FLAG

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On August 19, 1983 the island government issued a notice in which residents were invited to submit a design for a flag. No less than 115 entries were submitted.
The design of 17 year old Miss Roselle Richardson was chosen.

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In 1985 Sint Maarten became the fourth island in the Netherland Antilles to hoist its own flag.

 
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TREATY OF CONCORDIA

The Treaty of Concordia

The treaty of Concordia or the partition treaty of 1648 was an agreement signed by the Dutch and the French to divide the island of St. Maarten in two, A French side and a Dutch side. Even though the original document disappeared, the treaty is still valid to this day. Below you will read a translation of this treaty


The Partition Treaty

Today , the 23 of March 1648, have assembled Robert de Lonvilliers, knight and lord of this place, Governor of the island of St. Maarten, on behalf of His Most Christian Majesty (i.e., the King of France) Martin Thomas, likewise Governor of the said island, on behalf of the Prince of Orange and the Staten General of Holland, and Henri de Lonvillers, lord of Benevent, Savin and Courpon, Chevalie, lord la Tour, Lieutenant-Colonel of the island, and David Coppins, Lieutenant of a Dutch company, and Pitre van Zeun Hus (Pieter van Zevenhuizen), likewise Lieutenant of a Dutch company of the above, have agreed upon the following:


1. That the French shall continue in that quarter were they are established at this present, and that they shall inhabit the entire coast (side) which faces Anguilla;

2. That the Dutch shall have the quarter of the fort, and the soil surrounding it on the south coast (side);

3. That the French and the Dutch established on the shared island shall live as friends and allies, and that, in case the other party molesting the other, this shall constitute an infringement of this treaty, and shall therefore be punishable by the laws of war;

4. That, if a Frenchman or a Dutchman being guilty of a criminal act or infringement of this agreement, or of disobedience of the commands of his superiors, or whatever other remissness, shall be withdrawn to the territory of the other nation, the contracting parties shall be bound to cause such a person to be arrested in their territory, and to deliver him up to his governor on the latter’s first requesting it;

5. That the chase, the fisheries, salt- pans, the rivers, lakes and harbors and roadsteads, and other commodities of the said land shall be common, and shall serve to provide the wants of the inhabitants;

6. That it shall be permitted to French persons at this present residing with the Dutch to join French, if it so pleases them , and to take with them their movables, foodstuffs and money and other commodities, provided that they have settled their debts or given sufficient security, and the Dutch shall be able to do likewise on the same conditions;

7. That, if an enemy should attack one part or the other, the parties to this treaty shall be obliged to render each other aid and assistance;

8. That the delimitation and partition of the said island between two nations shall be submitted to the General of French and the Governor of  St. Eustatius and to the deputies that shall be sent to their that shall be sent to visit the places; and that, their report having been made, they shall delimit their quarters , and proceed in a manner stipulated above;

9.  That any claims  one party may have against the other shall be submitted

To the king of France and the gentlemen of His council, and to the Prince of Orange and the States of Holland Neither of above parties shall be able to construct fortifications with out contravening the above agreement and compensations with respect to the other party

Given on the date heretofore mentioned, on the mountain surnamed des Accords (Concordia) of the said island, and singed by the said gentlemen, in the presence of Bernard de La Fond, Knight and lord of Esperance, Lieutenant of a French company

 
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SINT MAARTEN SONG

The St. Maarten Song

The St. Maarten song was written and composed by Father G. Kemps


Born in Venraay, the Netherlands, in 1902. Father Kemps was a Roman Catholic priest who worked for over 30 years on Saint Martin (French side)

O Sweet St. Maarten land


Where over the world, say where:

You find an Island there,

So lovely small with nations free,

With people French and Dutch,

Though talking English much,

As the St. Martin in the sea?

Chorus:

O, sweet Saint Martin's Land

So bright by beach and strand

With sailors on the sea

And harbours free;

Where the chains of mountains green

Variously in sunlight sheen;

O, I love thy Paradise,

Nature beauty fairly nice!

How pretty between all green

Flamboyant’s beaming gleam

Of flowers red by sunlight set!

Thy cows and sheep and goats

In meadows or on roads,

They donkeys keen can't I forget


Saint Martin, I like thy name,

In which Columbus fame,

And memories of old are closed.

For me a great delight:

Thy Southern Cross the night.

May God the Lord protect thy coast!

 

NATIONAL TREE

The Flamboyant tree, (Royal Poinciana)

Also known as Flame Tree, July Tree, Peacock Flower
Originally from Madagascar, but can be found throughout the entire Caribbean.
The Tree symbolizes emancipation. It blooms between June to September with red, yellow and orange blossoms.

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FOOD

Some local dishes of St. Maarten are:

o Chicken leg and Johnny cake
o Salt fish
o Bull foot soup
o Pigeon peas
o Goat water
o Cornmeal and Fish
o Pig Ear Sauce

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o Stew pig feet
o Oyster soup
o Stew beef and carrot
o Conchs Dumpling
o Sweet potato

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PONUM

Our National Dance

 
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THE PONUM DANCE


The dance originated in the time of slavery. It has been said that the Africans celebrated the abolition of slavery by dancing the ponum. It is the official dance of St. Maarten.

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MUSIC

The most famous string band on Sint Maarten is “Tanny and the Boys”, a cultural icon. The group of golden age musicians play festive music rooted in St Maarten. The band was founded in St. Maarten during the late 70´s, named after the former bandleader Nathaniel “Tanny” Davids. The musicians in the band have played music all their lives and is known as the oldest existing band on the island. All members of the band received royal decorations for their musical contribution. They play at house parties, dances, anniversaries and formal receptions throughout the Caribbean, the Netherlands and Germany. The band has entertained various personalities from Lieutenant Governors, Mayors and even for Queen Beatrix of the Dutch Kingdom.

Steel Pan

The steel pan originated in Trinidad and is one of the island's most treasured traditions. The sounds of the steel pan arrived on St. Maarten/St. Martin in the mid-20th century. It is influenced by the descendants of African slaves, who had a history of drum-based rhythms. After animal skin and bamboo drums were banned, steel oil drums were used. From the single note drum, other pans were created that could play full scales. Famous steel pan musicians on St. Maarten are Chester York and his sons Neville York and Mighty Dow. The first international movie recorded on St. Maarten is about steel pan music. Titled “The Pan Man Rhythm of the Palms”, it is about the life of steel pan musician Harry Daniel.

 
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COURT OF ARMS

Our Coat of arms features several different national symbols.
- Shield with rising sun
- On top the  pelican, our national bird
- In the centre the Courthouse
- Top right corner the border monument, a sign of unity
- Top left corner Yellow Sage, the national flower
- Semper Pro Grediens, means always progressing

 

BORDER  MONUMENT

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IT BEGINS WITH THE TREATY

The border monument is a structure at the borders of French St.Martin and Dutch St.Martin. It was unveiled in 1949 for the three-hundredths (300th) anniversary of the Treaty of Concordia.
The story of how the island was divided by two men from each country having a walking match. It never happen it's just a legend.
On March 17th of 1648, the French commander marched his troops to the Dutch occupation side of the island. It is said a mini-battle happened between the French and Dutch. The Dutch commander realizing he was no match for the French, reached an agreement with the French commander on March 23rd, 1648. This agreement resulted in the French having more land and the Treaty of Concordia being signed. On that day where the treaty was signed, the hill was named Morne des Accords or Concordia, known today as Concordia or Concordia Hill.

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DIVISION

There is a wall of stones that was built by the Dutch and stretches across a far distance to mark the boundaries of both sides of the island. This wall is known today as the Dutch wall, which can be still visited today. The Heritage House on the French Side and Hillside Plantation on the Dutch side are some of the places where you can hike a trail to see the wall.

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TREATY BEING VIOLATED

The treaty was repeatedly violated by the French Side and Dutch Side, even forgotten. There were other treaties signed but the Treat of Concordia was never repealed

Some of the Violations:

  1. April 1672 to June 15, 1676- The French had control of the island.

  2. June 15 to 30 1676- The Dutch had control of the island.

  3. April 10th,1703 to April 11th, 1713- The Dutch had control of the island.

  4. November 27, 1781, to February 1784- The French had control of the island.

  5. May 19th, 1783 to April 5th, 1795- The Dutch had control of the island.

  6. April 5th, 1795 to March 1801- The French had control of the island. Until the British took over.

 

NATIONAL FLOWER

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THE NATIONAL FLOWER (PHOTO: MARK YOKOYAMA)

Yellow Sage (Lantana Camara)


Aka Spanish flag, West Indian Lantana, bloodflower

Common throughout the Netherlands Antilles.

The West Indian Lantana has become popular in gardens for

its hardy nature. It is not affected by pests or

disease. The Sage has low water requirements and is tolerant

of extreme heat. It is a favorite species of butterflies.

 
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NATIONAL BIRD

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

The brown pelican is the national bird of St. Maarten and it is a part of
our coat of arms. It’s a large bird with a wingspan between 121.9 centimeters and 213.4 centimeters
with its characteristic bill and with its huge throat pouch its easy recognize.
It commonly soars upwards before plunge-diving vertically with its wings almost
folded in pursuit of fish. The species is most often seen solitary or in small groups,
flying in a single file. It commonly perches on posts or exposed rocks near the
water’s edge. Its nesting grounds here are at Fort Amsterdam. Pelican breed
mainly between March and July. With two to four eggs in each nest. Habitat loss,
human disturbance  and hunting have all played a part in the decline of the species
over the last couple of decades.

 

NATIONAL DRINKS

The national drink of St. Maarten is Guava berry liqueur. Guava Berry is a shrub or slender tree reaching 33-55 feet in height and annually bearing a small yellow-orange to dark red (almost black) berry fruit. The tree grows best in low-lying valleys of moderate temperature and can be found in the Bellevue, Columbier, and Rambaud areas of French St. Martin. St. Maarteners have traditionally stewed the aromatic Guava berry for use in jams and pies or steeped it with rum and spices to make a very distinctive, bittersweet liqueur. The liqueur is a traditional Christmas drink. It is served to guests in a liqueur glass or a shot glass. It’s quite strong so you sip it.

Herbal Tea (Bush Tea)

Many leaves of plants and different bushes in St. Maarten (and throughout the Caribbean) can be used to make tea. Locally called bush tea. The leaves have a very aromatic flavor and some have medicinal properties. Below are a few bushes that can be used for tea.

- Soursop

- Lemon Grass

- Mint

- Sweet basil


Ginger beer

Ginger root is used for a variety of purposes as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It can also be used to make Ginger Beer. First, start by peeling the skin of the root. Then grate the root and add boiled water. Then let it rest for a few days to build up the flavor. The longer you leave it to rest the stronger it gets. Add some lemon or sugar according to taste.

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NATIONAL MONUMENTS

This is not a complete list of Sint Maarten’s Monuments. There is still much more to be added

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FORT AMSTERDAM

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

The Dutch originally built Fort Amsterdam in 1631. The current remains, however, are actually of Spanish origins. Fort Amsterdam is located where the first Dutch settlement was, a small fort was also located there. When the Spanish came and removed the Dutch, they destroyed everything and built their own fort. When the Dutch came back to the island, the remains of the Spanish fort were rebuilt sometime between 1737-1748 by Commander John Philips and was renamed Fort Amsterdam. The fort ceased military operations in 1816.

BISHOP HILL PLANTATION

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

This picture shows the ruins of the sugar factory. Located west of Belvedere Plantation is Bishop Hill Plantation. This plantation complex is large and comprised of many structures. These structures are: cattle mill, boiling house, two cisterns, storage facility, windmill, curing house, housing area, and a slave cemetery. In the later years it merge with Belvedere to make one plantation.

BELVEDERE PLANTATION HOUSE

(Photo Mrs. D. Hoven)

The Belvedere Plantation House is a two-story building. The ground floor was built with natural stone and the top was built with wood. The wooden part was the living quarters of the plantation owner and family. In its later years, it was owned by the Van Romondt family until it was sold to the Plantz family who is the current owners. Only the bottom half and the staircase remains of the house. It is one of the largest and oldest plantations.

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BELVEDERE SUGAR FACTORY

(Photo Unknown)

Next to the Belvedere Plantation House is the ruins of a small sugar factory. The ruins are still in good condition. There is also the remains of a cistern, located near the house.

BETTY'S ESTATE BOILING HOUSE

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

This is the only surviving structure of Betty’s Plantation. Near the structure is a rare tree call the baobab. There is a lot of vegetation around it, but the majority of the walls are still in very good condition.

FORT WILLEM 1

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

In 1801 the British built a fort on what is Fort Hill, Signal Hill, or Fort Willem Hill, this fort was named Fort Trigge. The Dutch it named Fort Gelderland. The French named it Fort Louis Napolean. In 1816 the Dutch returned and named it Fort Willem 1. In 1846 Fort Willem ceased operation.  In its later years, it was used as a signal post. On days of celebrations, the fort would fire its canons. Fort Amsterdam eventually became the new location for the signal post which left Fort Willem without purpose and it was abandoned. Currently, a good amount of the fort remains. There is a cell tower built on its north side.

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OLD SPANISH FORT

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

Located in Monte Vista, this supporting fort was built by the Spanish during their occupation of Sint Maarten. It was built to fix the shortcomings of Fort Amsterdam since its cannons could not reach the other side, which the Spanish took advantage of for their invasion. The fort's purpose was to prevent another European power from using the same tactics as them. It is built from natural stone and its foundation is about six feet high.

BETHLEHEM PLANTATION

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

This plantation was first mentioned in a deed from 1835 by the merging of the Estates Reeds and Madame Barton. The plantation complex comprised a curing house, a boiling house, a plantation house, a sick house, cotton processing facilities, a cattle mill, a cistern, and a burial site. It is located in Lower Prince’s Quarter near the Dutch and French border on top of a small hill. It is an excellent example of a sugar cane processing complex that is common in the North Eastern Caribbean.

SALT FACTORY/ FOGA RUINS AND DYKE

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

In the North-East corner of the Great Salt Pond is a mysterious ruin, generally referred to as the Salt Factory. It is also known as the Foga Ruins. It was built by a Dutch and French salt company on the island. The ruins date back to around 1862. The remaining ruins are an impressive reminder that salt was the backbone of Sint Maarten’s economy. It has been in ruins for more than a century.

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MARY'S FANCY PLANTATION

(Photo Fred Fischer)

Mary's Fancy was a sugar plantation over 200 years ago. It is located in Cul-de-Sac across from Emilio Wilson Park. The house is still there including the boiling house. In its later years it was known for its luxurious apartment rental complex. It is currently abandoned.

INDUSTRY (EMILIO'S ESTATE)

(Photo Unknown)

This plantation used to be the home of Commander John Philips (Philipsburg is named after him). It was later owned by Emilio Wilson and currently is Rainforest Adventure. On the premises is a boiling house and a great house. The boiling was once used as a school, museum, warehouse, and house. The boiling house is currently being used as restaurant and is the only original building on the property from the plantation period.

RETREAT ESTATE/PLANTATION

(Photo Unknown)

Retreat Estate was owned by Commander Rink during the 18th century. It used to produce sugar during its time of operation. It did not have one Great house but two smaller ones, which no longer exist. One of last remaining building was the boiling house which in its later years was used as apartments, it no longer exists. The last known picture of the boiling house was taken in 2003. The boiling house and cattle mill is destroyed.

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EBENEZER PLANTATION

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

This plantation was a sugar plantation during its time of operation. Currently on the site is the remains of a master house, a cattle mill and two other structures of unknown purpose. It has a large boiling house. What makes it special is that it is a two-story boiling house.

UNION FARM

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

The building was built around 1680, it is supposedly the oldest one on the island. This plantation house has a cistern and catchment. There are no industrial remains in the immediate area of the building.

MADAME ESTATE HOUSE

Learn Something New!

The Madame Estate House, also known as The Great House. Was at the centre of a sugar and cotton plantation. It was later converted into offices for the salt industry. The wooden house currently does not exist, but it's high concrete foundation sticks out the bushes. It can be seen on your way up Madame Estate hill.

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COURTHOUSE

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

The Court House was built in 1793. The order for its construction was given by Commander Rink. During its early use, it housed the council room, police quarters, the jail, and the weighing room. The top floor was destroyed by the hurricane of 1819. It’s reconstruction was completed in 1826, during which, it was redesigned. In 1993 the Courthouse made its bicentennial birthday (200th birthday). After the 1995 restoration, the Courthouse only housed the Court of Sint Maarten.

METHODIST CHURCH

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

The Methodist Church on Front street is a good example of a wooden Caribbean church. The current building is a replica of the original one, which was built in 1851. It was taken down in 1978 because of its ruinous condition. The current one was built in 1979. The current one is made of concert covered with wood shingles. It is considered a monument because of how accurate it was built to the original.

BRICK BUILDING

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

The first Methodist Church on the island was in a building made out of red bricks, known today as the Brick Building. It is located in the Methodist church compound. It is the only building of its kind. It was built around 1785. In World War 2 it housed French soldiers who occupied the Dutch Side.

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METHODIST MANSE

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

Old Methodist Manse, pulled down in 1931 and replaced by the present one.  This building is built from poured concrete. There are other building built this way, but the Methodist Manse is the largest. It is built in the Georgian style. The office of the Methodist church and the Methodist Agogic Centre School Board are housed in this building.

RINK HOUSE

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

This building use to be the home of Commander Rink. He use to be the owner of Retreat Estate/Plantation. The house was built around the end of the 18th century. It was constructed with natural stone.

THE VINEYARD BUILDING

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

This two-story house is a wooden building was a pre-fabricated house. It was imported to the island in 1871 from the United States by the van Romondt family. It supposedly has a twin in Martha’s Vineyard.

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SISTER BORGIA SCHOOL

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

The first St. Rose Hospital was located at this building. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century. During World War two it was used as a place for the military to stay at. It then became the first home for senior citizens, named “Sweet Repose.” It then became an elementary school. The building is made from natural stone, next to it is a large cistern that is still in use today.

ST. JOSEPH SCHOOL

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

This building is one of the few two-story wooden buildings left in Philipsburg. It was built in 1923 as a Roman Catholic boarding school. From 1930 it was the St. Joseph School, it even hosed Sister Marie Laurence school until it moved to a new location in 1994.

FORMER WEST INDIAN TAVERN/GUAVABERRY EMPORIUM

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

The Guavaberry Emporium, formally known as the West Indian Tavern which closed in 1992. This building is a one-story traditional wooden St.Maarten building. It was built in 1830. Located behind of it is the ruins of the Jewish Synagogue.

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PASANGGRAHAN HOTEL

Learn Something New!

The first Pasanggrahan was located in the office building of Oranje School. In 1939 the current Pasanggrahan was built on Front Street. The most notable guest that stayed there is former Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.Currently it is a hotel.

ORANJE SCHOOL OFFICE BUILDING

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

This building was built in 1738 as the Dutch Reformed Church it was moved to its current location in Philipsburg. Its original foundation is located in the Cul-De-Sac Cemetry. When the Dutch Reformed Church ceased operation, it became a public school. When the school moved, it became the first Pasanggrahn, until it was moved to its current location. Then it was turned into the living quarters of the Principal. Then it returned to being part of the school. During its time of existence, it was ransacked by the British and significantly damaged during the hurricane of 1819.

FIRST CHURCH IN SIMPSON BAY (ST. PETRUS GONZALES CHAPEL)

(Photo Unkown)

It was built in 1894 as Roman Catholic Chapel, it was located in Simpson Bay. It was used as a church until 1965. It was our last example of a small wooden church until it was destroyed in 2017 by Hurricane Irma.

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DUTCH REFORMED CEMETERY/CHURCH FOUNDATION

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

This is the remains of the Dutch Reform Church, the first Dutch Reform church, if not the first church on St.Maarten, it is over 200 years old. It is located in Dutch Cul-De-Sac cemetery, which was part of the oldest village on St.Maarten. The building was a wooden structure. It was moved to Philipsburg in 1738which now the office of Orange School.

ST. JOSEPH CONVENT

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

In 1888 the Roman Catholic Priest Father Stephanus J.J. Nieuwenhuis who been a priest on Sint Maarten for 35 years, passed away, in his will he left two houses, a plot of land, and the thousand guilders,(18,000 USD) to the Dominican nuns in the Netherlands. It was left for them so they may come to Sint Maarten and start a school. The nuns arrived on May 31st, 1890. The convent and school was dedicated in the name of St. Joseph

OLD SIMPSON BAY BRIDGE

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

This is the second iteration of the Simpson Bay Bridge, the first being built out of wood in 1933. The second iteration, as known as the 1955 Simpson Bay Bridge. It is built by using stone and concrete, with the surface being paved with concrete. It has a stone-mortar design and ornamental stone pillars. It also has two small arches on one side. It is located by Simpson Bay Beach near Atrium Hotel.

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POST WINDMILL

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

The Post Windmill belongs to the Bishop Hill Sugar Factory. It is the only one of it's kind in the Caribbean. All that remains is the based of the windmill.

REMAINS OF THE JEWISH SYNAGOGUE

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

A Jewish congregation was founded in 1783. The construction of the synagogue is unknown. It was severely damaged by the hurricane of 1819. It was never restored. A small part of the synagogue still remains today. It is located behind the Guavaberry Emporium. There is also a Jewish Cemetery. Currently, there are building on the grounds of its location. The cemetery is located to the left of Real Auto (former location of Radio Shack). The surrounding buildings are on the grounds of the Jewish Cemetery.

ST.JOHNS RANCH

(Photo Unknown)

This structure comprised a boiling house and a cattle mill adjacent to it. It has been altered by the addition of a modern structure which became the entrance and another structure being built on the cattle mill. In its later years, it was used as a party spot and eventually became the location of a school bearing the same name. It was destroyed during the development of the residential area known as St.Johns Estate

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VENUS HOUSE

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

The house was built in the early 1800s. It belonged to a former slave by the name of Venus. The house is located near Red Pond in Guana Bay. The stone of the structure is uncut and it uses to have a gable roof, which was coved with palm or cane leaves.

SINT PETER'S BATTERY

(Photo J.M. Augusty)

Going to Point Blanche right across from Chesterfields Restaurant. The remains of Sint Peter's Battery cistern can be seen. The road leading to Point Blanch was built right through the ruin destroying part of it. It was built by the Dutch in 1748. The purpose of this fort was to help defend the eastern side of Great Bay.

MORE LANDMARKS WILL BE SOON ADDED

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