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Fagatogo faipule appeals to ASHPO to develop Sogelau Hill

Fagatogo faipule, Maugaoali’i Sipa Anoa’i is appealing to David J. Herdrich, the Territory's Historic Preservation Officer, to include in the focus of his office, a development of the historical site “Sogelau Hill” — the site of the first US flag raising ceremony 113 years ago. 


In a letter sent to Herdrich, Maugaoalii said he’s intrigued with the Samoa News article regarding a new tourist brochure that David Vaeafe has coming out of the American Samoa Visitors Bureau this month, showcasing American Samoa’s US Naval & World War ll relationship spanning 50 years of history.


“I am especially pleased to know that your office, ASHPO (the American Samoa Historical Preservation Office); NPAS (National Park American Samoa) and the American Samoa Chamber of Commerce are key players in this joint venture to develop the Guide for tourists visiting our Territory.”


Mauagoalii noted that he has always been a strong advocate of developing the Historical Sites in and around Fagatogo, Utulei, and Pago Pago, as this is where everything was set into motion by our forebears.


He further stated that he has also introduced measures in the Fono and worked with ASHPO in the past to develop and identify Historical Sites and the mapping of these areas. “American Samoa offered its land and people to the United States of America in service and played a vital roll in the defense of the Pacific Region."


He commended ASHPO and Vaeafe for their work in moving forward and expanding American Samoa as a tourist destination to the world. “However, I firmly believe that we need to also focus on developing these Historical sites. “Case and point is “Sogelau Hill” —the site of the first US flag raising ceremony celebrated every year for 113 years to date. I had proposed to your office in 2008 to find a funding source to restore and redevelop these sites.


“Furthermore, I have sponsored past resolutions in the 31st legislature requesting the governor of American Samoa to designate the ASVB and your office, ASHPO, to coordinate a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and Historical Preservation Plan that calls for the restoration of the Tramway Cable Car on Maugaoali’i.


“This is also a priority of Governor Lolo and Lemanu’s administration, and I will continue to pursue this in the 33rd Legislature" he said.


Mauagaoalii said that it's his understanding that there is an interest from the Swiss General Consulate (Marion Weichelt) to assist American Samoa in developing the Tramway and restore it to its original form.


“This again is another avenue that we can pursue in our efforts to attract tourists to our Territory, opportunities that we should capitalize on and maximize so our people and government can benefit."


“With the development of these Historical sites, together with what our business community has to offer in American Samoa… and a culture and people unique to the entire world, our vision of American Samoa as a true tourist destination can be realized" he continued.


“I ask that your office continue to look at federal funding sources as a priority to rehabilitate these historical sites and make our Territory a tourist destination for the world to see. “I look forward to your reply and a proposed plan and funding sources for these developments.”


Mauagaoalii concluded that he remains committed to this endeavor and wants to work closely with ASHPO in these areas.