The Marine Observation Tower, a.k.a. the Pagoda, was a gift to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Norfolk from the Taiwan Provincial Government. During a good will trade mission to Norfolk in 1983, Dr. Lee Teng-Hui, then Governor of Taiwan and, later, the President of the Republic of China, proposed the riverfront gift. In 1989, the two-story octagon structure was built on and around the pillars that previously supported a 500,000 gallon molasses storage tank. Materials for the tower were manufactured in Taiwan and shipped to Norfolk where the Pagoda was meticulously assembled by artisans from Taiwan.