admin's picture


By Charlina Tone APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Dec. 29, 2010) – In Samoa, a century-old building, one of the last landmarks of this country’s past, has been destroyed.

It took four hours for a raging fire to completely ravage the 1848 Princess Tui Inn, at Vaiala, yesterday morning.

The flames lit up the early hours of the day as firefighters struggled for hours to put out the flames.

Nothing could be salvaged from the fire.

Assistant Fire Commissioner Fa’afouinaMupo said his men tried their best.

"The whole building was destroyed by the fire and luckily there were no guests at the time so there were no injuries," said Mr. Mupo.

He said they have yet to determine the cause of the fire since some key witnesses still need to be located.

"There are some staff from the Inn who were supposedly working last night, who we are still trying to find and investigate," he said.

Owner George Hadley declined to comment when he visited the scene yesterday morning.

The Princess Tui Inn is a budget hotel with 12 rooms.

It’s History

According to the Princess Tui Inn website, the name 1848 Princess Tui Inn comes from its place on Vaiala Beach that was originally purchased in 1848 and owned by Jonas Coe.

Coe was the first American Commercial Agent in Apia 1864-1874 and father of "Queen Emma". Queen Emma is well known in the South Pacific for establishing vast coconut plantations in Papua New Guinea in the 1880's. Pacific Publications, Sydney, published R. W. Robson's book 'Queen Emma': "Emma was always Jonas' favorite," the website states. She was born in 1850 and soon afterwards the Malietoa family, in solemn ceremony, named her Princess TuiMalietoa Coe, of the royal line. This gave her title to certain lands, and to status and privileges to which she clung all her life. Emma inherited the warm blood of her highborn Polynesian mother and the Yankee shrewdness of her American father, Jonas M. Coe. In her early life and loves, her Polynesian traits prevailed; but in her mature years, when she became Queen Emma of New Guinea, Coe qualities generally shaped her extraordinary career."

The website states: "Jonas Coe was washed ashore in 1838. An American whaler caught in a tropical storm that was lashing the Navigators Island (now Samoa) and who was smashed in the maze of coral reefs eastward of Savai'i Island. Jonas Coe, cabin-boy, clinging to a broken spar, was thrown by giant waves across the reef into the quiet lagoon near Sapapali'i village, on Savai'i eastern coast. Samoans dragged him ashore and carried him to two Tongan missionaries, in the village. Sometime later, with a Malietoa bride (Le'utu Joana Taleatale), Malietoa goodwill, and little besides, the American became a trader, first at Mulinu'u, as a partner of John Wright, otherwise know as "Bigleg Johnny", because he had Mumu, and later at Matautu Point, at the other end of the Bay, where he built himself a big house."

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment