From Chicago to Istanbul, Sardinia to Brussels, our travels at One Smooth Stone keep us blessed with worldly experience and filled with tales of adventure. Returning from a recent program in Hawaii, Ken Haller shared his experience visiting Jack Thompson’s house; the one remaining home in a Hawaiian subdivision destroyed by volcanic eruption.
In the early 1980’s, Jack Thompson (in his mid twenties at the time) built his dream home in a new subdivision on the southeast slope of Kilauea. Four miles from the ocean, the view from the property is a breathtaking blend of sprawling forest and bright blue water.
The day after the last window of Jack’s new home was installed, a series of eruptions began on Kilauea and continue to occur to this day. 189 homes have been destroyed by the eruptions, and yet, amazingly, Jack’s house still survives. A small, unrecognizable mound uphill of the house acts as a dam, diverting the many lava flows to either side of Jack’s property. Jack lives, cut-off from the outside world, as Puna’s only remaining resident.
Jack’s existence on Kilauea comes with several challenges. Simply getting to town for supplies involves an eerie, risk-filled trek across three and a half miles of lava to the nearest road. Jack runs a generator for power a few hours a day, and collects rainwater in a large tank to serve as his water supply (a common practice in the remote areas of Hawaii). Jack has satellite television and a cell phone, which he uses mostly for conversations with reporters or helicopter pilots from the mainland, who call to inquire about the weather in Kilauea..
If you’d like to witness Ken’s helicopter ride to and walk through Jack’s property, you can view Ken’s video HERE:
We thank Jack for the hospitality and look forward to the next adventure our work may bring!