Friday, April 15, 2011


I'm not sure when this photo of Adelup was taken, but it can certainly fit anywhere within the time frame 1920-1930.  There wasn't a whole lot going on at Adelup back then, compared to this modern photo below :

As you can see in the older photo above, the original Chamorro name for the place is ADILOK.  A possible origin of this name is the word "dulok" which means "to puncture, penetrate."  The prefix "A" means "mutually, to each other."  I can see how this minuscule peninsula pokes into the sea, but I can't see the other way around.  It's just a theory anyway.

"Adilug" according to a Spanish document

Adilok has had an interesting and varied history.  It has been used in the following ways :

LEPER COLONY.  Current terminology refers to leprosy as Hansen's disease.  Borrowing from the Gospels, the Spaniards often called leprosy "the sickness of Lazarus," and people with this disease "lazarinos," in Chamorro "nasarino."  It seems the Spaniards established a home for lepers at Adilok soon after the Spanish pacification of the Marianas (around 1695).  There were many variations of the name : Aduluk, Adulug, Adilog, Adilok.  Not everyone diagnosed with leprosy actually suffered from that condition but from another illness with similar symptoms (e.g. ulcers).  The leper hospital at Adilok eventually closed around 1871 and Tinian became the site of another leprosarium.

In Spanish times, Adilok was also known as "Punta del Diablo," or "Devil's Point."

PROTESTANT MISSION.  In the year 1901, the Reverend Francis M. Price, Congregationalist, purchased 12 acres of land at Adilok for a Protestant mission school, with housing units for the missionaries and some pupils.  Originally, it was thought an ideal location, far from the busy streets of Hagåtña.  But in time it appeared to be too far from the public scene.  By the time the General Baptists assumed responsibility for the Chamorro Protestant community, Adilok was no longer used by the Protestant mission.

While the Protestant mission school was at Adilok, it was called "Missionary Point."

ATKINS KROLL SITE.  The company moved to Adilok in 1910 and in time built a mansion there.  Is that what we see on the promontory in the old photo above?  Click on it and enlarge.  The Japanese head of civilian affairs made himself comfy at the Atkins Kroll house.  Then the Japanese placed heavy guns there, too, in anticipation of the American invasion.


PUBLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.  By 1946, there was already a primary school located at Adilok, housed in quonset huts. The government tried to run a Normal School (teacher training school) in 1946 but it shut down after only a year for lack of students. The Elementary School became a concrete structure in the early 1950s. I seem to recall that it closed in the 1970s because of its poor and dangerous structural condition due to the passage of time.  I suspect its proximity to the sea didn't help, with the salty sea spray coating the building, especially during typhoons.

GOVERNMENT COMPLEX.  I believe the late Governor Ricardo J. Bordallo started renovating the closed school to become a new location for the executive offices, since the ones in downtown Hagåtña were too cramped by then.  I remember that Governor Joseph F. Ada was installed in Adilok if not for all his first term, that at least for half of it (1988-1992).  The Complex is now named after Governor Bordallo.  Originally part of Asan-Maina municipality, a law was later passed to annex Adilok to Hagåtña, so that the Governor's Office could be in the island's capital city.  The Guam Museum and the Latte of Freedom are located there, too.

"Adelup" has now passed into common speech much the same way as we say the White House, Capitol Hill, Downing Street and the Kremlin.  "Adelup has to OK that."  "He has his eye on Adelup."  "Who's going to win Adelup?"

1 comment:

  1. As a kid in a Navy family on Guam from 1951-54, I went to second grade during 1953 in what was the first year of the newly built Adelup Point Elementary School.
    Located on this point overlooking the ocean near Agana, all of the classrooms had vertical louvered doors as walls on both sides of each classroom letting the classes become open to the ocean view and the gentle breeze.

    Lon Warneke