St. Ann – Attractions
Dunn’s River Falls
This site is located approximately 8 kilometres from St. Ann’s Bay on the road to Ocho Rios. It is an exceptionally attractive little spot and a “must see” for all who visit this parish. The beach has clean bright sand that is perpetually being washed by the outpouring from the falls. It is at this point of the bay that the Dunn’s River empties its clear cool waters over a series of rocky ledges. Frequently, visitors can be seen joining hands for safety and being guided over the ledges. Bathing is allowed at various spots along the falls.
Sevilla Nueva or Sevilla d’Oro is situated about 1.6 kilometre west of St. Ann’s Bay, and is known to be the first capital of the island. The Spaniards occupied this area for a brief period as it soon became unhealthy due to the surrounding swamps. The drainage of the swamps and the construction of concrete drains throughout St. Ann’s Bay have vastly improved this site. The Seville National Park is one of the numerous historical sites that enrich this parish as it recalls the earliest visitors to our island.
Columbus Park is situated in Discovery Bay. This spot commemorates Columbus’ visit to our island and operates as an open-air museum with sketches of Jamaican history.
Almost 5 kilometres of varied ferns would appeal to the lovers of flora. The Fern Gully has now been placed under the care of the National Heritage Trust and is now a preservation site. This beautiful winding path lying about 6.4km from Ocho Rios is a rocky gorge of lush vegetation at tremendous depth. It is the outcropping of a riverbed from the past and upholds its historical values. The Fern Gully is still worth a visit to see its profusion of tropical ferns (over 500 species) and the kind of foliage only to be found in a tropical rain forest. In the deepest parts of the gorge, only faint dapples of sunshine penetrate through the thick foliage and the temperature is about ten degrees cooler.
Green Grotto Caves
The Green Grotto and Runaway Caves are situated along the main north coast road about 3.2 km east of Discovery Bay. They meander over 9.6 km and abound in natural art forms of glistening stalagmites and stalactites. They are lit on the perimeter to show contrast and depth, but natural light rays and air from the holes in the ceilings give a sense of reassurance. Green Grotto is a subterranean lake lying 36.6 metres below ground level. Boat trips can be taken on this lake which is clear and still allowing stalactites to be seen growing from the bottom of the lake.
Cardiff Hall Great House
Cardiff Hall Great House is located off the main at Runaway Bay, St. Ann. The Property at Cardiff Hall had remained in the Blagrove family from 1655 – 1950. The first owner was John Blagrove who arrived in Jamaica in 1655 when the English captured the island from the Spanish. Cardiff Hall is near to the remnant of several Taino Kitchen Midden. The area appears to have been thickly populated by the Tainos.
Orange Valley Estate and Great House
Orange Valley Estate and Great House was once part of the Blagrove property, together with Cardiff Hall and the Estates of Unity and Bel Air. It is located in Runaway Bay, St Ann.
The Sugar works, about a mile from the road, were in operation until the early years of the 20th Century, and much of the steam boiler equipment is intact. The whole works compound is an unusually well preserved example of the eighteenth century factory plant adapted to the processes of steam power.
The Columbus Monument
There is a statue of Columbus dressed in a Spanish grandee on top of a pedestal of coral rocks. The monument is situated west of St. Ann’s Bay. It is said that Columbus first glimpse of Jamaica was just off St. Ann’s Bay on his second voyage. However, he was greeted by a canoe of angry Tainos who persuaded him to weigh anchor elsewhere.
Bromley Great House, Walkerswood, St. Ann
A magnificent wooden house lived in by the third generation of Sir John Pringle’s descendants. The date of construction has not been established but the stone foundations date from the eighteenth century. It is Jamaican Georgian with shingle roof and sash windows. The Great House was one of the historic structures being studied under the Caribbean School of Architecture’s pilot study for an inventory of Jamaican heritage structures.
Ramble Great House
Ramble Estate was previously known as Finger Post. It was the site of an abortive attempt to establish the only tea plantation in the West Indies. In1903, seeds were brought from the botanical gardens at Cinchona in the Blue Mountains. At Cinchona, tea had been grown experimentally since 1868. One hundred acres of it was planted at Ramble but in 1920 the project was abandoned.
This estate is located in the Priory area of St. Ann. This estate was founded in 1669 by William Drax and in 1691 the property was passed on to Charles Drax. The Great House on the property was built about 1690.
Charles Drax left a sum of money in his 1721 will to start a free school. This school was called the Drax Free School. The name was later changed to the Jamaica Free School. In 1871 an Act declared that a school be established in St Andrew with the control vested in the Jamaica School’s Commission.
The funds operating the Drax free School were transferred to this commission. This new school was opened on Hope Road in 1885. In 1902, the Jamaica High and the college, which had opened as a part of the school in 1890 were, joined to form the Jamaica College. Drax Hall is one of the splendid properties in St. Ann.
Clock Tower, St. Ann’s Bay
The Clock tower in St. Ann’s Bay is located at the corner of Market and Main Street. Entrance to the Clock tower is gained through the market. The height of the clock is about twenty feet and there are lights on each of the clocks to make reading easier at nights.
32 Market Street – St. Ann’s Bay
32 Market Street, St. Ann’s Bay is the birth place of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jamaica’s first National Hero. He was born there in August 17,1877, probably in the same house which is now in a very dilapidated state. A commemorative plaque has been placed there by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. This was done on August 15, 1987. Through the efforts of Anthony Scott and the African People’s Association, a bust of Marcus Garvey was erected in 1989.
African Jamaican House Site: 1670 –1740
This site contains the foundation of an African Jamaican House. The house was part of the first Seville, African Jamaican village, 1670 –1740. The house foundation was built of cut stone. The clay floor was ballasted with uncut limestones. The walls were of wattle and daub and roof of thatch. In the room was buried the owner of the house in keeping with a West African burial traditional that was continued in Jamaica. The red flags show the area of the burial. The room also contained a fire hearth for cooking or warming the house at night: the orange flags indicate the area where the hearth was.