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Atauloma and the old London Missionary Society (LMS) Church
« on: January 26, 2009, 07:26:58 AM »
Near Leone, the London Missionary Society (LMS) Church built an all-girl secondary  school on the edge of Afao, in Atauloma.  Finished in 1900, this massive structure was  set on a seventy by one hundred sixteen feet concrete slab, with the face of the building  facing out toward the ocean.  The bottom-floor cement walls are twenty inches thick, and  the second floor and peaked roof are made of sturdy California fir and redwood. 

The  spacious rooms on the first floor have fourteen-foot ceilings, with those on the second  floor only slightly lower.  Double-doors lead out to the wide verandas which completely  surround the building on both floors.  The open, inner courtyard was once beautifully  planted with bamboo. The school at Atauloma continued to operate as an educational  institution until the early 1960's. 

In 1970, the LMS Church leased the building to the  American Samoa Government (ASG), who converted the structure into apartments for  contract employees.  In 1995, the LMS Church cancelled the lease with ASG and took  the building back.     

Equal to the fame of the magnificent building are the fabled stories which accompanied  the edifice throughout its history. A short distance from Atauloma is an old overgrown  cemetery with over twenty coral slab graves. The graves range in size from those of small children to those of adults. Victims of an epidemic, the people who are buried at the site  were held in quarantine and not allowed to return to their homes in their native villages  for burial.  It is believed that their restless spirits continue to roam Atauloma to this day. 


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