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A bird identification guide with information on over 332 tropical birds and over 820 photographs





























Trinidad has a wide variety of places to visit that are of interest either because of their historical, geological or ecological importance. Below we provide information on some of these places of interest. Clicking on the place name in the listing will take you directly to the information on that place of interest. Location information is provided for each place.

To find Natural Attractions such as caves, mud volcanos, savannahs and the Pitch Lake, go to our Natural Attractions Page. Information on the various waterfalls can be found on the Waterfalls Page, while the Beaches Page provides information on the beaches of Trinidad.

To find the locations referred to on this page in the overall geographic space of Trinidad, see the Trinidad Map



OffShore Islands

bulletSan Diego Islands
bulletFive Islands
bulletGasparee Island

North West

bulletChaguaramas Historical Sights
bulletChaguaramas Military History Museum
bulletBamboo Cathedral
bulletMorne Catherine
bulletNorth Post
bulletRiver Estate Museum
bulletDiego Martin Water Wheel
bulletFort George
bulletMilitary Cemetery
bulletSt James Barracks
bulletWoodbrook Estate Office
bulletSite of Trinidad's First Cinema

Port of Spain

bulletQueen's Park Oval
bulletBet Olam section of Mucarapo Cemetery
bulletMuseum of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service
bulletCentral Bank Money Museum
bulletPort of Spain Museum
bulletNational Museum
bulletToll Gate Monument
bulletMemorial Park
bulletQueen's Park Savannah
bulletPeschier Cemetery
bulletQueen's Park Hotel
bulletGeorge Brown House
bulletGingerbread House
bulletMagnificent Seven
bulletMaraval Waterworks
bulletRookery Nook
bulletBotanical Gardens
bulletEmperor Valley Zoo
bulletPresident's House
bulletPort of Spain General Hospital
bulletJenny's on the Boulevard
bulletLapeyrouse Cemetery
bulletBruce Stevens Trust
bulletRed House
bulletFormer Police Headquarters
bulletOther Colonial Architecture
bulletPort of Spain Town Hall
bulletOld Port of Spain Library
bulletCabildo Building
bulletOld Fire Brigade Building
bulletWoodford Square
bulletFormer Cooperative Bank Building
bullet Trinidad Building and Loan Association
bulletJuliana Chambers House
bulletPortuguese Association
bulletExcellent City Center
bulletTreasury Building
bulletWrightson Road Historical Monument
bulletBrian Lara Promenade
bulletIFC Esplanade
bulletJ.N. Harriman Building
bullet Trinidad Import Export Company
bulletPort of Spain Lighthouse
bulletUnited Brothers Lodge
bulletFort Chacon
bulletLaventille Horse Trough

North Coast

bulletCarmel Estate
bulletMaracas Pillars
bulletMaracas Bay Agri Tourism Park
bulletFort Abercromby
bullet Blanchissuesse Spring Bridge


bulletSan Juan Mystery Statue
bulletSt Joseph
bulletFirst National Park - St Joseph
bulletCleaver Woods Museum
bulletArima Landmarks
bulletLord Harris Square Arima
bulletCalvalry Hill
bulletArena Amerindian Site
bulletSangre Chiquito Great House
bulletBrasso Seco

North East

bulletValencia Visitor Center
bulletValencia Pillars
bulletPius Holdings Park Valencia
bulletHollis Reservoir
bulletGalera Lighthouse


bulletThe Indian Caribbean Museum
bulletPerseverance Watch Tower
bulletPoint Lisas Industrial Estate
bulletCouva Train Station
bulletLa Vega Estate
bulletLos Atajos Radar
bulletNavet Reservoir
bulletClaxton Bay Maiden
bulletLion House
bulletCentral Trinidad Pottery


bulletPointe-a-Pierre Train Station
bulletMarabella Train Station
bullet Brij Maharaj Auto and Heritage Museum
bulletHarris Promenade
bulletSan Fernando Clock
bulletSan Fernando Town Hall
bulletSan Fernando Police Station
bulletSan Fernando Court House
bulletCarnegie Free Library
bulletPresentation College
bulletSan Fernando Electricity
bulletCarib House
bulletKings Wharf
bulletPalmiste Park
bulletBicaise Grave
bulletAfrican Holocaust Memorial Park
bulletSt Madelline Train History
bulletGlenroy Tunnel
bulletThe Company Villages
bulletMandingo Road
bulletMoruga Museum
bulletMoruga Ammunition Bunker
bulletMoruga Statues
bulletKnollys Tunnel Tabaquite

South East

bulletManzanilla Reservoir
bulletManzanilla Tomb
bulletFormer Mayaro Post Office
bulletOther Mayaro Sites
bulletSt Joseph Statue
bulletLord Harris Cottage
bulletBrigand Hill

South West

bulletFyzabad Heritage Park
bulletCharlie King Junction
bulletLa Brea Charles
bulletFyzabad War Memorial
bulletHelena Oil Well
bulletMud House Museum
bulletPenal Island Park
bulletSiparia Train Station
bulletLa Brea Watch Tower
bulletVessigny Rubber Fields
bulletLa Fortunee Well
bulletOil Fields
bulletPoint Fortin
bulletIcacos Village
bulletUs Army Base at Green Hill


bulletTrinidad Statues
bulletU.S. Army Bases in Trinidad

Other places of interest can also be found on the Religious Sites Page, the Natural Attractions Page and the Birding Hotspots Page.

Galera Lighthouse

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At the north eastern tip of Trinidad, east of Toco, Galera Point is a rocky outcrop where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic Ocean. Thick beds of quartzitic grits, which are very hard coarsely crystalline rocks, are intercalated among the schists to form a conspicuous headland. It is said that in the 17th century Amerindians threw themselves to their deaths from Galera Point rather than be captured by the Spanish. It is the destination for Orisha devotees, celebrating the Olukun Festival (Celebration of the Ocean), who on February 21 every year, start their pilgrimage from the Port of Spain lighthouse. On December 7th 1941, in the waters off Galera Point, two merchant ships carrying bauxite from Suriname were sunk by torpedoes from a German U boat.

The Toco lighthouse, built in 1897, stands tall on a promontory overlooking crashing waves. This lighthouse is a twin in design to the Chacachacare Lighthouse. On the Galera Lighthouse are the letters VR and J which commemorate the 50th jubilee of Victoria Regina. At certain times the lighthouse is open and with the permission of the lighthouse keeper you can ascend the steps. A park and picnic area have been developed around the lighthouse. There are numerous benches and picnic tables shaded by the spreading branches of almond and sea grape trees. As a result of the constant northeast trade winds the vegetation like chaparral is permanently bent to the south west.

The area around Galera Point is also significantly historically as it is the area of the first English settlement in Trinidad. In 1632, an English settlement was established in this area under Sir Henry Colt. At the time Trinidad was a Spanish colony and they forbade other nations from settling in their islands, so in March 1633, the Spanish attacked and destroyed the settlement. This area was also the site of the second English attempt to settle in Trinidad as in 1640 another group established a settlement in the area. Despite surviving Spanish attacks in 1641 and 1643, the settlement was abandoned in 1645.






Chacachacare Island was named Chacachacare by the Amerindians and is the westernmost of the Bocas Islands which belong to Trinidad and Tobago. It lies in the Bocas del Dragón (Dragons' Mouth) between Trinidad and Venezuela. Originally named El Caracol (the Snail) by Christopher Columbus because of its shape, at various times Chacachacare has served as a cotton plantation, a whaling station and a leper colony. Between the period 1777 and 1794, cotton was the major agricultural export of Trinidad with Chacachacare being the largest producer. Up until 1810 cotton was still the major crop being produced on the island but a fall in prices and the boll weevil pest led to a decline in production.

The closeness of the island to Venezuela, being only seven miles from the mainland, meant that there was frequent movement between Venezuela and Chacachacare, particularly to the Venezuelan port of Guira. Venezuelan revolutionary Santiago Mariño who was educated in Port of Spain and whose family lived on Chacachacare, used the island as a base for his 1813 invasion of Venezuela.

By 1920, several hundred persons lived on Chacachacare, a school had been established with approximately 60 students and a church existed at La Chapelle Bay. In 1921, the government decided to establish a leper colony and appropriated all the land, forcing the inhabitants to leave. All persons with leprosy were required to live at Chacachacare. These patients were cared for by the Dominican Sisters and from 1945 by the U.S. Sisters of Mercy. Ten sisters died during their time on the island and are buried in a cemetery at Marine Bay on Chacachacare. The leprosarium lasted until the last patient left in 1984.

In 1943, part of the island was given to the US armed forces and a battalion of 600 men was based on the island. They built nine military barracks, installed coastal defense guns and built a road to the top of the 865-foot (260-meter) main peak. See our article on Former US Army Bases for more information.

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This 900 acre island is 10 miles long (15 kilometers) and two miles wide at its widest. It comprises of eight beaches, a light house, a saltwater pond and dramatic cliffs. At present the island is uninhabited and used for camping and picnics with the most popular beach being La Tinta Bay. The island is often visited by yachts and there is a company that organizes day trips to the island plus water taxis will transport persons to the island. Chacachacare Island  has good anchorage at Chacachacare Bay and La Tinta Bay on the west side. If you land at Chapelle Bay there's a leisurely walk to the Salt Pond with lovely views of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Paria. The Salt Pond made up of hypersaline water has marshy fringes which promote the growth of peculiar trees like the campecho - the bread and cheese tree.  

One of the attractions on Chacachacare is the Lighthouse, which  is identical to the lighthouse at Galera Point in Toco. The walk to the lighthouse is an uphill hike along a paved road. It is possible to visit the buildings of the former leper colony and from Perruquier Bay one takes the road to the Lighthouse and then turns right immediately on the first bend as the road climbs uphill. The track to the former Leper colony is narrow and proceeds along the side of the hill.

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Various parts of the leper colony are still standing and as you enter Perruquier Bay, the former doctor's house can been seen on the northern side in Rust Bay while the remains of the nun's quarters can be seen on the southern side climbing the hills of La Chapelle Bay.


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San Diego Islands

These islands which are sometimes referred to simply as the Diego Islands, comprise of two islets that lie between the Bocas Islands and the Five Islands.

bulletCronstadt (Kronstadt)

These islands are composed of limestone being the remnants of a reef. They are a mile west of the Five Islands and directly opposite Point Gourde in Chaguaramas. At the change of the tides and when the there is a prevailing east wind, the currents between the islands and Point Gourde is strong.

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Kronstadt Island is eleven and three quarter acres and was previously known as Begorrat Island. During the period 1850 to 1970, limestone was mined from the island and it was also used as a holiday resort. Today the island is a Wild Life Refuge and part is used for the processing of barytes for the oil industry.


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It is believed that from approximately 1854 to 1875, Carrera Island was used as a convict depot with the prisoners being used to quarry limestone on Carrera Island and Kronstadt Island, that was used for road building. In 1877 construction of a permanent prison was begun which was completed in 1880. Carrera Island remains today a prison island.


Five Islands

The Five Islands are a group of actually six small islands lying west of Port of Spain in the Gulf of Paria. They are also known as Las Cotorras.

bulletCaledonia Island
bulletCraig Island (Craig and Caledonia are joined by a narrow reef)
bulletLenagan Island
bulletNelson Island
bulletPelican Island
bulletRock Island

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These islands are the remnants of a raised reef and composed of limestone.

Nelson Island was used as a stop over poinnt by Amerindians from South America on their way to trade in Trinidad at Mucurapo. Nelson Island is however most famous as the disembarkation point and quarantine station for indentured immigrants to Trinidad and Tobago during the period 1866 to 1917. During this period 2,645 Chinese immigrants and 114,000 Indian immigrants were processed through the island. It is Trinidad and Tobago's equivalent of Ellis Island in New York. Those who had contagious diseases were transferred to Lenagan island. The first buildings on Nelson Island were actually constructed by the British in 1802 using slave labour. The buildings formed part of a military facility and were the first buildings in Trinidad constructed of brick and mortar.

During World War I, a gun emplacement was built at the eastern end of the island and a causeway to Rock Island to the west. In the 1930s Nelson Island was used as a detention center for prisoners, among them Tubal Uriah Butler. During the Second Wold War, all persons with Austrian or German passports, who were mainly refugee Jews, were interred on the five Islands with the men being kept on Nelson Island and the women on Caledonia Island. In the 1960's Nelson IIsland was used by the University of the West Indies as a research station for marine biology. Nelson Island became a detention center again in 1970 following the Black Power Revolution when 50 Black Power activists were housed there. The former detention centers are still standing on Nelson Island. The name Nelson Island actrually arose because at one point the island was owned by a Dr. Neilson who practised medicine in Port of Spain.

Caledonia Island was an officially designated place for performing marriage ceremonies. In 1840 Lord Harris spent his honeymoon on the island with his Trinidadian bride. On November 13th 1957, Dr. Eric Williams (the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago) married Dr Mayleen Mook Sang on Caledonia island.

In the early 19th century Rock Island was used as a holiday home. It was first leased to T.F. Johnston who subsequently sold it to Doctor R. Mercer. Dr. Mercer then gave the lease as a present to Master Thomas Laughlin. During these times, a house was built on the island and rented out to the public. By 1888, the island was being used as a quarantine depot for first-class passengers of ships that may have highly contagious diseases. A flagpole was placed on the island, which when raised with a yellow flag warned that the inhabitants had a certifiable contagious disease, which barred public communication with the island.


Gasparee Island

Gaspar Grande, also known as Gasparee Island is a mile and a half long by half mile in width, totaling 129 hectares (319 acres) and reaches a height of 339 feet (103 metres). The island is approximately three-quarters of a mile south of the Coast Guard station at Staubles Bay. The island was granted to Gaspar de Percin la Roque in 1783 by Governor Chacon and over time became known as Gaspar Grande. The island is today primarily a vacation spot with numerous holiday homes and its most famous attraction are the Gasparee Caves.

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Gaspar Grande has had an interesting past and the remnants of its past are other reasons to visit. During the period 1826 to 1864, the island had a whaling industry with Point Baleine, located on the western end, being a whaling station. The translation of the French name "Point Baleine" means whaling point. At the top of the island are the remnants of a Spanish fort constructed in 1796. During World War I, a 4.7 inch cannon was installed on the ridge overlooking Point Baleine. During World war II another cannon was installed on the ridge. At the end of the war, two 6 inch guns replaced the original 4.7 inch cannons. These guns are still present on the island and are a 25 minute walk from Point Baleine.

Gasparee is a very dry limestone island with average annual rainfall of under 40 inches. It nevertheless has interesting flora and fauna. On the island can be seen Saltfishwood and Naked Indian trees along with Silk Cotton and wild Balata trees. Throughout the island cactus are found. There are a dozen species of lizards including the Twenty-four hours, Turnip-tailed Gecko and Iguana. There are several species of insect and fruit eating bats. There is also the Noctilio leporinus (fishing bat) which emerge at dusk to skim the surface of the water to capture sardines. The bird population includes Yellow-headed Parrots, Rufous-necked Wood-rails, White-tipped Doves, Golden Orioles, Tropical Mockingbirds, Palm Tanagers, White-lined Tanagers, Copper-rumped Hummingbirds, Rufous Night Jars and Pigmy Owls.

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Chaguaramas Historical Sights

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On some maps the road to Macqueripe Bay is shown as the Macqueripe Mail Road and that is because prior to the British conquest, the mail for Trinidad was landed at Macqueripe Bay, to avoid sailing through the Bocas, and then brought overland along this road. On the Macqueripe Road can be seen the remains of St Chad's Anglican Church which was built in 1850 and then rebuilt in 1875 and again rebuilt in 1915. Near to St Chad's is the former village of Mount Pleasant which was created by the former slaves after Emancipation. Throughout the village are various trees including mango, coconut, breadfruit, citrus, sapodilla, banana and avocado. This must indeed have been a pleasant place with all these fruit bearing trees and the La Cuesa River nearby.

Throughout Chaguaramas can also be seen many of the buildings that were built by the US Army when Chaguaramas was a military base during World War Two. In particular there are numerous bunkers that are built into the earth. See our article on Former US Army Bases for more information.


Chaguaramas Military History Museum

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Just off the Western Main Road in Chaguaramas, immediately after the Convention Center and immediately before the Coastguard heliport lies the Chaguaramas Military History and Aerospace Museum. Consisting of 12,000 square feet of indoor displays along with outdoor items and memorials on a 4-acre site, the museum traces the military history of Trinidad. Beginning with the Amerindians and coming up to the present day, this museum chronicles both the raids and battles that took place in Trinidad along with the involvement of Trinidadians in wars that took place in other parts of the world. The use of Trinidad as a planning or staging area for attacks on other countries is also highlighted.

There is an extensive section devoted to the Conquistadors and the three hundred years of Spanish rule, culminating in the British capture of the island in 1797. The exhibits examine the British Colonial period of the Napoleonic Wars and its effect on South America leading the visitor up to the end of the 19th century, tracing racing the History of Military affairs on the island. The period of the First World War, through the Second World War and up to Operation Desert Storm are showcased.

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Within the museum are samples of the weapons used in each era and the uniforms of the various military units. There are artifacts, models, photographs, documents and vehicles on display. There are articles giving extensive coverage of each period and personal mementos giving insights into the life and feelings of the men-at-arms.  The coverage is so wide and interesting that it is possible to spend most of the day reading the articles.

Two of the highlights of a visit to the Chaguaramas Military History Museum are the recreation of a pirate raid on St Joseph (the former capital) and the recreation of the trenches of the First World War. As the visitor walks through these recreations you can almost feel as though you are present in the actual battle.

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The Museum opens daily from 9am to 5pm and can be contacted at 634-4391. There is a small admission fee.

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River Estate Museum

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This museum is located in the Diego Martin Valley which is named after the river that flows through the valley and was discovered by the Spaniard Don Diego Martin de Baena. The museum traces the history of the river and as a consequence the history of the valley. In particular it looks at the history of agriculture in the valley and the diverse races that were attracted to the valley. On its grounds still exists the original Water Wheel used for grinding sugar cane and some of the cast-iron kettles used for boiling the sugar. There are numerous photographs showing the importance of coffee and cocoa to the development of Diego Martin. The museum is at the northern end of the valley on the Diego Martin Main Road, shortly after the intersection with St. Lucien Road.


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Just across from the River Estate Museum is probably the only remaining complete water wheel in Trinidad.

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Built of cast iron and installed around 1835, this wheel powered the rollers that crushed the sugar canes from the River Estate lands. The water for turning the wheel came from the Diego Martin River which flowed nearby. The water wheel at Diego Martin is the undershot type where the water would flow under the wheel and in striking the blades at the bottom of the wheel cause the wheel to turn. With many undershot water wheels  a flowing stream was often dammed in order to maintain a steady supply of water for the mill; the dammed water would form a mill pond.

Today the river still flows nearby and the original walls for the water retention pond are still standing, with the mill pond now an area for relaxation.


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Along the Macqueripe Road in Tucker Valley Chaguaramas is an area that has been given the name the Bamboo Cathedral. Here towering stands of bamboo gracefully arc over the roadway to create an area that is almost cathedral in its ambiance. To find this beautiful gift of nature, one takes the Macqueripe Road and just before the entrance to Macqueripe Beach there is a road on the right (eastern side) that leads to the cathedral. There is a metal barrier that is usually closed but it is easy to walk around either side of the barrier. Once around the barrier you are on the road to the Cathedral. The Bamboo Cathedral has been in existence for over 150 years. Michel Jean Cazabon (b.1813 d.1888), Trinidad's great nineteenth century artist and National Hero painted several watercolours of this area and in honour of him the route has been named the Cazabon Trail.

 The bamboo arcs over an old road that leads to a satellite tracking station on the hill overlooking both Tucker Valley and the North Coast. The walk up the hill provides an opportunity for vigorous exercise in the midst of a pristine natural setting. Some persons eschew the uphill portion and visit the area simply to stroll with their children or cycle along the lower portion and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Running through the area and under the road are some dry river beds (dry for most of the year), while on either side of the road behind the main bamboo arches there is a mixture of bamboo and forest trees. Anyone who ventures off the roadway and among the trees is rewarded by the sights of various birds and can sometimes be especially fortunate to see the Trinidad Euphonia.

You can learn more about bamboo by visiting our affiliated web site, Discovering the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago.

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The walk up Morne Catherine or to use its English name, Mount St Catherine, is a walk through nature and history. Morne Catherine is the highest peak in the Chaguaramas area at 539 metres (1,768 feet) and at the peak is a radar installation that was used by the US Air Force to track the early space missions.

The route to the top is along an old paved road known as the Cano Ventura Road and you can walk the entire length or just a part and turn back at any time. One enjoyable aspect of this walk is that coming back is downhill and easy. You can ascend this hill at a rapid pace for serious exercise or take a measured walk with little side trips whenever something catches your eye. Along the route to the top are several World War II bunkers that are embedded into the hillside. As you progress along the walk it is possible to see rock outcrops that include some of the oldest rocks on Trinidad from the Jurassic, Cretaceous and Miocene periods as well as limestone reef remnants from the period when this area was under the ocean. There is a stream that descends the mountain which is visible at various points along the route and at certain locations it is possible to descend to the stream bed.


The walk up Morne Catherine takes you through tropical evergreen forest and all around are specimens of Trinidad's wildlife that are easily seen once you are quiet. Indeed Mount St. Catherine is a birding hotspot with a wide variety of bird life. At times it is possible to see Green-rumped Parrotlets (parakeets) at the very start of the walk, while along the way you may spot Trogons, Toucans, Turquoise and Blue-headed Tanagers, Blue Dacnis. An interesting side trip is the trail into Crestt Lands (Center for the Rescue of Endangered Species of Trinidad and Tobago) that is on a bend on the left and is reached after approximately 15 minutes walking. This trail is approximately 0.5 miles long and venturing into this area where the forest presses closer in can sometimes give you the opportunity to see the Squirrel Cuckoo and Blue-crowned Motmots and almost always allows you to see a Ruby Topaz Hummingbird. In the evenings Orange-Winged Parrots are easily visible overhead. Another highlight of the Morne Catherine area are the monkeys that roam above in the bamboo and treetops. White-faced Capuchin Monkeys are sometimes seen in the early morning hours and Howler Monkeys if not seen are certainly heard in the area.

For some individuals the most enjoyable aspect of Morne Catherine is at the top, where apart from exploring the old radar installation there are panoramic views of Tucker Valley, the Gulf of Paria and the offshore islands, and Trinidad’s north coast.

The route to Morne Catherine is easily found as you simply take the second street on the right after the Chaguaramas Convention Center (just opposite the Chaguaramas Military History Museum). There is a gate at the start of the hill that is sometimes locked to prevent vehicles accessing the route but walkers can simply walk around the side of the gate.


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North Post

Many individuals who visit the Diego Martin Valley never realise that the ocean is literally just around the corner. However the northern end of the valley overlooks the Caribbean Sea and ships approaching Trinidad from the north can be clearly seen from its ridges. The Spanish governors recognised the strategic importance of this and established an observation post on a 741 foot ridge that has come to be called North Post. After the British capture of Trinidad in 1797 they were concerned about attempts to retake the island and also about attacks by the French. As a result in 1804, the British Governor, Brigadier-General Sir Thomas Hislop began creating a series of fortifications around Trinidad that included Fort Abercromby, Fort George and on Cumberland Hill. North Post was made into a signal station, which through the use of flags could send signals to Fort George, which in turn would relay the message to the officials in Port of Spain. With the passage of time, the defensive role of North Post subsided and eventually it became the site for a marine radio installation that allowed ships at sea to communicate with Trinidad. The communications role of North Post continues to this day with TSTT having an installation on the site of the original observation post.

In addition to being a place of interest through its historic significance, North Post provides magnificent views of the Caribbean Sea and the rugged coastline of our North Coast. During the annual Great Race (powerboat race from Trinidad to Tobago), crowds gather on the ridge to see the boats as they race along the coast. On a clear day the island of Grenada can be seen from North Post. This location is also the start of a hike to Macqueripe. To get to North Post you proceed along the Diego Martin Main Road, going past the River Estate Museum  to the end of the road.

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Fort George

Commanding the heights overlooking St James lies Fort George. Built by the British in 1804 as part of a series of fortifications that included Fort Abercromby, North Post and fortifications on Cumberland Hill, Fort George was considered the last major defense before the Port of Spain Harbour. From its height of 1,200 feet, artillery shells could be lobbed onto ships attempting to enter Port of Spain Harbour or land at Mucurapo. The British understood the importance or preventing a landing at Mucarapo as that was their landing point for their invasion in 1797. Mucurapo was also the landing point for the Spanish conquistador Sedeno in his invasions of Trinidad in 1531. The British constructed several batteries for their cannon rising up the hill. Today there is an apartment complex on the hill that is called The Battery as a result. The ordinances (ammunition) for Fort George were kept at Cocorite during the 1820’s and would have given rise to the name, Powder Magazine, now bestowed on part of the area.

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According to the historian, Michael Anthony, the construction of Fort George was overseen by a Mandingo Muslim, Jonas Mohammed Bath. Before building the fort he had to construct a road up the hill and it is believed that the present road called Fort George Road was the route used. When constructed the fort was originally called Fort Vigie and the name later changed to Fort George in honour of King George III.

Fort George never experienced any military action and ceased to be a military establishment in 1846. It was then converted into a signal station. The design of the signal station was done by Prince Kofi Nti, son of King Kofi Calcali of Ashantee, West Africa. He arrived in Trinidad on July 1, 1881, having become a ward of the British Government after a war against the Ashantees in 1872 and was assigned to the Works Department. In 1964 Fort George ceased operating as a signal station.


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With cannons framing the entrance driveway and a row of Royal Palms along the center, the Trinidad Military Cemetery is peaceful and quiet giving true meaning to the term Rest in Peace. Located in the St. James area of Trinidad on Meerut Street, just off Long Circular Road, the Military Cemetery is between Long Circular Mall and the Crematorium, immediately before Camp Ogden.

The Military Cemetery was consecrated in 1828 and contains graves from the 1800's to the present time. As would be expected the cemetery contains the bodies of local military personnel and given that it was created in 1828 it also has English military personnel as a result of Trinidad's colonization by England. There are however also English servicemen from World War II and among them are ALGAR, ROBERT HENLEY, GREGORY, MAURICE WILLIAM, THOMSON, JAMES and WHITFORD, ALAN. All four died on 25th January 1945 when their Reliant aircraft crashed in Brasso Seco. American military staff who were based in Trinidad during World War II are also buried there. Interestingly there is the tomb of Sergeant Bispo dos Santos Segundo of the Brazilian Navy who was killed during World War II. The Brazilian navy had ships based in Trinidad for escort duty between Trinidad and Rio de Janeiro during World War 2. There are also three Australian service men who rest in the cemetery, PLTOFF Alan Arthur Morris, FLGOFF Geoffrey Thomas Risbey and FLGOFF Jack Walker. At the time of their death all three Australians were members of the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) 53 Squadron, a squadron flying anti-submarine patrols from Trinidad to protect the eastern seaboard of the United States from German U-boats following the entry of the United States into the war.

The cemetery opening hours are Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 13:00. The cemetery is locked at all other times, including weekends.

Out of hours opening can be arranged by contacting Robert Agie of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force well in advance of the intended visit on Tel: +1868 771 4223 or E-Mail: donagie@hotmail.co.uk


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Located in the Port of Spain suburb of St James is a compound fondly known as The St James Barracks or more simply as The Barracks. To most people the St James Barracks is associated with the Police Service as it houses the Police Training School and every police officer certainly from the 1930’s to the present (2008) has attended that institution in order to join the Police Service.

The St James Barracks however was not always a police institution. Governor Woodford purchased the land on which The Barracks sits in 1819 for 3,133 pounds. This compound was constructed between 1824 and 1827, when the British colonial government spent 80,000 pounds to build St James barracks. It was built to house the York and Lancaster Regiment that had been stationed in Trinidad since the time of the British conquest in 1797. In the beginning the troops were stationed at the Orange Grove Barracks, which was located in the area that is now occupied by the Port of Spain General Hospital. In 1827 these troops were moved to the newly constructed St James Barracks. The compound was named after the colonial office in London, which at the time was known, as the Court of St James. On 10th January 1888 at 8.55am in an earthquake that lasted about 40 seconds and was felt throughout the Caribbean, the structures at the St James Barracks were damaged. For a short while the troops pitched tents and camped outside. Eventually however repairs were conducted and the troops returned to the Barracks. In 1890 the York and Lancaster Regiment departed from Trinidad and The Barracks was handed over to the Trinidad government. The Police Service then established a training school at the Barracks to train police officers in the use of firearms. By 1903 the Police Force had moved part of its operations from its headquarters on St Vincent Street to the St James Barracks, thus beginning the long association between the Police and this compound.

One of the features of Police life is that the head of the Police Force lived at the headquarters and so when the police moved to St James Barracks, the residence of the Commissioner of Police moved to the Barracks.

Today the construction within and around the Barracks does not allow more than a glimpse of the original buildings. The Commissioner’s residence however can be clearly seen and provides a lovely external view of colonial (Georgian) architecture.

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The building known as Roxy graces the eastern entrance to the Port of Spain suburb of St James. The Roxy was constructed by Timothy Roodal and opened in October 1934. The building was primarily constructed as a cinema with a seating capacity of nine hundred but also served as a theater and concert hall. Prior to the building of the Queen’s Hall, Roxy Theatre in St James was the venue for the Music Festival, as it was for many other events that required the use of a theatre/concert hall, with the first Music Festival being held at the Roxy. Another historical music festival that was held at Roxy cinema occurred in the 1950s where Dixieland won the competition, playing 'Agnus Dei' and outplaying Invaders steel orchestra who played 'In a Monastery Garden'.

The beauty of the architecture of the Roxy and what makes the building stand out is its entrance of double columns of the Corinthian order. In the 1980's the Roxy ceased to function as a cinema and was sold to Prestige Holdings Inc. and now houses the largest Pizza Hut branch in the Caribbean. Although it has been converted to a Pizza restaurant the exterior of the building still exhibits the beauty of its original creation.


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At the corner of Murray Street and Baden-Powell Street in Woodbrook is a building that serves to remind us that the area known as Woodbrook was not always the combination residential and commercial area that we know today. Indeed at the time of the British conquest of Trinidad in 1797, Woodbrook was a sugar cane estate of 367 acres owned by Henry Murray (after whom Murray Street is named).

In 1838 Murray advertised the estate for sale and in 1840 it was bought by the Scottish company W.F. Burnley of Glasgow. W.F. Burnley & Company went into liquidation in 1899 and Woodbrook Estate was put up for sale. In 1875 the three Siegert brothers, Carlos Damaso, Alfredo Cornelio and Luis del Carmen, moved their business, Dr J.G.B. y Hijo, from the town of Angostura (now Cuidad Bolivar) in Venezuela to Port of Spain. That business was the manufacture of Angostura Bitters. At the time the business was prosperous and the Siegert brothers purchased the entire Woodbrook Estate for £50,000. The Siegert brothers then began to develop the estate as a housing development, naming many of the streets after themselves and their children. Streets like Alfredo, Ana, Alberto, Cornelio, Carlos, Gallus, Luis, Petra and Rosalino. Carlos died in 1903 and the firm passed to Alfredo. Unfortunately Alfredo made many bad investments and in 1911 he was forced to sell Woodbrook Estate to the Government for £85,000, and also to give his Angostura share-holding as security for the loans he had incurred. When Alfredo died in 1919, he owned nothing. All his family's wealth had been lost.


The building which now stands at Number 44 Murray Street, at the corner of Murray and Baden-Powell Street is a reminder of the days when Woodbrook was a sugar cane estate being converted into a residential area. It has been said that the building was a tax collection centre for the payment of land taxes. There is some doubt however as to whether the original intent of the building was for the collection of taxes as the building was constructed in 1907 when Woodbrook was still owned by the Siegerts. When the Siegerts began the development, the land was given to prospective homeowners on leases varying from 30 years to 99 years. Indeed most of Woodbrook is still leased land. It is therefore likely that the building was originally used for the collection of land rents from the persons who had constructed homes in Woodbrook. At a later date it may have been converted to the collection of land taxes, which were paid at that office until 1998.

Behind the building is the Augustus Williams Playground (formerly known as Siegert Square) which was named in honour of Augustus Williams who was a former mayor of Port of Spain.

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 According to Lynne Macedo in her paper. "The Impact of Indian Film in Trinidad", an advertisement appeared in The Mirror newspaper during February 1900 that promoted a nightly programme of live entertainment in the Princes Building, Port of Spain, that included moving pictures. By 1905, there were regular exhibitions of moving pictures in Princes Building. The Princes Building however was host to all the major theatrical and operatic productions that took place in Trinidad, so exhibitions of moving pictures were a sideline activity. The demand for moving pictures was so great that on 2nd February 1911, the first full time cinema was opened in Trinidad by Marcus and Reginald Davis in partnership with Lanky Belasco. These first moving pictures were really still photographs that were flashed across the screen and they were silent pictures with musical accompaniment being provided by Lanky Belasco on a piano.


That first cinema was called the London Electric Theater and it was located at the corner of French Street and Baden-Powell Street in Woodbrook. Over time the name of the cinema was changed to the Astor Cinema and it became one of the most popular cinemas in Trinidad. Unfortunately changing tastes in the population led to the decline of the Astor and in 1995 it was closed down and converted into a church. Although converted to a church, the building still stands today.


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The Queen’s Park Oval is the Mecca for cricket in Trinidad and Tobago and is situated in Port of Spain on a property bounded by Tragarete Road, St Clair Avenue, Elizabeth Street and Havelock Street. It is one of the largest cricket grounds in the West Indies with a capacity for 25,000 spectators and is the most picturesque of the West Indian cricket grounds. The Oval, as it is fondly called, is owned by the Queen’s Park Cricket Club which was founded in 1891 and which played cricket at the Queens Park Savannah. In 1896, the club applied for and was granted a lease for the property that has become the Queen’s Park Oval. By 1897, the Oval was hosting international cricket with an English team under Lord Hawke. In addition to cricket, the Oval has also hosted numerous international football matches.

Aside from sporting activities, the Queen’s Park Oval has now become one of the best places for viewing art by Trinidad and Tobago artists. Along the exterior walls of the Oval are hung, huge paintings depicting scenes and re-creations of Trinidad and Tobago life. The Oval walls are now like a giant free outdoor art gallery. Lighted at night, these paintings can be viewed at any time. To get the full effect of each painting, they are best viewed from across the street.



In the Western Cemetery of Port of Spain (also called the Mucurapo Cemetery) on the eastern side of the cemetery are a series of graves lying side by side each other, that are neatly kept. At any time of the year that you visit this cemetery these graves are well maintained, with all the head stones having a constant coat of white paint. On examining the head stones you will note that the individuals were buried between 1931 to 1950, with a few more recently. You will also note that the persons interred in these grave came from Romania, Poland, Jerusalem, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Moscow, Austria and Croatia.

If you ever visit this section of the cemetery you will notice another aspect of these graves, all the deceased are Jewish. These are the graves of the "Calypso Shtetl" and "The Calypso Jews".


Trinidad’s first major Jewish immigration was in the late 1700's, however through intermarriage and emigration this Jewish population died out. In the late 1800's, another group of mostly Portuguese Jews and some from Curacao came to the Trinidad and again through intermarriage and emigration this Jewish population died out. Then from 1936, with the rise of Nazism and its attendant Anti-Semitism in Germany and Eastern Europe an influx began. By 1938, 125 Jewish immigrants had arrived and by 1940 it was 585 Jews. Developing a life for themselves in Trinidad they began calling themselves "Calypso Shtetl" and "The Calypso Jews".

Shortly after Britain’s entry into the war in 1939, all Germans and Austrians were considered enemy aliens, and these Jews who had fled from Hitler but were Germans and Austrians were rounded up and interned. At first they were placed in camps on Nelson and Caledonia islands and the later in camps at what would become Federation Park and Ellerslie Park.

It is these individuals, refugees from Hitler, who are buried in the Mucurapo Cemetery, in an area reserved for Jews, known as the Bet Olam section.

And the maintenance of the graves?

Trinidad’s only surviving member of this 1930’s influx, Mr. Hans Stecher, who came to Trinidad as a refugee child, does it.

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Museum of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service

The Museum of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service chronicles the history of the police service from its formation in 1859 to the present day. The development of the various arms of the service, biographies of past Commissioners of Police, changes in uniforms over the years and significant moments in Police history are all outlined in this small museum. There is even a diary recording the apprehension of various criminals in the 1800's.

The Museum is located in the former Police Headquarters building on St Vincent Street, Port of Spain and is open on Tuesdays from 10am to 6pm and on Saturdays, from 10 am to 3 pm. Admission is free and guided tours are available.


Central Bank Money Museum

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The Central Bank Money Museum is located on the ground floor of the Eric Williams Financial Complex, Independence Square, Port of Spain (known locally as the Twin Towers), and is open from Tuesday to Friday. Guided tours take place twice a day, at 9.30 am and 2 pm. Special tours can be arranged. Admission and tours are free. For more information, call 625-2601 ext. 2400 or 2120.

The Eric Williams Financial Complex   was officially opened on March 29th, 1986. As the Twin Towers are located on reclaimed land and Trinidad is susceptible to earthquakes, special architectural designs had to be done for these two, twenty-two story towers. Dr Rollin Betrand in an article called A GEOLOGICAL WALK AROUND INDEPENDENCE SQUARE PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD outlined the measures. "1900 piles were driven to an average depth of 80' with 560 below each tower. The pile cap under each tower is a cellular raft' which is a combination of 9' x 6' beams and an 18" slab. All columns on the towers are tied to this as water storage for the building is also located in the basement for additional dead weight. The cross braces and the core walls in each of the towers were designed to resist earthquake forces with the former taking 15% of the forces and the latter taking 80-85%".


Port of Spain Museum

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Nestled on the southern side of Port of Spain is a small museum that traces the history of the city of Port of Spain. Located on South Quay, this museum is housed on the grounds of the former Fort San Andres. Early records indicate that Fort San Andres was established some time before 1777 as a gun battery on an island in the Port of Spain harbour. During the reclamation work of 1832 that portion of the harbour was filled to create solid land and causing Fort San Andres to be landlocked.

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The Museum is open between 9am to 5pm from Tuesday to Friday. The history of Port of Spain is outlined from its beginnings as the Amerindian (Arawak) village that Walter Raleigh saw in March 1595 to the present day. Through the use of storyboards with numerous photographs, significant events are brought to life. Individuals who were prominent in the life of the city are featured and there are several artifacts from the city. On the grounds of the museum is the boat used by Harold and Kwailan La Borde, two Trinidadians who circumnavigated the globe during 1969 to 1973. There is also one of the locomotive engines from the days when Trinidad operated a rail system. Across from the museum is Citigate the site of Trinidad's first rail station.


National Museum

Established in 1892 as the Royal Victoria Institute, the National Museum and Art Gallery is situated at the top of Frederick Street in Port of Spain, opposite Memorial Park and just south of the Queen's Park Savannah. The building was called the Victoria Institute in honour of Queen Victoria. The Institute was used for drama and musical entertainment. It was destroyed by fire in 1920 and rebuilt in 1923. In 1958 the Institute was used for the first sitting of the Federal Court of the Federation of the West Indies. In 1965 it became the National Museum and Art Gallery. The Museum is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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The Museum manages a collection of some 10,000 items, including a collection of paintings by Michel-Jean Cazabon. Among the many items on display in seven major galleries are petroleum and geological exhibits, the permanent national art collection, and a small gallery on Trinidad's Carnival arts. Periodically the museum hosts exhibitions by visiting artists. On its grounds is a pillar erected in January 1918 to mark the site of the Toll Gate which was discontinued in 1878.

One section of the Museum is devoted to Calypso and Soca. There are photographs, newspaper articles, snippets of calypso history, vinyl records, stage clothes of famous calypsonians and other calypso memorabilia. This section of the museum lists all the Road March winners from 1932 to the present and all the Calypso Monarch winners frm 1939 to the present. You can also see a listing of the winners of the International Soca Monarch crown from 1993 to today and the winners of the Chutney Soca Monarch competition from 1996 to today.

Another section of the museum is devoted to painting by Jean Michael Cazabon who has been declared the National Painter. Jean Michael Cazabon was born on September 20, 1813 on Corynth Estate, North Naparima, on the outskirts of San Fernando. His parents, owners of a sugar plantation, were "free coloured" immigrants from Martinique, who came to Trinidad following the Cedula of population of 1783. In 1826 at the age 13 he was sent to be educated at St. Edmund's College, Ware, Hertfordshire, England and returned to Trinidad in 1830. In 1837 his mother sent him to France to study art. In 1848 he returned to Trinidad with his wife and two children. Cazabon soon became popular as a society painter, not only with his paintings of Trinidad scenery, but also with his portraits of the planters and merchants of Port of Spain and their families. He taught art, and provided illustrations of local events for English newspapers.  In 1851 he published a series of eighteen lithographs, "Views of Trinidad, 1851". In 1857 he published a second series of eighteen lithographs of local scenes, "Album of Trinidad". In addition to these lithographs Cazabon painted numerous other scenes of Trinidad. In 1888 while painting he suffered a heart attack and died. It is through Cazabon's paintings that we get a clear picture of Trinidad in the 1800's.

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Beginning in 1846 the Eastern Main Road was converted to a Toll Road and anyone desirous of travelling from Port of Spain to Arima had to pay a toll for using the road. At the time it was the main mode of transportation for travelling to the east of Trinidad and remained so until the opening of the railway in 1876. Even after the railway it held a pre-eminent position, as it was the only road route for eastern travel, until the construction of the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway.

The tolls on travel on the Eastern Main Road remained until 1878. In 1918, a Toll Gate Monument was erected to commemorate the Toll Gate. Today that monument can be seen on the grounds of the National Museum.

Memorial Park

Memorial Park was created to honour those individuals from Trinidad and Tobago who died in the First World War from 1914 - 1918. The sculpture was unveiled to the public in June 1924 and in its foundation was placed documentary records of those who had died. After the Second World War 1939 - 1945, the names of those soldiers were added to the memorial.

Located between Frederick and Charlotte Streets, just below the Queen’s Park Savannah and across the street from the National Museum,  the park is a peaceful place on most days with the four walkways leading to the Cenotaph at the center.

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At the base of the cenotaph inscribed on bronze plaques are the names of those who died in the wars and the branch of the armed forces in which they served. Also inscribed are the names of those who served in the British West India Regiment. The park is an ideal setting to sit and reflect on the fortunate circumstances in our lives as there are benches along the walkways and flowering trees around the perimeter.


Queen's Park Savannah

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The Queen's Park Savannah is the oldest recreation ground in the West Indies. This site was formerly the St. Ann's Estate which was purchased from the Peschier family by the City Council in 1817. A small section of the site was reserved by the Peschier family as a burial ground for family members and remains so to this day. In the early 1800s the Savannah was not envisioned as an area for recreational pursuits but was purchased as part of the estate for the governor's official residence and as a public pasture for grazing domestic stock. The Governor's residence was never constructed on the land but eventually on property to the north of the Savannah.

During the early 1900's an electric tramway provided a "scenic tour" (4 km) around the perimeter of the park at 2 cents per trip and it was not until 1950 that this facility was removed due to the protests from citizens who claimed that the tram added unnecessary noise and congestion to the otherwise peaceful ambience.

The area known today as the "Hollows" was in 1841 a reservoir that had been dug for the purpose of supplying Port of Spain with water. The water was run from the St Ann's River through a channel in the Botanic Gardens that is now known as Nutmeg Ravine.

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Peschier Cemetery

In the midst of the Queens Park Savannah there sits in quiet solitude a stone walled enclosure framed by the hills and the rising corporate structures.

That quiet solitude, broken only by the sound of steel bands and revelers at Carnival time, is indeed fitting as this enclosure is a cemetery where hopefully the souls of those interred there rest in peace. 

The Peschier family were Hugenots who originally lived in the south of France. Huguenots were French Protestants who were inspired by the writings of John Calvin and endorsed the Reformed tradition of Protestantism. As a result of religious persecution from Catholics the family moved to Switzerland. Eventually one of the sons, Jean, migrated to Grenada and was later joined by another brother, Henry. Together they owned an estate called Bon Chance and also became merchants in the capital, St Georges. According to Father Anthony De Verteuil in the book Trinidad's French Legacy, "due to the unsettled political situation in Grenada and the scourge of ants and encouraged by his wife's cousin who was a friend of Roume de St Laurent, Henry decided to emigrate to Trinidad".

Thus in 1781 Henry arrived in Trinidad and was granted 179 acres at the entrance to the valley of St Anns under the Cedula de Populacion. Henry's mother in law was granted 53 acres north of Henry's and his wife was given 40 acres north-east of her mother. In 1785 a further grant of 33 acres was given to Henry. Together these grants were call Paradise Estate and planted in sugar cane. Henry's brother Jean was granted 523 acres in Naparima along the Guaracara River in the Pointe-a-Pierre area and Henry also bought land in Naparima.

In 1786, Henry's two oldest sons died of yellow fever and then Henry died in 1791. The estates were then managed by two of Henry's nephews. By the beginning of the 1800's the price of sugar fell and the estates ran into financial difficulties. In 1817, Henry's wife, Celeste died and the family decided to sell the estate. Governor Ralph Woodford had been had looking at the location of the estate and considered its location to be a healthy locale and so convinced the Cabildo, the colony’s governing body, to purchase the estate which was done by Registered Deed no. 1219 of August 18, 1817 for the sum of £6,000, to be paid in three installments of 2,000 pounds.

The sale of the 232 acres excluded a small portion of 6,600 square feet, which is to this day a walled-in area in the middle of the Queen's Park Savannah in which descendants of the Peschier family are interred.


Along with individuals having the Peschier name, other descendants of the family are buried there including Pantins, Zurchers, Dick and Bennet.



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The Queen's Park Hotel was in its heyday considered the finest hotel in Trinidad and Tobago. Today all that remains to remind us of the hotel is the reconstruction of the art deco central block that is now the headquarters for BPTT. The Queen's Park hotel opened to the public on January 16th 1895 and at the time it was a wooden two level building. When the hotel opened it was one of only two buildings in Trinidad that had electricity, all other buildings used kerosene and gas for lighting. The fact that the hotel had electricity was largely due to the fact that the major investor in the hotel was Edward Tripp who had set up the first electricity generating plant in Trinidad and had begun stringing the overhead lines for providing electricity to Port of Spain. The hotel was considered among the very best because of all of its modern conveniences, large, airy rooms and first-class cuisine plus what were in 1895 considered reasonable rates of an inclusive rate of $2 to $5 per night. The hotel catered mainly to American and English tourists who came to Trinidad by steamships sailing from New York, Halifax, Southampton, London, Liverpool, Marseilles.

In 1938 it was planned to demolish the entire hotel and rebuild it as a 4 story concrete structure. However only the central portion was rebuilt as the 4 story concrete and the wings remained as the original wooden building. Then in 1955 both the Trinidad Country Club and the Queen’s Park Hotel were purchased by J.B. Fernandes under the Fernandes Group of Companies. Joseph Bento Fernandes was the grandson of Manuel Fernandes who had arrived in Trinidad in 1880 from the Portuguese island of Madeira and who first established an import export business and then developed a rum blending business. On the death of his father Joseph Gregorio Fernandes in 1930 JB Fernandes assumed control of the business. Two years later JB Fernandes seized an opportunity that he saw when a fire destroyed the Government Rum Bond and he was able to acquire the stocks of rum in their fire charred barrels at fire sale prices. He discovered that the spirit had been distilled thirteen years earlier and so he called it '1919' AGED RUM, it was the forerunner of the most successful of the Fernandes brands for thirty years with the named changed to Vat 19 when the original stocks ran out. The Fernandes Group of Companies eventually sold the Queen's Park Hotel to RGM Limited a commercial real estate development company, who rebuilt the structure in 1996 but retained the appearance of the 1938 central block with its art deco style.

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 While the hotel no longer exists you can still visit this building on the southern side of Queen's Park Savannah and see the elegance of the building from its days as Trinidad's premier hotel.


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The George Brown House is an example of what can be achieved when sufficient members of the public raise their voices in a united action. The George Brown House sits on the southern side of the Queen's Park Savannah at the corner of Victoria Avenue. In 1985 this house was slated for demolition to create space for an office complex and the public outcry was so great that the demolition plans were shelved and instead the house was restored. The public outcry arose because this house is representative of a style of building that was popular in Trinidad in the 1800's and is a fine example of the work of one man who transformed much of Port of Spain and was responsible for the design of Mille Fleurs, Hayes Court, the Archbishop's House and the building now known as Jenny's on the Boulevard.

George Brown came to Trinidad in 1883 from Scotland to join the firm of Turnbull Stewart & Company which is now known as the Furness Group. At the time, Turnbull Stewart & Company were engaged in shipping and trading, having interests in various sugar plantations, the most notable of which was Brechin Castle, and by 1854 Turnbull Stewart & Company had established local coastal shipping and services for passengers and cargo. With the arrival of George Brown, who was a Scottish trained architect/builder, Turnbull Stewart & Company extended its activities into the area of hardware and construction. In 1895, the "Great Fire of Port of Spain" devastated much of Marine Square (later called Independence Square and now known as Brian Lara Promenade) and lower Frederick Street, Port of Spain's central square and main commercial street. The rebuilding from this fire resulted in George Brown transforming much of this part of Port of Spain.


George Brown House

In 1883, the Siegert family, the original owners of Angostura Bitters, commissioned George Brown to design a residence for them. The area they had chosen for the house, the southern side of the Queen's Park Savannah, had previously been Tranquility Estate and in 1880 the Government had acquired it to allow Port of Spain to expand. As Trinidad was a British colony at the time, the street on which the house was located was later named Victoria Avenue in honour of Queen Victoria who had celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 1887. George Brown's design for the house incorporated many of the features that are representative of his style of building; decorative fretwork on the gables and eaves of the buildings, a lantern roof which provided cooling cross-ventilation and light to the interior of the buildings, decorative cast-iron railings, jalousie windows that allowed ventilation. As much of the social life and entertaining was done outside of the house in that era, the house had two porches, one which faced the Savannah and one which faced Victoria Avenue. To allow guests to disembark from their carriages in comfort there was an extended roof across the circular driveway. The house was later bought by the Prado family and then in 1941 they sold it to Jessie Simpson (the daughter of George Brown) and her husband Kenneth Simpson. Mrs. Simpson lived in the house until her death in 1959 and her sister Jane continued living in the house until her death in 1980. As a result of the length of time that the Simpsons lived in the house it is known by some as the Simpson House.

George Brown returned to Scotland in 1920 where he retired to cultivate vegetables and flowers until his death in 1936.


Gingerbread House

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Situated on the Queen's Park Savannah at 12 Queen's Park West, immediately before All Saints Church, is Boissiere House, which is also known as the Gingerbread House. Built in 1904 by Mr. Charles Boissiere as a token of his love for Alice his wife, this house has developed its alternate name of Gingerbread House because of the style of fretwork that adorns the lower edge of the roof.


Magnificent Seven

On the western side of the Queen's Park Savannah are several buildings that are collectively called the Magnificent Seven. Built during a time of economic prosperity when cocoa was king, these historic buildings are lovely examples of colonial architecture. In 1988 the Magnificent Seven buildings at Queen's Park West were listed by the Organisation of American States as a historic district on the Register of Monuments of the Greater Caribbean.

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The Northernmost of the six buildings along Maraval Road and Queen's Park West is Stollmeyer's Castle. Construction began in 1902 and was completed in 1904. A Scottish architect Robert Gillies, from the firm of Taylor and Gillies designed it and the Scottish influence was predominant in the design. It is said that the structure of the house was patterned after a wing of Balmoral Castle in Scotland. The limestone in the walls was obtained from the Laventille quarries.

The house was built by Charles Fourier Stollmeyer. However, Mrs. Stollmeyer, who had simple taste, found the building much too elaborate for her fancy, and she and her husband did not move into it. The house was given to their son, Conrad C. Stollmeyer, who was about to be married and who moved into the house in 1904. The building was acquired from Mr. Mahabir by the Trinidad and Tobago Government in 1979.


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The Archbishop's House found at 27 Maraval Road, is the official residence of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Port of Spain. The structure was built in 1903 by the fifth Archbishop of Port of Spain, Patrick Vincent Flood and is influenced mainly by Byzantine style. There is also a touch of early Renaissance architecture in the building as evidenced by the elaborate crenellation on the top of the tower that bears medieval connotations. The marble and red granite used in the building came from Ireland and the cedar and greenheart used for the paneling, staircase and floors were obtained locally. At the time of its construction the Archbishop thought that in keeping with the dignity of his office,  he would build a palatial residence. In the four points of the square tower, Archbishop Flood tried to symbolize the four-square authority of the Church: one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

In 1968 extensive renovations were carried out on the building by architect Sonny Sellier, and contractor Rev. Father Kevin Devenish. After its completion in 1969, Monsignor Anthony Pantin, the first Trinidad-born Archbishop, took up residence there. Since renovation, as one approaches the entrance, there is a Coat of Arms - the Spirit of the Holy Ghost looking down on the Three Hills of Trinidad. Underneath a cross is the motto: Omnia Omnibus (All things to all men).


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The most modest of the Magnificent Seven, Hayes Court was constructed in 1910 and named after Bishop Thomas Hayes, who was the second Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago. It is said that the building was designed to reflect a combination of the quiet graciousness of the French and English country house design, with high ceilings, mahogany staircase, wrought-iron fretwork, and wood paneling.


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What do Buenos Ayres, the Manjack mine in Vistabella and the fourth lot of land on Queens Park West have in common? They were all owned by Lucien Francois Ambard. Designed by a French architect in the French Baroque Colonial style with marble from Italy and tiles from France, Lucien R Ambard constructed his home at the Queen's Park Savannah. Because of financial failure and the inability to meet the mortgage payments to Gordon Grant & Company, the Ambard family lost the house in 1919. It was subsequently sold to a Pointz Mackenzie, who also lost it in 1923 under circumstances similar to that of Ambard. Again the property fell back in the hands of Gordon Grant.

An American businessman, William Pelligrew, and his family rented the house from Gordon Grant and lived there until 1940. In that year, the house was sold to Mr. Timothy Roodal for $24,000. The building has since been named Roomor - an abbreviated version of two family names - Roodal and Morgan.


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Built in 1904, "Mille Fleurs" is situated at No. 23 Maraval Road. "Mille Fleurs" is in the style of a typical town-house of the period, and its architecture may be referred to as early French Renaissance, with wrought iron fretwork. The house was apparently built for Mrs. Enrique Prada, who gave it the name "Mille Fleurs", which suggests it may have been surrounded by flowers. The house is presently owned by the Government and undergoing restoration.


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The foundation stone for Queen’s Royal College was laid on November 11, 1902 by Sir Courtenay Knollys, the then Acting Governor. The College was opened on March 25, 1904. The building was designed by DM Hahn, chief draughtsman in the Department of Public Works, who was himself a QRC old boy and the father of QRC boys. The original school formed in 1859 was called Queen's Collegiate School and was located opposite Lord Harris Square. In 1870, the school became the Queen's Royal College and was housed in the supper room of the Prince's Building.

The Main Block is in German Renaissance-style architecture, as is very evident by its solidness and ornateness. The clock in the  building was presented to the school by William Gordon Gordon in 1913. The Science Block was opened in 1939, the North Block in 1940 and the West Block in 1956.


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Whitehall was designed by its first owner in Corsican style with Venetian influence and built by James Moore a builder from Barbados. Moore used natural white sandstone imported from Barbados, in the construction. The building took from 1902 to 1904 while the roof was completed in 1910. The building is today owned by the Government and used as part of the office of the Prime Minister.

The Magnificent Seven are not the only surviving examples of colonial architecture to be found in Trinidad. In addition to the President's House, Knowlsey and the Red House shown below, the section Other Colonial Architecture provides some samples of the architecture of that period.

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Maraval Waterworks

Easily passed every day without notice as people traverse the Saddle Road in and out of Maraval, lying on the banks of the Maraval River and shielded by stands of bamboo is a man made waterworks that is more than 150 years old. If while driving you quickly glance to the western side of the valley after passing xxx hotel while heading north you will see the water retention pools and buildings of the Maraval Water Works. On this bend of the river the water flows serenely along winding through the clumps of bamboo and various fruit trees that have been planted and then plunges approximately 30 feet in a series of cascades at the side of the facility to then continue its serene flow downriver. On this bend of the river Kingfishers sometimes perch themselves on overhanging branches scanning the water for signs of small fish and then dive into the water after their prey. This peaceful often times idyllic scene arose out of calamity and strong legal battle.

In the 1850's sanitation levels in Trinidad and especially Port of Spain were extremely low and these low levels were largely the result of lack of knowledge by the general public on how disease spreads. Most building did not have indoor toilets and the majority of the population used cesspits. At the same time water for daily use was either drawn from wells or rivers and often cesspits and wells were dug in close proximity to each other. In 1854, a cholera epidemic swept through Trinidad killing thousands of persons. The Governor, Sir Charles Elliott, recognizing that the poor sanitation was a major cause of the cholera sought to improve the situation by having pipe borne water supplied to Port of Spain. The plan was to tap water from the Maraval River and pipe it to Port of Spain. In the 1850's the Maraval Valley was not heavily populated and so the water from the river would have been pure, uncontaminated by human activity.

The idea of tapping water from a river and piping it to Port of Spain had already been done as under the previous Governor, Lord Harris, a dam was built on the St Anns River and the water piped through the Botanic Gardens to an area of the Queen's Park Savannah where another dam had been dug and the water collected there and then piped to lower Port of Spain. The area in the Queen's Park Savannah where the dam was located is today known as The Hollows. The water from the Hollows however was not sufficient to supply all of Port of Spain and so the supply from the Maraval River was needed. Most of the Maraval valley at the time was an estate called Champs Elysees  owned by the De Boissiere family who did not want to lose any of their land and so filed legal objections. Eventually legislation was passed that gave Government access to up to 30 feet from the river bank which ended the legal battles.

With the end of the legal wrangling the Government was able to proceed with the Maraval Water Works and two reservoirs were built along with a filter system and the water transported by pipe to Port of Spain.


In 1854 a cholera epidemic struck Trinidad which left thousands of Trinidadians dead, with Port-of-Spain being the worst hit. The primary cause was the abysmal sanitation conditions, which saw cesspits and wells being dug alongside each other, with no pipe borne supply. Sir Charles Elliott, the governor, made immediate attempts to acquire lands for a reservoir. The upper reaches of the Maraval River were chosen as the place for the construction of a dam and filtration system. Pipes would be laid alongside the river, but this was met with stiff opposition from the De Boissieres, who owned the Champs Elysees estate, which was along the banks. 
After a bitter legal battle, the Governor passed an ordinance allowing the government leeway on all riversides to a maximum of 30 feet, which ended the matter. The Maraval Waterworks were an extensive project, guided by JE Tanner, who would later become one of the founders of the Trinidad Government Railway in 1876. The nearly-completed waterworks were described thus in 1857: “The Port-of-Spain water-works are now nearly completed; the general outlay will have been about 26,000 sterling. The town is supplied with water from the Maraval river; two reservoirs and a filter having been built in that valley, at about three miles from town, from which a main pipe, of 12 inches bore, reduced to ten inches, brings the water to the lower end of the town about three miles and three quarters. 

The Maraval Reservoir was transferred to the Port-of-Spain Water Authority in 1912. The Maraval Reservoir is now the property of the Water and Sewerage Authority and is still a place of beauty and serenity, although it is no longer freely open to the public.


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Trinidad has always been a melting pot with the mixing of persons of different ethnicities through sexual liaisons. This was especially the case in the 18th and 19th century when European males often had sexual encounters with African women resulting in mixed race children. Although this was frowned upon by many in the wider European society in Trinidad, the practice was widespread. Those Europeans of French descent often went further in their sexual liaisons and married their partners or installed their African or mixed race female partners in houses. One of the areas that owe its name to the sexual escapades of one man is the property known as Rookery Nook on Long Circular Road in Maraval.
In the late 1700's Trinidad was considered under populated and there was a desire to attract immigrants to Trinidad. The Spanish as a result issued what was known as the Cedula of Population of 1783. Under the terms of the Cedula, the Spanish Crown granted 32 acres (129,000 m²) of land and half as much for each slave that they brought, to each Roman Catholic of any country who settled in Trinidad and Tobago and swore loyalty to the Spanish Crown. Each Free Coloured or Free Person of Colour, (as they were later known), were given, 16 acres (65,000 m²) and half as much for each slave they brought, once they were Roman Catholic and swore loyalty to the Spanish Crown. The Cedula dramatically increased Trinidad's population moving it from 1,000 persons in 1773 to 18,627 by 1797.  
Many of the individuals who came to Trinidad were of French origin, migrating from the French Caribbean islands and also directly from France. One of the families that came to Trinidad under the terms of the Cedula of Population of 1783 was the Valleton de Boissière family, which had originated in Bergerac in Southern France and then settled on the island of Grenada.  According to Gerard Besson in a paper given to the Society of Caribbean Historians in 1990, John Nicholas Boissiere in 1860 married a mixed race woman, Marie Aurile Soully and they lived in a house in Champs Elysees in Maraval. Prior to his marriage John Nicholas had two children (a son and a daughter) with a back woman. John Nicholas had both his illegitimate children and the offspring of his marriage living in the house in Maraval. Those members of society who disapproved of the marriage and the dark skinned offspring began to say that there were so many crows (black birds) around the house that it resembled a rookery (a breeding place for crows). Boissiere in a response, that symbolically thumbed his nose at society, then named his house, Rookery Nook.  

Although the house no longer exists in the form when John Nicholas Boissiere lived there and is today known as Kent House, the entire area is still known as Rookery Nook.

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Botanical Gardens

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The Botanic Gardens are located in Port of Spain on the northern side of the Queen's Park Savannah. The gardens were established in 1818 by Governor Woodford and his gardener David Lockhart was assigned to fill it with specimens from around the world. These gardens occupy 25 hectares of landscaped grounds and are open everyday from 6am to 6pm.

Within the gardens is a small cemetery that was reserved for Trinidad's governors, with the earliest burial record being  from 1819 of William Souper. The cemetery also contains the grave of the wife of the Bristish Governor Sir George Fitzgerald Hill, who died in November 1836 and asked to be buried in the Botanic Gardens. When Sir George died in March 1839, he was buried beside his wife.

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Also buried in this cemetery is Sir Solomon Hochoy who was the last British Governor of Trinidad and Tobago and the first non-white Governor. Upon the attainment of Independence in 1962, he was appointed as Governor-General, a post he held until 1972. Sir Solomon Hochoy was born on 20 April 1905 in Jamaica, and arrived in Trinidad at the age of 2. He grew up in the village of Blanchisseuse and after retirement he returned to Blanchisseuse where he spent the remainder of his life. He died on 15 November 1983.


Emperor Valley Zoo

The Emperor Valley Zoo most commonly simply called The Zoo has been in existence since 1952.  Located in Port of Spain on the Queens Park Savannah, adjacent to the Botanical Gardens this exhibition of animals offers a simple easy way to relax, get in tune with nature and learn some things about the other inhabitants of this twin island nation. As Trinidad is a tropical island the majority of the animals, fish, birds and reptiles on exhibition are tropical species, drawn primarily from Trinidad and Tobago and neighboring South America.

The Zoo is located in a natural valley and was named after the Emperor or Morpho butterfly that previously frequented this area. The layout of the Zoo makes it easy to traverse the entire area and see all the exhibits and while strolling along the pathways is not particularly tiring there are benches strategically placed to allow you to stop and sit and look at the displays. There are two refreshment areas so it is easy to get a cool drink or snack.

Each of the exhibits has signs explaining what is on display, where it is from and its habits so that essentially a visit to the zoo is a self guided tour. However if you want a guided tour those are available for a fee and can be arranged by calling the Emperor Valley Zoo.

Throughout the zoo efforts have been made to present the exhibits in settings that resemble their natural habitat. While some of the displays still consist of basic steel cages increasingly these are being changed to more open natural looking display areas.

Many persons think of a visit to the zoo as something for children but adults will also find an afternoon at the zoo to be a relaxing experience. The Emperor Valley Zoo is open every day from 8.30am to 5pm.




President's House

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The President's House is located on the northern side of the Queen's Park Savannah, adjacent to the Botanic Gardens. During the period when Trinidad was a British Crown Colony it was the home of the Governor. During the period 1st May 1958 to 31st May 1962, it was the residence of the Governor-General of the Federated West Indies, Lord Hailes. From 4th September 1962, the building was used as a Museum and Art Gallery until December 1965, at which time the first Governor of an independent Trinidad and Tobago, Sir Solomon Hochoy, moved into the residence. On 1st August 1976, when Trinidad and Tobago became a Republic, (the occasion is observed on 24th September), the Governor-General's House (subsequently designated "The President's House") became the residence of the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago with President Ellis Clarke as the first President.

The grounds on which the President's House is located were formerly the Hollandais Estate and in 1819 the Governor, Sir Ralph Woodford bought the property on behalf of the Cabildo. He renovated the existing estate house, which was located slightly in front of the site of the present house, and called it "St Ann's Cottage". In 1873 Governor James Robert Longden began construction of the present President's House and it was completed in 1876 by Governor Sir Henry Turner Irving. It is believed that Longden designed the building in an "L" shape as a remembrance to himself.

Built on a super structure of iron and steel, the elegant stonework of the facade is local blue limestone from the Picadilly and Laventille quarries.



Knowlsey Building on Queen's Park West on the eastern end of the Queen's Park Savannah, presently houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Built in 1904, this building occupies the entire block from Queen's Park West to Albion Street, between Chancery Lane and Dundonald Street. It was designed and constructed in 1904 by Taylor Gillies, at a cost of $100,000 for William Gordon Gordon, a Scotsman who grew wealthy by operating businesses in Trinidad. It has been recorded that the building might have been named after the residence of Gordon's friend in Cheshire, Lord Derby.

The building is predominantly Italian and German in architecture, and has been referred to as a "sandwich of blue stone and brick". When originally constructed the marble on the gallery which surrounds the ground floor was imported from Italy, and the wood for the beautiful staircase of purple heart came from Guyana. The ceilings on the ground floor are of plaster of Paris and the gesso work is that of an Italian craftsman who did the work on the ceiling in the Council Chamber in the Red House, and in the Stollmeyer's house.

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Everyone alive today would have grown up with the sight of the Port of Spain Genera Hospital on Charlotte Street and most would assume that this is the only hospital that Port of Spain has ever had. However, according to Historical Sketches by Dr.K.S. Wise, the earliest hospital in Port of Spain was located on Nelson Street on Lots 49 - 55. In 1794, the Spanish abandoned these buildings and leased the Hospital that existed on Ariapita Estate which was owned by Charles Melville and covered 120 acres extending up to the present Woodford Square.

In the 1800's however, because of the frequent epidemics that ravaged Port of Spain, the colonial Government decided that a new hospital was required for Port of Spain. The Government decided that the most suitable space would be the land that had been occupied since 1797 by the British troops that had invaded Trinidad and was known as Orange Grove Barracks. Thus in 1821, the land at the Orange Grove barracks was sold to the Colonial Government as the site for a hospital. Construction of the hospital however did not commence until 1855 when the foundation stone was laid by Governor Sir C Elliot. At the time of laying the foundation stone, Port of Spain was once again the midst of a cholera epidemic. The hospital was completed in 1858 and opened by Governor Keate on 1st September 1858.

The Port of Spain Hospital had been built by a Trinidadian engineer, L. W. Samuels, as a two storey hospital building and was Georgian in style with Palladian arches. It was 390 feet long and 64 feet wide with open galleries of 10 feet wide on both sides of the first floor  and cost £30,000 sterling. At the time it was capable of holding 200 patients. Over the years the Port of Spain General Hospital has been expanded significantly, however the original hospital can still be seen as the front of the hospital, visible from Charlotte Street.


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The building at #6 Cipriani Boulevard, known as Jenny's on the Boulevard houses a popular restaurant in Port of Spain but this building is also a historic home. This building was actually the first building that George Brown designed when he came to Trinidad and it was the home of the Boos family. Some of Brown's notable features are seen on the house such as the lantern that allows light and air into the house and decorative cast iron. This building however does not have the decorative fretwork that is seen in many of his later buildings.

Karl George Boos came to Trinidad in 1873 from Germany by 1883 he had become prosperous enough to purchase a plot in the area that the Government had recently acquired from Tranquility Estate. As a result of the part that he had played in the lighting of the city of Port of Spain and in the laying out of Tranquility, the major thoroughfare of the area, Cipriani Boulevard, was named after José Emmanuel Cipriani. Karl Boos  was able to purchase the plot in this newly established area of Port of Spain because of his wealth and that wealth arose because of Boos ownership of J.N. Harriman and Company Limited.

The previous owners of the company, the Gerolds,  had opened a branch of the company in Venezuela in a town called Angostura (now called Cuidad Bolivar) and they became friendly with Dr. J.G.B. Siegert the inventor of the world famous Angostura Bitters. In 1875 the company, J.G.B. Siegert & Sons, moved its business to the island of Trinidad and in 1878 Carlos Siegert came to George Wupperman, one of the owners of J.N. Harriman and Company and they set up an agency in New York for the sale of Angostura Bitters giving that agency the sole worldwide rights for Angostura Bitters. Karl Boos had joined J.N. Harriman and Company shortly after coming to Trinidad and by 1878 had become head clerk. In 1885, Harriman and Company was sold to Carlos Siegert who a few weeks later sold the company to Karl Boos. Boos therefore became the owner of a successful business that had the worldwide rights to the sale of Angostura Bitters. The business did so well under Boos that he was able to repay his loans early. In 1892 however Karl Boos was trying to purchase two cocoa estates and to get the money for the purchase he approached Carlos Siegert who agreed to a loan but made it a condition of the loan that Harriman and Company had to give up the worldwide rights for Angostura Bitters.


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Lapeyrouse Cemetery

Many persons have heard of New Orlean's city of the dead with its daily tours of tourists. Lapeyrouse cemetery is Trinidad's city of the dead and a city it is indeed with buildings, alleys, streets in a grid pattern and residents, albeit most of the residents are not moving but each official resident has a fixed address. At Lapeyrouse, it is almost possible to trace the entire economic life of Trinidad and who made the money, for the rich bury their dead in grandiose style and here can be seen more than just fancy headstones but raised tombs, crypts, mausoleums and statues.



Lapeyrouse cemetery is on the western edge of Port of Spain but with the enlarged metropolitan area that Port of Spain has become it really can be considered more in the center of the city. This burial ground is bounded by Tragarete Road on the north, Park Street on the south, Colville Street on the west and Phillip Street on the east. At the southern entrance to the cemetery there is an inscription intended to remind all of us that our days are numbered and it reads "Stop, traveler, e’er you go by, So are you now, so once was I,As I am now, soon you will be".

The cemetery is laid out in an almost rectangular pattern with numbered streets running through the area. As you wander through this final resting place of Trinidad's prominent and not so prominent citizens, certain structures catch your eye as some are designed to look like churches, some like mini homes and others simply as solid resting places. Among the larger structures are the tomb of the Famille Agostini, the Herrera family tomb, the resting place of Carlos Robertson from 1886, the De Souza tomb, the Cabral family vault and the church like structure for Famille Comte L.A.A. de Verteuil. Another interesting family tomb is that of the Jodhan family which has chairs, candles, statutes, chaplets and pictures all inside and laid out as if for family members to come and sit and remember the deceased or possibly converse with them.



After the British conquest in 1797, Port of Spain was in need of a new burial ground and so land was acquired in a small area bordered by Tragarete Road, Richmond Street and Fraser Street. A wall was erected around it, and by 1813 it was referred to as the ‘Old Cemetery’. As the town grew, more land was needed and so the land was acquired from Picot de la Peyrouse, a French nobleman who had come to Trinidad in 1778 under the Cedula de Populacion and established a sugar cane estate on the outskirts of Trinidad and built the first factory for the production of Muscovado sugar (brown sugar). Picot de la Peyrouse had allocated 20 acres for the creation of a cemetery and had a dedication ceremony in 1823. By 1831, this cemetery had acquired the name Lapeyrouse because it was on the old estate lands. Within just a few years, the cemetery was again enlarged, this time buying lands from the Shine family. Over the next few years, more land was acquired from the Dert family (pronounced Der), who had started the first coffee estate in an area between Queen’s Park south and Tragarete Road in the 1770s (they are remembered through the street with their name just north of the cemetery).

The northern entrance to Lapeyrouse cemetry is called the Perry Gate and is named after American Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry died near Trinidad on August 23, 1819; he was buried at Lapeyrouse Cemetery, Port of Spain. He died aboard the US schooner Nonsuch when he contracted yellow fever after a successful mission to the Orinoco River, Venezuela, where he held discussions with Venezuela's President, Simon Bolivar, over piracy in the Caribbean. The then British rulers failed to recognise him as a hero because Perry, at 27, was responsible for leading a decisive naval battle at Lake Erie, which defeated a British squadron. It was a battle that ensured control by the Americans of Lake Erie for the remainder of the war. Seven years later, the US Navy sent its officers to remove Perry's body from Lapeyrouse and they took it to his homeland — Rhode Island, USA. By 1866, the relationship between Britain and the United States had improved and when Arthur Hamilton Gordon was appointed Governor of Trinidad, he collaborated with members of the Cabildo to erect a monument at Lapeyrouse in honour of Perry. The monument consisted of two concrete columns, 15 feet apart, and adorned with historical details concerning the incident. The metal gate leading into the cemetery was decorated with silver-coated coats of arms of Britain and the United States. The site was named Perry Memorial Gateway. The monument was completed and opened on April 11, 1870, in the presence of the governor and Mayor John Bell-Smythe. In April 2012, The Perry Gate was refurbished by the US Government.




Tucked away on St Vincent Street, Port of Spain between Park Street and Duke Street is a small red brick building. The building is easily passed without notice because it is set back from the street. This building is the home of the Bruce Stevens Trust and was erected in 1940.

In 1896, Bruce Stevens came to Trinidad from what was then British Guiana and started a store on Frederick Street that was known as Stevens Limited. Bruce Stevens prospered as a result of the store but was moved by the conditions that affected children in Port of Spain during that era. As a result he became actively involved in social work. When Bruce Stevens died his brother, J.W. Stevens, took over the running of the business. Before his death in 1940, J.W. Stephens wanted to ensure that the social work started by his brother continued and so he created the Bruce Stevens Trust.

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Red House

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The building known as the Red House is the site of the the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located opposite Woodford Square and bounded by Abercromby, Knox, Hart Streets. Construction of this building began in 1844 and the southern wing was completed in 1848. During the British colonial period they were known as the Government Offices. The building was burnt in 1849 when citizens objected to a clause that was being debated by the Cabildo that would have required debtors to have their heads shaved and wear prison clothes. In 1903 these offices were completely destroyed by fire in what were known as the Water Riots. The rebuilding began in 1904 and was completed in 1907. On 27th July 1990, the Prime Minister and other members of parliament were held hostage in the building during a short-lived coup-d-etat.

In 1897 in honour of the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria, the building was painted red and has been painted that colour ever since. The design of the building was done by Daniel M Hahn, chief draughtsman in the Department of Public Works, who was a past student of Queen's Royal College. The design of the building reflects a Corinthian order in its columns and half columns.


Former Police Headquarters

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Located across the street from the Red House on St. Vincent Street in Port of Spain is the former Police Headquarters. Constructed in 1876, at a cost of 90,000 pounds, on the site of the barracks of the West India Regiment, it served as police headquarters for over 100 years. It contained a residence for the head of the force as well as quarters for the volunteer fire brigade and the volunteer corps. At one time, the stipendiary magistrate of Port of Spain held his daily court there.

Built of local limestone from the Piccadilly Quarries in Laventille it was burnt in 1882 as a result of a mishap in the lamp room and rebuilt in 1884. It was again gutted by fire in 1990 as a result of an attempted coup and rebuilt in 2003. The building is in the form of a square designed around a central courtyard. In the rebuilding an effort was made to ensure that those parts that are new matched the other sections that were still of the original construction.

The building is still in use at the present and houses several police departments as well as the Police Service Museum.

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Other Colonial Architecture

While the Magnificent Seven are the best known examples of colonial architecture in Trinidad, throughout the country there survives many historic buildings from earlier periods in our history. Several of these buildings originally constructed as residences have been converted to offices but the exteriors have been maintained with the original design.

The streets around Lord Harris Square in Port of Spain are one area where you can see several examples of earlier buildings. In the immediate vicinity of the square on Abercromby, New and Pembroke Streets are several buildings dating to earlier in our history. While smaller in scale than the other mansions at Queen's Park West, they survive and continue to exhibit their splendor.

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Other examples found in Port of Spain are on Victoria Avenue, Keate Street and Queen's Park South. Even as 21st century edifices of concrete and steel begin to tower above them, these buildings retain their beauty.

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Victoria Square in Port of Spain is also bordered by buildings that reflect the colonial style of construction. During early morning and early evening periods, visitors to Victoria Square are blessed by the sight and sound of wild Orange Winged Amazon Parrots and wild Yellow Fronted Parrots.

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A beautiful example of the French style of building during the late 1800's and early 1900's can be found on the corner of Sweet Briar Road and Elizabeth Street in Port of Spain.

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It has been said that unlike the wealthy of English extraction, those of French heritage chose to keep their wealth in Trinidad and constructed buildings where they could freely entertain their friends. One feature of these buildings is the large verandah that usually spans the entire house.

The former capital of Trinidad, St Joseph, is another location where older buildings dating back to colonial times can be seen.

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By Mark Hernandez

The  seat  of  Municipal  Government  for  the  City  of  Port  of  Spain  was  also  the  location of  the  old  Town  Hall  which  was  unfortunately  destroyed  by  fire  on  the  16th  April, 1948. 


In  its  historical  past,  it  was  a  Plantation  House  owned  by  Don  Ramon  Garcia,  a  Lawyer  and  said  to  be  member  of  the  Spanish  Royal  Family  during  Spain’s  Colonial  Rule  in  Trinidad. The  House  and  property  which  contained  a  small  chapel  was  bought  over  by  Mr.  Leon  Agostini,  a  cocoa  magnate  who  in  turn  sold  it  to  the  Port  of  Spain  City  Council  in  1889.


In  the  aftermath  of  the  fire,  the  Town  Hall  was  temporarily  relocated  at  the  Prince’s  Building  south  of  the  Queen’s  Park  Savannah  for  next  the  thirteen  (13)  years. On  the  24th  April,  1958  the  foundation  stone   for  the  new  Town  Hall  was  laid  by  H.R.H  Princess  Margaret  of  the  United  Kingdom  at  a  ceremony  held  at  the  site  of  the  old  Town  Hall  Building.


The  modern  building  was  designed  by  the  architectural  firm  Prior Lourenco  &  Nothnagel  and  built  by  the  Arthur  Brothers  Company.  It  was  officially  opened  to the  public  in  1961  with  Councilor  E.C.  Taylor  being  the  first  Mayor  to  occupy  the  new  office.


The  Mural  in  the  forecourt  of  the  main  entrance  at  Knox  Street  was  done  by  Trinidad’s  well  known  artist,  Carlisle  Chang  and  its  name  ‘Conquerabia’  was  the  original  title  for  the  city  of  Port  of  Spain.


It  was  founded  on  the  site  of  a  legendary  Indian  battle  in  the  Pre-Columbian  times. 


The  new  City  Hall  has  been  the  site  for  numerous  civic  and  officials  events  and theatrical  performances  and  in  1971  the  Army  Mutiny  Trials  were  held  in  its  auditorium  for  a  period  of  several  months.   

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On 1st February 1851, Governor Lord Harris laid an ordinance for the establishment of the first public library in Trinidad. This library which went into operation in June of that year was housed in the Government Building (known today as the Red House). The library moved to several buildings over the years until finally in 1901 a dedicated building was constructed for the library and opened in 1902. The site used was once the home of the first British governor in Trinidad, Sir Thomas Picton.

This building on Knox Street, opposite Woodford Square, served as the main library for Port of Spain for over 100 years until in 2003 a new National Library complex was opened. Today the building is still part of the National Library System and houses the Heritage Library.


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On Sackville Street in Port of Spain, sandwiched between the Police Headquarters building and the office of the Attorney General is a small building called the Cabildo Building. The Cabildo was an institution established during the time when Trinidad was a Spanish colony. It was in fact the earliest semblance of Local Government in Trinidad. Seven of the twelve members of the Cabildo were elected by the taxpayers. The Cabildo had wide executive powers, performing a wide range of functions with ecclesiastical, executive, judicial, fiscal, economic and military powers. The Cabildo appointed chief judges on the island, supervised markets, scavenged and repaired streets, controlled the police, the Royal Goal, the admission of physicians and surgeons, and levied duties and taxes on grog shops.

There is a widely held belief that this building was the office of the Royal Cabildo. We know however that up to 1808, the Cabildo Building was situated on Charlotte Street, a short distance from Queen Street, on the right as you walk north. In 1808 the Great Fire of Port-of-Spain completely destroyed the town including the Cabildo Building. We also know that in 1815, the Cabildo purchased a house on the corner of Brunswick Square (now Woodford Square) which eventually became the Cabildo Building (Town Hall). It is therefore likely that this building either housed some of the functions of the Cabildo or was the meeting place of the Cabildo during the period between 1808 and 1815. We also know that in 1845 the building housed the Registrar of Deeds.

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In 1895 a huge fire swept through the downtown district of Port of Spain. Fortunately most people were at the Queen’s Park Oval watching a cricket match between a Trinidad team and the first English cricket team to visit Trinidad. This fire however had followed another fire in 1808 that had destroyed much of Port of Spain. As a result of the 1895 fire it was thought that to enable Port of Spain to better deal with fires a dedicated building was required. As a result this building on Abercromby Street was erected. Previously the volunteer Fire Brigade was housed in the Police Headquarters building on St Vincent Street. Although the Fire Brigade was housed in its own building, it remained part of the Police Service until 1951 when the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service was established. In 1951, this building became the Headquarters for the Fire Service until more modern premises were constructed on Wrightson Road. For the present the building is part of the National Library complex.

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Woodford Square

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Situated in the heart of the city, Woodford Square is bordered by Frederick Street on the East, Abercromby Street on the West, Hart Street on the South and Knox Street on the North.

Woodford Square was first known as the Place of Souls by the Amerindians who fought a bloody battle on this open space. The St Ann's River ran through this open space and down to the sea. The course of the river was later changed to what is today called The Dry River and the riverbed in the Place of Souls was filled up. With the coming of the French settlers to the island, they called the Place of Souls - Place Des Ames. Place Des Ames means place of souls.

Place Des Ames later became known as Brunswick Square. It is believed that because Brunswick Square was used as a parade ground by the soldiers many of whom were Germans that the square was named after the German soldiers. 

In 1813  Governor Sir Ralph Woodford arrived in Trinidad and he immediately began rebuilding the town and laid out the square. He commissioned the German botanist, Baron Schack, to fill the square with flowering trees. In 1866 a fountain was put in the center of the Square as a gift from George Gregor Turnbull of Glasgow, Scotland. In 1892 new heavy railings were put up around the square. These are the ones we see today. In 1917 a bandstand was built and opened by Dr E. Prada, the then Mayor of Port of Spain. At the opening of the bandstand the name of the square was changed from Brunswick Square to Woodford Square for patrotic reasons (Brunswick being a German name and World War I was in progress) and to honour the Governor Sir Ralph Woodford.

On November 7th 2007, Woodford Square was used for the swearing-in ceremony for the Prime Minister, Patrick Manning. This was the first time that the ceremony had been held in public.

Over the years, people have called Woodford Square by different names: 'The University of Woodford Square', 'The People's Parliament'. It has been and continues to be a place where lively debate takes place everyday.



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Former_Co-operative_Bank Headquarters

A building is much more than a physical structure. In some instances it represents the hopes, dreams, aspirations and life stories of the people who lived or worked in the building. In some instance a building can represent the aspirations of a nation. The former headquarters of the Trinidad Cooperative Bank at the corner of Duke and Charlotte Streets in Port of Spain is such a building.  

The Trinidad Co-operative Bank (TCB) was incorporated in 1914 as a savings institution with the vision “to inculcate in the people virtue of thrift…and to provide a quick, easy, safe means for children and poor people to save …” The major driving force behind the establishment of the bank was Charles Augustin Petioni, who encouraged the other coloureds at that time to get together and form a bank to call their own because at that time a large section of the population had no banking relationships. Petioni who was born in Trinidad in 1883 was at the time a young journalist and he later went to Howard University in the United States and studied medicine.  Charles Petioni who was a friend of the father of Eric Williams later became a pioneer of Marcus Garvey’s (1887–1940) Universal Negro Improvement Association and a leader of the Caribbean independence movement in the United States. He died in 1951.

When the Bank was established in May 1914 it began operating at 42 Henry Street. Unlike the other Banks which accepted no less than a shilling (24 cents) to open an account, the Bank encouraged depositors to open accounts with as little as one penny. In this way, the bank became known as the Penny Bank. The Bank's deposits in the first year of trading, 1914 – 1915, were $83.31. As the Bank grew, it was able in 1923 to move to larger premises at the corner of Duke and Charlotte Streets. Written into the concrete were the words Thrift, Save and Cents.

One of the best known individuals associated with the Bank was Dr Arthur Hutton McShine who in 1919 was made president of the bank and served until his death in 1948; he was also the 5th mayor of Port of Spain from 1921 to 1922. Dr McShine was born “Behind the Bridge,” then as now, not the most respectable area of Port-of-Spain. He was the fourth and last child of John and Caroline McShine, immigrants from St Vincent. Arthur Hutton McShine attended Eastern Boys’ Government Primary School and won the exhibition (at the time this was a scholarship that allowed you to attend high school), and so he went to Queen's Royal College and eventually won the Island Scholarship to study at a University abroad, going to Howard University where he studied medicine and later specialized in ophthalmology.

The Trinidad Co-operative Bank also has the distinction of employing the first female banker in the history of Trinidad and Tobago. Rose Liris Mc Shine Monsanto was born on February 24, 1908. She was the daughter of Dr Arthur Hutton Mc Shine and was the fifth child in a family of 12 other siblings. Apart from being the first female banker, another of her major life accomplishments was being the first female banker to be appointed to the board of directors. Her role with the bank was highlighted in a book published by First Citizens Bank. She worked in the banking industry for more than 16 years before being named a director of the Bank in 1943. She died January 13th 2009.

From its inception the Trinidad Co-operative Bank grew, however in 1986 the Central Bank took control of the Penny Bank as it had an adverse audit the previous year. With a new management team the Bank showed some recovery however in 1991 the Central Bank told the Co-operative Bank that it was in violation of Section 16 of the Banking Act, which stipulates that no bank should incur deposit liabilities of an amount exceeding 20 times its paid-up capital and reserve fund. Eventually in 1993 the Co-operative Bank was merged with the Workers Bank and the National Commercial Bank to form the First Citizen's Bank.


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Trinidad Building and Loan Association

In the 1800's it was very difficult for persons who were employed in low or middle level jobs to access financing for home ownership. The first commercial bank targeting lower income people, Trinidad Cooperative Bank, did not open until 1914. Thus it was being very far-sighted when in 1890, three local businessmen got together to discuss forming an association to provide mortgage financing for home ownership and credit facilities. These three individuals had gotten the idea from observing the first British Building Societies. The three individuals were Mr. J. S. Toppin, Mr. G. Creagh and Mr. E. A. Robinson.

Mr. E.A. Robinson was born in Barbados and at 16 went to Guyana to work on a sugar estate. After saving his money he went to England to study law and then came to Trinidad and opened a law practice in Arima. With the money earned as a lawyer he developed the 1,200 acre Non Pareil cocoa estate near Sangre Grande. In 1920 he acquired the Woodford Lodge sugar estate.

So in 1890, the Trinidad Building and Loan Association was registered under the prevailing Building Societies Ordinance Chap. 111 of 1890. The first Board of Directors comprised the following: Mr. H. E. Rapsey, President; Mr. J. S. Toppin, vice-President; Messrs. Hugo Hoffman; George Muir; W. S. Robertson; J. C. Dade; J. H. Archer; E. A.  Robinson (Counsel); A. V. M. Thavenot (Solicitor); and G. Creagh-Creagh, Secretary and Treasurer. Shares were issued and at first, dues were paid directly to the Colonial Bank for credit to the Association's account. Actual operations were commenced on January 14th, 1891, at the office of Mr. J. S.  Toppin, situated at No. 4A Almond Walk (now Broadway), Port-of-Spain. Although the Association commenced business in January 1891, no loans were made until June of that year, as the first four months of its existence were directed towards the accumulation of funds for the purpose of investment..

In 1893 The Association moved from Almond Walk to No.1 Marine Square -now Independence Square. In 1899, the TBLA moved once more, this time to No. 52 King Street. The continued growth of the Association required it to move again so No. 18 Chacon Street was acquired. Finally in 1932 the property at 90 Chacon Street, which is the corner of Chacon and Queen Street was acquired and the building that we see today was erected.




Capildeo House at 36A Edward Street incorporates an old gingerbread style house into the design of a multi-storey building.

Number 36A Edward Street Port of Spain was the home of Miss Juliana Jacobs who lived there with her mother Ms Alice Jacobs. In 1956 Ms Juliana Jacobs married George Chambers who went on to become the second Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago in 1981, on the death of Dr. Eric Williams.

In 2009, Capildeo House was erected on the lot at 36A Edward Street. In constructing this building the owners very cleverly incorporated the original house in which Mrs Chambers lived into their design. The old style of Port of Spain residential architecture from the 1940's has therefore been preserved, retaining a place of historical interest.

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Portuguese Association

On Richmond Street Port of Spain, just before the intersection with Duke Street is a building with a sign that reads "Associação Portuguesa". This unimposing structure is a place of interest because it is one of the few remaining buildings that gives a hint of the immigration of a group of individuals that have significantly impacted the business life of Trinidad and our culinary traditions.

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In 1834 with the abolition of slavery, the sugar planters were desperate for labour and a group of twenty-five Portuguese labourers was brought from the Azores. These individuals did not last in Trinidad and either died or returned to their native land within two years. In 1846, the planters again tried Portuguese labourers and brought 219 persons from Madeira. It is possible that the planters chose Madeira because it is an island archipelago off the west coast of Morocco in Africa and they may have thought that being so close to Africa these Portuguese could endure Trinidad's climatic conditions. During this period Madeira was undergoing economic hardship and these individuals volunteered to go to Trinidad in the hope of a better life. During 1846 and 1847, additional Portuguese labourers were brought to Trinidad from Madeira. The majority of the Portuguese did not remain working on the sugar estates for very long as, (fortunately for them) they had not signed any indentureship papers (unlike the later Indian laborers). Most of the Portuguese immigrants either died, became small shopkeepers (especially of rum shops) or became involved in cocoa.

Two other significant groups of Portuguese came to Trinidad. In 1846 a group of Portuguese Presbyterians fled to Trinidad from Madeira to escape persecution from Catholic Portuguese. More detail is provided on this group on the Religious Sites Page. According to Jo-Anne S. Ferreira in her work The Portuguese of Trinidad, between 1856 and 1858, there was immigration to Trinidad from the Cape Verde Islands of approximately 100 Portuguese who were of Negroid origin rather than Caucasian.

Through hard work, these Portuguese immigrants developed their small shops into large commercial enterprises and also introduced Trinidad to olive oil and garlic pork.

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Excellent City Center

Although many individuals now find shopping at malls easier, Frederick Street, Port of Spain, is still considered the main shopping center in Trinidad. As you walk along Frederick Street, one can still see vestiges of shopping in the late 1800's and early 1900's. One of the locations that is passed by hundreds of individuals everyday with most not recognizing the historical significance of the building is Excellent Mall at the southern end of Frederick Street.

The site occupied by Excellent City Centre has had retail establishments since the late 1800's. Frederick Street from Marine Square (today known as Independence Square) to Park Street was shaded by overhanging, elaborately designed galleries and hanging awnings for even more shade. The beautiful wrought iron balcony at Excellent City Centre has survived to the present from that time, with the style having been introduced by the architect, George Brown, after the fire of 1895 that swept through Port of Spain.



The Excellent City Centre is also of historical significance because it was the foundation of one of Trinidad's first black successful businessmen. Michael P. Maillard was born in 1860 in east Port of Spain and started working at The Bonanza Store. In 1893 he opened hos own store and then in 1900 he purchased 1 Frederick Street. Maillard built his business on the basis of cash, no credit accounts for customers and he introduced a new method of having fixed prices with the prices displayed next to the goods. His store was known as El Popular and survived until the 1920's when it became J. Glendining and Company Limited, which name can still be seen under the wrought iron balcony.


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Treasury Building

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The Treasury Building is located on the western end of the Brian Lara Promenade (formerly called Independence Square). It was previously the site of the Central Bank, which is now located across the Promenade at the Twin Towers. In 1831, the original Treasury Building was constructed under the direction of the British Governor Sir Lewis Grant. For many years it was also the residence of the British Governors and a rum bond.

On August 1st 1834, the Emancipation Proclamation was read from the steps of the Treasury Building by Governor Sir George Fitzgerald Hill, announcing the beginning of the end of slavery in Trinidad. Slavery legally ended on August 1st 1838 with the reading of the Abolition Proclamation from this building by the same governor.

On 25th June 1932, the Treasury Building was destroyed by fire and in 1936, construction of the present building commenced with completion being in 1938.

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On 2nd February 1911, the first cinema opened in Trinidad in a building on the corner of French Street and Baden-Powell Street in Woodbrook. This building which still exists today was known as the London Electric Theatre. Over time, cinema became the most popular form of entertainment so that by the 1970’s there was a cinema in almost every neighbourhood in Trinidad.

One of the magnates of the cinema industry was William Pettigrew Humphrey who had come to Trinidad in the 1920’s from British Guiana and established the Colonial Film Exchange in partnership with George Rosenthal. Eventually Humphrey bought out Rosenthal and created a chain of cinemas that included the De Luxe Cinema on Keate Street in Port of Spain (now Zen Nightclub). To store the films for the cinema, Humphrey constructed the small vault like building that is at the intersection of Charles Street and Wrightson Road in Port of Spain, opposite the Fire Station.

At the time this area was known as Corbeaux Town. This section of Port of Spain was a deeply indented bay with fishing boats and fishermen huts along the shore. There was a fish market and the citizens of Port of Spain came daily to the area to purchase fresh fish. The sea came all the way to the end of London Street and so Humphrey’s vault was actually on the waterfront, which made sense at the time because the principal means of international transport was by boat. Because of the fish market and the common habit of tossing the fish entrails on the beach, the area attracted numerous Corbeaux, hence the name. By 1938, the reclamation of land along this part of Port of Spain, had eliminated the bay, ending the use of this part of the city as a fish market and placing Humphrey’s vault in an inland position.

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Brian Lara Promenade

The Brian Lara Promenade runs for ¾ of a mile along the southern end of Port of Spain through Independence Square. Constructed on reclaimed land that up to 1803 was next to the waterfront with the sea literally rolling up to its edges, this square was originally called Plaza de la Marina. When the British captured Trinidad in 1797 they translated the name to Marine Square. In 1803,1850,1906 and 1935, land was reclaimed from the sea to extend that portion of Port of Spain southward. In the 1700’s Marine Square was the administrative heart of the country with public buildings such as the treasury, the court house, the military barracks, the prison, and the residence of the governor in the area. In strolling through this area, one can still find businesses that were established during that early period such as J.N Harriman and Trinidad Import & Export plus the Treasury Building. At the corner of Independence Square South and Abercrombie Street, one can still see imbedded in the wall the original rings that were used for tying horses and the original street sign from 1822 on the wall, plus see the street sign that bears the original name that the British gave the street, King Street”.

In 1962, in honor of Trinidad and Tobago's independence from the United Kingdom Marine Square was renamed Independence Square.

In the middle of Independence Square is a statue of Captain Arthur Andrew Cipriani who was born in 1875 and fought in World War One in the British West India Regiment. After the war he led the first important industrial strike in Trinidad and, in 1921, he was elected to a seat on the City Council of Port-of-Spain. In 1923, he became President of the Trinidad Workingmen’s Association, which at that time was the Country’s leading workers’ organization, and in 1925, Captain Cipriani became Mayor of Port-of-Spain, and then he won a seat on the Legislative Council in Trinidad’s first general elections. In the Legislative Council, he fought on such key issues as “old age” pension, women’s rights, a minimum wage and compulsory education. He served as the Mayor of Port of Spain for a record eight terms.


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The Brian Lara Promenade runs through the center of Independence Square. It was designed by Trinidad architect Colin Laird, and the promenade was laid out between 1993 and 1995. Along the tree lined length of the Promenade can usually be found individuals playing chess or engaging in that unique Trinidadian activity of "liming". The placement of benches and flowering shrubbery gives the entire area a relaxed laid-back atmosphere.

The promenade was named after Brian Lara for his world record 400 runs in a cricket Test match. Brian Lara also holds the record for the highest individual score in first-class cricket, 501 not out. He is the only batsman to have ever scored a hundred, a double century, a triple century, a quadruple century and a quintuple century in first class or test cricket. The Brian Lara Promenade runs from the sea to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and provides a scenic anchor to downtown Port of Spain. At the western end of the promenade is a bronze statue of Brian Lara astride the globe in one of his signature run scoring poses.

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The IFC Esplanade is a place to see works of art by Trinidad's renowned painters on the wharf or at least what used to be the wharf.

The creation of a deep water habour for Port of Spain started in 1935 and was completed in 1939. To construct this harbour a retaining wall was built that was 3,300 feet long and ran from Mucurapo Point to the former St Vincent Street Jetty. In addition, the seabed was dredged for 3 miles out to create the deep water for the ships to come alongside. This project changed the look of the Port of Spain sea front as previously the sea front had been a deeply indented Bay. With the construction of the wall all the area behind the wall was filled to reclaim land, adding approximately 100 acres to the city of Port of Spain. The construction of the harbour also cut the citizens of Port of Spain off from the sea at the edge of the city.

Now the face of the waterfront has been changed again.

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The removal of part of the former wharf and the establishment of an esplanade at the base of the International Financial Centre has once again exposed the city of Port of Spain to the sea. As a western extension of the Brian Lara Promenade this esplanade has created a delightful space at the edge of the city that is ideal for relaxing with family and friends. With large scale paintings by Trinidadian artists lining the outside of the ground floor walls of the International Financial Centre, this is a location to stroll along the pavement and admire the works of art. The esplanade is especially enjoyable in the cool of the evenings and beautiful at nights, with a backdrop of the sea and the ships in the channel on one side and the lights of the high rise towers on the other plus the fountain in the center with its alternating water jets.




The J.N. Harriman building, on the southern side of Brian Lara Promenade on Lower Chacon Street in Port of Spain, with its upper floor wrought iron balconies overlooking the street gives the feeling of the French Quarter of New Orleans especially during the early morning and late afternoon hours. This French feeling about the building is not surprising when one considers that between 1782 and 1797, Trinidad's population had moved from around 2,700 to around 17,100 with the majority being French speaking inhabitants and Harriman's traces its corporate history back to those early days of Trinidad's development. 


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The original business that eventually became J.N. Harriman and Company was opened by a Frenchman named Charles Hugon who had sailed from the French port of Bordeaux in 1803 and arrived in Port of Spain by accident as he had intended to go to Canada. The captain of the sailing ship put him ashore in Port of Spain and then sailed away and Hugon after some time decided to stay in Trinidad.

When Hugon arrived in Port of Spain the sea reached up to the southern side of what was then called Marine Square but beginning in 1803 under Governor Chacon and continuing up to 1832 the land on that side of the Square was reclaimed from the sea. According to the Newsday Historical Digest of June 2000, when Hugon first rented the space on Chacon Street to open his hardware store the area was bush with naked Caribs camping in the area and Hugon slept in the business place to keep away thieves. Hugon had no children and upon his retirement he handed the business to two young men that he had taken in and they changed the name to C&A Gerold. In 1841 the business failed but was rescued by George Wupperman who renamed it J.N. Harriman and Company after his son-in-law John Neilson Harriman. In 1885, the business was sold to Karl Boos.  J.N. Harriman and Company Limited is therefore probably the oldest surviving business in Trinidad.


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Trinidad Import Export Company Limited

Sitting at the foot of Port of Spain in Number 1 Abercromby Street, at the intersection of Abercromby Street and South Quay is a building that although modern in appearance is at the same time reminiscent of buildings from a long gone era. That building is the home of Trinidad Import and Export Company Limited, one of Trinidad's oldest indigenous companies. Today we are able to drive past and look at the building but that was not always so. Indeed until land reclamation took place beginning in 1803 using fill from the Laventille hills until in 1906, this area was part of the sea. The ocean came up along what is now St Vincent Street as far as the Central Bank and ran up to what is now called Independence Square North, The area was called Stinking Corner and schooners came alongside to offload cargoes in the warehouses of various business places.

Trinidad Import and Export Company Limited was founded by two German brothers, Ludwig and August Schoener Von Stroben Hardt as a partnership, trading as Schoener and Company. In the 1860's the economy of Trinidad was improving and German businessmen invited other Germans to come to Trinidad to help them operate their businesses. Ludwig was working for Ulrich and Company in Paris and came to Trinidad to work for the company. He wrote to his younger brother August and according to Father Anthony De Verteuil in his book, Germans in Trinidad, he told his brother of life in Trinidad, of outings to Blue Basin, the need to learn French and to beware of the women saying "here in Trinidad there are devilishly beautiful ones but you must preserve your manhood". Shortly after, August joined Ludwig in Trinidad. In December 1885, while in the store, August was shot and killed by a lunatic who also wounded two other persons.

 In 1914 at the outbreak of World War 1 with Germany and Britain being on opposing sides and Trinidad being a British colony, it was decided that it would be beneficial to change the partnership to a limited liability company and to change the name of the firm. Thus the name of the firm was changed from Schoener and Company to Trinidad Import and Export Company Limited. As a result of the war and the attitudes against Germans, according to Father Anthony De Verteuil in his book, Germans in Trinidad one branch of the Schoener family changed its name to Scott and the other branch changed to Arrindell.



Since its foundation in 1868, almost 150 years ago, Trinidad Import & Export Company Limited has been a family business. It remains so, with the present Board of Directors who are descendants of the original founders.


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Just across the street  from the Port of Spain City Museum and along South Quay is the complex known as City Gate. This bus terminus complex is indeed the transport gateway to the city of Port of Spain with thousands of commuters passing through its hallways everyday. The design of the building reflects a Tuscan order in its columns.

Citigate stands on the site of the first railway station constructed in Trinidad. On August 31st 1876 the first passenger railway in Trinidad was inaugurated, with the train line running from Port of Spain to Arima. The service was eventually extended to various parts of Trinidad and the railway operated until 1968. You can find more of Trinidad's railway sites at the Pointe-a-Pierre Railway Station, Kings Wharf, Knolly's Tunnel, Couva Train Station, Siparia Train Station, Glenroy Tunnel, Marabella Train Station and at Harris Promenade. To learn more of the history of Trinidad's railways, visit this site, http://www.tramz.com/tt/tt.html

Port of Spain Lighthouse

The Port of Spain Lighthouse is on Wrightson Road, literally at the entrance to the city. To fully understand the significance of the Lighthouse one has to briefly look at the history of Port of Spain.

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The Spanish established a garrison near the foot of the Laventille Hills in 1560. To the west of the fort were several mud walled huts and ajoupas. For the next two hundred years, there was little growth in Port of Spain. Then in 1757 Don Pedro de la Moneda arrived as Governor and refused to go to the capital, San Jose. His remaining in Port of Spain began the process that led to Port of Spain becoming the capital. In 1784 Don José Maria Chacón arrived as Governor and his coming along with the Cedula of Population, which encouraged the settlement of French Catholics in the island, led to a rapid increase in the town's population and its geographical extension westwards. From the small cluster of buildings at the foot of the Laventille Hills, eleven streets were laid out west to the area bounded by the St. Ann's River. At the time the St Ann's River (East Dry River) ran through Port of Spain along the street that is now called Chacon Street. The sea shore was at the area known as Marine Square and in the sea was a small island on which a fort was constructed called Fort San Andres. Realizing that the St. Ann's River, prone to flooding, was impeding the expansion of the town, Chacón had its course diverted in 1787 so that it ran to the east of the city, along the foot of the Laventille Hills. In 1803, using fill from the Laventille Hills the mudflats along the seashore were reclaimed beginning in the east in the area called Sea Lots. The land reclamation continued westward filling the area to the south of Marine Square. During the 1840's and 1870's the reclamation continued until in the 1880's the area now known as South Quay was truly what its name implies, a quayside on the south of the town at which ships could anchor.

During the 1880's in the area now known as Citigate, a jetty was constructed called the St. Vincent Jetty. On the inner end of the jetty the present lighthouse was constructed called the St Vincent Jetty Light. It is reported that the light from the lighthouse was visible for up to 10 miles at sea. The continuing land reclamation in 1906 and 1935 eventually resulted in the lighthouse becoming landlocked and the construction of Wrightson Road in 1935 gave us the present position of the lighthouse.


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United Brothers Lodge

Masonic Lodges always invoke a sense of wonder when viewed by non-members - what goes on behind those closed doors? There are several Masonic Lodges in Trinidad but we often do not think of them as historical buildings or historic organizations. Yet there is one Masonic Lodge in Trinidad that has a very long history, going back more than 200 years. Many persons are aware of the Cedula de la Populacion in 1783 that resulted in a great influx of people to Trinidad and we are aware of how these immigrants influenced Trinidad food, manner of speaking, words used in dialect and many other facets of life. Free Masonry was also one of the things that these immigrants brought.

In 1783, the island of St Lucia was ceded by Britain back to France and many of the French soldiers who came to St Lucia were members of different Masonic orders. As a result several Free Mason Lodges were formed in St Lucia and among these was Les Freres Unis in 1788 established in the town of Micoud in the south of St Lucia. By 1789 they had erected the lodge and installed officers among who was an officer in the French Militia called Benoit Dert who had been born in Martinique in 1752. By 1795 the French Revolution was in progress and a Free Coloured called Victor Hughues traveled from France to the French West Indian islands to foment revolution in those islands. In St Lucia he caused the Les Freres Unis Lodge to be destroyed by fire and several of the Lodge members to be killed by guillotine. Benoit Dert fled St Lucia fearing for his life but in fleeing he made sure to take the Charter of Les Freres Unis with him to Trinidad.

Once in Trinidad, Benoit Dert, met individuals from other French West Indian islands and in 1795 he organized a meeting in a building at the corner of Duncan and Upper Prince Street in Port of Spain and Les Freres Unis was reborn in Trinidad. They applied for a charter from the Grand Orient Order in France but while waiting, Britain seized Trinidad in 1797 and fearing that the British would view them as traitors they switched their application to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. On the 28th October 1798, Les Freres Unis was inaugurated under the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, after a meeting of the 20th October when the acceptance by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was communicated. In 1803 the temple was erected at Mount Moriah and dedicated in 1804. In 1813 however Britain and America were at war with each other and fearing that the British Governor, Sir Ralph Woodford would view them as once again being traitorous they applied to the Grand Lodge of Scotland for a Charter. Upon acceptance they became the first Scottish Masonic lodge to be formed outside of Scotland.

One of the interesting aspects of Scottish lodges is that they had a more liberal outlook and so were more willing to accept black and coloured members. Indeed in the first Masonic book ever printed and published in Trinidad, called "The Freemason's Sure Guide and Pocket Companion" written in 1819 by Seth Diggs it refers to the different races embracing each other as brothers in Masonry. This is particularly significant because at the time the various races were sharply separated.

As to the name United Brothers Lodge, well that is simply the English translation of the name Les Freres Unis. Today United Brothers Lodge 251 SC is still strong and active and still located at Mount Moriah on the eastern side of the East Dry River (St Anns River) which is 46 Picadilly Street just across from Prince Street in Port of Spain.



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When one hears the word "Fort" in a place name one immediately thinks of a place that has military significance. The creation of Fort Chacon undoubtedly had some military reason and it was the location to which Governor Chacon retreated when the British invaded in 1797, however it is for geographic reasons that Fort Chacon is remembered.

Trinidad’s last Spanish Governor Don Jose Chacon built Fort Chacon in 1792, in the Laventille hills overlooking Port of Spain. Around that time an expedition led by Don Cosmo Damian Churruca had set out from Spain to accurately map Spanish possessions in the New World. Churruca arrived in Trinidad in June 1792 and developed a detailed map of Trinidad. On 2nd January 1793 while using Fort Chacon as an observatory, Don Churruca fixed for the first time an accurate meridian of longitude in the New World. While in Trinidad, Churruca had fallen doubly in love, with a young lady and with the country. As a result he later married the niece of Admiral Apodaca and settled in Chaguaramas in 1797. Although Churruca had settled in Trinidad, he was still a Spanish naval officer and so had to serve the king. While doing so he died at the age of 46 at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

In order to get to the fort, a road had to be built and this road is today known as Observatory Street. A quarter of a mile to the west of Fort Chacon is another structure that had definitely been constructed for military reasons and that is Fort Picton.

Unfortunately most Trinidadians do not feel safe entering Laventille and so if you plan to visit Fort Chacon, it is best to go with someone from the area.

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On the Eastern Main Road on the outskirts of Port of Spain, just below the Success Laventille Government school, exists a historical landmark. Most persons who pass this landmark probably do not notice it or if they do, do not think of its historical significance. Indeed to the present generation the Eastern Main Road has always been there.

However in the 16th, 17th and early 18th century there was no Eastern Main Road. The main modes of transportation were the rivers and the sea. Rivers such as the Arouca River in Lopinot, the Tacarigua River in Caura and the St Joseph River in St Joseph were used to get agricultural produce and people to the ocean and thence to Port of Spain. Produce was transported down the rivers in small boats and where those rivers connected to the Caroni River such as the Arouca River and the St Joseph River, they continued on the Caroni River. In other cases the produce from the estates was brought to the confluence of the St Joseph River and the Caroni River (which was known as Puerto Grande) and then transported by boat along the Caroni River to the Gulf of Paria and thence to Port of Spain. Thus when the beginnings of the Eastern Main Road were laid in 1785 by Governor Jose Chacon in the form of an earthen road from Port of Spain to San Juan and later extended to Arima at the end of the 18th century it was the beginning of a transportation revolution.

Even with the existence of the Camino Real as the Eastern Main Road was called in the late 18th century, travel to Port of Spain from the eastern parts of the island was an arduous affair. Travel was on horseback or by horse or mule drawn carts. Parts of the road were rough and there were rivers to cross with no bridges.

On reaching Port of Spain both animals and people would have been exhausted from the travel. So in 1853, during the period that Lord Harris was the British governor of Trinidad, a horse trough was constructed along the Eastern Main Road to allow animals to be refreshed from their tiring journey. This trough, although no longer used for providing water for animals, still exists today and in the midst of "modern development" is a link to our past.

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Nestled in the foothills of the Northern Range in the Maraval Valley lies a small agricultural estate that helps us remember when the wealth of Trinidad came not from below the ground but from what grew on it. Set deep in the valley with the hills surrounding and a cool breeze sweeping down from the hills is Carmel Valley Estate. So deep and hidden is this estate that you sometimes wonder if you are on the right road. However, after a drive through the golf course and across a small stream you enter Carmel Valley Estate.

Carmel Valley Estate produces cocoa and the owners conduct tours through the estate explaining how cocoa is grown, harvested and ultimately converted into chocolate. The tour includes a video on cocoa and at the end of the tour actual hot chocolate from the estate is served. The Carmel Estate however is not a one crop operation as the estate also produces a premium honey and includes a tour of the apiary along with an explanation of honey production. Rabbits are reared on the estate and you can therefore also visit the rabbit hutches. Tours of the Carmel Valley Estate must be arranged in advance.


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The north coast road leading to Maracas Bay, Las Cuevas and Blanchissuesse is a very scenic route providing ocean views and luxuriant tropical rain forest. It is a route that is enjoyed by most and provides easy access to the lovely beaches and bays of Trinidad’s north coast. At the western end of this road are two pillars that have become a convenient meeting point for groups on their way to the north coast. These pillars were placed at this location by the U.S. military to mark the fact that they had constructed the road.

The original lease agreement that gave the US military the right to establish a base in Chaguaramas did not include the upper section of Tucker Valley and Macqueripe Bay. The U.S. government however wanted the whole of Tucker Valley, as they believed that without it the security of the base was threatened. Giving the U.S. military the exclusive use of Tucker Valley would however deprive Trinidadians of the use of Macqueripe Bay which in the 1930’s (and even today) was a popular sea bathing location because of its clear waters. As a result, in a supplemental lease consummated in December 1942, the Tucker Valley was included in the original 99-year lease and the United States agreed to build a road on the north coast that would enable Trinidadians to have access to the beach at Maracas Bay.

At the time the north coast was virgin forest, indeed even today much of the north coast is still virgin forest. It was an extremely difficult task because of the mountainous terrain with the land rising from sea level and within two miles reaching an elevation of 1,335 feet. Construction of the road started in March 1943 and was completed in April 1944. In building the 7 ½ mile highway to Maracas Bay, 1,000,000 cubic yards of material was removed. Interestingly, it was not until the late 1970’s that this road was extended from Maracas Bay to Blanchisseuse.



The Maracas Bay Agri Tourism Park is an adventure in tropical agriculture. The park has a wide range of tropical fruits and vegetables with varieties of fruits that are not commonly seen in Trinidad and Tobago. Interspersed among the fruit trees are ornamental plants, particularly orchids. Visitors can wander through the park and see the different variety of trees. They even have varieties of bamboo rarely seen in Trinidad, such as the Buddha Bamboo and the Black Bamboo. The Maracas Bay Agri Tourism Park however offers more than just experiencing tropical agriculture. Throughout the property are sheds laid out for fireside cooking with earthen chulas. Visitors can bring their food to cook with the park supplying the wood. If you want an outdoor cooking experience but do not want to do the actual cooking the park can arrange to have the food prepared for you on site.

There is a small pond with spectacled caiman and another pond for fishing by visitors, while a third has ornamental fish. The Maracas Bay Agri Tourism Park has a miniature nine hole golf course where visitors can play a round of golf. A small stream runs through the property and while it is too shallow for bathing you can dip your feet in the cool waters. The park has a children’s area with a small swimming pool and playhouse.


The Maracas Bay Agri Tourism Park is a beautiful setting with rows of fruit trees and the sheds dotting the property while the hills of the Northern Range carpeted in forest green enclose the entire area. With the abundance of fruit trees a wide variety of birds dart through the park. The Park is approximately one minute from Maracas Beach on Grand Fond Road (the road before Sam’s Bar) on the left. The Park is open from 10.30 am to 6pm Wednesday to Sunday.


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Fort Abercromby

Situated to the immediate north of Las Cuevas Bay on a promontory overlooking the bay are the remnants of Fort Abercromby. Built by the British in 1804 as part of the fortification of Trinidad that included Fort George and North Post, this was a lonely posting. In 1797 there were only 64 persons in the Las Cuevas area and even by 1810, the population had only grown to 114 persons. The British were concerned however about attacks from the French and knew all too well that Las Cuevas Bay made a good place for landing ships as they had landed there in 1750 when Trinidad was still in Spanish hands. The British also intended that Fort Abercromby would be a place of last defense in case they lost Port of Spain, retreating with their forces through St Joseph and over the mountains to Las Cuevas. The road over the mountains from St Joseph still exists, although in its present state would be considered more of an agricultural trace and is a popular hiking route. Fort Abercromby never experienced any military action however on 7th June 1805 an officer, standing on the fort saw a large fleet approaching and raised an alarm. A decision was taken to burn the huts, spike the guns and the entire garrison of three officers and 50 soldiers retreated over the hills to St Joseph. The fleet turned out to be that of the British Lord Nelson on its way to take part in the Battle of Trafalgar in which the combined fleets of France and Spain were defeated.

The fort was never repaired after the retreat. Today Fort Abercromby is a place of interest because of its historical significance and the fantastic ocean views. Only two of the cannons remain and remnants of the stone walls. It is also a popular fishing location.


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One of the attractions in the village of Blanchissuesse on Trinidad's north coast is the suspension bridge across the Marianne River, popularly known as the Spring Bridge. This bridge has been in existence for over 110 years and provides the only vehicle route across the Marianne River for access to the houses and beaches that lie beyond Blanchissuesse. The bridge consists of four suspending cables which are fastened onto four iron pillars, two on either side of the Marianne River. These pillars are anchored into two columns on the river’s banks. The cables are paired one over the other and iron rods are placed vertically between them. The top cables are loosely stretched across the river while the bottom cables are tightly pulled and fastened into the pillars. The iron rods anchor the top cable to the bottom cable. The floor of the bridge is made of hard woods such as Balata.


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Many people visit Blanchisseuse simply to drive across the bridge for the rolling motion that the bridge gives as you move across and enjoy the ambiance of the river. That rolling motion is a deliberate structural feature of the bridge's design which is is intended that there be no rigidity, causing rupture in the metal. The bridge is designed to move in an undulating motion with any weight upon it, thereby shedding and distributing the weight, while suspended as if on springs, held up by the cables attached to the massive pillars. That motion as if on springs is also why the bridge is sometimes called the Spring Bridge.

The bridge was installed in Blanchissuesse in 1956 with construction starting in 1955. Although this bridge has been associated with Blanchissuesse it was not originally placed in Blanchissuesse but in fact came to Trinidad in 1898 to cross the Ortoire River and provide access to the village of Mayaro. After serving the Mayaro community for over 50 years the bridge was dismantled and transported to the Blanchissuesse. This bridge is one of only two such suspension bridges in Trinidad with the other being on the La Ruffin River in Moruga.

In February 2012, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago closed the bridge to vehicle traffic as they indicated that the bridge was in need of repairs, although pedestrian crossings were still allowed. As at 11th October 2015 the Bridge was undergoing repairs with the intention that the bridge will be retained for its historic value and used for pedestrian traffic. A Bailey bridge has been installed next to the Spring Bridge to enable vehicles to cross the Marianne River.



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San Juan Mystery Statue

Along the Santa Cruz Old Road, on the northern edges of San Juan, is a statue of a male Amerindian with the words La Venezuela inscribed around the pedestal on which the statue stands. The statue has long been a landmark in the area and a housing development has been created in the area, taking its name, La Venezuela Gardens, from the inscription. Although most of the residents of San Juan are familiar with the statue, discovering its origins has been difficult.

According to one resident of La Venezuela Gardens, oral tradition indicates that there was a Spanish settlement in the area and these settlers had developed friendly relations with the Amerindians who inhabited the Santa Cruz valley. Unfortunately this relationship deteriorated and the Amerindians planned an attack on the settlement. The settlers were warned of the attack by a male Amerindian and so either managed to escape or ward off the attack. In gratitude for the warning the settlers erected the statue which still stands today.

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The veracity of this account is difficult to verify, however there are certain facts that we know. The Santa Cruz valley was inhabited by Amerindians of the Nepuyo sub-tribe and in 1790 when Governor Jose Maria Chacon established the settlement of San Juan the area was known by the Amerindian name of Aricagua. Indicators of Amerindian and Spanish settlement were found in the area when the La Venezuela Gardens houses were being constructed with Amerindian artifacts being found when the foundations were dug and also Spanish artifacts including a musket.

We also know that the Amerindians in Trinidad were not all happy with the invasion of their island by foreigners and certainly attacked the Spanish to drive them from Trinidad. In 1531 when the Spanish conquistador Sedeno attempted to settle in Trinidad, he was attacked and repulsed at Mucarapo Bay. Two more attempts by Sedeno were repulsed by the natives and it was only on the fourth attempt, when Sedeno brought horses that he succeeded. In 1595, the Amerindians joined forces with Walther Raleigh to attack St. Joseph. This resistance by the Amerindians continued with an attack on St Joseph in 1637 by Hyarima, a cacique of the Nepuyo sub-tribe. There was also the killing of the Capuchin priests in 1699 by the Amerindians in the event that has become known as the Arena massacre. As such the possibility of an Amerindian attack in the la Venezuela area is likely. We can also surmise that any attack was likely to have taken place before 1785, as in that year the first land grants in Santa Cruz was made by Chacon and also we know that the Amerindians were rounded up in 1785, especially from Arouca and Tacarigua, and moved to Arima. Should any additional information be available about this statue, this web site would be happy to receive it.

The statue is not the only mystery item or place of interest at La Venezuela Gardens as there are also a old gazebo and concrete structure.

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The concrete structure looks as though it may have been a large table but also looks as if it may have been a large bath.


St Joseph

On 15th May 1592 a Spanish conquistador Domingo de Vera, under orders from the Governor Don Antonio de Berrio y Oruna, established the first town, San Jose de Oruna in the area now known as St Joseph. Four buildings were erected, a Government House (Casa Real), a Town Hall (Cabildo), a prison and a catholic church. The Catholic Church still stands on the site of the first church. St. Joseph remained the capital of Trinidad until 1784, when Governor Jose Maria Chacon declared Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad.

San Jose was twice completely destroyed and rebuilt. In 1595 Walter Raleigh in an alliance with the Amerindians, which included the Chaguanese tribe, attacked and burnt the town. The town was destroyed again in a Dutch raid in 1649, when the Dutch allied themselves with Chief Hyarima. The Chaguaramas Military History Museum has a reenactment of the sacking of San Jose in 1595.

Two other notable events in the history of St Joseph occurred in 1797 and 1837. When Trinidad fell to the British in 1797, Governor Chacon fled to St Joseph and the Capitulation agreement was signed in the great house of Valsayn estate. In 1837 there was a mutiny by members of the Third West India Regiment led by a former slave Daaga. The mutiny was quickly put down and the leaders, Daaga, Ogson and Coffin were tried, condemned and executed on 16th August 1837.

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St. Joseph today is a quiet, mainly residential, area on many of whose streets can still be seen old homes from the colonial era. These old buildings, while not as expansive as the Port of Spain mansions are lovely examples of colonial architecture.

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First National Park

St Joseph is the first capital of Trinidad and so it is understandable that it would have the oldest park in Trinidad and Tobago. Located on the Maracas Royal Road, just as one enters St Joseph, this park has had several names being called Barracks Square, George Earle Park and now First National Park. In the creation of St Joseph the Spanish colonizers laid out an open plaza and then built the town around that open square. The plaza was used for the recreation of the inhabitants of St Joseph and during important military celebrations Spanish troops paraded on it.

After the British occupation of Trinidad, the area continued to function as a park with troops parading in the square, indeed there was an army garrison stationed opposite the square and events at that garrison led to another significant historical event. The British had established what was called the  West India Regiments and they were comprised of men who were formerly African slaves. After the abolition of slavery in 1834 the British had ships patrolling off the coast of Africa and in the West Indies to enforce the abolition and they adopted a position that when they captured ships of other nations that contained slaves, those enslaved persons would be made to join the army in the West India Regiments. In 1837 the British laid claim to over 300 of such men and 280 of them were assigned to the First West India Regiment at St Joseph. On June 18th 1837, three weeks after being made to join the Regiment, the men mutinied and set off on foot, it is said in an attempt to return to Africa. Some were immediately recaptured while the majority was held in Arima. After their trial the individuals who were determined to be the ringleaders, Donald Stewart also known as Daaga, Edward Coffin, Maurice Ogston and Henry Torrens, were executed by firing squad at Barracks Square.

In the 1800's the park was also used a burial ground for soldiers and today on the eastern section of the park there are the tombs of two English soldiers, Captain Thomas Riddeler and Lieutenant Charles Grasslin, which are maintained by the British High Commission up to the present.

Today First National Park continues as a place of recreation with a children's play area, an exercise area, benches and a central band stand, all under the spreading limbs of large Saaman trees. The sound of children's voices fill the air on evenings and weekends, while during the Christmas season the sound of parang emanates from the square. On some weekends, couples can be seen having their wedding photos taken.



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The name brings to mind the dam that never was.  Caura  is an adaptation of the Arawak word 'Cuara' that meant heavily wooded valley. It is a valley that lies along the Northern Range, five miles north of Tacarigua, accessed from the Eastern Main Road via the Caura Royal Road. Records from 1750 show this valley was populated by the Arawaks. After the Cedula of 1783, Governor José Maria Chacon granted land in this valley, to the mainly French Catholic incoming settlers with their African slaves. With the British capture of Trinidad in 1797, nineteen lots were marked out, representing a strip which began from the entrance of the Caura Valley and leading right up to the headwaters of the Tacarigua River, which from this point became the Caura River. The richness of the land, the coolness of the valley and the ability to use the river caused Caura to prosper with the growth of cocoa and coffee. It was an enclave in which the principal languages were French and Spanish.

In 1943, the government, under Governor Sir Bede Clifford, acquired all the land in and around the village of Caura for the purpose of building a dam to supply the entire north of Trinidad with water. The plan included the damming of the Caura River to create a 300-acre lake in the area that was the village. All the inhabitants were relocated with the majority going to Lopinot. On August 15th 1945 during the last mass at the parish church the priest called on the wrath of God and declared that the dam would never be constructed. On November 14th 1945, the church was dynamited by the Government and construction started on the dam. The construction was plagued with controversy and conflict, with charges of graft, bribery and corruption. Randolph Miles, the father of Gene Miles was the individual who exposed the corruption. In April 1947, the new governor, Sir John Shaw  expressed reservation about the project and had a Jesuit priest, who was a dam expert, review the project. The review showed that the substratum could not support the dam and the project was cancelled.

Today Caura is a valley relatively empty of human habitation, with a crystal clear river running through it and natural vegetation on the hillsides. In the area that was formerly Caura Village can be seen the unfinished pump house and water sluices. The entire length of the Caura River is now used for camping and recreational bathing.



Twenty minutes drive from the Eastern Main Road in Arouca is a small museum and park dedicated to the memory of Charles Joseph Count de Lopinot. Count de Lopinot arrived in Trinidad in 1800 after fighting alongside the British in an attempt to stop the Haitian Revolution under Toussaint L'Ouverture. Some time between 1804 and 1805 the Count was given permission to select a parcel of land and set out up the Arouca River. After 5 miles up the river he discovered a wide flat plain in the midst of the narrow steep sided heavily forested valley. We now know that the flat plain is caused by extensive beds of limestone that run through the Northern Range from Diego Martin almost to Toco and cause the flat areas in many of the Northern Range valleys. The Count was granted land in the valley and established a cocoa estate. Over time the valley came to be referred to as Lopinot.

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The museum is located on the grounds of the former estate and is in the style of the 1800's. At the side of the museum is an original dirt oven that can still be used today for the baking of bread and meat.

The residents of Lopinot are predominantly a blend of Spanish/Amerindian/African/Indian heritage and the majority are Roman Catholic. A staple of their lives is the singing of parang which is a blend of Spanish Venezuelan music and Trinidad rhythms with many of the songs sung in Spanish based on Catholic Christmas themes. While for most parts of Trinidad parang is primarily sung at Christmas, in Lopinot they extend that singing through the year. In Lopinot  the residents hold a Cruz de Mayo (May Cross) ceremony which celebrates the month of Mary and parang is sung. As part of the museum complex is a small annex that highlights the famed paranderos of the valley and other historical artifacts.


Around the museum are large shady Samaan trees with picnic benches underneath. Nearby is a small cemetery in which the Count and his wife are buried. Across from the museum is the Lopinot Community Center where local handicraft items can be purchased on some days. The Arouca River runs alongside the property and a short walk takes you to the river bank where large bamboo clumps provide shade. The river bank in this area is a lovely spot for picnics.

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Also to be visited in the Lopinot area are the La Pastora Chapel with its La Divina Pastora statue and the La Veronica church for which many of the items were transferred from Caura. The Lopinot valley still retains much of the natural forest cover and there are several hiking trails through the valley.

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Cleaver Woods Museum

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While many of our museums have Amerindian artifacts, the Museum at Cleaver Woods is dedicated to Amerindian culture. This small museum contains tools that the Amerindians would have used in their every day life and shows how many of our present practices are derived from Amerindian culture. The museum also has a modified version of a clay oven. At the museum one can learn that our Amerindian forefathers were much more than the simple subdivision between Caribs and Arawaks. In Trinidad there were several sub-tribes consisting of Nepuyo, Lokono (also called Aruaca), Kalinago, Yaio, Chaima, Warao (Warrahoon, Guaraunos, Guarahoon), Kalipuna, Carinepogoto, Garini, and the Chaguanes.

Situated on the Arima Old Road between D’Abadie and Arima, the museum is set in a pine forest with picnic tables and ajoupas throughout the property. There are short trails for cool walks through the forest. On the museum grounds, in addition to the pine trees, there are other local trees that have labels to allow visitors to be able to identify them. Across the road from the museum grounds is also a pine forest where tables and benches have been placed allowing more people to picnic and enjoy nature.

To learn about the places in Trinidad that are named after the Amerindians, visit the Area Summary Page. The Arima section has information about one of the great Nepuyo chiefs, while the Gran Chemin section of the Beaches Page has information on the route used by the Guarahoon Indians. The San Fernando Hill section has brief information on Amerindian worship.


Arima Landmarks

Arima, in eastern Trinidad, has traditionally been associated with Amerindian culture in Trinidad and the name is believed to be an Amerindian word. The exact meaning of the word however has been open to debate. The traditional view was that the "Arima" means place with plenty water. It has also been expounded that name is taken from a particular plant used by the Amerindians to stun fish while in the water and this plant was plentiful in the Arima district.

In 1757, the Capuchin priests founded a mission at Arima and in 1786, the Spanish Governor Don Jose Chacon transferred all the Nepuyo Amerindians from Tacarigua and Arouca to the mission at Arima. At the time of the transfer it was decreed that the lands around Arima would be given to the Amerindians in perpetuity. With the British conquest of Trinidad in 1797, Governor Ralph Woodford continued the decree that the lands around Arima were Amerindian property and non-Amerindians were not to live at the mission. Unfortunately after the death of Woodford in 1828, the subsequent governors were not concerned about preserving that decree.

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Today, one of the reminders of Arima's Amerindian heritage is the statue of Chief Hyarima (also called Hierryma) that is at the western entrance to the town along the Eastern Main Road and opposite to the Arima Hospital. Hyarima was a cacique of the Nepuyo sub-tribe who allied himself with the Dutch who were based in Tobago and had established forts on the northeast and south coasts of Trinidad. In 1637, Hyarima along with the Dutch attacked St Joseph, the capital at the time, in an attempt to force the Spanish out of Trinidad. The date of Hyarima's attack was 14th October and that day is now celebrated each year in Trinidad as Amerindian Heritage Day.

Other reminders of the Amerindian heritage are the Ajoupas on Calvary Hill and the Santa Rosa Festival.

The most well known landmark in Arima is a clock called The Dial. It was given as gift to the citizens of Arima and the Borough in 1898 by the Mayor John Francis Wallen. When the Dial was originally installed a stream that ran through the town powered its machinery. Over the years the internal mechanisms have been updated and the present Dial is electrically operated.

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It is well known that Arima started life as an Amerindian Mission in 1757 and the land at the Mission was supposed to remain in Amerindian possession for eternity. Now almost 300 years later the city of Arima has grown tremendously and most individuals would not know where the city started from or what was the land that had been given to the Amerindians. To find the starting point for Arima, one has to remember that the Mission was founded by Spanish Capuchin priests and as was their custom the Spanish laid out their towns around a central plaza that usually had the church as the focal point. In 1786, Governor Don Jose Chacon organised the rebuilding of the church, now known as the Santa Rosa Catholic Church, and placed Manuel Sorzano in charge of laying out the streets of the Mission.

The Santa Rosa Church was therefore the focal point of the Mission and the church fronted onto a plaza. In 1846 after the British capture of Trinidad, Lord George Francis Robert Harris was appointed Governor of Trinidad. Lord Harris, developed a "special" relationship with the Amerindians, patronizing the Santa Rosa Festival, providing them with small gifts and he had trees planted to beautify the square in front of the church. The Amerindians developed a liking for Lord Harris and decided to name the park after him. At the time, this central square dominated the Mission, with the Church located on the eastern side and the homes of the Amerindians located along the other sides, along with orchards, a small market, and later schools. The land which had been given to the Amerindians on the Mission of Arima, in part as compensation for the lands that were taken from them when they were moved out of Caura, Arouca, and Tacarigua amounted to 1,000 acres bordering on Lord Harris Square and another 320 acres on the southern slope of Calvary Hill, facing Lord Harris Square.

Today, Lord Harris Square in Arima is bounded by Sanchez Street, Church Street, Woodford Street and Queen Street. It is directly facing the Santa Rosa Roman Catholic Church and now hemmed in by the Arima Boys RC Primary School, the Arima Girls RC Primary School and the Arima Government Primary School. The Lord Harris Square in Arima is one of several places in Trinidad that have been named after Lord Harris. Other such places are Harris Promenade in San Fernando and Lord Harris Square in Port of Spain.



Calvary Hill begins from the Santa Rosa Catholic Church at Lord Harris Square and ascends to the north of Arima. The fact that the church is at the base of the hill, seems to suggest that the name was drawn from the Bible and that suggestion is enhanced by the fact that there are 14 stations of the cross on the road leading up the hill. On Good Friday many Catholics perform devotions by moving from station to station and performing prayers at each station.

The top of Calvary Hill provides a magnificent view. To the north are the green clothed mountains of the Northern Range. To the east one has an unimpeded view of the coast, while to the south and west, there is the city of Arima and then views of the plains all the way to the Central Range. The area on the top of the hill has been made into a small park with two carat roofed ajoupas, benches and a cannon.

The cannon on Calvary Hill has special significance to people of Amerindian descent. During the first period that Lord Harris was Governor of Trinidad (1846 to 1854), he gave a cannon to the Amerindians to be placed on Calvary Hill. The cannon was used to announce the start of the Santa Rosa Festival at 6:00am on August 1st of each year. The existing cannon which was manufactured in 1794 is a replacement for the original cannon given by Lord Harris. The blasting of the cannon continues to this day as part of the Santa Rosa festival. The Amerindian community also holds a Smoke Ceremony on Calvary Hill, which is a ritual designed to praise the earth, the ancestors, family, friends and St Rose.

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Arena Amerindian Site

Within the Arena forest, not far from the Arena Dam is the site of a confrontation that occurred in 1699 between the Amerindians and Spanish settlers. This event over the years has been called the Arena Massacre, however more modern thought is beginning to view this as an uprising against oppression and cultural imperialism.

What is known is that on December 1, 1699, the Amerindians who worked the encomienda (state farm) for the Catholic mission church at Arena, while being required to build a new church at a site in the Arena forest, killed the priests in charge, desecrated the church and mutilated the ornaments of the church. The bodies of the priests Father Marco, Father Estevan and Brother Ramon were thrown in a ditch and the Indians fled to the bush. Along the way they met the governor of the colony, Don Jose (not Don Jose Chacon) who had come to visit the mission that day and killed him and his party.

The Indians took to the bush, ambushing the governor of the colony who had come to visit the mission that day. They killed him and his party and escaped into the Nariva Swamp. The Spanish authorities hunted down the Amerindians. While in the Nariva Swamp 20 of them were tracked down and killed. The Amerindians were eventually cornered on the east coast of the island and it is believed that some of them jumped to their death at Galera Point rather than be captured. Eighty four of the Amerindians were taken prisoner and brought back to St Joseph for trial. Twenty two of the adult men were hanged in the public square at San Jose, the capital. The bodies were then decapitated, dismembered and strewn on the roadside to serve as a deterrent to other Amerindians who wanted to resist. The women and children were given as slaves to Spanish inhabitants of the colony.

Sixteen months after burial the bodies of the priests were dug up from the graves at Arena and transferred to St Joseph Catholic Church. It is said that the bodies were still intact and had not decomposed. In 1989 the burial spot at the St Joseph church was excavated and the remains transferred to the Catholic church at San Rafael.

Today it is possible to visit the site at Arena and while there is not much to see at the site, it is historically significant. When you visit the site with the forest surrounding you and birds chirping in the trees plus parrots flying overhead, there is a feeling of being transported back to an earlier age, whether you cheer for the Amerindians as tragic figures resisting Spanish colonialism or pray for the priests as martyrs.

To visit the site you turn south off the Churchill Roosevelt Highway onto Tumpuna Road and drive for 2.1 kilometers and turn right on the road that runs along the side of the warehouse complex. You then drive for 2.0 kilometers and turn left at the San Rafael Catholic Church. You proceed for 1.2 kilometers to a Y junction and go on the right for 2 kilometers to Barker Trace. From the time you turn off the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway there are signs directing you to Arena Dam and you simply have to follow the Arena Dam signs until you reach to Barker Trace. At Barker Trace there is a sign pointing to the Arena Historical site. You go along Barker Trace for 0.2 kilometers and you will encounter a track on the left that leads up a slight incline. There is a Rotary Club sign at the start of the tract identifying the site.

A visit to this Amerindian site can be easily combined with a visit to the Arena Dam or hiking in the Arena Forest.


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Sangre Chiquito Great House

A short distance after Sangre Grande in the village of Sangre Chiquito on the southern side of the Eastern Main Road on a slight incline lies the Sangre Chiquito Great House.

There are some historical differences about the origin of the name Sangre Chiquito with some claiming that the name is linked to the killing by the Spaniards of part of the group of Amerindians who had revolted at Arena. Another and more likely origin of the name is that the village got its name from the tributary which crosses the Eastern Main Road to the south of the village. This stream, which was a little river at the time, was so called by two surveyors who were sent to Trinidad by the Spanish government in 1777. While operating in the area they came upon a little river with water as red as blood. As the rainy season had set in, this tributary of the Oropouche River was heavily tinted by the red sands of the quarry — a place they themselves had called Quaré. The water resembled blood, and deciding to give it that colorful name, they wrote on their map "Sangre Chiquito," literally meaning "Blood Little," as opposed to another and bigger tributary of the Oropouche River which they called Sangre Grande, meaning "Blood, Big."

The Sangre Chiquito Great House is somewhat weathered and showing its age but still graceful in appearance. This almost 100 year old home holds the story of an indentured immigrant family who succeeded in making Trinidad a prosperous place for them. The house is owned by the Dial family who are descended from a family who came to Trinidad during the period of Indian indentureship.

The family originally came to Trinidad in 1856 to work on the Mon Plasir Estate in Cunupia and in 1878, the father, Mandary, took the family back to India. However in 1880, the four children along with their mother returned to Trinidad and one of these was Prabhudial Maharaj, who acquired lands in east Trinidad and planted cocoa. Prabhudial Maharaj became rich from the cocoa estates and in 1918 began construction of the Great House completing it in 1920.

The house was clearly designed to reflect the financial stability that he and his family had acquired. The house sits on masonry piers with the front foundation wall scored like large blocks to match the front walls which are rendered to look like masonry blocks. There is a masonry staircase with heavy classical balusters and top rail that is covered by a delicate exquisitely graceful wooden porte cochere. The handmade fretwork is reminiscent of Mughal architecture detailing from Northern India. Flowers and vines intertwining carved into stone or inlaid as at the Taj Mahal in India are on the walls. Another design feature at the front is a sunburst in the doorway consisting of rays or “beams” radiating out from a central disk in the manner of sunbeams.




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Brasso Seco

Hidden in the folds of the Northern Range lies the eco-tourism gem of Brasso Seco. To get to Brasso Seco you head east on the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway and just after the Santa Rosa housing development you turn onto Demerara Road and then across the Eastern Main Road and onto the Arima Bye Pass Road. The Arima Bye Pass Road merges onto the Blanchisseuse-Arima Road. Asa Wright Nature Center is reached after 13 kilometers (20 minutes driving time). It is a twisting mountain road and as you ascend, it becomes distinctly cooler and fern growth increases. At particular sections along the road, dependent upon the weather, you are immersed in clouds. Brasso Seco Junction is reached approximately 40 minutes after crossing the Eastern Main Road (19.3 kilometers). An alternate route is to begin the drive along the Blanchisseuse-Arima Road from the village of Blanchisseuse and the Brasso Seco Junction is reached after 45 minutes driving. At the Brasso Seco Junction you turn onto the Brasso Seco Road and descend in a twenty minute drive to the village of Brasso Seco.

The name Brasso Seco means dry branch and this referred to the fact that prior to the 1900's the area was virgin forest with little agricultural produce. The introduction of cocoa and coffee changed the area with numerous estates being developed. The region has one of the highest precipitation levels in Trinidad with over 100 inches of rainfall each year. As you descend to the village there are numerous rivulets of crystal clear water flowing down the mountainside in tiny caverns etched from the rock face by eons of flowing water.

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In the 1960's the fall of cocoa prices caused many cocoa estates to be abandoned. Today, some estates are being revived with cocoa, coffee, banana, citrus and christophene. Brasso Seco is a small village with an estimated 200 houses scattered throughout the valley. The forest descends down the hillsides, with the estates interspersed throughout the valley. This blend of virgin rainforest with estates of mainly tree crops creates a haven for tropical birds making Brasso Seco into a birdwatching paradise. The numerous agricultural roads and trails makes it easy to wander along the roads and spot many species. The area is home to the only endemic bird species in Trinidad, the Trinidad Piping Guan (Pawi) and rare species such as the Little Tinamou and Large-billed Seedfinch are also seen. Many of the hummingbird species are seen in the area, along with Toucans, Orioles, Oropendolas and Manakins.


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Brasso Seco is known in Trinidad as the start of the hike to Paria Bay and the Paria Waterfall, with some hikers continuing along the North Coast Trail to Matelot. The area however has 11 waterfalls and three of the largest caverns in Trinidad. Interested persons can call 669 6218 to speak to any member of the Brasso Seco Tourism Action Committee to arrange hikes to the numerous attractions that the area offers. The area is at the head of the Marianne and Paria valleys and leads to the wonders of the Madamas valley.

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A major activity in Brasso Seco is the Harvest Festival which is held annually in May. Many of the villagers from along Trinidad's North coast gather in the village and agricultural produce is brought from all around. To learn more about Brasso Seco and its attractions, visit the Brasso Seco Paria Eco Tourism Web Site.

The video below provides clips of the drive to Brasso Seco from Blanchissuesse.




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Valencia Visitor Center

The Valencia Visitor Center is located on the western outskirts of the village of Valencia along the Eastern Main Road. A simple squat building that from the exterior does not divulge what lies inside. This visitor center is one of the best projects conceived by the Ministry of Tourism and is devoted to eco-tourism in Trinidad. Sited at what can be considered the gateway to the Trinidad's eastern and north-eastern coasts this centre seeks to encourage respect for the natural environment, development of eco-tourism and information about Trinidad's natural attractions.

Within the Center there is presently a refreshment area, toilets, a meeting hall, craft shop and a visitor information office. The information office as the name implies provides information on the attractions in Trinidad and Tobago. As the eastern and north-eastern coasts of Trinidad are the sites for the nesting of a variety of sea turtles the center provides information brochures on these turtles in Trinidad and also on the nesting of the turtles in Tobago and seeks to encourage measures for the protection of the turtles along with the appropriate viewing procedures. One of the highlights of a visit to the Valencia Visitor Center is the photographic collage that adorns three walls of the visitor information office. This collage depicts many of the eco-tourism attractions in Trinidad and an enjoyable time can be had simply trying to identify the places and fauna in the collage.


Throughout the Center there are replicas of Trinidad's wildlife and it takes close examination to realize that these are not real stuffed animals nor are they plastic reproductions. Indeed these depictions of wildlife are either wood carvings or created by assembling and painting wood to produce an image of our fauna.

The visitor center is open every day of the week from 9am each day. While the Center in its present form is an attraction for anyone traveling to the east there is even more development slated with a local food court being constructed plus a picnic area for the grounds around the Center and along the banks of the river that runs behind the Center.


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Valencia Pillars

Up to the 1940’s the only road linking Port of Spain to the eastern parts of the island was the Eastern Main Road, that had begun life in 1785 under Governor Jose Chacon as the Camino Real (Royal Road) linking Port of Spain with San Jose (St Joseph). The road was later extended to Arima when the Amerindian mission was established there. This narrow road was often congested as all traffic from the eastern estates and towns flowed along this route.

The advent of World War II led to the lend lease agreement between Britain and the United States of America under which Britain granted land in Trinidad to the U.S. for the establishment of U. S. military bases. In 1941, U.S. forces arrived in Trinidad and proceeded to establish bases at Chaguaramas and Cumuto plus construct an airstrip at Piarco and develop a deep-water harbour at the port of Port of Spain. The additional traffic that the Americans added to the Eastern Main Road made travel on this road a tortuous affair. Thus the Americans decided to construct a road that led from Port of Spain to their base at Cumuto, which was called Fort Read. Construction started in December 1941 and the road was completed in May 1942. From the completion of its construction until the end of the war in 1945, this road was only for the use of the American military and Trinidadian vehicles were not allowed on the road. The road was called the Churchill Roosevelt Highway to commemorate the conference in August 1941 that had taken place between the British leader Winston Churchill and the American leader Franklin Roosevelt. The road began on the western edge of Barataria and went up to the area of the present Santa Rosa housing development. As a memorial the Americans constructed the two pillars that are seen opposite Santa Rosa.

While that explains the pillars at the Arima (western) end, what is the reason for the pillars at Valencia? One now often forgotten fact was that the American forces also has a base in Manzanilla, in the area that is now called North Manzanilla. This base was a jungle warfare training camp and indeed was the first Jungle Warfare School established by the U.S. Army. The Americans therefore extended the eastern end of their highway to connect with the Eastern Main Road at Valencia and so ultimately provide a land communication route with their Manzanilla base and other bases on the east coast. To mark their road they constructed the two pillars that are today seen at Valencia Junction. To learn more about the American military presence in Trinidad during World War II see our section on Former U.S. Army Bases.

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Pius Holdings Park Valencia

Along the Valencia Road, shortly after the popular camping and river lime location, is the Pius Holdings Park. It is on the southern side of the road, with a small sign on the gate announcing its presence. Mining regulations in Trinidad and Tobago require that when licensees cease their quarrying operations they must rehabilitate the land. The Pius Holdings Park is an excellent example of an owner restoring the land after completing quarrying activities.

The area is a former gravel quarry that has been converted into a park.  The center piece of the property is an area that has been created for groups to cook, picnic and relax. There is a large hut with grills for cooking and there are benches with picnic tables interspersed around this central area. The central relaxation area fronts onto a small lake and there are foot paths throughout for leisurely walks . At the southern end of the property a clear river runs through the land, allowing those who desire the opportunity for a river bath.  The rest of the property has been converted into a mixed farm, where horses are stabled, chickens and ducks reared and some fruit trees grown. The property is open everyday from 7am to 3pm and can be contacted at 667-9484.

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Hollis Reservoir

The Hollis Reservoir is a man-made lake and is the oldest such lake in Trinidad. The reservoir was constructed between 1934 and 1936 during the administration of Governor Sir Claud Hollis and so named after him. It was formed by damming the Quare River and flooding the surrounding countryside. The resulting lake is in the Valencia region of east Trinidad and this region has retained its natural vegetation in most areas. The Hollis Reservoir sitting in the middle of this natural vegetation is a beautiful site.

Photo courtesy the Water & Sewerage Authority

The reservoir is owned and controlled by the Water and Sewerage Authority which allows individuals to visit the lake for the purpose of having picnics and admiring the beauty of nature but swimming, hunting and fishing are not allowed. As the reservoir sits in the middle of natural vegetative cover there is an abundance of wildlife in the surroundings. Over 90 species of birds have been recorded in the area and a wide range of animal life such as lappe, agouti, tattoo, howler monkeys, caiman, deer, and wild hog make their home around the lake.

As the Hollis Reservoir is owned by the Water and Sewerage Authority permission must be granted by the Authority for any visit. In order to obtain permission to visit one must:

bullet Address your request in writing to the Assistant Manager, Corporate Communications, Public Education Unit.
bullet At least two (2) weeks notice must be given in advance of intended visit
bullet Include the following information:
bullet The facility you wish to visit
bullet Date and time of the proposed visit
bullet The number of persons in the group
bullet The purpose of the visit
bullet A contact name and phone number
bullet Signature of sender.

After your Request

bullet You will be contacted regarding the status of your request
bullet If approved, you will be required to make your payment and collect the necessary tickets/ passes.
bullet Tickets/ passes cost $10.00 per adult i.e. $8.69 +VAT and $5.00 for children under 12, i.e. $4.35 + VAT.
bullet Passes to reservoirs and treatment plants must be presented at the gate

To get to the Hollis Reservoir one proceeds along the Eastern Main Road to the village of Valencia and then takes the Valencia Road. This road runs through rolling countryside that is dotted with the fields of small farmers interspersed with secondary forest. Eventually one comes to a road on your left (northern side) with a sign indicating the reservoir. This road continues through that rolling countryside with the natural vegetation on either side and there is the sight of the water treatment plant on your right. After the treatment plant there is one more hill to be driven and then the lake comes into view.

Some individuals choose to visit the Hollis Reservoir not by driving but by hiking to the lake. The most common route used by hiking groups begins on the Morne Poui Road in Aripo. The initial part of the hike is an uphill journey to the top of Aripo Ridge after which the hike continues along the ridge for approximately one hour after which you descend through the forest to a road that leads to the lake. This hike takes approximately 2 hours and has been classified as strenuous.


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The Indian Caribbean Museum

Upon the abolition of slavery, planters in the West Indies sought a source of cheap labour and as a result developed the system of indentured labour. During the period 1837 to 1917, approximately 100,000 labourers were transported from India to the West Indies. In the case of Trinidad, the first Indian indentured laborers, 217 individuals, arrived on 30th May 1845 aboard the ship, Fatel Rozack. Although the first group landed at the Port of Spain Harbour, subsequent groups were first interned at Nelson Island.

The Indian Caribbean Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of these labourers. Housed in a former primary school, the first impression gained on entering the museum is an abundance of photographs. These photographs not only show the early laborers in all aspects of their daily lives but also provide a glimpse into the physical makeup of Trinidad in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Other exhibits include musical instruments, agricultural tools, cooking utensils, clothing and books. The museum also has an art gallery, reference library and genealogical database.

Located on Orange Field Road  in Waterloo, the museum is just after the Hanuman Mandir and just before the Temple in the Sea. It is open from Wednesday to Sunday between 10 am and 5 pm and admission is free.

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Perseverance Watch Tower

Many individuals believe that the only vestiges of Trinidad and Tobago's part in World War 2 are in Chaguaramas. However scattered around Trinidad, often unrecognized, are items from the last World War. The entry of the United States into the war in 1942 made shipping a target for German submarines. Between April and September 1942, German submarines had sunk five ships with cargo intended for Trinidad. German submarines attacked ships throughout the Caribbean and even slipped into harbors to shell shore targets and to sink cargo ships at anchor. By the end of 1942 U-boats operating in the Caribbean had sunk 336 ships. Protecting the ships that passed through Trinidad's waters was therefore of critical importance. The Gulf of Paria is the largest natural harbour in the Western Hemisphere, so it was the terminus of the North Atlantic convoy route. Bauxite brought bauxite from Surinam and Guyana for shipment to the U.S. for making aluminum for the war effort passed through the Gulf of Paria. In addition, during World War II, Pointe-A-Pierre had the largest oil refinery in the British Empire. It was therefore important to protect this source of refined petroleum products to ensure continued supplies for the war effort.

As part of the defense effort for Trinidad, a series of watch towers were constructed around the country. These towers were placed near the coast line to provide locations to spot the presence of enemy ships or submarines. Another of their roles was to try to prevent the entry of German spies. With Trinidad being so close to the South American mainland and having US bases plus a history of persons clandestinely traveling between Trinidad and Venezuela it was believed that German spies often came to Trinidad. Indeed there is one story of Germans slipping into Trinidad during the war to attend a movie in Port of Spain. In all 178 watch towers were constructed around Trinidad. One group, which today we might find surprising, but which played a role as coastal watchers operating from the watch towers were the Boy Scouts. The British MI5 trained Boy Scouts to watch from the towers and to function as signalers.

One of the remaining watch towers is found on the former Perseverance Estate that now forms part of the Point Lisas Industrial Estate. Today the tower is dwarfed by the piping and towers of the various petrochemical plants on the industrial estate but at the time of its construction it would have been the tallest building in the immediate vicinity with an unobstructed view of the sea coast.


The Perseverance Watch Tower is located on the Farmland Road in the Point Lisas Industrial Estate just before the Point Lisas Nitogen Limited plant. You can learn more about Trinidad's involvement in World War 2 in our section, US Army Bases in Trinidad.


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Point Lisas Industrial Estate

It can be considered strange to see an industrial estate featured on a web site devoted to outdoor recreation and places of interest; yet, the Point Lisas Industrial Estate is definitely a place of interest in Trinidad as a major driving force of the nation's economy. At night the estate is a beautiful sight with the lights of the various industrial plants illuminating the sky.



As described by the Point Lisas Industrial Development Company, "The Point Lisas Industrial Estate is the heart of Trinidad and Tobago's petrochemical sector. The Estate is a world-class facility, covering 860 hectares and represents an investment of over US $2 billion. Today, the Estate is home to approximately 103 companies involved in a range of activities. The petrochemical sector is dominant, however, with many multi-national production plants operating on the estate" . The Point Lisas Industrial Estate is home to a majority of the heavy industry in Trinidad and Tobago particularly in the downstream energy sector. Industries located there include numerous ammonia plants and methanol plants, melamine manufacturing plants, a urea manufacturing plant; a natural gas to liquids processing facility and it is the site of two power stations and a large reverse osmosis water desalination plant. Most of the industry located at Point Lisas is dependent on natural gas which is produced off the east coast of Trinidad and transported by pipeline across the island.

In 1966 however the land on which the estate exists was planted in sugar cane but members of the South Trinidad Chamber of Industry and Commerce, now called the Energy Chamber had a vision of what could be created. Their vision encouraged the Government to undertake a feasibility study after which the then Prime Minister, Dr. Eric Williams, decided to press ahead with the project and appointed Dr. Ken Julien as the Energy Czar to get the investment off the ground. At that time the Trinidad and Tobago Government was considered the biggest risk-taker in the Americas for undertaking this project. It is said that "Between 1975 and 1985, the Trinidad and Tobago government, using surplus capital resources and loans, spent between US $2 billion and US$3.3 billion to lay down the infrastructure at Point Lisas, run a pipeline from the east coast to the west coast and establish the first group of methanol, ammonia and steel industries."


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Couva Train Station

There is some dispute as to the origin of the name "Couva" with some persons saying that it is an Amerindian place name. The more widely held view however is that when the British conquered Trinidad in 1797, the Spanish Map showed a river in the area that was called "Rio de Cuba". It is said that because the Spanish pronunciation of the letter "B" sounds like the letter "V" in English people began to say "Rio de Couva" and eventually the area came to be called Couva. In 1797, there was very little to be found in Couva and only with the establishment of the Exchange Estate was there any growth and even with that it was said that "the village was little more than a clearing in a sugarcane field". Part of the hindrance to growth was the difficulty in getting to Couva. In the 1904 book, "Trinidad as I Found It," Dr. John Morton (the Canadian Missionary) in describing Couva in 1868 says "Couva. . was reached by the Gulf steamer and a boat, and a push through the mud, and, at very low tide, by a ride on a boatman's back".

Couva's fortunes however changed with the arrival of the railroad in 1880. Michael Anthony says that "the population was mainly indentured workers of Indian origin with a smaller number of former African slaves and numbered no more than a few hundred. By 1921, it had grown to a population of 2,667".

The establishment of the Trinidad Government Railways in 1876 with the line from Port of Spain to Arima led to a cry for a rail line to San Fernando. It was argued that with the multiplicity of sugar cane estates in Central Trinidad and around San Fernando and the difficulty of access the rail line would be good for the economy. Certainly there were many sugar estates and sugar factories all over this area, at Felicite and Woodford Lodge in Chaguanas, and then there was Caroni, Brechin Castle, and Freeport with its Friendship Estate, Couva with its Victoria, Exchange, and Forres Park. Thus the Government agreed to extend the railway to San Fernando and a line was run from Curepe Junction with stops at Caroni – Cunupia – Jernigham Junction – Chaguanas – Carapichaima and reaching Couva in 1880 and eventually extending on to San Fernando and eventually to Siparia.

The coming of the railway undoubtedly helped Couva to grow and what a contrast we see when comparing John Morton's description of getting to Couva in 1868 with J.H. Collens description in 1886 plus the growth after being described as a small clearing in a sugarcane field.

"From Carapichaima, Mr. Cumming, who is the largest resident proprietor in the island, and one of the most liberally disposed, owns a series of estates, extending a distance of fully seven miles.Passing another of Mr. Cumming's estate, Exchange, on the right, and crossing the road, we enter the Couva station. Here in a cluster are the post office, warden's and savings bank offices, Roman Catholic church and school, and police station. The last is a creditable building of concrete, containing also the magistrate's court. Couva is a fast-growing flourishing district, comprising four villages—Exchange, California, Spring and Freeport. The eastern direction of the road lately crossed leads to the new Presbyterian church and school now in course of erection, near which is an excellent manse; the site for all these have been generously given by Mr. Cumming from the lands of Camden estate; then Spring village, Spring and Caracas estates (Mr. J. Henderson),  and finally Montserrat. It is proposed to lay a tramway between Couva station and the junction of the two roads to Gran Couva and Mayo. This is very much needed, as it will open up the way to what is practically an unknown region to a great many even of the residents in Trinidad.

But the train has started again; rolling over the muddy Couva river by the longest iron bridge in the island, you see on the right the fine works of Brechin Castle estate (Mr. G. Turnbull) in the Savonetta part of Couva (Savonetta—little savanna). These were the first vacuum pans worked erected in Trinidad, and the fine crystals made here took the first prize at the local exhibition in February this year (1886). On the left is Sevilla, worked in connection with Brechin Castle. the first building is the estate hospital; a little further, on the rising ground, is the residence of Mr. John S. Wilson, planting attorney of Messrs. Turnbull, Stewart & Co. There is a telephonic communication between Brechin castle and Sevilla, and from the former to the shipping place. Behind Sevilla, in the direction of Montserrat, are Milton estate (Messrs. C. Tennant, Son & Co.) and Rivulet (Mr. G. Turnbull)".

The Couva Railway Station can be found quite naturally on Railway Street in Couva, opposite Joylanders Pan Yard. The present building based on the sign that was erected over the doorway was constructed in 1916. After viewing the station one can sit on the benches in the nearby Inshan Ali Park and think back to a time that was.


Other links to Trinidad’s railroad past can be found at Glenroy Tunnel, Knolly’s Tunnel, Marabella Train Station, Pointe-a-Pierre Train Station and Citigate.



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La Vega Estate

Many individuals think of La Vega Estate simply as a place to get beautiful ornamental plants but this 250 acre estate nestled in the rolling hills of Central Trinidad on the outskirts of Gran Couva is also a recreational centre. The estate is a plant nursery and has orchards of exotic fruit, so it is a working farm and yet the recreational areas have been so neatly woven into the farm that when in those areas you do not realise that you are on a farm.

La Vega Estate seeks to cater for a wide variety of interests. Those who desire quiet relaxation in solitude can find it at the Bamboo Nursery and Garden of Mediation. Here open sided carat huts have been placed amid bamboo groves with a small stream winding its way through the area. 

For those seeking a more active form of relaxation there is a sports field and nature trails for hiking and mountain biking. The sections of the estate however that draw the most people are the water areas. La Vega Estate has three large water areas, Red Pond, Lousade Pond and Lake George and these are definitely star attractions. Around each of these areas, open sided carat huts have been tastefully placed so that you can relax in comfort with a view of the water while you picnic. There is fishing in all three water areas with poles that are rented from the estate and you can also rent paddle boats for paddling on Lake George.

Lake George La Vega Estate

While you can drive to the various areas, walking is much more pleasant. On the estate you can feel the soft breeze caress your skin and hear the wind whispering through the trees. La Vega has neatly landscaped grounds with shade trees throughout and large boulders in places looking like sculptures.

Lousade Pond La Vega Estate

La Vega is also a good place for bird watching. The varied habitat of forest, fruit orchards, freshwater ponds encourages a variety of species. In the quiet of the early morning there is a constant chirping from the trees, with small birds zipping past. Lousade Pond and Lake George are good spots for birding and between these two areas it is possible to see over 22 different species of birds including:




Palm Tanager


Blue Tanager




King Fisher




Great White Heron


Southern Lapwing


Purple Gallinule


Least Grebe




Tropical Kingbird


Spotted Sandpiper




White Tipped Dove


Ground Dove


Wattled Jacana


Yellow Rumped Cacique


White Winged Swallow


Grey Martin


Black Hawk

If you are lucky in the mornings you can also see Iguana and Taegu Lizards on the grass. 

La Vega Estate is 10 kilometers or 20 minutes drive from the Gran Couva exit on the Solomon Hochoy Highway and the road to the estate is well sign posted.


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Los Attajos Radar

Every night on the television news we get the weather report and invariably the forecaster mentions being able to see the weather patterns using Doppler radar. Have you ever wondered what the Doppler Radar looks like? Well in Trinidad it is very easy to see.

High in the hills of the Central Range in Trinidad lies the village of Los Attajos. This tiny village, which is always cool from the winds that blow through, commands great views of the hills and valleys of the Central Range. A noticeable aspect of the village is that in the midst of the dry season when so many parts of Trinidad are dry and brown, this area is lusciously green. It is said that the name "atajos" means "shortcut" in Spanish and the village is a shortcut to the village of Tamana that is 8 miles away.

This height above the central plains is what led to the village being chosen as the site for the 101 foot Doppler weather radar tower, which can pick up weather signals from across the Caribbean. The construction of the radar system was financed by the European Union and implemented by the Caribbean Meteorological Organization.

Part of the enjoyment of going to see something is often the journey getting there and going to Los Attajos is no exception. One of the routes for getting to Los Attajos is via Chaguanas where you proceed to Longdenville and then turn onto the Brasso Caparo Road to go to Flanagin Town. As you go past Caparo you drive through cocoa estates and secondary forest that shields the road from the rays of the sun. At Flanagin Town you turn on the Brasso Tamana Road and then turn on Telemaque Rad which is opposite the Police Post. Telemaque Road is a well paved but narrow road that climbs upward through more cocoa estates. Once in Los Attajos you simply look for the ball in the sky and drive towards it. On a Sunday or Public Holiday the drive from Port of Spain would take approximately 1.5 hours.


The radar is in an enclosed compound that you cannot enter but it is easily seen from outside the compound. Another attraction at the radar site is that you can walk along the outside of the chain-link fence and are rewarded with a magnificent view of the eastern central plains with Mount Tamana rising in the distance.




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Navet Dam

The Navet Dam covers an area of 800 acres and was created by the damming of three streams which flow from the nearby hillsides at Mt. Tamana, Brasso Piedra and Chataigne (the latter so named after the chataigne trees that grow in abundance on its slope). The dam is one of the major reservoirs supplying potable water in Trinidad and Tobago. It was created in 1962 and then expanded in 1966 and 1976. The reservoir stretches out in several directions, to the foot of the distant hills and forms an intricate pattern of inlets and coves, some as much as six kilometers (four miles) long. The Navet Dam actually consists of two separate lakes with one being the main lake and then a lower dam for the water prior to distribution.

The dam is a glorious spot with the calm clear water and the greenery of the hills surrounding it. Much of the forest around the dam is dominated by local trees such as Crappo, Guatacare, Carat, Cocorite, Mora and Debiassse, and is home to local wildlife including manicou, lappe, armadillo (tattoo), porcupine, red brocket deer, while the water hosts a wide range of indigenous fresh water fish. This inland lake is an ideal spot for picnics and hiking.

Photo courtesy the Water and Sewerage Authority

Being located in Tabaquite there are several routes for accessing the dam depending upon the area in Trinidad from which you are coming. For those traveling from north Trinidad the route traverses the undulating hills of the Central Range, through the villages of Longdenville, Caparo and Flanagin Town. While those coming from south Trinidad would encounter the villages of Williamsville and Eccles Village. Apart from these villages, the way to the reservoir passes through large estates of citrus, sugar cane, cocoa and coffee, interspersed with kilometers of tropical forest and vegetation. The route to the dam is on the Tabaquite Nariva Road and then there is a right turn onto the Navet Dam Access Road which involves a journey of approximately 15 minutes to arrive at the main entrance to the dam.

As the Navet Dam is owned by the Water and Sewerage Authority permission must be granted by the Authority for any visit.  In order to obtain permission to visit one must:

bullet Address your request in writing to the Assistant Manager, Corporate Communications, Public Education Unit.
bullet At least two (2) weeks notice must be given in advance of intended visit
bullet Include the following information:
bullet The facility you wish to visit
bullet Date and time of the proposed visit
bullet The number of persons in the group
bullet The purpose of the visit
bullet A contact name and phone number
bullet Signature of sender.


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Claxton_Bay_Maiden – A Tale of Undying Love

Trinidadians love to provide stories of supernatural beings that lure the unsuspecting or unwary. Several areas have a story of a headless horseman that is only seen at night. Along the Solomon Hochoy Highway in the vicinity of the Claxton Bay Exit, tales are told of motorists who see a young lady walking across the highway directly in front of them. Providing an interesting addition to this story is the statue of a young lady that is located immediately before the exit, on a low hill on the western side of the highway near to the TSTT cell tower.

The legend behind the statue is that during the early 20th century, when Indian indentured labour was still used in Trinidad, there was a plantation in the vicinity operated by a Spanish family. The daughter of the plantation owner, Maria, had fallen in love with an Indian labourer and the two lovers had planned to get married. It is said that the father saw the two lovers together, realized the relationship and became furious. That night the father beat his daughter and told her to end the relationship. Maria refused and said that she would rather die. The father then told his other workers to kill the labourer. Maria heard of her father’s plan and ran to tell her lover. On crossing the road, she was bitten by a snake but driven by love she continued running. Weakened however by the snake bite, she fell to her death from the hill next to the road. Her father overcome by grief built a statue on the hill where she died. It is therefore said that the apparition, seen crossing the highway at night, is Maria trying to reach her lover.

Of her Indian lover, he was never seen again.

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The Lion House on the northern side of the Chaguanas Main Road, shortly after the market is not only of architectural significance but also of historical and cultural significance. This white, four storied, trapezoid shaped (a four sided figure with only one pair of parralel sides) building is eye catching and has been a landmark in Chaguanas for more than 8 decades. In 1894, at age 21, a man called Capildeo emigrated from the state of Uttar Pradesh in India to Trinidad to work as an indentured labourer at Woodford Lodge sugar estate in Chaguanas. Shortly after his arrival in Trinidad an overseer pays for him to get out of his indentureship and he marries Soogee Gobin, whose parents give them a wedding present of the land on which the house stands. In 1923, Pundit Capildeo begins construction of the house making the bricks himself. Unfortunately Capildeo never lived to fully enjoy the completed building. In 1926, Capildeo completed the house and left to visit India and died during that visit.

Capildeo based the design of the house on a style found in North India in the town of Gorakpur. He made the walls one foot thick and adorned the inner walls with various murtis. On completion of the building he called it Anand Bhavan, which translated means the Mansion of Bliss. On the western and eastern sides of the first floor Capildeo placed two concrete lions and it is these two lions that have given this house its popular name "the Lion House".

Prior to constructing the house the Capildeo's operated a store on the land and then in the 1940's the property was rented to the Patel's who operated a store on the ground floor called the Lion Store. After the Lion Store ceased operation, a drug store was operated on the premises. In 1961 Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, the grandson of Capildeo, immortalized the Lion House in his Book "A House for Mr Biswas" by using it as the building he called Hanuman House in which a store is operated. 

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The art of pottery making has been practiced in Trinidad from its first inhabitants. The Amerindians of the Saladoid people who migrated from Venezuela to Trinidad between 250 BC and 600 AD were the first potters in Trinidad. It was however the arrival of the Indian indentured laborers that led to the expansion of pottery making in Trinidad. These East Indian indentured labourers made pottery for their daily use with items such as bowls, cups, pitchers. Over time pottery making has reduced but is still a vibrant industry and the heart of the pottery industry is along the Southern Main Road between Chase Village and Chaguanas, especially in the village of Edinburgh.

In Edinburgh potters shops are found at the side of the road with some of the shops having been in operation for over 100 years. The clay used by these potters is brought  from varied parts of Trinidad such as Carlsen Field, Valencia, Tabaquite and Rio Claro and then worked int a variety of objects. While the designs continue to include everyday household items the range of items has broadened to include wind chimes, ceiling lights, souvenirs, flower pots, candle holders, deyas and other religious items. Apart from the pleasure of viewing and purchasing items made from natural environmentally friendly materials a visit to these pottery outlets gives you an opportunity to see the process of pottery making as in most cases the objects are converted from clay to pottery on site.

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Located within the Petrotrin complex at Pointe-a-Pierre is the refurbished Pointe-a-Pierre train station. Situated in the midst of a grove of Samaan trees, the refurbished train station is on the exact spot where the original station was located. As you wander in and out of the rooms you can see exactly where the original train line ran with the trains stopping directly in front of the station.

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The railway line began going through this area in 1882 and would have carried produce from the estates to the wharf in San Fernando. In 1885, the station was built. The station would have reached its heyday in passenger traffic when the Pointe-a-Pierre oil refinery was being built. The station closed in 1965 with the "last train to San Fernando".

On the station grounds one can also find numerous items of oilfield equipment from the 1950's. As you walk in the shade of the trees you can read the small plaques on each item that explain what the item is and where it came from. Viewing these pieces of heavy machinery provides further insight into the history of Trinidad's oil fields.

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This small site is another link to Trinidad's railway past. It makes a convenient addition to a visit to the Pointe-a-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust, the entrance to which is just a few hundred metres to the north of the station.

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Marabella Train Station

In 1968, the railway service in Trinidad ended and as with so many other historical things in Trinidad, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find vestiges of the railway presence. In the late 1800's and early 1900's however, the railway was the prime mover of people and goods in Trinidad. In 1901 there were three main railway lines connecting parts of the country. There was a railway line from Port of Spain to Arima that had been constructed in 1876 and extended to Sangre Grande in 1897. Another line ran from St Joseph to San Fernando and a third line was the Caparo Valley Line that ran from Cunupia to Tabaquite. To allow passenger interconnection between these different rail lines there were three main interconnection points.



Curepe Junction. – Caroni – Cunupia – Jernigham Jn. – Chaguanas – Carapichaima – Couva (1880) – California – Claxton Bay – Pointe-a-Pierre – Marabella Jcn. – San Fernando (1882) – Corinth – Debe – Penal – Siparia (1913/14);


Jerningham Junction – Longdenville – Todds Road – Caparo – Brasso Piedra – Flanagin Town – Brasso Caparo – Tabaquite (1898) – Brothers Road – San Pedro – Rio Claro (1914, Caparo Valley Line);


Marabella Junction – Union – Reform – Williamsville – Princes Town (Guaracara line, 1884);

In 1886, the Trinidad Government Railway had inaugurated the Guaracara Railway Line which linked San Fernando to Princes Town and at Marabella a transfer Station was constructed. This transfer station caused Marabella to become a busy place as people switched from one line to another to get to various parts of the country. As a general rule the trains ran on time and on a very precise schedule. So a train left Port of Spain at 7.10 am and was in Marabella at 9.15 am, another left Port of Spain at 4pm and was in Marabella at 6.05 pm. Going from Marabella to Port of Spain, one left Marabella at 9.15am and was in Princes Town by 10.08am or left Marabella at 7.09am and was in Port of Spain by 9.13am.

Today one can hardly find evidence of the role that the railway played in the development of Marabella and indeed all of Trinidad. At times the remnants of the railway history are present but there is nothing to mark that history and inform the observer. Such is the case with the Marabella railway station. Near the Manny Ramjohn Stadium at the intersection of Old Race Course Road and Union Park Private Road lies three wooden buildings, adjacent to each other. These wooden buildings are the former rail station, office and station master's house. People now live in each of these buildings and have built structures around or attached to each and if one did not know their historical significance you pass them by without a glance. Indeed one of the few clues to these buildings is that the name of the road changes to become called The Line.



These buildings are among the few surviving indicators of the railway past such as the Pointe-A-Pierre Train Station, Kings Wharf, Citigate, Couva Train Station, Siparia Train Station, Knollys Tunnel and the Glenroy Tunnel.


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Brij Maharaj Auto and Heritage Museum

Automobiles are everywhere in Trinidad and Tobago, so that the population constantly complains about excessive delays because of traffic conditions. However have you ever wondered what was the first car in Trinidad and did you ever want to be able to see actual vintage cars that were used in Trinidad?

Well the first car to appear on the streets of Trinidad was an 1899 Locomobile Runabout. This was a two seater horseless carriage powered by a small steam engine. This car was first driven in Port of Spain on March 24th 1900 and was owned by Messers. Gardner and Khun. In an article on March 27th 1900 in The Mirror newspaper it was said that the vehicle had a top speed of 15 miles per hour when climbing hills. After this first car more cars were imported to Trinidad, but they were objects for the rich. In 1908 Henry Ford developed the Model T Ford, often called the Tin Lizzie, which was intended to be a cheap car that could be owned by the masses. In 1912 the first of these Model T Fords was imported into Trinidad when J.N. Harriman, owned by the Boos Family imported a fleet of these vehicles for Yldefonso De Lima, owner of the De Lima Jewelry Stores, to be used as taxis. In 1919 Charles McEnearney acquired the Ford dealership from Harriman's and the sale of motor cars expanded.

Although it is nice to read about vintage cars, it is even better to be able to see these actual vehicles and now that is possible at the Brij Maharaj Auto and Heritage Museum. There you can see a 1917 Model T Ford in immaculate working condition, complete with the hand crank for starting the engine. Indeed all the cars in the museum are in immaculate working condition. Mr Maharaj personally works on each of these cars to ensure that they are functional and seeks where possible to use only original parts. When asked how you can find parts for vehicles that are over 100 years old, his answer was that you search far and wide and if you cannot find it then you have to make it.


The Model T is not the only rare car in the museum as there is a Chevrolet Phaeton (just like those seen in the Prohibition era gangster movies) that is one of only 4 remaining in the world. The collection also includes a 1928 Oakland, a 1930 Ford Model A, a 1958 Ford Cranbook, a 1938 Chevrolet, a 1958 Austin Healey plus 11 other vintage automobiles. Brij Maharaj has spent over 40 years assembling this collection, acquiring vehicles and restoring them. If you have never seen a rumble seat in a car then this museum is the place to go.

The museum does not only have cars but includes motorbikes such as an old Harley and a British James motorcycle and scooters like the Italian made Lambretta. There are old bicycles plus vintage scale model cars and the walls are adorned with vintage automotive signs.

The museum is not open every day but has several days each year when it is opened to the public and then reservations must be made in advance to visit. You can learn which days the museum is open by visiting their Facebook page.


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Harris Promenade

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"Last train to San Fernando" are the words to the chorus of a popular calypso. During the period 1876 to 1968, train travel was a popular method of transportation used by all sections of the population. Although train travel in Trinidad is no more, you can still see one of the early steam locomotives displayed on Harris Promenade in San Fernando in south Trinidad.  The area in which the locomotive stands is actually the original location of the starting point and terminus for the first railway established in Trinidad, called the Cipero Tramway. This train line ran from San Fernando to Princes Town, with the carriages being drawn by horses or mules. Below is a video of that last train to San Fernando.


(To learn more of the history of Trinidad's railways, visit this site, http://www.tramz.com/tt/tt.html)

Harris Promenade is named after Lord Harris who was governor from 1846 to1856 and holds the distinction along with Woodford of being the only British Governors who served two terms in Trinidad, as Woodford served from 1812 to 1828. Another public place named after Governor Harris is Lord Harris Square in Port of Spain. In 1846 Lord Harris gave land to the San Fernando Town Council for the erection of public buildings and as a promenade for the people to enjoy. The individual however that actually developed Harris Promenade was Robert Guppy who came from England in 1839. He was a lawyer and civil engineer and was the Mayor of San Fernando on nine occasions. Guppy laid out a wide walkway in the centre of two carriage roads and planted Samaan trees to provide shade.

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In keeping with Lord Harris's dictum of use for public buildings, a Roman Catholic Church was constructed on the Promenade, being completed in 1849. As French was widely spoken at the time, the church was called "Notre Dame de Bons Secours". (Our Lady of Good Help). A Town Hall was constructed in 1853 on the site of the present City Hall. In March 1874, a new Court House was inaugurated on Harris Promenade on the site of the present San Fernando police headquarters. In July 1874, the foundation stone of St Paul's Anglican Church was laid towards the Chancery Lane end of Harris Promenade. This church, too, is on the same spot today. In January 1919, the Andrew Carnegie - free library was opened at the eastern end of the Promenade.

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San Fernando Clock

The intersection of Coffee, Mucurapo, High Streets, Harris Promenade and Pointe-A-Pierre Road is considered by many to be the heart of San Fernando. It is certainly the busiest location in the city with people present at almost all hours of the day. Lovers rendezvous here to then stroll along Harris Promenade, children congregate to go to the Carnegie Library and travelers gather to board taxis to take them to various parts of South Trinidad.

One thing that travelers always want to know is the time; are they running late, are they ahead of schedule, are they on time. To fill that need on 31st August 1966 in commemoration of the 4th anniversary of the independence of Trinidad and Tobago a San Fernando businessman, Carlton K Mack gave a gift to the city of San Fernando. That gift was a cube-shaped, four sided clock placed on a concrete pillar and stationed on the traffic island separating Coffee Street and Mucurapo Road.  

Carlton Mack migrated to Trinidad from the province of Guangdong China as a young man in 1932. He had been orphaned at an early age and moved to Hong Kong to work in the Allum family business. In 1932 they asked him to go to Trinidad to work in their business there which was a small grocery store on High Street, known as JT Allum and Company. He eventually became a partner and in 1956 the main shareholder. Mack expanded the business establishing modern supermarkets in Marabella, Couva and other parts of San Fernando. The company changed its name to become Allum's Supermarket Ltd and eventually JTA Supermarkets Ltd.  He also developed new shopping malls at Carlton Centre, Cross Crossing Shopping Complex and Allum Shopping Centre in Marabella. Throughout his working life he was engaged in philanthropic activities being affiliated with the Red Cross Society, the Boy Scouts Association and the Family Planning Association. He died in 1995.

The clock that Carlton Mack donated remained on the traffic island separating Coffee Street and Mucurapo Road for 51 years and then in September 2017 it was relocated to the traffic island separating High Street.



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In 1852, the San Fernando Town Hall was near the corner of Chacon Street and High Street but was in rented premises in a location that was subject to flooding. As a result in 1852 the Town Council petitioned for and was granted Crown land on Harris Promenade at the corner of Penitence Street. In 1853 construction was started and completed in 4 months at a cost of $3,000

The original building was a wooden structure and by 1930 it was considered unsuitable. As a result the structure was demolished and the present building erected on the same site. In the foyer of the City Hall is a brass bell. This bell was the only item recovered from the Lady Mc Leod which sank off the coast  of Vistabella in 1854. The SS Lady Mc Leod had gone into service in the 1840's and transported mail and passengers between Port of Spain and San Fernando. In 1847 the owner, David Bryce began issuing stamps to cover the cost of the postage, with the stamps showing an image of the ship. Today those stamps are worth thousands of dollars more than their original five cents.

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The Divisional Headquarters for the southern division of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service is located at the western end of Harris Promenade across from St Paul’s Church and obliquely opposite the San Fernando Town Hall. Records indicate that as early as 1853 there was a Police Post in San Fernando at that location on Harris Promenade. Construction of the present building started in 1869 and was completed in 1877 at a cost of 25,000 pounds. The building is constructed of local limestone and bears a resemblance to the Former Police Headquarters located at the corner of St Vincent and Sackville Streets in Port of Spain.

One feature of the building is the prominent tower in the center of the building. This tower had its most famous use in 1884 at 1.30am on Monday February 25th. From this tower a lookout spotted Canboulay masqueraders on Cipero Street and the Police moved out from their headquarters to stop the masqueraders. A battle ensued between the masqueraders and the police at the corner of Lower Hillside Street and Coffee Street.

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On June 2nd 1870 at the corner of Harris Promenade and Penitence Street, in San Fernando, Governor Arthur Gordon laid the foundation stone for a court house. Due to stops and starts the court house was not opened until 1874. The first person to be tried was Matthew Frederick who was found guilty of assault and sentenced to two years hard labour. This courthouse is next to the San Fernando Police Station and although a very modern court facility has been constructed to the rear of the building , the front portion of the building has been retained as the original building.


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 The Carnegie Library, which is at the eastern end of Harris Promenade, has become a well know institution in San Fernando and the corner upon which it stands has become known as Library Corner and is an established meeting point for friends. In the early 1900's however this location was a market and the residents of San Fernando had been clamoring for the establishment of a library in San Fernando. In May 1909, the then Mayor of San Fernando, Mr. J.D. Hobson, approached Mr. Andrew Carnegie, Scottish-born American philanthropist, for aid in establishing a library. In 1911, Mr. Carnegie, who during that period was establishing libraries in various parts of the world, gave the mayor 2,500 pounds to erect a library building. One of the stipulations of the grant was that the library was to be a free public library. This was an important stipulation because during that period many libraries were subscription libraries in that persons had to pay a monthly or annual fee to use a library, which denied many persons in Trinidad of the opportunity to use a library because they could not afford the fee.

Upon receipt of Carnegie's donation, the San Fernando Borough Council agreed to move the market to Prince Street so that the site could be used to construct the library and by 1912 the market was moved.  In August 912, Mr. E.R. Gammon, the architect, attached to the Public Works Department, was appointed to prepare the building drawings. On completion of the drawings, Mr. Henry Sabbath Adams was given the contract to construct the building for the sum of 2,300 pounds. This construction was completed in 1918 and in 1919 the library opened its doors to the public.


The library building was constructed in the Victorian style and retains its original exterior style to the present. In 1925, electricity was provided to the building which allowed the library to remain open until 9pm. The library continued to operate at this site at the corner of Mucurapo Street and Harris Promenade until 1977 when the building was declared unsafe. It took six years for the Ministry of Works to renovate the building and finally in 1984, the building was reopened to the public.


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Presentation College at the corner of Coffee Street and Carib Street is a landmark in San Fernando, however the school was not always there and was not always known as Presentation College. In 1930, in response to the requests of the Catholic population - as well as many non-Catholic residents, the Archbishop of Port-of-Spain directed the Benedictine Fathers of Mount St. Benedict to start a college in San Fernando. So on March 31, 1930, a small school called St. Benedict's was established in the basement beneath the San Fernando Presbytery on Harris Promenade with a teaching staff of two (Mr. Vincent Ferrer and Mr. Mitchell), and twenty-three students.

In November 1930 the Benedictine Fathers purchased a six acre site in the foothills of San Fernando Hill. This property had formerly been called "Mon Nid" the home of the Marryat family and then the residence of the Governor whenever he visited San Fernando. The buildings on the site were refitted with a recreation hall, a library, and eight classrooms capable of holding some 190 students. The college was then moved from the Presbytery to the site at the foot of San Fernando Hill where is continues today at the corner of Carib Street and Coffee Street. Part of the site was a quarry and in 1933, Rev. Fr. Placide Ganteaumme, OSB, the then Principal decided that the College needed a playing field for the students and the quarry would be the location for that playing field. He armed himself with a pick and a shovel, and began the grueling task of manually converting the quarry into a playground fit for the students. In time he was joined by the other staff and students in this task of creating a playing field. That playing field continues to exist today and it is hard to imagine that it was previously a quarry until you look beyond the field and see the rocky hillside.

Although St Benedict's College was expanding, the Dominicans wanted to return to pastoral work and expressed this desire to the Archbishop. As a result in 1948, the Archbishop asked the Presentation Brothers to take over the running of the college. With the entry of the new principal, Brother Kelly, the name of the school was changed to Presentation College. In 1956 under Principal Bro. Bartholomew Browne a new wing, the New Block was constructed - this is still the most imposing of all the buildings constructed to date. It was officially opened on May 2, 1956, by His Grace, the Archbishop Count Finbar Ryan, and the Governor of Trinidad and Tobago, Sir Edward Betham. This building now a landmark in San Fernando, dominates lower Coffee Street, and can be seen from a considerable distance.


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San Fernando Electricity

On Carib Street in San Fernando, shortly after the entrance to Presentation College, lies a compound that is used as the transport yard for the San Fernando City Corporation. The building has an art deco exterior and that exterior hints at the historic significance of the building and the fact that it is a place of interest, for this is the site of the original (and only) San Fernando Power Station. In 1895, under Edgar Tripp the Electric Light and Power Company installed the first set of electric lights in Trinidad in Port of Spain. As the wonders of electricity began to be realised, the residents of San Fernando began asking for electricity for their city but their requests appeared to fall on deaf ears. Eventually the citizens of San Fernando decided that in order for them to obtain electricity they had to act on their own and so in 1921, The Mayor, Charles H Gopaul, mortgaged the town to the Government to obtain funds to establish the San Fernando Municipal Electric Lighting Works.

The Borough Council selected the site on Carib Street which was the location of the water works and a steam generator was installed. By 1923, electric lines had been set up through parts of the town and the Governor, Sir Hubert Wilson, was invited to pull the switch to light the town with electricity. With the growth in demand for the service, additional steam generators were installed in 1927, 1931 and 1935 and this led to the need to expand the building. So in 1939, the building was remodeled giving the exterior that is seen today.  


With the formation of the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Company (T&TEC) in 1945, the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission took over the operations of the Port of Spain electricity company. In 1953, T&TEC constructed the Penal Power Station to supply electricity in south Trinidad and so in 1954, the San Fernando Municipal Electric Lighting Works was closed with the generators being sold to T&TEC. One however can still see the words "Power Station" written at the top of the building.


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Sitting on the corner of Carib Street and Upper Hillside Street in San Fernando is what is believed to be the oldest surviving house in San Fernando. Built in 1832 by Samuel Edwards a stone mason from Barbados, the house was the home of the Cadres family, among whom was a member of the first Town Council of San Fernando in 1846. The house was built in the Spanish style of architecture. Called the Carib House it is believed that the name arises from the fact that it is located on Carib Street. The street name comes from San Fernando’s link to the Amerindians who would travel to worship at the place they called Anaparima. In present times, Anaparima is called San Fernando Hill or Naparima Hill. The Guarahoon Indians (Warahoon, Juarro) were often called Caribs, hence the name of the street.

Sadly, renovations have taken away the character of the old house in a very mistaken attempt at modernising the structure. Rather than restoring items that were damaged or unservicable they have been replaced with steel. Thus we have lost the delicate, hand-carved windows and the elegantly carved and patterned staircase at the back of the building. The columns at base are really the only aspect of the house that retains its original Spanish character.


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Kings_Wharf San Fernando

Most people think of the heart of San Fernando as being Harris Promenade or High Street, however the real heart of San Fernando can be considered as the Kings Wharf area. It is Kings Wharf that gave San Fernando its real reason for being and caused the town to develop. When Governor Chacon established the town and called it San Fernando de Naparima in honour of the infant Prince Ferdinand of Asturias, who later became King Ferdinand VII of Spain, the centre of the town was Plaza de San Carlos. This plaza was in the wharf area and from it ran four streets-St. Vincent, Chacon, Penitence and Quenca.

In the 1700's and early 1800's the majority of transportation was by sea because Trinidad was still a heavily forested island with few roads. To travel to other parts of the island, sailboats were used and all travel and trade with other parts of the world was by sail. To increase San Fernando's contact with the rest, Governor Woodford granted a loan of $40,000 for the construction of a jetty at Kings Wharf in 1817. Making use of this port were several steamships which were used to transport goods and passengers from Port of Spain and San Fernando with the first Steamship being the SS Woodford which made its first voyage on 18th December 1818. By 1846 this wharf had reached 300 feet and by 1886 the jetty was at 100 feet.

In the late 1700's and early 1800's sugar was the heart of Trinidad's economy and the Naparima plains were the most fertile sugar cane lands. Sugar was transported from the estates by boats using the Cipero and Guaracara Rivers. On the Cipero River an Embarcadere was built near the mouth of the Cipero River with storage shed and wharfs, even today the area is called Embarcadere. Although the majority of sugar was transported on these rivers, sugar was also shipped from King's Wharf because there were sugar estates on the then outskirts of San Fernando such as Mon Chagrin, Les Efforts and Mon Repos. In addition, goods were brought into San Fernando via the King's Wharf port for the merchants who were establishing themselves in the town.

The King's Wharf area received another boost as San Fernando's transport hub in 1859 when the Cipero Tramway was established by William Eccles as Trinidad's first railway. It was used primarily to transport produce from the remote estates of the Naparimas out to Kings Wharf to waiting ships. The Tramway began from what is now Tramway Avenue in Princes Town, ran roughly along the banks of the Cipero River, then crossing at Cross Crossing, it continued to the San Fernando wharf along the path known now as the Kirton-Rienzi Highway, formerly Lady Hailes Avenue. After a short while this tramway began transporting passengers in addition to sugar and other produce. With the establishment of the Trinidad Government Railway there was great demand for rail travel and in April 1882, the railway which had begun in Port of Spain was extended to San Fernando with the terminus being on the Kings Wharf. In 1884 the rail service was extended from San Fernando to Princes Town. In 1913 when oil began to flow, the San Fernando line was extended from Kings Wharf through the oil regions to Siparia. Although rail travel was extensively used by the public, Government also operated a sailing service. In 1923, the government operated a round-the-island sailing service operating what was called the Icacos Service and the Bocas Service. The Icacos Service stopped at San Fernando, La Brea, Guapo, Cap-de-Ville, Irois Forest, Granville and Cedros, with the San Fernando stop being at Kings Wharf.

All of these transport activities made Kings Wharf the heart of San Fernando as it funneled people and commerce from all surrounding areas into San Fernando.

Today the Kings Wharf area continues to function as a transport hub with the waiting area for the Public Transport Service buses being located here. This is also the location for obtaining maxi-taxis to many areas in South Trinidad. The launch of the Water Taxi service transporting passengers between San Fernando and Port of Spain is reminiscent of the former Government round-the-island sailing service and the San Fernando hub is at Kings Wharf.

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On a visit to Kings Wharf you can still see many of the buildings constructed in the early 1900's and it is pleasing to note that there are efforts to refurbish these buildings.

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Palmiste Park is a large park of 40 acres on the outskirts of San Fernando just after Duncan Village, lying along the San Fernando Siparia Erin Road. The park has undulating land with wide open spaces that are perfect for picnics and little children playing. There are large spreading Samaan trees throughout and benches scattered around the property. There is a paved lighted jogging track and an area set aside for cricket.

Palmiste Park is the last remaining open space from the former Palmiste Estate. This estate was formed in 1808 when Governor Thomas Hislop granted 360 acres to Major General Sir Charles Shipley who had been part of the invasion of Trinidad by the British in 1797. The estate was acquired by James Lamont in 1869 and eventually grew to 2,328 acres. The name Palmiste was given to the estate because of the Palmiste palms that were plentiful in the area. The area that is today Palmiste National Park was once called Palmiste Pasture and was the area used for grazing the cattle used as beasts of burden on the estate. By the 1930’s the area was used for livestock breeding.

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It seems as if Trinidad in the 21st century has little connection to its slave owning past. There are no memorials to these slaves and there are very few physical relics of slavery in Trinidad. The estates on which these slaves toiled are rapidly being forgotten. The names of some of these estates survive to this day but the fact that they were estates is little remembered. Some have become high end residential areas such as Bel Air, Palmiste and Phillipine on the outskirts of San Fernando, others have become entire communities such as River Estate, Champs Fluers, La Romain and Mon Repos, yet others have have remained agricultural but developed into villages such as Aranjuez, Golconda and Woodland, while some exist only as a road name such as Dumfries and Mathilda Junction.

One tangible but little known link lies in the man Louis Bicaise. Louis Bicaise was a French creole mulatto (in Trinidad parlance, "a red man") who migrated from St Vincent to Trinidad around 1811. In time, through marriage and purchases he became one of the largest landowners in South Trinidad owning La Resource Estate and Trafalgar Estate. According to Professor Brinsley Samaroo, Louis Bicaise developed as a slave dealer, traveling the islands to purchase slaves that he brought to Trinidad. We also know from Anthony de Verteuil's book, "The Black Earth of South Naparima", that his son John Nelson Bicaise became the largest slave dealer in Africa operating on the coast of what is today Guinea.

At the time of Emancipation in 1834 Louis Bicaise had 55 slaves on his estates. When he died in 1838 at the age of 62, his grave was placed on the top of one of the hills of his estate, near the present Rambert Village. The hill on which the grave is located has a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside. The marble slab that was placed on top the grave with the inscription has survived to this day. In 1868 when his wife Marie died, she was buried next to him. The grave is located on a branch road off Dumfries Road, just a short distance off the road. Unfortunately bamboo has begun to root in the grave breaking up the concrete and marble and partly obscuring the site of the grave.

Apart from being a link to Trinidad's slave owning past, the burial of this couple and the fact that their graves have survived for almost 200 years has given rise to an interesting myth. It is said (in an article by Al Ramsawack in the Trinidad Guardian of 21/3/09) that on the night of the full moon, Mrs Bicaise rises from her grave and she and her husband talk to each other in French Patois. Whether that conversation is about business or terms of endearment we do not know.

Another historical grave that exists in Rambert Village is the burial site of John Augustus, which is at the side of Pond Street just after its intersection with Dumfries Road. John Augustus lived from 1882 to 1969 and during the period 1904 to 1914, he was the manager of the estate at River Estate in Diego Martin plus the of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Port of Spain. From 1915 to 1956, he was the manager of the Palmiste Estates.

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African Holocaust Memorial Park

Trinidad and Tobago had a history of slavery and indeed almost 40 percent of the population would not be in Trinidad if there had been no slavery. Yet it is very difficult in Trinidad to find any monuments or physical relics to remind one that slavery existed. It may be that the idea of slavery is too painful for some persons and so there is an unspoken but pervasive approach of trying to blot it out of memory by not having any reminders that it occurred. One place where a different approach has been taken is at St Clements Anglican Church in St Madeline in south Trinidad. Within the church yard there is a small tastefully structured park called the African Holocaust Park. Within the park is a monument dedicated to the memory of the 600 million African slaves who died during the transatlantic slave trade from 1671 to 1834.

The park and monument was created in July 1997 by Pastor Clive Griffith who subsequently changed his name to Kwame Mohlabani which means born on a Friday and Warrior of God. During Emancipation Day celebrations each year in Trinidad, the park plays an integral part of the celebrations. The St Clements Church is on the Naparima Mayaro Road that runs from San Fernando through Princes Town to Mayaro. To find the church, persons coming from north Trinidad along the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway can take the first exit leading to San Fernando and make a left turn off the highway and then at the first junction can take a right turn and at the next junction it is a left turn onto the Naparima Mayaro Road.


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Ste Madeline Train History

For train buffs, St Madeleine provides another area to see parts of Trinidad' train history. Unfortunately, this remnant of railroad history is not being maintained and so is showing the effects of the deterioration that comes with time. Many persons in Trinidad today when faced with the constant traffic pileups think of the railways as a possible solution and refer to our past railways as efficient movers of people. Indeed the railway served a purpose of opening up the country to many people and certainly enabled many persons to reach to work on time. Many persons except maybe those who grew up in Southern Trinidad do not remember that the railway was first and foremost a mover of goods. In fact the first railway in Trinidad, the Cipero Tramway, was created for moving sugar from the estates in the Naparima plains to the King's Wharf in San Fernando.

One of those estates on the Naparima plains was at Ste. Madeline. In the 1800s the smaller sugar estates were bought over by other estates and merged to create larger estates. The factory at Ste. Madeline was built in 1870 by George Fletcher & Co. of Derby, England, for the Colonial Company. On these larger estates the sugar factory came to be called by the French word "usine" and so the factory was called Usine Ste Madeline. The Cipero Tramway and what eventually became called the Cipero Line ran past St Madeline and so it became a stop along the line with the route being Princess Town - Jordan Hill Junction. – Sainte Madeleine – Corinth – San Fernando. The Cipero Line eventually transported both goods and people.

On 28th December 1968, the last passenger train in Trinidad made its final run from San Juan to Port of Spain but that was not the end of the railway in Trinidad. The trains continued to operate but now only transporting sugar cane and during the harvest period which was from December to May these trains ran 24 hours a day. It was not until May 15th 1998 that trains finally stopped running in Trinidad when the last train rolled into Usine Ste. Madeline which at this time was operated by Caroni Limited.

Today, in searching for train heritage in Ste Madeline among the few items that can be found is the house that the Signal Man lived in and the lever used for switching the rails. This lever was used to move the rails so that the train could then go in a different direction. The lever at St Madeline allowed the train coming from San Fernando to be sent on the line to Malgretoute, Princes Town where the Glenroy Tunnel is located or be sent to the south.


The lever and house are located in an area called Stanleyville or Stanley Village, which is just off the M1 Tasker Road also called the Usine Road. The area gets its name from Millington Stanley who was born in 1911and was the foreman who lived in the house and operated the signal box and the lever.


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Glenroy Tunnel

There is the common belief in Trinidad that the only tunnel created in Trinidad during the era of the railway was Knolly's Tunnel in Tabaquite. This however is incorrect because there was another railway tunnel and it exists even to today on the outskirts of Princes Town. 

Established in 1687 and originally called Mission until 1880 with the visit of the two grandsons of Queen Victoria, Princes Town developed into the focal point of the surrounding areas. In the 1880's it was surrounded by large sugar cane estates such as Cedar Hill, Bronte, Malgretoute and others. At Usine Ste Madeline there was a sugar factory and the difficulties of transporting the sugar from the factory to wharf in Dan Fernando led in 1859 to the formation of the Naparima Harbour, Land and Tramway Company which constructed the island's first railway. This line was actually a tramway along which wagons loaded with processed sugar were drawn by mules to the Queen's Wharf in San Fernando. By 1861, the line was extended eastward to Princes Town because of heavy public demand for a facility to transport goods which by this time also included cocoa beans coming from the estates in Moruga and other eastern areas. Eventually the line began to carry passengers and was known as the Cipero Tramway because it crossed the Cipero River, and ran from San Fernando to Corinth to Ste Madeline to Jordan Hill and thence to Princes Town. At the time the fare to ride on the Tramway was 36 cents. This however was not the line that caused the tunnel to be built.

The Trinidad Government Railways which began operating in 1876 and which had acquired the Cipero Tramway also had another railway line to Princes Town and the western terminus of this line was at Marabella Junction. This train line, called the Guaracara line, ran from Marabella to Union to Reform to Williamsville and thence to Princes Town. However on the outskirts of Princes Town, engineers encountered a hill which was too steep for the train locomotive to climb and so in 1887 they built a tunnel through the hill at Malgretoute. The tunnel was called the Glenroy Tunnel because it bordered on the Glenroy Estate.

Now 125 years later the tunnel still exists though many persons do not know of its existence although hundreds drive over it every day. Just off the intersection of the M1 Tasker Road and the Naparima Mayaro Road at the side of the Wasa Booster Station is the western entrance to the tunnel. The eastern entrance lies across the Naparima Mayaro Road between two private homes.



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The Moruga Road passes through a series of villages known as Third, Fifth and Sixth Company. These names are the result of the settlement in Trinidad in 1815 and 1816 of six companies of negro soldiers who had fought alongside the British in the American war of 1812. These men had been slaves on American plantations and the British had offered them freedom if they would defect and fight for the British. At the end of the war the British brought them to Trinidad. In 1815, 50 men were brought to Trinidad, then in 1816, 34 men, 15 women and 7 children were brought.

The soldiers were each given 16 acres of virgin land for married men and 8 acres for single men. They were settled together in the companies under which they had fought in the war, hence the names of the villages and their being called The Company Villages. This area was chosen because it was remote country and far from the plantations. The planters did not want these men with a military past to be near their slaves for fear that they might lead the slaves in revolt.

The other soldiers from the companies were settled in other parts of Trinidad: the First Company was settled in Hindustan; part of the Third Company was settled in North Manzanilla. The Fourth Company was settled near to Hindustan in an area that came to be called Hard Bargain. The soldiers protested about the poor soil conditions in the area and said that they had been given a "hard bargain". After the protestations about the land condition part of the company was moved to an area that was called New Grant because these soldiers had been given a new grant of land.

According to Besson and Brereton in the Book of Trinidad, part of the Second Company was shipwrecked off the coast of Tobago and swam ashore and settled in Tobago.

There are however another group of Company Villages that are not as well known as those in the Moruga and Hindustan areas.

In October 1818 it was decided to disband part of the Third British West India Regiment which was comprised of Negro soldiers. According to Professor Brereton these were " free Africans who had served in the West India Regiments created by the British to defend the colonies during the long period when Britain and France were at war (1793-1815)". The British had intended to send these men back to Africa however the soldiers made it clear that they did not want to be repatriated to Africa. Thus in 1819 these soldiers were settled along the Cuare River in the companies they had fought in. The area in which they were settled became known as the Cuare Village and is today called Valencia.

The remainder of the Third British West India Regiment was disbanded in 1825 and 376 men, 35 women and 34 children were settled in Trinidad. These soldiers were again settled in companies and they were placed in four groups in a line from the Cuare River pointing in the direction of Manzanilla. The Cuare River (shown as Quare on some maps) in the area these soldiers were settled runs parallel to what is now known as the "Valencia Stretch" of the Eastern Main Road. One of the other areas where these groups were settled was known as Turure and another is the area now called Cumuto.

Part of the reason for settling these men in this area was again to keep them away from the slaves on the plantations. The other reason for this area was that they were expected to create and maintain a road that would run from Arima through Cuare (Valencia) to Manzanilla.

All of these soldiers were expected to remain in the villages in which they were settled. One group however ran away from Manzanilla and went to live in Fifth Company. This group was comprised of Mandingos and the area they settled in was and is still called Mandingo Road.

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Trinidadians in their 40's, 50's and 60's would be familiar with the phrase "a real mandingo". It was used to describe someone of African descent who was tall, broad shouldered and well proportioned. Now in the 21st century we may ask, who were these people?, did they really exist?, were they a separate group of Africans?

The term Mandingo would be properly used to describe Mande speaking Africans from the regions of Senegal and Gambia in West Africa. This group were Muslims who were captured and sold into slavery.   Over time Mandingo became a generic term used to describe African Muslims of non-ethnic Mande stock including Fulani, Hausa and Yoruba. As these were tall, broad shouldered, well proportioned individuals, the term by the early 20th century was used to describe all African descendants with those dimensions.

The African Muslims formed an interesting segment of Trinidad society. This group, although enslaved and brought into a Christian society retained their faith and formed a cohesive community that worked and saved their money in order to purchase their freedom and then purchase the freedom of others of their faith. One of the individuals who was considered a leader of this group is Jonas Mohammed Bath who arrived in Trinidad in 1807 and was bought by the Government to work on the construction of Fort George. After some time he was placed in charge of all construction activity by Governor Hislop. Bath was a member of the Free Mandingo Society which up to 1834 would board any slave ship that came to Trinidad and seek to purchase any Mandingos on board and set them free. These freed Mandingos then had to work for the Association to repay the purchase price and provide funds so that others could be freed. This group petitioned the British Government in 1832 and 1838 to repatriate them back to Africa. It is known that one family of Mohammadu Sise was eventually sent to Gambia in 1838 but it is not known if others were also repatriated.

The geographic heart of this Mandingo community was in the Port of Spain suburb of Belmont. There were however other areas with some Mandingo concentration. One of these areas, according to Professor Brinsley Samaroo, was the African American settlement on the Hondo River in Valencia, just before the river joins the Cuare River. The majority of persons in this settlement were Muslims and a few were Baptists and their leader was Abu Bakr (named after the first successor to the Prophet Mohammed). This settlement existed from 1819 to 1840 and was started by members of the 3rd West India Regiment. It is believed that this group introduced rice cultivation to Trinidad. The settlement diminished in the 1840's because there was no bridge over the river. Another group of these African Muslims was located in the area now known as North Manzanilla and were from the West India Regiment. 

The growth of the Belmont group led over time to their extending to other parts of Trinidad and by 1870 had founded the settlement that is today called Mandingo Road which begins on the outskirts of Princes Town and runs through Third and Fifth Company in Moruga.

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Moruga Museum

Nestled in the village of Gran Chemin, is the Moruga Museum. To many persons Moruga simply represents an area of countryside that is remote. Some persons may know it as the place where Christopher Columbus supposedly came ashore in Trinidad and others associate it with the Trinity Hills after which Columbus named Trinidad. The Moruga area however has a much more extensive history than simply Columbus.

Located on the western side of the road just before the intersection of the Moruga Road and the road to La Lune and Marac is an old building that was once used by the Public Transport Corporation and has been converted into a museum dedicated to historical artifacts found in the Moruga area. The museum is largely the result of the work of one man, Eric Lewis, a school teacher from the Moruga area, who is also the person responsible for the statues found in Moruga. The majority of the items in the museum's collection come from Mr Lewis collection but others have been donated by the people of Moruga.

Within its two floors the museum contains Fossils, Amerindian Artifacts, European items from the early eighteen century, East Indian artifacts that were brought to Trinidad by Indian indentured laborers and African Items from the first freed African American slaves. There is the jaw bone of a sperm whale, a conch that was blown as a signal for cocoa estate workers to come in from the fields a century ago, tools used by early estate workers. Among the Amerindian artifacts are stone axes and arrow heads, grinding stones and flints, objects formed into the shape of a bat and pig.

The various historical items all come from the Moruga area with the Amerindian artifacts coming from eight archeological sites that were discovered by Eric Lewis around the villages of La Lune, Marac, La Ruffin and at Canary Point.
Presently there is no fee for entry to the museum but visitors are encouraged to make a donation so that this work of preserving history can continue. The museum is open from Monday to Friday but thought is being given to opening on Saturdays.



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Moruga Ammunition Bunker

Certainly one of the things that you would not expect to find when going to Moruga is an ammunition bunker. We have become accustomed to seeing such items in Chaguaramas because of the former use of that area as a US naval base, but not Moruga, although the Moruga district had a US Army installation on a hill in the village of Marac during World War 2. However along the Moruga road in Gopher Village is an ammunition bunker that has remained solid and intact despite being more than 100 years old. This bunker was built in 1910 and used to store dynamite and other explosives during various construction activities in Moruga. The use of the bunker ceased in 1948.



Shortly after the bunker is the Edward's Quarry Spring. This spring was used by villagers to obtain water for over 60 years. To this day the spring still has water. The area around the spring is nicely maintained with shrubbery. It is a good picnic spot when visiting Moruga's beaches or exploring other historical sites in Moruga.



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Moruga Statues

There has been a debate as to whether it is appropriate to say that Christopher Columbus discovered Trinidad with the argument being that how could one "discover" a place where people were already living, namely the Amerindians. Certainly however Columbus identified for Europeans the existence of Trinidad and the other Caribbean islands. Moruga is one village in Trinidad that has always marked that occasion with an annual reenactment of Columbus' arrival in Trinidad. Previously that reenactment took place on what was a public holiday known as Discovery Day on 1st August and although the holiday no longer exists, having been replaced by the Emancipation Day Holiday, the reenactment is still done in the village of Gran Chemin. The villagers have now gone a step further by erecting a seven and a half foot tall Christopher Columbus statue at the end of Gran Chemin beach.



According to historical records, the crew of Columbus ship came ashore in Moruga on July 31, 1498 to collect water and just around the headland at the end of Gran Chemin beach is another beach known as Punta del Playa where the River of Hope empties into the sea. The statue is at the side of the road with the beach as its background and is easily reached by turning left at the Gran Chemin junction onto the street that has the Health Centre.



Another statue that has been erected in Moruga is the 10 foot St Peter statue that sits atop a 20 foot column. This statue is directly at the end of the road on the Gran Chemin beach, just after the St Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church. The choice of St Peter is appropriate as St Peter is the patron saint of fishermen and Gran Chemin is a fishing village.

A third statue that has been erected in the area is a six foot tall Virgin Mary Statue on a rock at Canari Point. This statue has been installed on a 10-foot high rock 15 feet off the shore at an area where there was once a settlement called Canari Village.

All three statues are the work of Eric Lewis who is a School teacher in the area.

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Located in the village of Tabaquite is what was once thought of as the only man-made tunnel found in Trinidad. This tunnel was constructed in 1898 to facilitate the train line that had been extended from Cunupia to Tabaquite. During this period, "Cocoa was King" and the Tabaquite region including the Caparo valley, Brasso and Longdenville were heavy producers. As a result the railway system was extended to allow cocoa estates to be able to move their produce from this region. During construction it was found that a ridge of high ground was barring the way. Consequently the tunnel was constructed through the ridge. The tunnel was named Knolly's Tunnel after Acting Governor Courtney Knolly and the new train line was opened on 20th August 1898. This train line operated until 30th August 1965. During its time this tunnel was an attraction and many people rode the train to Tabaquite simply to experience going through the tunnel.


 In 1991, recognizing the historic importance of this tunnel, the Government under Minister Lincoln Myers cleared the tunnel and beautified the area. As a result, today, Knolly's Tunnel is still an attraction. Around the tunnel entrance the grounds have been landscaped and there are two ajoupas for relaxing in.

In August 2017 additional enhancements were done to the area with the creation of a walkway to make it easier to get to the ajoupas above the tunnel. To encourage visitors to relax and enjoy the overall ambiance of the surroundings two additional huts have also been constructed along the roadway leading to the tunnel.

To get to the tunnel, you take either the Guaracara Tabaquite Road or the Tabaquite Rio Claro Road to Tabaquite and then turn onto John William Trace. As you turn onto John William Trace, you turn left on the first road and follow this road direct to the tunnel entrance. The train tracks have been filled in and the road is a gravel road.

Although it is commonly believed that Knolly's Tunnel is the only railroad tunnel in Trinidad, there is another railway tunnel in Trinidad and it is called the Glenroy Tunnel on the outskirts of Princes Town.


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Manzanilla Reservoir

Along the Eastern Main Road to Manzanilla, shortly before the Trace leading to the Manzanilla Secondary School, the road climbs a hill and at the brink of the hill on the eastern side are two concave concrete structures. Most persons traversing this road would hardly give these two structures a second look. Yet these structures are part of the history of the area.

For most of the inhabitants of Trinidad, the Manzanilla area is considered rural countryside. Well if now in the 21st century we consider this area to be rural one can only imagine what it was considered in the late 18th & 19th century. The area in the general vicinity of these two structures is called Comparo and was populated by persons whose livelihoods were derived from agricultural pursuits, predominantly the cultivation of cocoa. One of the disadvantages from which they suffered was the lack of a pipe borne water supply. In the 1800's pipe borne water was only supplied to buildings in the towns and managed by the various borough councils, the distribution of water in the rest of Trinidad was handled by the Central Water Distribution Authority (CWDA).

The residents of Comparo made numerous petitions to the District Warden and finally in the 1800's the Central Water Distribution Authority (CWDA) constructed at Comparo one of the earliest reservoirs in Trinidad in the form of the two concrete structures. Water was stored in the two tanks and trucks would come to be filled with the water and then transport the water to the homes in the Manzanilla area. Eventually in the 20th century pipes were laid to carry water to the homes in the area and the use of these two tanks ceased. In 1965 the Central Water Distribution Authority was merged into the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA).




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Manzanilla Tomb

The area of Manzanilla is mainly known for its coastline and the sea bathing that takes place there. Manzanilla also however has a historical side with the US Army establishing its first Jungle Warfare School in North Manzanilla during World War II. Much of Manzanilla's history is however tied to cocoa with part of the Third Company of soldiers from the American war of 1812 being settled in Manzanilla in 1815 and they began to grow cocoa and coffee in 1841.

One of the men who really expanded the cocoa industry in Manzanilla is George Johnson, formerly called George Boodhoo. It is not known why he changed his name from Boodhoo to Johnson but he was an Indian indentured labourer who chose to remain in Trinidad at the end of his contract of indenture. He used his money to purchase forest land and converted it to cocoa production eventually acquiring 300 acres that became known as the Santa Rita Estate and became the "biggest man" in the area of Comparo. He constructed a great house that can still be seen today as your drive along the Eastern Main Road in Upper Manzanilla. Today the estate is abandoned with no descendants alive to continue its production.

Although dead, George Johnson still continues to be the "biggest man" in the area of Comparo. At the time of his death in April 1937 at the age of 71, his daughter Mariquita constructed a mausoleum for her father at the Cedar Hill Trace Cemetery. That tomb is still the largest structure in any of the cemeteries in the area. The mausoleum is constructed of stone with steel doors. The inside is tiled with a marble cross bearing the words "Sacred to the memory of our dear father".


To find the tomb you proceed along the Eastern Main Road to Manzanilla and turn on Cedar Hill Trace at the sign for the Manzanilla Secondary School and then turn left, proceed up a short incline and the cemetery is on the right. the tomb is at the front of the cemetery.


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Former Mayaro Post Office

Undoubtedly the delivery of mail and the development of a postal system plays a major role in the development of an area and so it was in the development of the Mayaro region. At the present Mayaro is best known for its beach and is a popular vacation area. In the 1700's however Mayaro was an isolated region, cut off from the rest of Trinidad by thick forests and the lack of a bridge across the Ortoire River. In 1818, a steamer service that sailed around the island was started and a postal service was inaugurated in 1851, with Mayaro being one of the first 20 postal destinations. At that time the Post Office was located at Radix village which was the main settlement and the point at which the steamer stopped, with the mail being brought by the steamer.

During the 1860's the Governor, Lord Harris, cut a trace from Princes Town to Mayaro beach. Concerned that criminals would use the Mayaro Trace to flee to Mayaro to escape justice, a police post was established at the end of the trace in Plaisance Village. In 1889 the police post was made into a Police Station. The post office however remained at Radix Village. Some time between 1914 and 1917, there was a robbery at the post office and it was decided to move the post office to Plaisance Village (Pierreville) and place it next to the Police Station.

The building which was then constructed for the post office was however given to the District Medical Officer, Dr. Armand Pampellone, so that he could be close to the emergency hospital that had been built at Plaisance. In 1921 the post office was finally constructed by Phillip Xavier. It is believed that in order to please the postmistress, Miss Best, the building was made as an exact replica of the District Medical Officer's residence. It was designed with a wide verandah along the entire front. Just as the post office was constructed, Miss Best was transferred and a new postmistress, Alice Cuffy was appointed. In those days the postmistress would live at the post office. In 1931, Alice Cuffy was transferred and her sister, Olga Cuffy was appointed as the postmistress. In 1948, Olga Cuffy retired and the post office was converted into a nurses hostel to enable them to be near the hospital. The Mayaro Post Office has been placed on the National Trust Register of historic buildings and is presently undergoing repairs to restore it.

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Other Mayaro Sites

Located on St Joseph estate in Mayaro is a statue of St Joseph that is believed to have been erected in the 1860's. The statue is on the edge of the beach facing the original estate great house that is still standing,(visit the Photo Gallery for pictures of the Great House). The St Joseph estate was created by the three Ganteaumes de Monteau brothers who arrived in Trinidad in 1793, after fleeing from Martinique. The estate was originally called Beausejour, which meant "Good Home" but in 1853 due to bankruptcy, parts of the estate were sold and the remaining 618 acres was renamed St Joseph estate.

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The St Joseph statue was erected by Francois Alphonse Ganteaume, the grandson of the original founders. According to Fr. Anthony de Verteuil in his book Great Estates of Trinidad, there was a large storm one year and the statue was washed out to sea. Several years later there was another storm and the statue reappeared on the beach. As the statue is on private property, the permission of the owners should be obtained in order to enter the estate. However because the statue is so close to the sea, it can be seen from the beach. The St Joseph estate is next to Point Radix on the northern end of Mayaro Beach.

Another of the sites on St Joseph estate is a beautiful small cottage that faces the sea (visit the Photo Gallery for the picture). It is believed that this cottage was erected for Lord Harris who vacationed in Mayaro at the estate. Lord Harris was the British Governor who oversaw the introduction of Indian indentured labour to Trinidad in 1847. Several locations around Trinidad have been named after him, such as Lord Harris Square in Port of Spain and Harris Promenade in San Fernando.

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Brigand Hill, the name evokes images of thieves, robbers, bandits etc and that is certainly what Trinidad's slave owning European colonists called them. But were the people who lived there really brigands? No, they were individuals who were no longer prepared to live under the yoke of slavery. These were runaway slaves, Trinidad's own Maroons. Prior to 1834, Brigand Hill was an area that slaves could escape to because of the remoteness of the location and the heavy forest cover that existed both in the area and between it and the other colonized locations such as Arima, St Joseph and Port of Spain.

Brigand Hill is part of Trinidad's Central Range which runs diagonally across the island with the tallest hills being Mount Tamana, Mount Harris and Brigand Hill. Nowadays, Brigand Hill's attraction is the lighthouse that sits atop the hill and the stupendous view. Built in 1958, the Brigand Hill Lighthouse, is one of three operating lighthouses in Trinidad. The lighthouse shares the site with a large TV/radio transmission facility and telecommunications towers.  Although it is not possible to enter the lighthouse itself, one can climb the 20 odd iron stairs that run up on the outside for a magnificent view stretching all the way from Toco in the north to Galeota Point in the south, taking in the Caroni Plains and the flatlands of the Nariva Swamp. From the steps of the lighthouse one gets to truly see the expanse of the Nariva Swamp.


To reach the lighthouse you take the Plum Mitan Road off the Eastern Main Road at Upper Manzanilla and turn left (east) at the signpost to the lighthouse. It is a steep 30 minute climb for those who want to walk from this point or a steady 5 minute uphill drive. The drive along Plum Mitan Road is very cool as there are cocoa estates on either side of the majority of the road interspersed with small houses, some still standing from bygone eras.


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Fyzabad Heritage Park

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A hidden gem that lies along the oilfield road connecting Palo Seco with Fyzabad is the Fyzabad Heritage Park. This very peaceful area is kissed by constant soft breezes. In the center of the park is a sizeable pond with a foot path threading through the area, at times skirting the edge of the pond and at other times veering away. The water attracts various species of birds including white-headed marsh tyrants, sandpipers, egrets, blue and white swallows, plovers, yellow-rumped caciques, crested oropendolas, doves .

Throughout the park there are strategically placed benches giving views of the water or the surrounding forest. There are open areas for picnics and several carat sheds with seating. Scattered around the park are functional oil jacks. A large play area for children with swings is located at the front of the property. A short distance from the park is Charlie King Junction.


Charlie King Junction

Fyzabad in south Trinidad was founded in 1871 as a project of the Canadian Mission to the Indians. Under an arrangement with the Presbyterian Church the government gave 10 acre plots to former indentured labourers who had converted to the Presbyterian faith. It is believed that the village was named after the district of Faizabad in the Utter Pradesh state in India.

The discovery of oil in Fyzabad in 1917 led to the influx of workers to the area, particularly immigrants from Grenada. These workers labored under very difficult conditions and for very low pay. One of these workers was a man called Tubal Uriah "Buzz" Butler who had come from Grenada in 1921. In 1936, Butler founded his union and began agitating for improvements in the working conditions. On June 2nd 1937 the Government charged Butler with sedition and incitement to riot. When he failed to appear in court, the Police attempted to arrest him at 3.00pm on June 19th 1937 while he was addressing a rally at Fyzabad Junction. The arrest attempt led to a riot by the workers and in the riot English police officer Sub-Inspector William Bradburn was shot to death and Trinidadian Police Corporal Charlie King was burnt alive. Strikes and riots developed throughout the country. In next the eight months, 9 trade unions were formed, including the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) and the All Trinidad Sugar Estates and Factory Workers Trade Union (ATSE & FTU).

Eventually as a result of Butler’s efforts working conditions were improved and June 19th declared, a public holiday, Labour Day. At the intersection where the incident occurred, there is a bust of Tubal Uriah Butler to commemorate his efforts.




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La Brea Charles

Whenever the name Fyzabad is mentioned and particularly in relation to the Labour Riots of 1937, one name is invariably mentioned and that is Tubal Uriah Buzz Butler. Definitely Mr. Butler deserves an honored place in the history of Trinidad and Tobago and indeed within the Caribbean for it is as a result of his leadership that working conditions were improved for the vast majority of persons. What is now not often remembered is that several persons were killed during these riots and when the deaths during the riots are remembered, one generally only hears about English police officer Sub-Inspector William Bradburn who was shot to death and Trinidadian Police Corporal Charlie King who was burnt alive. There were however several other persons who were killed during these riots and one of these was a man called La Brea Charles.

On the morning of June 19th 1937, the workers at Apex Oilfields in Fyzabad took strike action and Buzz Butler came to address them. The Government had decided that Butler was dangerous and charged him with sedition and inciting to riot. While Butler was addressing the striking workers Sub-Inspector William Bradburn instructed a Corporal to arrest Butler, saying “Mr Butler, I know that you will come quietly,”. Butler demanded that the warrant be read to him, as was his right, and as this was being done, he cried out to the striking workers: “Must they arrest me?” The workers shouted: “No!”. It is said that Butler cried out three times and three times the crowd shouted "No" and moved to form a human shield around Butler. In the midst of all this Police Corporal Charlie King, who it has been said was neither stationed in Fyzabad, nor on duty at the time, held on to Butler to arrest him. In the ensuing melee William Bradburn was shot and according to some reports, Corporal Charlie King fell to the ground, was drenched in oil and burnt to death, while other reports state that he fled to a nearby building which was then set on fire and King burned alive. Butler in the midst of this went into hiding.

That night, some members of the Police went looking for Butler and undoubtedly they were angered by the murder of Corporal Charlie King. In their search they encountered a man called La Brea Charles who bore a strong resemblance to Uriah Butler and mistakenly identified him as Butler and shot him to death. Now on the southern side of the road, not far from the statue of Butler at what is now called Charlie King Junction, there is a small concrete memorial to enable us to remember the death of La Brea Charles.



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Fyzabad War Memorial

Fyzabad is one of the towns in Trinidad that oil built. In the very early years of the 20th century geological surveys had shown that there was the potential for oil in the area. In 1914, Trinidad Leaseholds Limited discovered oil in its first well drilled in the area, known as the Helena Oil Well. This led to a flurry of companies establishing themselves in the area, one of which was known as Apex Trinidad Oilfields. Apex was the company against whom Tubal Uriah Buzz Butler began his fight for higher wages in the oil industry. By 1932 it is said that there were eight oil companies operating in the Fyzabad area and the demand for labour brought hundreds of persons to live in the area, many of whom were recruited from Grenada. Some of these individuals, including Uriah Butler, had previously left Trinidad to serve in the British Army during World War One.

Many individuals are familiar with Memorial Park in Port of Spain and the cenotaph that exists there plus the Memorial Day parade that takes place every year in Port of Spain. On the outskirts of Fyzabad however, just where the road divides to bend to go to Forest Reserve or continues straight to go to Palo Seco, there is also a large white War Memorial. This Cenotaph is on the grounds of what was previously the office of Apex Trinidad Oilfields. On 11th November of each year the Southern branch of the Trinidad and Tobago Legion of the Royal Commonwealth ex-Services League hosts a Remembrance Day memorial service in honor of the veterans who served and heroes who fell during World War 1 and 2. The celebrations include a memorial service, the laying of wreaths at the cenotaph, a street parade by members of the protective services and a civic reception. The 11th of November is the selected date because during the First World War, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the armistice was signed and the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare.



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Helena Oil Well

The Helena Oil Well lies just inside the southern entrance gate to Petrotrin's Forest Reserve compound and in a sense it is a historic oil well for two reasons. In the second half of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century, Trinidad was now becoming an oil producing country. Oil had been found in 1857 and then in 1867 a successful well had been drilled in Aripero, followed by another well in Guayaguayare in 1902 and then in 1907 the first commercially viable well was drilled at La Fortunee in Point Fortin. This led to a rush of companies being formed to drill for oil. According to Gerard Besson in "Black Gold, the Real El Dorado", between 1909 and 1912, 60 companies were registered. One of these companies was called Trinidad Leaseholds and they selected an area on the outskirts of Fyzabad for their exploration. At the time this area was covered in immense forests and in April 1914 with its first well drilled in the area, the company struck oil which came gushing out of the ground. Trinidad Leaseholds called the well Helena-1 after the sister of the General Manager, Mr. Korkhaus. The success of this well meant that the area had an oil reserve and because of the forests, the oil field was named Forest Reserve. Trinidad Leaseholds was ultimately bought over by Texaco Trinidad which in turn was bought by Trintoc which ultimately became Petrotrin. The second reason that the Helena Oil Well is historic is that this well holds the record for the longest producing well on land in Trinidad. In 1917 the well was deepened and it continued to produce oil until 1990.


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Mud House Museum

The Mud House Museum located on Siparia Old Road on the outskirts of Fyzabad is a true view back in time. One of the first things to understand about this place is that it is a real mud house built completely of mud. Many residents of Trinidad are familiar with Tapia houses which have a frame of woven tree limbs on which a mixture of mud and grass are plastered over. This house however was built completely of mud with no wooden frame and instead the mud walls are simply built up and allowed to dry until they become rock hard.

This particular house was built in 1885 by Taitree Chatoor an Indian indentured labourer who after some time was able to acquire an estate that produced cocoa and coffee and she constructed this house on it. An interesting aspect of this house, apart from its mud construction, is that unlike other mud houses at the time that would have had roofs made of carat or timite palm leaves this house had a roof of tin that was imported from England. The two story house was designed so that the ground floor was the family sleeping and living quarters while the upper floor was used for storing harvested crops. The restoration of this house was through the efforts of Dr Ramcoomair Chatoor, (son of Taitree), his wife Prof. Irene Chatoor, and Rajwantee Bullock.


Although it is interesting to be able to see a house constructed of mud that has survived for over one hundred and thirty three (133) years, there is a lot more to learn on a visit to this mud house. The museum has many of the tools and utensils that were used in daily life 50, 75 and 100 years ago. So on a visit you get a real insight into life in that bygone era.


Modern houses are constructed so that kitchens, bathrooms, toilets are all located within the house. 100 years ago, in the era of cooking on wood fires with the attendant smoke, the kitchen was always a separate structure and at the Mud House Museum there is a replica kitchen complete with earthen chulas, tawah, enamel pots and grinding stones.


Taitree had a cocoa estate and so the Mud House Museum also has a cocoa shed with the rolling roof that was used for drying the cocoa beans.

The Mud House Museum is fairly easy to locate as it is approximately 6.68 kilometres from the Southern Main Road. After turning off the Southern Main Road onto Oropouche Road you drive for 3.29 kilometers to the Siparia Old Road and then proceed for 2.39 kilometers and the Museum is on the right.



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Located just off the Siparia Erin Road, between Penal and Siparia on Water Well Road is what we call the Penal Island Park. This park was formerly called the Jovi Island Park and the sign on the Siparia Erin Road still has that name. We are advised that the park is now owned by the Hindu Credit Union.

The park is centred around a large lake that has a small island in the middle. The area around the park teems with bird life, especially egrets which use the bamboo stands as nesting sites. If you are looking for a place for a relaxing picnic in south Trinidad, this park is a good location as there is ample open land around the lake. Those who seek a location for an open area event such as a family reunion or departmental get-together will also find this location suitable as there is a covered area with sinks, cutting surfaces and cooking area.

A wooden walkway surrounds approximately three quarter of the lake allowing you to take a casual stroll along the water’s edge. Freshwater recreational fishermen will also appreciate the walkway as it allows them to try their hand at catching local species such as guabine, coscorob and cascadura. If you like being on the water, this lake is good for a gentle paddle. There are a few cycle kayaks on the compound but these are not in good condition so it would be best if you brought your own kayak, canoe or inflatable boat.

There is presently no cover charge for using the facility. Swimming in the lake is not advised.

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Siparia Train Station

Unlike many of the other locations where train stations were established, such as Couva, Rio Claro, Sangre Grande, it was not sugar or cocoa that caused the Siparia Train station to be established. Certainly there were abundant cocoa estates in Siparia but that was not the driving force. While Siparia started life as a mission for Amerindians by the Capuchin monks in the same manner as Princes Town, it was the Venezuelan War of Independence in 1813 that gave it a population boost. Many of the individuals who supported the Spanish King fled to Trinidad and Governor Ralph Woodford granted land in Siparia to these refugees who developed cocoa and coffee estates in the area. Rather it was "black gold" that created the push for the Government to extend the railway to Siparia. The oil industry had begun in earnest in Trinidad in 1907 and by 1912 the prospecting for oil had reached the Siparia area. This led to large numbers of persons and equipment having to be transported to and from Siparia and so in 1912 the Government began construction of the train line to Siparia with construction being completed in 1913.


On 14th November 1913, the Siparia line began transporting people. The Siparia train line ran from the San Fernando Train Station at Kings Wharf and passed through the villages of Penal and Debe.  Part of the train line ran along a man made embankment in the Oropouche Lagoon. The first train station was a temporary one at Coora Road and in 1914 the actual Siparia Train Station was opened. "San Fernando to Siparia was a distance of 16 1/4 miles. Trains ran three times a day to Siparia from Port of Spain. Monday through Saturday, at 6.36 a.m., noon and 5.04 p.m. and from Siparia to Port of Spain at 5.01a.m., 10.42 a.m. and 3.40 p.m. There were two trains in both directions on Sundays". 


The Siparia line had a great deal of passenger traffic with volume being especially high at Easter during the Feast of La Divina Pastora. During that period the Trinidad Government Railways ran extra trains to cater for the large number of persons who wanted to travel to Siparia. However on 12th March 1953, the Government announced the closure of the train line from San Fernando to Siparia. This closure would have created problems for the oil companies because the heavy equipment that was needed in the Siparia area could not readily be transported by road. So in 1953, only passenger service was stopped and the trains continued to run transporting goods. However on 30th August 1965, the train line was closed permanently. 


The buildings that comprised the Siparia Train Station would have been lost to the mists of time like so many other historic buildings in Trinidad but for the formation of the Siparia Deltones Steel Band by Ellis Knights. The band was formed in 1962 and after the closure of the train station they moved into the compound in 1971. The band has tried to prevent the destruction of as many elements of the old train station as possible. However only part of the station administration building is recognizable on the compound while the buildings that served as accommodation for the station master and the engine crews are no longer to be found. Portions of the turntable on which the locomotive was turned to have it facing north for its journey out of Siparia still exist just outside the compound.


 As is common with many of the other locations where train stations were located, this compound can be found on Railway Road just outside the main heart of Siparia heading south.


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La Brea Watch Tower

Approximately 2 minutes drive from the Pitch Lake at La Brea, on the road alongside the Pitch Lake that leads into the village of La Brea, stands an empty five story concrete structure on an empty parcel of land. This seemingly neglected structure looks like a building that someone began and stopped but this structure played an important role in Trinidad's past. It was one of a chain of such structures that were constructed around Trinidad.

During wars, armies run on three main ingredients, food for the troops, ammunition for the weapons and fuel for the vehicles; stop any one of these and you have stopped the army. Trinidad with its reserves of petroleum was a vital source of petrol during World War 2, in addition fuel from South America traveled along the sea lanes past Trinidad. German U-boats operated in the Caribbean during World War 2 seeking to destroy ships carrying supplies and also to destroy sources of supply. During the war there were oil installations at Brighton, Point Fortin and Pointe-a-Pierre. As part therefore of the defense of Trinidad a chain of coastal watch towers was erected around Trinidad. The site at La Brea was chosen because from La Brea you can see Pointe-a-Pierre and Point Fortin with their refineries and Brighton with the oil installations so La Brea was a vital part of guarding the approaches to both refineries.

The 200 foot tower at La Brea was built in 1942 by the Royal Engineers of the British Army and used by coastal watchers to detect enemy ships. After the war it was used as housing for bachelors who were employed by the Trinidad Lake Asphalt company which mines the asphalt at the Pitch Lake.

You can learn more about the coastal watch towers in our section on the Perseverance watch tower and about Trinidad’s involvement in World War 2 in our section, US Army Bases in Trinidad.


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Rubber Fields of Vessigny

Anyone traveling from La Brea to Point Fortin and areas further south cannot help but observe the area of rubber trees just after Vessigny in Union Village. This stretch of roadway has always provided a cool almost tunnel like appearance as the tops of the trees curve over the road shading the asphalt. Although Government's proposed industrialization in this area has destroyed the majority of the rubber trees, sufficient trees exist along the roadway to show that a rubber plantation existed here.

Simon Paul Vessiny, after whom the village of Vessigny was named, migrated to Trinidad from Corsica in 1788 at the age of 13. Eventually after working for his uncle for several years he was able to purchase an estate on the outskirts of La Brea and the area eventually came to be named after him.  The estate was planted in sugar but in later years rubber trees were planted there.


Trinidad's experimentation with rubber began in the 1800's when the price of sugar in the world market fell and cocoa, coconut and rubber became alternative crops cultivated for export. Rubber trees were grown in the Botanical Gardens from seeds brought from Brazil and experimental tapping of these trees to obtain the latex for the rubber had started in 1898. Although Trinidad had a preference for Balata which is a native plant and which also yields latex that produces rubber it is a non-elastic rubber and so did not have the range of uses as natural rubber. To cope with the demand for labour to care for the rubber trees, a few hundred Indians were indentured on rubber estates in Trinidad. By 1910, about 3,000 acres of land were under cultivation with Castilloa rubber mainly in Rio Claro. Later, the planters switched to cultivating the Para [Hevea Brasiliensis] variety as it had a better flow of latex and rubber estates were in operation in Talparo, Ecclesville, Phoenix, Guayabe, Vessigny, Biche, Matura and Sangre Grande. In 1927 production of rubber in Trinidad reached 74,000 kilograms. Unfortunately Parasitic leaf blight affected these early efforts as the blight caused the leaves to fall from the trees.

The advent of World War Two however caused Trinidad to renew its efforts at rubber production. The sinking of cargo vessels by German U Boats and the diversion of ships to other aspects of the war effort meant that supplies from Asia could not be imported resulting in a shortfall of rubber and tyres had to be rationed as a wartime measure. This rubber shortage then led to renewed interest in planting rubber trees in Trinidad. The Government imported Rubber trees from Ceylon and these were planted at Non Pareil Estate in Sangre Grande and at Vessigny. Eventually Rubber was harvested and exported from the rubber forest at Union Village. Unfortunately rubber production eventually ceased but the rubber forest plantation remained.


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The La Fortunee oil well in Point Fortin can be considered the first commercially viable oil well drilled in Trinidad. There were other oil wells that were drilled in Trinidad at earlier periods with the earliest being recorded in 1857 and while some of the earlier oil wells such as in the Aripero area in 1867 and in Guayaguayare in 1902 struck oil, this well can be considered the first where there was a viable means of moving the oil from the well head. The La Fortunee oil well changed the history of Point Fortin and indeed the entire history of Trinidad and Tobago by starting the development of an oil industry.

As a result of the earlier oil finds, the Government in 1904 brought a geologist, Mr. Cunningham-Craig to Trinidad to map the geology of Trinidad. As a result of Cunningham-Craig's work, Arthur Beeby-Thompson began looking at the Point Fortin area. At the time, although there were estates in the area, much of the land was forest and Thompson literally had to hack his way through the bush to explore the area. Although Thompson had decided on this area because of the signs of oil and because it was near the sea with good anchorage the area was also unhealthy. Staff and employees suffered severely from malaria and in April 1907 there was a serious outbreak of Yellow Fever. Nevertheless drilling commenced and in May 1907, oil was struck at the shallow depth of 700 feet.

The well is known as the La Fortunee well because it was located on the former La Fortunee estate. Although over 100 years have passed since this well was drilled you can still visit the site of this the first commercially viable oil well in Trinidad and Tobago.

To find the well you proceed along the Southern Main Road to Point Fortin and just after passing Egypt Village you turn left onto Reid Road. Shortly after you pass the Point Fortin West Secondary School you turn right onto a road which has the Point Fortin London (Evangelical) Baptist Church. You proceed to the end of this short road and the oil well is on your left. Although the area around the well is overgrown with bushes, the immediate area around the well is fenced and there is a sign indicating that this was the first commercially successful well in Trinidad.


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Oil Fields

The economic prosperity of Trinidad and Tobago has for a long time been based on the petrochemical sector and petroleum or oil has had a colorful history in Trinidad. The history of oil exploration in Trinidad begins in 1857 with the drilling by the Merimac company of an oil well in La Brea. That first producing well went to a depth of 280 feet. It is interesting to note that the first producing well in Trinidad was drilled two years before Drake's well in Pennsylvania in the United States of America. The Merimac company however went into liquidation and production of oil lapsed. That however was not the end of oil exploration. Indeed it is reported that in 1858 - 1859 when cutting the Cipero Tramway between San Fernando and Princes Town, oil was found. This discovery led Walter Darwent to form the Paria Oil Company and drill two wells in San Fernando. Unfortunately both wells were dry holes. Darwent then switched to drilling in the Aripero area and in 1867 at a depth of 160 feet completed a successful well, approximately 4 miles east of the Pitch Lake. Darwent unfortunately contracted malaria and died in 1868. He is buried in La Brea. Exploration activity temporarily died with Darwent.

In 1870, a hunter took a sample of a black substance to a Chinese shop keeper, Mr. Lee Lum, in Guyaguyare. The hunter recounted that there were areas in the Guayaguayare forest where gas escaped from the ground and they would light the gas to cook their meals. Lee Lum sent the substance to London for analysis and it was confirmed as high quality petroleum. Thus in 1901, Randolph Rust in partnership with Lee Lum and with Canadian financial backing began prospecting for oil in Guayaguayare. In 1902 at a depth of 1,015 feet oil was found and the well produced at a rate of 100 barrels per day. Eight additional producing wells were drilled but by 1907 the company folded, being unable to transport the oil out of the Guayaguayare forests.

In 1907, Arthur Beeby-Thompson struck oil in Point Fortin. Thompson's company, Trinidad Oilfields Limited then drilled several more wells in the Point Fortin area, with one in 1912 in the Parry Lands area flowing at a rate of 10,000 barrels per day from 1,400 feet. Other companies were then formed and began drilling in the areas around Point Fortin. In 1909, the Trinidad Lake Petroleum Company drilled a successful well in La Brea and in 1912 successfully drilled in Vessigny. In 1912, Stollmeyer struck oil at 250 feet in Guapo.  These developments in the Point Fortin area led to the successful development of the petroleum industry in Trinidad. In 1913, Trinidad Leaseholds Limited was formed and drilled the first producing well in Forest Reserve in 1914. Trinidad Central Oilfields began successfully prospecting for oil in Tabaquite.

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Today, although the majority of the petroleum and gas is found offshore, there is still oil production on land in Trinidad. As you drive through areas of south Trinidad, you can still see many of the old oil fields releasing the black gold that has driven the Trinidad economy for over 100 years. In areas such as Penal, Moruga, Palo Seco, Forest Reserve, Tabaquite, Point Fortin, Erin, Fyzabad, Siparia, pumping jacks still work up and down and pipelines snake across the countryside. (For photographs of pumping jacks see the Picture Gallery)

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Point Fortin

Point Fortin can be considered the town that oil created. The area that is today called Point Fortin was originally named Punta del Guapo after the river that was called Rio Guapo. Although the river does not look so today, this was a beautiful area in Spanish times as Guapo means beautiful or handsome. We know that in the late 1700's and early 1800's there were several sugar estates in the Point Fortin area, however the establishment and ownership of these estates seems to be clouded in some uncertainty.

According to Michael Anthony, under the Cedula de Populacion in 1783, land was granted to a Messier. Fortin for the establishment of a sugar cane estate which he called La Fortunee and it is from Messier Fortin the town derives its name. According to the historian Gerald Besson, in his book "The Cult of the Will" in 1788 Honore Tardieu received a grant of land in the Point Fortin area from Governor Chacon of 80 quarrees. In 1796, in order to purchase an estate on Monos island, Honore Tardieu apparently sold the land to Francois Besson who had come to Trinidad under the Cedula de Populacion. Besson bought the land and began to clear the forest to plant sugar cane and create La Fortunee estate of 256 acres. According to Anthony de Verteuil however, in his book "The Corsicans in Trinidad", in 1810 Simon Paul Vessiny obtained a grant of land from the government of 256 acres and began clearing the forest to create a sugar estate. In 1811 he received another grant of 224 next to his original grant and named the combined property La Fortunee. Father de Verteuil further states that in 1812 Simon Paul Vessiny bought 480 acres from Monsieur Fortin and in 1813 bought another 240 acres from Monsieur Fortin to add to La Fortunee estate.

Some of the other estates in the area were Clifton Hill Estate which in 1826 was bought by John Lamont and then sold to Messrs Eccles and Company. Adventure Estate was another estate that by 1906 was owned by the Waith family. The abolition of slavery led to a decline in the sugar estates. In the early 1900's however the estates prospered again with cocoa production. The names of these former estates survive today as names for areas or roads in Point Fortin, so we have Adventure Road from Adventure Estate, Clifton Hill from Clifton Hill Estate, and La Fortunee Dam. Point Fortin in the early 1900's was still a remote area and it is recorded that even in 1931, the population was less than 500 persons.

It was the coming of Arthur Beeby-Thompson and his discovery of oil in 1907 that led to the development of the area. The first oil well was sunk on La Fortunee Estate. At this time Point Fortin was surrounded by thick forests and workers suffered from malaria and yellow fever. The drilling however continued and continuing discovery of producing wells led to the growth of Point Fortin and indeed the development of the oil industry for all of Trinidad. In 1910 a small unit was established in Point Fortin to refine crude oil. In 1916, UBOT established a larger refinery in Point Fortin. With the growth of oil exploration in Point Fortin there were insufficient workers as Trinidadians were not attracted to Point Fortin because of the lack of amenities in the area. In order to obtain workers, in the 1920's the company brought workers from Grenada, many of whom remained in Point Fortin and their descendants still live in the area. In order however to attract more workers the company began to develop the areas around Point Fortin and so built houses in Techier, Mahaica and Clifton Hill. In addition other areas developed such as Point Ligoure, Egypt Village and New Village. The growth of the area then led to the establishment of a Post Office, Police Station and other commercial enterprises.

Not only did Point Fortin lead in the development of oil drilling in Trinidad but it led the world in the development of new petroleum technology. The first well drilled completely using rotary drilling was Parry Lands No. D4 in 1914 that went to a depth of 580 feet. In 1954, UBOT created Trinmar (an acronym for Trinidad Marine Areas) and began drilling off shore of Point Fortin which was the first off shore oil exploration in the world. In 1955, production from Trinmar's Soldado field began. In 1958 the first well was started on a platform 1.2 miles offshore from Brighton, La Brea. The platform was designed to accommodate 36 wells which was a world record for this type of platform.

Thompson's company Trinidad Oilfields Limited, became United British Oilfields of Trinidad (UBOT) in 1913 and then Shell Trinidad Limited in 1957 and in 1974 was acquired by the Government and became Trintoc and then Petrotrin.

As you drive through Point Fortin today you can reflect on the determination and hardiness of the men who labored to discover oil in the area and the impact those discoveries had on the fortunes of Trinidad and Tobago.


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 By  Mark Hernandez and Brian Ramsey

 Icacos Village is the southwesternmost village in Trinidad and from its shores, on most days, you can clearly see Venezuela and the South American mainland. That sea shore is both a good location for sea bathing and also fishing, while the drive to Icacos takes you past a good birdwatching location and the site of a mud volcano at which Hindu prayers are held annually. Apart from its natural attractions, Icacos also is of historical significance to Trinidad.

Icacos  Village  originally  got   its  name  from  Trinidad’s  earliest  inhabitants,  the  Arawaks  due  to  the  natural  vegetation  that  covered  its  region. In  conforming  to  their  tribal  traditions,  the  Arawaks  were  consistent  linking  places  containing  vital  resources  or  things  that  were  pre-dominate  at  the  time.

The plant or shrub vegetation which was omnipresent was a species of the  rosaceous  plant  family  called  the  “Icaco”,  which  bears  a  plum  like  fruit,  purplish  in  colour which we now call the  “Fat  Pork”. The  Icacos  still  grows  conspicuously  on  the  tip  of  the  South  Western  Peninsula. 


The  Area  was one of  the  landing  spots  for  Italian  Explorer  Christopher  Columbus  accompanied  by his  Spanish  setters  on  the  3rd  voyage  on  the  31st  July,  1498. Columbus came ashore in this area to obtain water; later that night a huge wave caused the ship to lose its anchor. Three hundred and fifty years later workers digging a drain on Constance Estate discovered an anchor that tests subsequently confirmed was the anchor from Columbus’s ship. The anchor was eventually sent to the National Museum.


In  1797  when  Trinidad  was  captured  by  the  British,  the  area  was  carefully  surveyed  and  mapped  out  by  Surveyor  Captain  Frederick  Mallet  who  called  the  district,  “Marsh of  Icaque” (French term  describing  its  natural  flora,  lagoons  and  swamps.) 


The  village  itself  developed  an  Agricultural  and  Fishing  sector  where  most  of  the  population  involve  themselves  in  various  methods  of  fishing  as  a  lucrative  occupation.


There  is  the  drift  net  or  fillet  fishing, banking  which  consists  of  a  Boat  at  anchor  plying  a  fishing  line  of  eight  or  ten  hooks,  the  floating  method  of  deep  sea  fishing  and  the  long  line  fishing  technique  using  300  to  400  hooks. 

Night  time  fishing  also  takes  place  mainly for  Shrimp  in  beds  that  lie  within  the  vicinity  of  the  Venezuelan  waters.



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US Army Base at Green Hill

Green Hill in Cedros is the site of one of the 225 military outposts that the US Armed Forces created in Trinidad during World War 2. Trinidad's importance during World War 2 rested not only on its relation to the sea lanes, but also upon its suitability both as a staging area for moving aircraft to eastern South America and as an advanced base if ground warfare operations were to be carried out in the southern continent. As a result the US military created numerous outposts for the defense of Trinidad but ultimately for the defense of the continental United States.

In the 1800's there was an estate in Cedros known as Green Hill which was owned by French planters and which employed numerous East Indian labourers. The majority of these labourers moved to the village of Bonasse as soon as their contracts of indenture came to an end. With the scarcity of labour the Green Hill estate was eventually abandoned. The Cedros peninsula however provides a view of all sea traffic seeking to come around the south western coast of Trinidad. While much of the Cedros area is relatively flat land the Green Hill area as its name implies is a hill and so provided a raised elevation and is the highest point in the peninsula. The hill gave a clear view of Galba Bay which is 1/4 mile away from the hill.

Thus in 1941 the US Army created an army reservation at Green Hill. As part of their base they erected a tower to monitor activity in the sea, seven concrete bunkers and gun emplacements. The base operated until 1049, after which it was abandoned. In 2001 the tower was dismantled and in its place a new tower was erected to form part of the Coastal Defence Radar network around Trinidad and Tobago. Today one can still find the old bunkers and some remnants of the gun emplacements.


To get to the former Green Hill army reservation, immediately as you enter Bonasse Village you turn left onto St Marie Road. Readers should note that there is a St Marie Road and a St Marie Street in Bonasse and the route to the army base is on St Marie Road. One proceeds along this road for approximately two miles. Almost at the end of the road, within sight of the sea, there is a road on the right and one turns onto this road and proceed to the top of the hill.

To learn more about Trinidad’s involvement in World War 2 visit our section, US Army Bases in Trinidad.








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Open air markets are a colorful, vibrant microcosm of West Indian life that can be found in every town and village in Trinidad. All types of tropical fruits, vegetables and spices are displayed and sold at these markets as well as freshly butchered meats and fish. At these markets not only food items are sold but you can find clothes, shoes, home utensils and even CDs or DVDs. An open-air market is a great place to shop or just wander the aisles and soak in the atmosphere. The larger and more varied markets can be found at Debe, Tunapuna and the Central Market on the Beetham Highway on the outskirts of Port of Spain.

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Trinidad Statues

Very often, we seek to honor those persons who have made a significant contribution to the country or a specific community by naming a street or building after them. When first named most people understand the significance of the honor that has been accorded and remember aspects of the individual's life. However with the passage of time people forget about the individual and slowly the street or building name simply becomes just another name. A more significant tribute is paid to an individual when a statue or bust of the individual is erected because now there is a visual representation of the person; something to constantly remind persons of what that individual looked like and to remind them that the individual made a contribution to the society that was considered so important to be deserving of a permanent memorial.

Around Trinidad there are several statues and busts of persons who have made those significant contributions to our society. While these statues include persons who were born in Trinidad or lived in Trinidad, they also include persons who lived in other parts of the world but whose contribution to humanity was considered to have a significant impact on Trinidad life. 

bullet Lord Kitchener
bullet Mighty Sparrow
bullet Mahatma Gandhi
bullet Arthur Cipriani
bullet Brian Lara
bullet Christopher Columbus
bullet Rodney Wilkes
bullet Marcus Garvey
bullet Simon Bolivar
bullet Uriah Butler
bullet Sundar Popo
bullet Daisy Voisin
bullet Sir Ellis Knights
bullet Mervyn Dymally
bullet Hyarima
bullet La Venezuela Statue


Aldwyn Roberts was born in Arima on 18th April 1922 and from an early age was encouraged by his father in the field of music. He developed into an internationally known calypsonian and was called 'the grand master of calypso". Between 1965 and 1976, he won the calypso road march competition ten times.  Fairly early in his career he adopted the stage name of Lord Kitchener and until his death on 11th February 2002 he was known by that name or its shortened version "Kitch". In 1994, in recognition of his accomplishments, a statue of him was erected along the Western Main Road in St James, opposite the Roxy Round-a-bout. The statue depicts Lord Kitchener in one of his classic stage poses. More info on Lord Kitchener can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Kitchener_(calypsonian)



Slinger Francisco was born on July 9th 1935 in the village of Grand Roy in Grenada. In 1937 his father moved to Trinidad and shortly after he came to Trinidad with his mother. Better known by his stage name of the Mighty Sparrow, he has been called the Calypso King of the World and has entertained audiences in every sphere of the world. he has won the Trinidad National Calypso Monarch title 11 times, won the road March title 8 times and won the Calypso King of Kings title on two occasions. He has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the West Indies; he has received the Order of the British Empire, the Chaconia Medal of Trinidad and Tobago and the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He has been made an Honorary Chief of the Yoruba tribe in Africa. In 2001, a life sized statue of the Mighty Sparrow was erected at the St Ann's Round-a-bout at Queen's Park East. The statue was created by the Indian sculptor Madan Gopal and financed by the CL Financial Group. More info on the Might Sparrow can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mighty_Sparrow



Mahatma Gandhi is recognized as the leader of the Indian independence movement and the leading proponent of nonviolent civil disobedience. and in honor of him a statue was created by Trinidadian artist, Pat Chu Foon and erected in 1969 at Kew Place in Port of Spain. Unfortunately some persons objected to the statue stating that it did not look like Gandhi and it was later vandalized. In 1983, Ramdeo Sampath-Meta brought a sculptor from India, accommodated him at his home and after one month he created the statue of Gandhi that stands today at Kew Place.


There is another statue of Mahatma Gandhi that was brought from India and erected in 1952 at Harris Promenade, San Fernando.



This is also a life-size statue of Mahatma Ghandi located at the corner of Ghandi Village Road and Railway Road in Debe. More information on Mahatma Gandhi can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahatma_Gandhi


On 17th April 1959, a statue of Arthur Cipriani was unveiled at the round-a-bout on Independence Square by Dr. Eric Williams, who said "Captain Cipriani is the pioneer of the nationalist movement of Trinidad and Tobago. With the unveiling of this statue we commemorate our own historical development, our own positive action, our own native history made by native hands, and the aspiration of our native peoples.” Cipriani was born on 31st January 1875 and at the outbreak of World War 1 he became involved in recruiting soldiers for the British. He was made a Captain of the British West Indies Regiment and shipped to the front in 1917, where he formed the view that based on the manner in which West Indians adapted to dealing with the war that West Indians were capable of self-government. On returning from the war in 1919 he was elected President of the Soldiers and Sailors Union, an organization that promoted the interests of the ex-servicemen. He also joined the Trinidad Workingmen’s Association (TWA), of which he became president in 1923. From 1926 to 1941, Cipriani was a Port of Spain City Councillor and was elected Mayor on eight occasions. In 1925, he was elected as a representative to the Trinidad and Tobago Legislative Council and served as a member for Port of Spain until his death on 18th April 1945.



Brian Charles Lara holds the world record of 400 runs in a cricket Test match and also the record for the highest individual score in first-class cricket, 501 not out. He is the only batsman to have ever scored a hundred, a double century, a triple century, a quadruple century and a quintuple century in first class or test cricket. Known by the nickname "the Prince of Port of Spain", his statue stands seven feet tall atop a globe of the world on the Brian Lara Promenade.




 A statue of Christopher Columbus stands in Columbus Square at the eastern extremity of Independence Square. In the 1800's this area was in a dilapidated condition being used as a refuse dump. Hippolyte Borde who had come to Trinidad as a child from Martinique in 1810 along with his father and two brothers and became a wealthy cocoa planter decided that this area needed enhancement. He therefore offered to landscape the area and erect a statue of Columbus, free of charge. This offer was accepted and in 1881, Governor Young opened the square. Another statue of Christopher Columbus has been erected by Eric Lewis at Gran Chemin in Moruga.



Harris Promenade in San Fernando has several statues and busts honoring those who have contributed to Trinidad and Tobago society.  On the Promenade there is a bust of Rodney Wilkes who was the first person from Trinidad and Tobago to win a medal at an Olympic Games. Born in 1925, Wilkes was a weightlifter with the nickname the Mighty Midget. In 1946 he won a gold medal at the Central America and Caribbean Games in Colombia. In 1948, he was selected to participate in the Olympic Games in London and won a silver medal in the featherweight division. In 1951, he won gold at the Pan American Games in Argentina. In 1952 he won a bronze medal at the Olympics in Finland. At the 1956 Olympics in Australia he placed fourth.


Marcus Garvey is another of the persons commemorated on San Fernando's Harris Promenade. Born in Jamaica in 1887, he experienced racism early in life and became a proponent of  Pan-Africanism. He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). He also founded the Black Star Line a shipping and passenger line which promoted the return of the African diaspora to their ancestral lands.  Garvey also established the business, the Negro Factories Corporation. He planned to develop the businesses to manufacture every marketable commodity in every big U.S. industrial center, as well as in Central America, the West Indies, and Africa. Related endeavors included a grocery chain, restaurant, publishing house, and other businesses. Garvey's actions inspired a movement that became global and was known as Garveyism that in turn inspired the formation of the Nation of Islam and influenced the Rastafarian movement who considered him a prophet.  More information on Marcus Garvey can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Garvey


Simon Bolivar was born in Venezuela in 1783 and named Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacio. He went to Europe as a young man to further his education. While in Europe he became immersed in the political upheavals. Upon his return to South America he became instrumental in the fight for South American independence from Spain. His role in the independence fight led to the formation, as independent states, of Venezuela, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Panama. So crucial was his role that the country of Bolivia was named after him. More information on Simon Bolivar can be found at http://www.biography.com/people/simon-bolivar-241196 and at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sim%C3%B3n_Bol%C3%ADvar



Tubal Uriah "Buzz" Butler was born in St Georges Grenada on 21st January 1897. At the age of 17 he volunteered to join the British West India Regiment to fight in World War 1 and was stationed in Egypt. In 1918 he returned to Grenada and formed the Grenada Representative Government Movement [calling for universal adult franchise] and the [GURS] Grenada Union of Returned Soldiers [seeking benefits and employment]. In 1921 in search of better opportunities he migrated to Trinidad and became a pipe Fitter at Roodal Oil Fields in Fyzabad. He also became a preacher at the Moravian Baptist Church. In 1935 he led a hunger march from the oilfields to Port of Spain and in 1936, the Trinidad Labour Party expelled him because they considered him extremist. This led Butler to form the British Empire Citizens' and Workers' Home Rule Party. On 19th June 1937, a strike in protest of working conditions, wages, racism and exploitation began in the oilfields in the southern Trinidad with Butler being the leader. The Government issued an arrest warrant for him and he went into hiding. In September 1937 through subterfuge the colonial Government coaxed Butler out of hiding an imprisoned him until May 1939. With the outbreak of World War 2 in September 1939, they imprisoned Butler again for the duration of the war. After release from prison he formed the Butler Home Rule Party, which later became the Butler Party, which went on to capture the largest block of seats in the legislative Council, but the Governor chose to exclude Butler and instead Albert Gomes became the first Chief Minister. In the 1956 General Elections the Butler Party won two seats. Tubal Butler died on 20th February 1977 and has been credited with causing an improvement in the working conditions for all workers in Trinidad and Tobago. At Charlie King Junction in Fyzabad, a statue of Butler has been erected. 


Sundar Popo is considered the father of "Chutney" music in Trinidad. Born Sunilal Popo Bahora on 4th November 1943 in Monkey Town, Barrackpore, Sundar Popo was the first to popularize the East Indian art form, Chutney, in Trinidad and Tobago with his 1970 hit, 'Nana and Nani'. This song propelled him into the commercial music arena and over his career he recorded 15 albums. and appeared in shows in Europe, Canada, United States of America, Suriname, Guyana and other parts of the Caribbean. Afte his death in May 2000 his fans called for a memorial to him, so popular was his music and so a statue was erected at the Corner of Debe Trace and SS Erin Road in Debe. More information can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundar_Popo



Daisy Voisin was considered the Queen of Parang music is Trinidad. Born in Erin Trinidad in 1924 she began singing in the Village Council and other local choirs and in 1971 at a Best Village competition she became noticed by the national community. She led a band called La Divina Pastora Serenaders that was hugely popular and with her voice that was sweet but powerful they were always in demand. Her signature songs "Sereno Sereno", "Hurray Hurrah" and "Alegría, Alegría" have become Christmas classics. Part of the reason for her ability to sing parang so well was that she was born of Spanish and French parentage in a time when Spanish was more widely spoken in the community. Her mother, Juliana Hospedales, came from Tocopita, Venezuela and her father, Mathias Voisin, was of French origin. While she is renowned as a singer of parang music a lesser known fact is that during her life she became a midwife and is credited with over 300 successful births in the Siparia district. After her death in 1991 and in remembrance of Daisy a statue of her has been erected in Siparia, along Siparia High Street, in front of the Daisy Voisin Hub. More information on Daisy Voisin can be found at http://www.nalis.gov.tt/Research/SubjectGuide/Biographies/BiographiesSZ/tabid/292/Default.aspx?PageContentID=473




Ellis Knights was born in 1928 on Nelson Street in Port of Spain. He began playing the steelband with a group known as the John John Boys which later was renamed Tokyo. However because of an incident in Port of Spain that caused him to fear for his life he bought a train ticket to the furthest point which the train would go and that was Siparia. He then settled in Siparia and in 1964 co-founded a steelband that came to be known as Siparia Deltones. Along with founding the band he created an orchestral style of playing music that is now used by all steelbands. In recognition of his contribution to the community a statue was erected at High Street, Siparia near to the velodrome.

Mervyn Dymally grew up in Cedros on the south-western tip of Trinidad. He attended Cedros Government Primary School and St Benedict’s and Naparima Colleges. In 1946 he migrated to America and in 1954 he earned a BA in education from California State University, Los Angeles. He taught students with exceptional needs for six years in LA. He earned an MA in Government from California State University, Sacramento in 1969 and in 1969 a PhD in human behavior from the US International University (now Alliant International University) in San Diego. In 1962 he was elected California’s first foreign-born, black state assemblyman and in 1980 he became the first foreign-born, black Congressman in the U.S/ House of Representatives, serving there for 12 years.  More info can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mervyn_M._Dymally


One statue for which the name of the individual is unknown but undoubtedly is of a Trinidadian, can be found on the Santa Cruz Old Road on the northern edge of San Juan. This statue is of a male Amerindian and it is said that it was erected in his honor for saving the lives of the Spanish settlers.  Known simply as the La Venezuela Statue, our Other Places of Interest page has more details on the statue.

At the western entrance to the town if Arima on Hollis Avenue is the statue of Hyarima, which was unveiled on 25th May 1993. Hyarima is believed to have been a Nepuyo Amerindian from the Aarucan tribe, who escaped from the Spanish encomenda system in 1625. he became determined to rid Trinidad of the Spanish colonists and formed military alliances with Amerindian groups in the neighbouring islands, as well as with Dutch traders in Tobago. In 1636 and 1637, he joined with Dutch forces based in Tobago to raid Spanish outposts in Trinidad and along the Orinoco. On October 14th 1637 he attacked the town of St. Joseph, the main Spanish settlement on the island. During the attack, the Church and town buildings were looted and burned to the ground, with significant loss of life. The destruction of the town forced the survivors to withdraw temporarily to the main land.



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by Brian Ramsey

Many people know of the US military bases at Chaguaramas and at Cumuto, but how many individuals realise that there were numerous other US military bases in Trinidad.

The advent of World War II led to the Destroyer-Base Agreement (also called the Lend-Lease agreement) on September 2nd 1940 between Britain and the United States of America under which Britain granted land in Trinidad to the U.S. for the establishment of U. S. military bases. Other territories in which land was granted for bases under this agreement were Newfoundland, Bermuda, Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Antigua, and Guyana. At the time Trinidad was a British colony and so Britain was able to grant the land. The first group of soldiers arrived in Trinidad on 24th April 1941 and set up a tent camp at Piarco Field, awaiting the planes which arrived on 28th April. The third group arrived on 5th May 1941, at which time the majority of men were moved to a tent camp on reclaimed land near the Port of Spain docks.

Although the original deal with Britain was for 2 bases (Chagaramas and Cumoto), in the end there were 225 U. S. military bases in Trinidad. Some of these bases were very small such as at the Verdant Vale quarry, which is located along the road between Arima and Blanchissuesse.

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The area of Cumoto was one of the first locations for an army base and Fort Read was established. Within Fort Read was constructed Waller Field airstrip at which two mile long runways were built by June 1942. Other airfields that were constructed in Trinidad and Tobago by the US military during World War II were Carlsen Field, Camden Field, Edinburgh Field, Mucurapo Field, Crown Point Tobago, Toco, Mayaro, Point Fortin and Union Park. At Edinburghthey built a 5,000 foot runway. The outline of the airfield at Toco can still be seen and is located to the west of the Galera Lighthouse. The old airfield at Point Fortin is also still visible although heavily overgrown with brush.

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One of the other bases established by the American military was the North Manzanilla Jungle Warfare School. This was the first such school operated by the US Army and was created to prepare troops to fight in South-east Asia. Originally it was located in the Aripo foothills and today the only sign of that warfare school is the name etched on the wall of a water installation.

Early in the war the school was moved to North Manzanilla. It extended from the sea for a distance of 5 miles inland and was a restricted army base, where live ammunition was used in the training. This warfare school operated throughout World War II and after the war was transferred to Panama. Camp Road that leads from North Manzanilla beach to Manzanilla Point was the site of the camp and still has World War II ruins. Today the road is more of an agricultural trace but can be easily traversed on foot or by a 4 wheel drive vehicle in the dry season. As you walk along this road, which follows the contours of the land, there are points at which you can look over the surrounding land and easily understand why it was chosen for a Jungle Warfare School.

The US military also had Gun Posts at Manzanilla Point, Radix Point, Pointe-a-Pierre, Green Hill, Chacachacare, Monos, Gaspar Grande, Nelson Island, Mucurapo Point, Laventille and Icacos. During World War II a 4.7-inch cannon was installed on Gaspar Grande on the ridge overlooking Point Baleine to complement another 4.7-inch cannon that had been placed there during World War I. At the end of the war, two 6-inch guns replaced the original 4.7-inch cannons and these guns, which are a 25-minute walk from Point Baleine, are still present on the island. On Chacachacare, part of the island was given to the US armed forces and a battalion of 600 men was based on the island. They built nine military barracks, installed coastal defense guns and built a road to the top of the 865-foot (260-meter) main peak.

To supplement the island’s coastal defenses there were radar installations at Morne Bleau, La Lune and Charlotteville in Tobago.

Along with the airfields and gun posts that the Americans created around Port of Spain, they also established Camp Ogden on Long Circular Road in St James. Camp Ogden continues to be a military base and is now used by the Trinidad Defense Force. The headquarters for the American military in Trinidad and Tobago was based in the historic Whitehall building on the western side of the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain.

The reason for all these bases is that Trinidad was a strategic location during World War II. It was part of the US defense chain for protecting the approaches to the southern part of the United States of America from attack by the Germans. Trinidad’s location made it suitable as a staging area for moving aircraft to eastern South America. In addition, during World War II, Pointe-A-Pierre had the largest oil refinery in the British Empire. It was therefore important to protect this source of refined petroleum products to ensure continued supplies for the war effort. The geography of Trinidad and its separation from Venezuela millions of years ago to create the Gulf of Paria, was also another reason for the large military presence. The Gulf of Paria is the largest natural harbour in the Western Hemisphere, so it was the terminus of the North Atlantic convoy route. Along with the American military, the Brazilian navy had ships based in Trinidad for escort duty between Trinidad and Rio de Janeiro. Yet another reason for the military presence was that the Bauxite route bringing bauxite from Surinam and Guyana for shipment to the U.S. for making aluminum also passed through the Gulf of Paria.

An excellent source for additional information on the US military presence in Trinidad is the Chaguaramas Military History Museum.


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