a million-dollar a year economic boost in Keaau. The Pacific Floral Exchange grows and export 4 million dollars worth of flowers annually. This explains why the jobless rate in Keaau (3.80%) and is noticeably lower than the national average. Who wouldn’t want to work in the Orchid Business??
Being on the windward side of the Big Island, Keaau receives it’s far share of rain. It’s rains on average, 126.7 inches annually. (Only about 10 and a half feet) The average low in January is 64 degrees with highs at 79. In the warmest part of the year the average high is 83.3 and the low is 69 in July so it only fluctuates by 4 degrees year around! I would say that is like a perfect spring day from where I came from. No wonder this area grows so much produce and fruit and flowers!
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