The Governor's Palace, called Casa Govierno under Spanish rule,
was reconstructed in 1885 to replace the original structure built
in 1736. The two-story manposteria building featured a
cantilevered balcony with clay tile roofing. During that
time, living quarters were situated on the second level while the
first floor spaces were utilized as the office of the Sargento
Mayor de la Plaza, weapons storerooms, and clerical offices.
American rule implemented changes in the Palace
including laying a cement floor and converted the lower storerooms
into administrative office spaces. The second floor
contained a reception area, the dining room, galleries and private
spaces for the governor and his family. Kitchen facilities
and servants' quarters were located in the rear section of the
The elevated Azotea, also of manposteria construction,
survived World War II. It originally was an open-air terrace
porch on the Palace. The clay tile roof was added after the
Since the establishment of Spanish
rule, the Plaza de Espana continues to be the center stage for
many government and civic activities. The principal
structure in the complex of buildings, gardens and park, the Casa
Govierno, or Governor's Palace, was originally constructed in
1736, being first occupied by Governor Francisco Cardenas Pacheco.
The complex was originally named the Plaza de
Magalahes (Governor's Plaza) and was later changed to Plaza de
Espana. It's appearance also has changed during the years.
In 1885, the original palace was replaced with a larger building
by Governor Don Enrique Solano. After the Spanish-American
War in 1898, when Guam became an American possession, the Plaza
continued as the headquarters of the American administration and
official residence of the Naval Governor.
Under American administration, the Plaza was
expanded to include a baseball field and badminton court.
Today the Kiosko (bandstand) stands in the former baseball field.
World War II brought more changes to the Plaza. On December
10, 1941 after a brief battle in Agana, the Governor, Captain
George J. McMillin, U.S.N, surrendered the island to the Japanese
from the Plaza. Later, the seat of Japanese occupation, the
Plaza was extensively damaged by the July, 1944 bombardment of
Agana shortly before Guam's liberation. The existing
structures were subsequently repaired but an extensive restoration
project was completed only in 1980.
The Plaza de Espana today continues to be the
site for numerous social and civic functions, including the
inauguration of the Governor of
Guam - emphasizing its
significance in Guam's history.