Monday, December 04, 2006

Navy Hill Lighthouse

Navy Hill LighthouseNavy Hill LighthouseNavy Hill LighthouseNavy Hill LighthouseNavy Hill LighthouseNavy Hill LighthouseYesterday was the first time I ever visited the Navy Hill Lighthouse. Wow, talk about a gold mine waiting to be rediscovered. From "Historic and Cultural Sites of the CNMI."
What is commonly known today as the Japanese Lighthouse originated in reference as the "Japanese Signal House" in 1934. It was constructed to aid vessels in maneuvering the coral reef and shoals of Tanapag Harbor, which was the location of Japan's Seaplane Base on Saipan. It was renovated by the U.S. Seabeas (Naval Construction Battalion) and all structural features were noted as lost except for the three-story tower, which is said to have had a copper dome. It is very likely that the U.S. military utilized the renovated building for the same purpose for which the Japanese undertook construction in 1934. The building was abandoned and remained unused long after the U.S. Navy pulled out of Saipan 18 July 1947.

In 1974, the lighthouse was among one of three CNMI sites that were first nominated and accepted to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. However, the building remained unused for the next fifteen years. It was renovated towards the 1980s and converted into a restaurant. This attempt at adaptive use preservation lasted almost five years. With the exception of intermittent rehabilitation efforts, the lighthouse has largely fallen into a state of disuse once again.
I would love to see this historical landmark turned into a tourist spot/coffee shop/wedding chapel & reception area. I've heard rumors that different people want to turn it into a library, a museum, or possibly a restaurant.

Navy Hill LighthouseThis place has so much potential. Would you just look at that view? It wouldn't take too much love and attention to turn this historical spot into one of Saipan's must see places.

No comments: