Catholic Church, Tamuning: St. Anthony
Catholic church, Tumon: Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores
The main geographic features of this region are the low plateau of Oka (Saupon) Point which divides Tumon and Hagåtña bays, and the Tumon Bay area which is enclosed by high cliffs leading to relatively flat Upper Tumon/ Harmon areas.
Tumon, with its beautiful white sand beaches and protected waters, has developed over the last four decades into Guam’s tourism center while Tamuning has become a major commercial and residential area. Harmon, the sight of the post-World War II airfield, is now an industrial park.
Tamuning, and its surrounding areas, has a rich history. The large number of latte stones and other archeological finds around Tumon Bay are evidence that Tumon Bay, with its freshwater springs and excellent inshore fishing, has long been a major population center of the island. During the Spanish conquest of Guam in the late seventeenth century, Tumon (Tumhun), Ipao, and Apotguan were all listed as major villages.
However, with the resettlement of Chamorros during the Spanish-Chamorro wars the area was completely emptied of people. For the next two centuries the area was primarily used for ranching, hunting and fishing. The village of Tamuning was established in 1849 by Governor Pablo Perez as a refuge for a group of Carolinians whose islands had been destroyed by a 1848 typhoon.
During the American naval era several changes came to the area. Unhappy with the cultural practices of the Carolinians, Governor Seaton Schroeder transported them to the neighboring island of Saipan, north of Guam, in 1901, which was then under the administration of Germany. Schroeder also established a leper colony at Ypao in 1902 which lasted until 1912 when its inhabitants were exiled to the Philippines, most never to be heard from again. During Guam’s American naval era people began to settle permanently in this part of Guam and established the village of Dededo which was centered at the current location of the San Miguel Brewery building in Harmon but included what is now considered Tamuning and Tumon. Tumon was a popular fishing and salt making area during these years.
World War II brought many changes to the Tumon-Tamuning region. Life went on as usual for the Dededo villagers who did not have to leave their homes during the war, but Tumon Bay was fortified by the Japanese and ranchers were restricted from the area.
Before Guam was liberated from occupying military forces in 1944, most residents in this part of Guam were forced into Japanese concentration camps. After the war, when people began to return to the area, they discovered that their former homes and ranch lands were to be used by the U.S. military for the new Harmon Air Force Base which stretched from Two Lovers Point and Ukudu to what is now the intersection of Airport Road and Marine Corps Drive. Much of the land in Tumon Bay was also now off limits because it had been designated as an Army Air Corps recreation area.