Tag Archive | Oracabessa

Eaton Park Great House

Our Visit to the Eaton Park Great House

While the Fontabelle Great House sheltered a few of the world’s estimated 1 billion squatters, the Eaton Park Great House was yet another step removed from its glory days. The house is 5 kilometers south of the Oracabessa bus and taxi park on Jack’s River Road just before a bridge at the north edge of the hamlet of Eaton Park. Pass through the white painted concrete gate posts across the river, and the house is on the left.

The white Eaton Park Great House was probably the most “romantically decrepit” great house I had seen. Dry wood termites and wood rotting fungi have ravaged the structure over the years. Thick vines enveloped the barely-standing house as it continues to slip back into the earth from which it came. The roof, featuring a trio of gables in succession, give the house a unique architectural signature compared to other great houses. I could tell the existing house was not the original structure as it covered only part of the stone foundation. Further, large arches in the huge foundation suggested a much larger and heavier house once stood there.

I slipped into the house and took a few photos, being careful not to plunge through the rotten floor boards. Given the poor condition of the structure, the photos below could be among the last taken before the jungle reclaims the house for good.

From its perch atop a slight knoll, the remains of the house look down on a hardware store, which likely housed a collection of shops servicing the great house during colonial times. The shops, which once featured arched doorways, were constructed of stone and covered with old world ballast bricks. Someday, I hope to get more information on the Eaton Park Estate.

Eaton Park Group House Photo Gallery

Eaton Park Great House Location

Eaton-Park-Great-House-Map

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Tamarind Great House

Tamarind Great House, Jamaica

Our Visit to the Tamarind Great House

We spent Saturday night at the splendid Tamarind Great House atop 13 acres of the previously extensive Crescent Estate. The balcony overlooks a valley dotted with coconut trees that spread for hundreds of acres. Coconuts were introduced to Jamaica by the Spanish in the 1500s, and there are now 80,000 coconut farmers on the island producing nearly 100 million nuts. On the far horizon, Captain Kidd Peak blocks views of the Caribbean Sea. According to legend, Captain Kidd used the peak as a lookout for gold-bearing Spanish galleons. The house is 7 kilometers south of Oracabessa in Saint Mary, so city sounds yield to chirping birds and the chorus of insects.

The present bright blue two-story house was built on the foundation of the original Great House–a massive foundation as thick as a donkey is tall. Ten bedrooms, a living room, and a dining room surround a spacious two-story lobby. The stairs climb to the second floor and a landing, with white balustrades, outside the upper story rooms, surrounds the lobby. Our hosts indicated that the gleaming cream-colored wood floors were cut from a single tree. The original wooden great house was built in 1711 by the Silveras family. The Silveras were Portuguese Jews who fled to Jamaica to escape persecution during the European Inquisitions. The heirs subdivided the property and sold it 1972. The house was burned down by an arsonist in 1990 and was rebuilt over three years starting in 1991 by Barry and Gillian Chambers.

Tamarind Great House Contact Information

If you are interested in staying at this magnificent property, the contact information is as follows:

Gillian’s telephone number is 876-995-3252.
Her email address is tamarindgreathouse@yahoo.com.

You can also learn more at Trip Advisor and Booking.com.

Article about the Tamarind Great House

Tamarind-Great-House-article-photo

Tamarind Great House Photo Gallery

Tamarind Great House Location Map

Eaton-Park-Great-House-Map

Plans for the Next 2 Weekends

I made reservations to spend the next two weekends at different Jamaican great houses. This weekend I will spend a night at Tamarind Great House, which is a few miles south of Oracabessa. This was a part of the Crescent Estate and I will report more about the history in a latter blog.

The second great house is the Liberty Hill Great House. The Traceys established the Liberty Hill plantation in the late 1700s to grow pimentos. The owners expressed excitement that I will be coming to listen to the story of their property. If the owners agree, then I will also include in this blog, links to their various properties.