In Pago Pago
Now we’re going up Solo Hill to have a look at the monument and the old cable car landing. We’ll have a little walk around the area and you might want to venture up to the Samoan style house above the cable car landing area. This is a delightful spot and there is some interesting history to take in.
Turn right as you leave the library and follow the road that curves right behind the library and the school. In about 200 yards, you will see a narrow, steep paved road on your left. Turn up that road and follow it, always keeping to your right at forks, until you see the monument straight in front of you.
The monument is in memory of the April 17, 1980, crash, of a U.S. Navy plane, into the Rainmaker Hotel, killing the six servicemen aboard and two tourists at the hotel. The crash occurred during Flag Day celebrations when the plane attempted to fly under the cable car cables spanning the harbor and caught the vertical stabilizer on the cable. At that point, the plane was flipped sideways and thrown into the hotel. The original intent was to drop paratroopers over the Flag Day celebration area but it was too windy and the updrafts in the harbor area made parachuting inadvisable.
Further up the road, you will see what remains of the old cable car landing and one of the cable cars. From that vantage point you can look up to the television transmitter towers, atop Mt. Alava. You can see the last cable still hanging there. Built in 1965 to carry technicians to the TV transmitters on Mount Alava, the cableway across Pago Pago Harbor was once the longest single-span aerial tramway in the world.
At the very top of Solo Hill is a nice Samoan style house. You need to walk up to the house and enjoy the garden along the way. The view from the top is quite nice, although last time I was there the jungle had grown to block most of the view.