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Devon House, 26 Hope Road Kingston

Devon House is a historic Jamaican tourist attraction and hangout spot that is nestled on 26 Old Hope Road. It was built in 1881 by George Stiebel. He was the first black Millionaire in Jamaican history. Lovers of antiques will love the guided tours because Devon House is filled with antiques which range from Ornate Porcelain Chandeliers to mesmerizing paintings and photographs.

Devon House physical features and architecture

Devon House is the beautiful end product of an older, British style of architecture. The buildings that were built on the property are very strong and durable in nature but the also have a unique type of beauty going for them. The palms that surround the grounds of Devon house are apart of its signature landscaping and helps to greatly add to the beauty of the property. There is a courtyard out side of the Greathouse where benches that are meant to accommodate a man with a sword are located.

Stiebel managed to place a gambling room in the attic of the building. Tourists usually wonder the grounds in order to get a better glimpse of the beautiful property. The lawns of Devon house are luscious and green and are perfect for a picnic underneath the beautiful Kingston sunset. The trees provide the perfect shade for picnic blankets.

Foods and pastries

The Devon House grounds is home to a bakery and who could ever forget the ice cream shop, which is home to some of the best ice cream in Jamaica and some even say in the World. The signature ice cream is served in a variety of flavours and many people come from all over the country just to sample the desert. The ice cream shop has a variety of flavours which are all sure to impress. Tours of the Great House include a free scoop of the World famous I-Scream.

Ice Cream Flavours

Devon House I-Scream is ever expanding, with well over 20 flavours and counting, and one of the best ice cream brands you will ever taste. I have several favourites, including Devon Stout, Cookie and Cream (#1 on my list), Pistachio, and the classic Rum & Raisin. There are also more new flavours, including One Drop, Rocky River, and Crunchie Munchie, which have become huge hits with a lot of people.

You might be tempted to try them all but the servings are hefty, so you will probably need several trips before you can even cover half the menu. When buying, you can order anywhere from a single cone to a quart of ice cream, and if you like, you can ask for the flavours to be mixed. One more thing (yes, I could talk about Devon House I-Scream all day), the lines for ice cream can get pretty long, especially on weekend days and between the hours of 6 – 9 pm, so pick your days and time well when visiting.

The former carriage house and courtyard are home to several shops. Tourists and locals alike can stop by the souvenir shop to buy a variety of authentic Jamaican memorabilia and products. The Bakery is also situated in the courtyard and this bakery sells a variety of Jamaican pastries and baked goods such as patties, cakes and puddings. The unique style and texture of the patties make it a must sample pastry for tourists and locals alike. The patties may be worth a bit more than regular Jamaican patties but the price difference is worth it.

The Devon House Heritage Site is owned by the Government of Jamaica, and falls directly under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism. The property is currently managed by The Devon House Development Company Limited, which became operational in February 2002 to oversee the re-development of Devon House, and manage its promotion and maintenance as the premier cultural attraction and center of activity in the capital city.

Built in 1881, on a 32 acre estate, the mansion now reposes in an 11 acre landscaped environment set well back from the roads that intersect between Hope and Waterloo Roads. Its lush, sprawling lawns provide an ambience that soothes the mind and soul, and offers an enviable shopping experience for both local and overseas visitors. Patrons to Devon House can partake in the fascinating history of the site, which was built by Jamaica’s first black millionaire George Stiebel

How did Devon House get it’s name?

This stately building is a national heritage site. It was erected by George Stiebel, Jamaica’s first black millionaire. It sits on a sprawling, 11-acre estate and was one of the several mansions that comprised the so-called ‘Millionaire’s Circle’ in that part of Kingston back in the late 19th century.

The name comes from the property previously being called Devon Penn before Stiebel made his wealth in Venezuela and returned to purchase it. Stiebel was the son of a German Jew and a black housekeeper. Having achieved the feat of becoming the first black Jamaican to reach his level of affluence, he went about creating a mansion fit for a king.

A tour of the house will give you great insight into what luxury living was all about more than 130 years ago in the Victorian era. You will especially love it if you’re a history buff. The house itself has been renovated, after being under threat of being demolished in the 1960s. However, much of its old-world charm has been preserved in the brick and lattice work that pervades the design of the mansion, as well as in the detailed craftsmanship of the ornate furnishings, some artifacts, and the artwork on many of its walls.

Devon House was opened to the public as an attraction in 1968, before being named a heritage site in 1990. Over the years, thousands of tourists and Jamaicans alike have passed through its gates.

National Monument

The mansion has been a designated national monument since September 1990. The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment manages the property and maintains it through its agencies, the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the Tourism Product Development Company.

Devon House underwent its first restoration in the 1960’s under the supervision of architect Tom Concannon assisted by Raymond McIntyre. In 1974, the mansion was refurbished for the second time in the Victorian style. The interior was refurbished by Mr. Sergio Dello Strologo and Mr. Raymond McIntyre undertook the task of restoring the mansion from its use as an art gallery to its original status as a private dwelling. During this time the crystal chandelier in the ballroom dating from George Stiebel’s time was found broken in two parts. It was restored by John Thompson. The restoration of the antique furniture located for the house was done by Mr. Robin Morris. In 1984, the mansion was reopened to the public.

Now fully restored to the former glory, this national landmark is of primary importance and stands as a “center of excellence” in the nation’s capital. Visitors to Devon House can tour the mansion and experience a walk back in time, enjoy the peace and quiet of the lush lawns and gardens or shop or dine in any of the several establishments on site.

This historical site enjoys prominence of location and the mansion’s status as an architectural gem is unchallenged. It forms a tangible part of Jamaica’s history, with its origins reaching back as far as early as the 17th century, when original structures that still form part of the present mansion were constructed. Devon House’s status remained undiminished throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, and today constitutes an iconic feature of Jamaica’s record of the past.

Management of the Devon House Historical Mansion

A management team consisting of an Executive Director, a Property Manager, Marketing and Events Manager and an Accountant undertakes the day to day operations of the Devon House Heritage Site. Support staff includes an Administrative Assistant, Tour Guides, and Ancillary and Ground Staff. A Board of Directors is appointed by the Minister of Tourism and Entertainment and overseas the overall management of the property.

Vision Statement:

Devon House presents a unique and extraordinary opportunity for multiple experiences in a center of excellence in the city, combining heritage, park facilities, restaurants and shopping for the best of what is authentically Jamaican. Here, the arts, education and entertainment co-exist to give Jamaicans and tourists alike a space that appeals to the senses.

Mission Statement:

Our mission is to preserve an environment which combines an historic setting of a heritage site with the natural beauty of its surroundings to offer our visitors an authentic Jamaican experience.

Board of Directors

Mr. Geoffrey Messado – Chair
Ms. Minion Jean Wright – Deputy Chair
Mrs. Dorothy Carter-Bradford
Mrs. Thalia Lyn
Mrs. Diana Stewart
Mrs. Jean Barnes
Hon. Marigold Harding
Ms. Geneel Attala
Ms. Sophia Williams
Ms. Janice Lindsay
Ms. Samantha Chantrelle
Mr. Martin Lyn
Ms. Dawn Hyde

Ms. Ann Hodges
Mrs. Theresa Roberts

Executive Director, Mrs. Janette Taylor

Conclusion

Devon House is deeply rooted in Jamaican culture and the location was has recently been made a UNESCO heritage site . George Stiebel is the owner original owner of the estate and he was also the first black Jamaican millionaire. He revolutionized the way black Jamaicans thought about wealth he showed us that no matter what our colour or class is as Jamaicans, we all can still achieve great things. The World famous I-Scream that is served at the Great house is considered to be one of the best tasting ice creams in the World by many persons.

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Written by zubi chaudhary

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