American Samoa Flag

American Samoa Travel Guide

WWII Naval Gun
A derelict WWII naval gun on Blunt's Point, Tutuila.

Utulei

At Blunt's Point, overlooking the mouth of Pago Pago Harbor, are two huge six-inch naval guns emplaced in 1941. To reach them from Utulei, start walking southeast on the main road past the oil tanks, and keep watching on the right for a small pump house with two large metal pipes coming out of the wall. This pump is across the highway from a small beach, almost opposite two houses on the bay side of the road. The track up the hill (with a chain across the entrance) begins behind the pump house. If arriving by bus from the west, get out as soon as you see the oil tanks and walk back.

The lower gun is directly above a large green water tank, while the second is about 200 meters farther up the ridge. Concrete stairways lead to both guns. To create a cross fire, two identical guns were positioned across the harbor mouth on the hillside near Breakers Point, where they remain to this day.

After visiting the guns, walk back toward town as far as the Yacht Club, where you'll see a few long fautasi longboats, then turn left to the US$10-million Executive Office Building erected in 1991 at Utulei. It's well worth going in to catch a glimpse of the territory's formidable bureaucracy. The nearby Centennial Office Building opened in 2003, and behind it is the Feleti Barstow Library (1998) with a Pacific Collection upstairs.

Beyond it a paved road winds up to the former cable-car terminal on Solo Hill. Here a monument recalls a 1980 air disaster in which a U.S. Navy plane hit the cables and crashed into the Rainmaker Hotel, killing the six servicemen aboard and two tourists at the hotel.

The cableway, one of the longest single-span aerial tramways in the world, was built in 1965 to transport TV technicians to the transmitters atop Mt. Alava (491 meters). The car would sway for a kilometer and a half over Pago Pago Harbor, with mountains such as rugged Rainmaker (524 meters) in full view, making this the most spectacular aerial ride in the Pacific. In 1992, Hurricane Val put the cableway out of service and it has never been repaired. It's still worth visiting the Utulei terminal for the excellent view of Rainmaker Mountain from the viewpoint.

Also in Utulei is the Lee Auditorium (1962) and American Samoa's television studios, which may be visited weekdays around 1030. In 1964, American Samoa became the first Pacific country to acquire television, and although the original educational use has disappeared, KVZK-TV continues to broadcast commercially over Channel 2.

Continue to   Fagatogo   »