The subject of today’s post is a bit unusual in that this building is actually located in the South Pacific on the Island of Pago Pago in American Samoa. Most of the structures we look at on this blog are mainland United States fantasies of what we envisioned as the ‘South Seas’.
This civic auditorium was built in 1962 and was designed by the architectural firm of Wimberly, Whisenand, Allison & Tong (Honolulu). This firm may sound familiar to you if you are fan of Tiki Architecture. Pete Winberly was responsible for the design of many of the exotic buildings found in Hawaii, including the International Market Place, The Waikikian Hotel and the Tahitian Lanai of Waikiki, the master plan for the Kanapali Beach Resort in Maui, the Kona Hilton on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Coco Palms Resort on Kauai, and many more.
The design for the Lee Auditorium was based on traditional Samoan architecture with a Modern Polynesian flair. The building is nicknamed ‘The Turtle’ by the locals.
Lee Auditorium, March 1966
In 2006-2007 the Lee Auditorium underwent a major restoration project due to decades of neglect and was restored back to its original condition. On November 12, 2010 the Lee Auditorium was officially placed on the United Sates National Register of Historic Places.