Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Enveloped in 11 acres of lush gardens and courtyards, in the heart of Kingston, Devon House represents Jamaica's proud heritage. Constructed in 1891 by Jamaica's first black millionaire, George Stiebel, the Georgian-Jamaican architecture reflects both British and Caribbean influences. Stiebel made his fortune from Venezuela gold mines and many of the accessories of his luxurious Victorian era life still fill the mansion, including Italian chandeliers oil paintings and carved mahogany beds.
Devon House was declared a National Heritage Site in 1990 and strolling the halls supply a fascinating glimpse into a rarefied life during Jamaica's colonial times. Although the landmark is one of Kingston's most popular destinations, many visit just for the famous Devon House I-Scream, which is considered the best on the island. There are actually lots of restaurants, cafes and boutiques on the property, which I'll cover in another post but my favorite part of Devon House was the "Miss Lou" poem recited by the guide. Louise Bennett was a famous Jamaican poet and folklorist who championed the use of the local patois dialect. Her use of local phrases and terms peppered with standardized English brought Jamaican culture to life and hearing her words in Devon House made it even more memorable.