About 10 miles from Oprah Winfrey's ranch on Maui sits nearly 30,000 acres of upcountry land owned by a family whose name is virtually synonymous with Hawaii's tumultuous history.
The family is the large and influential Baldwin clan. Family patriarch H.P. Baldwin co-founded Alexander & Baldwin, ALEX +0.70% which would become one of Hawaii's "Big Five"—companies, often considered an oligarchy, that wielded enormous economic and political clout in the state from the mid-19th to mid-20th-century. Today, as its original sugar business dwindles, A&B is a Honolulu-based real-estate firm and one of the state's largest landowners. The ranch and the company are now separate.