Manenggon Concentration Camp:
National Register of Historic Places Boundary
The Manenggon Concentration Camp was listed to the National Register of Historic Places as a significant site for its historic importance at the local, state/territory, and national levels on June 14, 2016.
Now, at the request of the Guam Historic Preservation Officer, the Manenggon Concentration Camp was determined by the National Park Service to be a candidate for a National Historic Landmark (NHL). National Historic Landmarks are significant historic places that possess exceptional value in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. Designated by the Secretary of the Interior, an NHL is reserved for those select places that tell stories of importance not only to local communities or a state, but to the history of the entire nation.
As landowners of properties where this momentous event in Guam’s history happened, this nomination at the national level cannot be possible without your support.
How was the Proposed Landmark Area Identified?
The historic place now known as the Manenggon Concentration Camp was not established with exact boundaries—or with an exact name—and there is no known Japanese or U.S. map showing the camp’s extent. Therefore, the boundary of Manenggon for the NRHP nomination form was established by extraction of the consistent descriptive components in three data sets: U.S. archival records from World War II, CHamoru survivor oral accounts, and Japanese archival documents.
The U.S. military records provide verbal locational descriptions, (including ground observations made after the camp was abandoned); contemporary testimony obtained by the U.S. military from Manenggon survivors and captured Japanese; and aerial reconnaissance data. Survivor oral history accounts appear in many post-war publications, and continue to be collected, some providing information about the camp location. The Japanese records identify this location by reference to the Ylig River in command documents and historical testimony.
The camp’s location is identified in all sources as a stretch of the Ylig River in the Municipality of Yona, centered on the confluence of the tributary Manenggon River with the Ylig, an area known as the Manenggon Valley. Although there was foraging outside the camp area, and it is probable that some families were in dispersed locations, the boundary shown in the NRHP nomination represents the concentrated living area of the camp.
It is clear that the central area of the camp was at the main bend where the Ylig and Manenggon Rivers meet. Some 200 huts of the Manenggon Concentration Camp were noted at this location (“a mile and a quarter” from the main coastal road) by a Marine Civil Affairs officer on August 1, 1944, the day after Manenggon was abandoned. The most inland extent of the camp was in a coconut grove some 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) from the coastal road, as indicated in a Japanese account. Consistent with the Japanese verbal description, U.S. topographic maps show a large coconut grove at this location. The camp’s eastern extent, a little over half a mile (about a kilometer) inland, is based on an oral history account, and the contemporary comments referring to the lengthy, difficult trail from the coastal road to the camp, even after it was re-occupied as the U.S. Yona Refugee Camp.
Submit a Public Comment
You are invited to participate in the process of nominating the Manenggon Concentration Camp to the U.S. National Historic Landmark (NHL). The project is being conducted by the Guam Preservation Trust, in partnership with the Guam Historic Preservation Office, the National Park Service, and the Organization of American Historians. The project includes developing a nomination document for the Manenggon Concentration Camp. Your submission
will be submitted to the NHL committee for consideration.
Frequently asked questions
What are National Historic Landmarks?
National Historic Landmarks (NHL) are buildings, sites, districts, structures, and objects determined by the Secretary of the Interior to be nationally significant in American history and culture. Landmarks illustrate important contributions to the nation's historical development to tell the story of the nation's heritage. Only about 2,500 places are designated as NHL, including such renowned landmarks as Pearl Harbor, the Apollo Mission Control Center, Alcatraz, and Martin Luther King's Birthplace.
While the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) honors places significant to the heritage of a community, state or territory, or the nation as whole, NHL listing is dedicated to those key places that contain the strongest association with a turning point or played a significant role or event in the history and heritage of the entire nation.
If successfully nominated, the Manenggon Concentration Camp will be Guam’s first National Historic Landmark, alongside the two NHL on the Northern Marianas: Saipan’s and Tinian’s WWII Landing Beaches.
Who is in Charge of National Historic Landmarks?
Through the combined efforts of the National Historic Landmarks Survey and the National Historic Landmarks Initiative, the National Park Service conducts the National Historic Landmarks program for the Secretary of the Interior. It is a cooperative endeavor of government agencies, professionals, and independent organizations sharing knowledge with the Service and working jointly to identify and preserve National Historic Landmarks.
How was Manenggon selected as a candidate for the National Historic Landmark Designation?
When the Manenggon Concentration Camp was listed on National Register of Historic Places on 14 June 2016, the Guam State Historic Preservation Officer requested the NHL Program staff to determine if Manenggon appears to meet the criteria for NHL designation. This review identified the property as a being a good candidate for NHL designation.
Once identified as a potential NHL, a nomination dossier is prepared for multiple reviews by subject matter experts and scholars from across the nation. This two to five year process results in the Landmarks Committee and the National Park System Advisory Board submitting the dossier to the Secretary of the Interior for the final decision.
Who Owns an NHL Property?
The original property owner does. The NHL does not become the property of the Federal or local government. There is no change in property ownership. Of the approximately 2,600 NHL, over 2,000 are privately owned properties.
Can I make changes on my property if it is an NHL?
Following the standard Guam permitting processes, you can do anything you want on your property. You can do the same landscaping, building, or clearing that you do now. If Federal funds are used for actions on the property, then the standard Federal permitting processes must be implemented. These Guam and Federal processes have to be followed whether a property is a Landmark or not.
The National Park Service may recommend to owners various preservation actions but owners are not obligated to carry out these recommendations.
Guam has no laws or local ordinances that recognize and protect National Historic Landmarks.
If designated as an NHL, is my property likely to be affected by Federal laws and regulations?
Only if you use Federal funding on your property or if Federally funded projects occur next to your property. For example, Federally funded construction of roads, utility lines, or buildings require implementation of Federal regulations. However, the laws and regulations are the same, whether your property is a Landmark or not.
Will I have to open my property to the public if it becomes a Landmark?
However, be aware that if you receive specific types of grant funding due to being an NHL, some grants require your property be available to the public under very restricted circumstances. When and if you apply for grant funding, you can make those decisions.
Will there be inspections or visits by National Park Service officials to my property?
Maybe although rarely, but no one can enter your property without your permission. Occasionally the National Park Service may ask for permission to visit. This is because the NPS is responsible by law for monitoring the condition of National Historic Landmarks. This condition information is used by NPS for fundraising, to influence policy affecting their Landmarks, and to plan its assistance programs and grant-making decisions.
Every year a few of the over 2,600 Landmarks are selected by the NPS for in-depth site inspections. The purpose of these inspections is to analyze the specific condition of the Landmark, identify and prioritize recommended work treatments, and estimate the costs for carrying out this work.
Do I have to maintain my property to National Park Service standards or restore it to original or historic appearance?
While the NPS encourages owners to use the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation, owners are under no requirement to follow this guidance.
Can an NHL designation affect my property values?
We cannot predict changing Guam property values; however, it is a fact that many studies show that historic designation increase property values. Why? In part, historic designation gives a neighborhood or an individual historic site a caché that sets it apart from ordinary properties. Many buyers seek out the unique qualities and ambiance of a historic property.
Can I prevent my property from being a Landmark?
Yes. If a private owner objects to Landmark designation, the Secretary of the Interior cannot designate their lot as a Landmark.
What if a potential Landmark contains multiple lots (property owners), can they together prevent a Landmark designation?
Yes and no. If the majority of owners of a potential Landmark object, then it cannot be designated. However, Manenggon is a very large area and contains many lots. The specific area of Manenggon recommended as a Landmark can encompass many or a few lots.
So any lot owner who objects to being a Landmark will not be included in the NHL boundaries, but nearby lot owners may have agreed to be an NHL.
As a land owner, Can I submit a formal comment on Manenggon being nominated as an NHL?
Land owners, elected local officials, the Guam Historic Preservation Officer, and others can submit written comments to the National Park Service on the potential designation of Manenggon as an NHL 60 days before the annual meeting of the Advisory Board of the National Historic Landmarks Committee. Interested parties may also attend the Landmarks Committee and Advisory Board meetings, and upon request may be given an opportunity to address the Committee or Board concerning a property's significance, integrity, and proposed boundaries. These meetings are held on the east coast and will not occur until 2021 or 2022. GPT will let you know when these meetings are going to be held if you are interested in writing a letter.
Are there Federal funds available for preserving or protecting NHL?
As an NHL, Manenggon would have higher priority to the limited amount of Federal and private preservation grants. To discuss Federal funding opportunities, contact the Guam Historic Resources Division or the Guam Preservation Trust.
Are there tax benefits to being an NHL?
Not on Guam. Stateside, there are limited Federal and state income tax incentives for NHL properties. Guam has no tax incentives, grants, or loan programs dedicated to NRHP or NHL programs.
Then what are the benefits to Manenggon being designated an NHL?
The primary benefit is national recognition of Manenggon’s, and accordingly Guam’s, outstanding place and significance in the history of the United States.
Manenggon would be given a free bronze plaque to display at the Landmark. The plaque will identify the name and Landmark status of the property and the date of designation.
The National Park Service will provide free technical preservation advice to owners of National Historic Landmarks. Questions regarding preservation issues are routinely answered by phone or letters, or during on-site visits by NPS staff.
Where can I find more information on NHL's and property ownership?
Guam Preservation Trust
Joseph Quinata, chief program officer
167 Padre Palomo Street,
Hagatna, Guam 96910
Guam State Historic Preservation Office/Historic Resources Division
Patrick Lujan, acting Guam historic preservation officer
Guam Historic Resources Division,
Guam Department of Parks and Recreation
490 Chalan Palasyo
Agana Heights, Guam 96910
The National Historic Landmark website:
Frequently Asked Questions - at the National Historic Landmark website:
My Property is Important to America's Heritage, What Does that Mean? (1993)
Federal laws listing the effects of designation of National Historic Landmarks: 36 CFR § 65.2 "Effects of Designation."