Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Sometimes you can drive right past it and not even notice it.  It's Malesso's old schoolhouse, built in 1941.

In one of Guam's most Chamorro villages, it has the most un-Chamorro name of the "Merlyn G. Cook Schoolhouse."

It was named in 1931 in honor of the first head of the Department of Education under the American Naval Government.  He served during Governor Maxwell's term (1914-1916).  There had been superintendents of schools prior to this, but not of department status.

The original schoolhouse, built as a barracks in 1922, was extensively damaged by the typhoon of November 1940.  So a new schoolhouse, further up the road at the present location, was built and completed in the summer of 1941.  War broke out that December. 

The Japanese used it as a schoolhouse, the Mashiyama Gakko, with day classes for children and night classes for adults.  It was also used for meetings.

After the war, when it no longer served as a schoolhouse, it served as a youth center and at times was even abandoned.

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