Plaza de España (Hagåtña)

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Plaza de España
Chocolate House in Hagatna.JPG
The "Chocolate House"
Plaza de España (Hagåtña) is located in Guam
Plaza de España (Hagåtña)
Location Saylor St, Hagåtña, Guam
Coordinates 13°28′25.8″N 144°45′5.52″E / 13.473833°N 144.7515333°E / 13.473833; 144.7515333Coordinates: 13°28′25.8″N 144°45′5.52″E / 13.473833°N 144.7515333°E / 13.473833; 144.7515333
Area 0.4 acres (0.16 ha)
Built 1736
Architectural style Spanish style
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 74002302[1]
Added to NRHP May 1, 1974

The Plaza de España, located in central Hagåtña, was the location of the Governors Palace during the Spanish occupation. Most of the palace was destroyed during the shelling of Hagåtña during the retaking of Guam in World War II. There are three structures still standing including the three-arch gate to Almacen (Arsena), the azotea or back porch, and the Chocolate House.

Overview[edit]

In the middle of Hagåtña, these spacious grounds and Spanish ruins used to serve as the Governor's Palace from 1669 until the invasion of World War II. The surviving or restored structures include the Azotea, Chocolate House, Tool Shed, Siesta Shed and Spanish Walls.

The Governor's Palace housed the office and residence of the Spanish Governor. It was totally destroyed in 1944 during the liberation of Guam. However, portions of the foundation may still be seen.

The Governor's Palace, called Casa Gobierno under Spanish rule, was reconstructed in 1885 to replace the original structure built in 1736. The two-story manposteria building featured a cantilevered balcony with clay tile roofing. During that time, living quarters were situated on the second level while the first floor spaces were utilized as the office of the Sargento Mayor de la Plaza, weapons storerooms, and clerical offices.

American rule implemented changes in the Palace including laying a cement floor and converted the lower storerooms into administrative office spaces. The second floor contained a reception area, the dining room, galleries and private spaces for the governor and his family. Kitchen facilities and servants' quarters were located in the rear section of the building.

The elevated Azotea, also of manposteria construction, survived World War II. It originally was an open-air terrace porch on the palace. The clay tile roof was added after the war.

Since the establishment of Spanish rule, the Plaza de España continues to be the center stage for many government and civic activities. The principal structure in the complex of buildings, gardens and park, the Casa Gobierno, or Governor's Palace, was originally constructed in 1736, being first occupied by Governor Francisco Cardenas Pacheco.

The complex was originally named the Plaza de Magalahes (Governor's Plaza) and was later changed to Plaza de España. Its appearance also has changed during the years. In 1885, the original palace was replaced with a larger building by Governor Don Enrique Solano. After the Spanish-American War in 1898, when Guam became an American possession, the Plaza continued as the headquarters of the American administration and official residence of the Naval Governor.

Under American administration, the plaza was expanded to include a baseball field and badminton court. Today the Kiosko (bandstand) stands in the former baseball field. World War II brought more changes to the Plaza. On December 10, 1941 after a brief battle in Agana, the Governor, Captain George J. McMillin, U.S.N, surrendered the island to the Japanese from the Plaza. Later, the seat of Japanese occupation, the Plaza was extensively damaged by the July 1944 bombardment of Agana shortly before Guam's liberation. The existing structures were subsequently repaired but an extensive restoration project was completed only in 1980.

The Plaza de España today continues to be the site for numerous social and civic functions, including the inauguration of the Governor of Guam – emphasizing its significance in Guam's history.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.