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Leone is a village on the south-west coast of Tutuila Island, American Samoa. Leone was the ancient capital of Tutuila Island.[1][2][3] Leone was also where the Samoan Islands’ first missionary, John Williams, visited on October 18, 1832. A monument in honor of Williams has been erected in front of Zion Church. Its large church was the first to be built in American Samoa. It has three towers, a carved ceiling and stained glass. Until steamships were invented, Leone was the preferred anchorage of sailing ships who didn’t risk entering Pago Pago Harbor. Much early contact between Samoans and Europeans took place in Leone. Leone Falls is 1.2 miles up the road from the church.[4][5]

Besides the oldest church in American Samoa, Leone is home to a post office, high school, Pritchard’s Bakery and Kruse Supermarket. Buses from Fagatogo to Leone leave every few minutes throughout the year.[6] It is home to two historical sites listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places: Fagalele Boys School, which may be the oldest building on Tutuila Island, and Tataga-Matau Fortified Quarry Complex.

Leone had the most victims in American Samoa in the 2009 tsunami. A memorial garden was created on the So Poloa family land, where most of the 11 victims were found.[7]

History

Fagalele Boys School in Leone may be the oldest building on Tutuila Island.[8]

When missionary John Williams returned to the Samoan Islands in 1832, he dropped anchor in Leone Bay, but did not want to go directly ashore as he feared it was A'asu, site of the massacre of French sailors. Williams was surprised when a village chief paddled out to his ship to asure him that it would be safe to come ashore.[9]

Leone was home to a bomber airstrip, known as Leone Airfield, which was completed on September 30, 1943. Leone High School and Midkiff Elementary School are situated today where the airfield once was located. It was abandoned in early 1945 due to turbulent air currents and lack of use.[10][11]

The highest-ranking Samoan military serviceman to lose his life in the War in Iraq, U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Max Galeai, was killed in Karmah, Iraq on June 26, 2008. He was from Leone and is buried in the village.[12][13]

Leone Post Office was dedicated in 2011 and replaced an older one destroyed by the 2009 tsunami.[14]

Tsunami

Leone was devastated by a tsunami on September 29, 2009. The tsunami was generated by a magnitude 8.0 undersea earthquake.[15] Eleven people in Leone were killed by the tsunami.[16] The village built a monument in 2010 known as Garden of Healing in honor of the victims.[17]

Geography

Leone is a village situated southwest on Tutuila Island in American Samoa, reached by Route 1 from Pago Pago. It borders the villages of Puapua and Vailoatai to the south, Malaeloa Aitulagi to the east, and Amaluia to the west. It lies at the foothills of Malaloto Ridge by Leone Bay. Leone Falls and Leone Quarry are inland following Leafu Stream from the coast.[18]

Leone Falls

Leone Falls is a waterfall with a freshwater pool used for swimming. The waterfall is reached by following the road up past the grey Catholic church near the town center to the end of the pavement. Then follow the dirt path to the head of the valley, where the waterfall is located. An artificial catchment barrier is placed at the bottom, which creates a pool used for swimming. The waterfall is also enhanced by a water pipe on the side of the falls.[19]

Politics

The village council banned the establishment of foreign-owned and operated businesses in 2002.[20]

Leone Quarry

The village of Leone is home to Leone Quarry, which is the most important archeological site in all of American Samoa.[21] Various historical artifacts made of stone, some from as far away as Micronesia, have been discovered at this site. Archeologists Helen Leach and Dan Witter investigated the quarry in 1985. They discovered cutting tools, basalt adzes and pre-form tools. The quarry is also home to a star mound, similar to those found in the village of ‘Aoa. The basalt quarry in Leone can be visited. Although it is on community land, the hiking trail is owned by Tony Willis.[22]

The Historic Preservation Office (HPO) did an investigation of the Tatagamatau adze quarry site in Leone, and revealed the site to be the oldest and largest of its kind in western Polynesia. It is also the only fortified adze quarry in the world.[23]

Landmarks

  • Leone Quarry: Most important archeological site in American Samoa.
  • Fagalele Boys School: May be the oldest building on Tutuila Island.
  • John Williams' Church (Zion Church): Oldest church in American Samoa.
  • Leone Falls
  • Pritchard’s Bakery

Notable people

References

  1. ^ Stanley, David (1999). South Pacific Handbook. Moon Handbooks. Page 445. ISBN 9781566911726.
  2. ^ Swaney, Deanna (1994). Samoa: Western & American Samoa: a Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit. Lonely Planet Publications. Page 180. ISBN 9780864422255.
  3. ^ Brillat, Michael (1999). South Pacific Islands. Hunter Publishing, Inc. Page 139. ISBN 9783886181049.
  4. ^ Stanley, David (1999). Moon Handbooks Tonga-Samoa. David Stanley. Page 177. ISBN 9781566911740.
  5. ^ http://www.lonelyplanet.com/american-samoa/tutuila/attractions/leone/a/poi-sig/1456080/362246
  6. ^ Swaney, Deanna (1994). Samoa: Western & American Samoa: a Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit. Lonely Planet Publications. Page 180. ISBN 9780864422255.
  7. ^ http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/202891/garden-dedicated-to-american-samoa-tsunami-victims
  8. ^ https://npgallery.nps.gov/pdfhost/docs/NRHP/Text/72001446.pdf
  9. ^ Shaffer, Robert J. (2000). American Samoa: 100 Years Under the United States Flag. Island Heritage. Page 64. ISBN 9780896103399.
  10. ^ http://www.airfields-freeman.com/HI/Airfields_W_Pacific.htm#leone
  11. ^ http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/Building_Bases/bases-24.html (Page 212)
  12. ^ http://archives.starbulletin.com/2008/06/29/news/story01.html
  13. ^ http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/178185/high-ranking-american-samoa-soldier-buried-today-in-leone
  14. ^ http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/198730/small-post-office-in-american-samoa-spared-from-being-closed-down
  15. ^ 17 deaths reported after Samoa quake
  16. ^ http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/255588/american-samoa-remembers-2009-tsunami
  17. ^ http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/193748/american-samoa-village-begins-building-a-monument-to-tsunami-victims
  18. ^ Swaney, Deanna (1994). Samoa: Western & American Samoa: a Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit. Lonely Planet Publications. Page 181. ISBN 9780864422255.
  19. ^ Swaney, Deanna (1994). Samoa: Western & American Samoa: a Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit. Lonely Planet Publications. Page 180. ISBN 9780864422255.
  20. ^ http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/141026/american-samoa-village-says-no-to-foreign-businesses
  21. ^ Swaney, Deanna (1994). Samoa: Western & American Samoa: a Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit. Lonely Planet Publications. Page 180. ISBN 9780864422255.
  22. ^ Swaney, Deanna (1994). Samoa: Western & American Samoa: a Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit. Lonely Planet Publications. Page 181. ISBN 9780864422255.
  23. ^ Shaffer, Robert J. (2000). American Samoa: 100 Years Under the United States Flag. Island Heritage. Page 200. ISBN 9780896103399.

Coordinates: 14°20′38″S 170°47′06″W / 14.34389°S 170.78500°W / -14.34389; -170.78500