Volcano Watch: The legacy of Alexander Lancaster

  • Photographs of Alexander (“Alec”) Lancaster, renown guide to visitors of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, early Hawaiian Volcano Observatory field observer and assistant, and the first Park Ranger of Hawai‘i Volcanoes Park. (Top left) An 1893 photograph of Alex sitting on the bluff below the original visitor’s shelter on the rim of Halema‘uma‘u crater. (Top right) An undated photograph of Alex at Kīlauea’s “Crater Trail,” likely from the 1920s. (Bottom) Alex guiding two visitors to the former “Devil’s Kitchen” area on the floor of Kīlauea caldera in 1924. Photographs courtesy of the National Park Service, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the James Tsuchiya family.

Known to many as “Pele’s Grandson,” Alexander (“Alex” or “Alec”) Lancaster guided both tourists and scientists to Hawaii’s volcanoes for over 40 years, from 1885 to 1928.