Devon House is a must for a glimpse of 19th-century Kingston. This restored Great House on Hope Road is a three-story white mansion constructed in an architectural style that's part Georgian, part Jamaican (essentially, Georgian details have been adapted to meet the demands of a tropical climate). In 1990, Devon House was named a National Monument by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. It was built in 1881 by George Stiebel, the black son of a housekeeper and a Jewish merchant. Steibel knew how to roll. When the rebel slaves of Cuba wanted guns, young George began running them to the island, but only until he was thrown into a Cuban jail cell. The Cuban pokey didn’t hold him for long, and soon he was back in Jamaica romancing and marrying a missionary’s daughter. In his 50s and with money in the bank, Stiebel bought sugar estates and 99 Jamaican properties—the most deeds a person could hold at the time. It wasn’t long before Steibel transformed his sugar into gold, earning him the sobriquet, “Jamaica’s first black millionaire.” Our favorite features at Devon House are a gambling room reachable by a hidden staircase and a 200-year old clock that still ticks. Man does not live by history alone; that’s why you’ll have to stop in the property’s former horse stables, which is now a shop selling the best soursop ice cream in the city (it's made from the white pulp of the tropical fruit). Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children under 12. Devon House is closed on Sundays.
Attractions & Landmarks, Parks, Gardens & Cemeteries, Tours
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