Te Pito Te Henua, or Easter Island, by William J. Thompson, , at sacred-texts.com
The Catholic missionaries built at Vaihu, on the south coast, near Cape Koe Koe, a commodious and substantial church, a parsonage containing three rooms, and several outbuildings. The house is now the residence of Mr. Salmon, the outbuildings are occupied by his employés, and the church has degenerated into a storehouse for wool. The principal native settlement is at Mataveri, on the southwest coast, and about a mile distant, at Hanga Roa, a small neat church has been erected. Here the islanders assemble on Sundays and other occasions to hear the service read by one of their number, who was ordained especially to take charge of this congregation upon the departure of the French missionaries. At the southwest end of the island, and near the base of Rana Kas, is the residence of Mr. Brander.
The house is of modern structure, with large and convenient rooms, but is in a state of bad repair, and is more attractive when viewed from a distance, surrounded by the shrubbery and vines that have been Planted about it, than it is upon close inspection.
The native priest and a few of his connections reside at Hanga Roa, only those in the employ of Mr. Salmon live at Vaihu, and the only settlement on the island that may be termed a village is the one at Mataveri. The primitive huts formerly used by the natives (Fig. 1) have
FIG. 1. NATIVE HOUSES BUILT OF BULRUSHES.
been abandoned for more comfortable dwellings constructed under the direction of a Danish carpenter out of material obtained from the wreckage of several vessels loaded with Oregon lumber. These buildings are of a style of architecture commonly met with in small cheap barns and stables, but to the simple-minded islanders they supply all the comforts that could be desired.
These houses are usually about 25 feet long and 15 feet wide with undressed weather-boards and rooted with the same material. Hinged doors open in the center and admit light and ventilation, though a few of the more pretentious buildings are furnished with small glazed windows. The floors are of bare earth strewn with a litter of dried grass, filthy and vermin-infested from long use. Mats made of bulrushes are spread out for sleeping; several rough bedsteads and chests were seen, but the majority of the houses are destitute of furniture or ornament. Several families occupy the same dwelling, men, women, and children lie down together like dogs in a kennel, and with about the same ideas of what constitutes the comforts of life.