Preservation of the historic district on Salt Cay, Turks and Caicos Islands
FLYing over Salt Cay with Frank - thanks for the ride !
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Turks and Caicos Department of Environment and Coastal Resources - Map of Salt Cay Area of Historic Interest

Salt Cay Area of Historical Interest

Our National Parks are protected under the law in the Turks and Caicos Islands National Park Ordinance (1989). This ordinance establishes regulations for four different categories of Protected Area, one being HA, Area of Historical Interest:

An area of 435 acres in Salt Cay comprising Town Salinas and the waterfront from North District to South District. Also includes the Gray Salina and surroundings of old Whaling Station from Long Bay Point to disused canal. Also including the whole of Whale Island and Whale House Bay.

Section 1
Encompassing most of Balfour Town (South and North Districts) and the architecturally significant structures therein, including the Brown House, the White House and surrounding structures, Dean’s Dock, St. John’s Anglican Church, and other buildings, structures, dwelling houses and ruins. The area also includes Town Salina and associated rock walls, canals and other structures connected with the Salt Industry.

(Dean’s dock may still contain several cannons and other large artifacts that could be salvaged remnants of the HMS Endymion. Some were moved during dredging to neighboring shallow water areas.)

Section 2
Whale House Bay was the headquarters of a short-lived whaling industry in the 1870’s –80’s. Humpback whales were caught in the Turks Island Passage during seasonal winter migration. Area is now prime migrant and wetland bird habitat.

Source: Turks & Caicos Department of Environment and Coastal Resources

 


Excerpts from Michele McNair's
Oral History Project: Salt Cay Saturday Nights

I wanted something, anything, that left the impression of who these people were and what they wanted to say.One of the common threads was how they entertained themselves.

Georgie Selver of Salt Cay - photo by Michele McNair - all rights reserved
Georgie Selver photo by Michele McNair Copyright © 2007

Georgie is Alice Selver’s husband and they live across the street from Netty’s Store. The building was, at one time, Georgie’s grandfather’s house. He was a man who came to Salt Cay as an interpreter as he spoke 7 languages. Anthony Lewelyn Seymour. He became a merchant, and their home was once the store. He was from Bermuda and South Caicos. He had salt ponds and was very "middle class" for a man of color.

Ned and Lillian Kennedy of Salt Cay - photo by Michele McNair - all rights reserved.
Ned and Lillian Kennedy photo by Michele McNair Copyright © 2007

Ned has a remarkable memory for a man 90 years of age. Though he was often at sea as a Merchant Marine, when he was home he took an active part in the life of Salt Cay.

Miss Mable Wilson of Salt Cay - photo by Michele McNair - all rights reserved.
Miss Mabel Wilson photo by Michele McNair Copyright © 2007

Miss Mabel Wilson is Gerty Landy’s mother. She and her sister Kathryn were the entertainers. They sang, danced, did skits, duets, solos, charades and vignettes from musicals. Miss Mabel was the wife of the leading lay person in St. John’s, the Catechrist...like Poley Dickenson is today.

Miss Mable Wilson of Salt Cay - photo by Michele McNair - all rights reserved.
Poley Dickenson photo by Michele McNair Copyright © 2007

 

Rosalie Glinton of Salt Cay - photo by Michele McNair - all rights reserved.
Rosalie Glinton photo by Michele McNair Copyright © 2007

Miss Rosalie Glinton had to have the largest and most spectacular hat and outfit at Nish Simmons and Constable Colville Garrick's wedding on Salt Cay in Sept 2005.

Nish Simmons and Constable Colville Garrick wedding on Salt Cay - photo by Michele McNair - all rights reserved.

Nish Simmons and Constable Colville Garrick wedding photo by Michele McNair Copyright © 2007


Pat and Herbert Simmons of Salt Cay - photo by Michele McNair - all rights reserved.

Pat and Herbert Simmons photo by Michele McNair Copyright © 2007


 

Uncle Lou photo by Michele McNair Copyright © 2007

Uncle Lou is peddling his way to the school for a rehearsal of the Easter services where he was going to be singing.

 

Miss Irene Been photo by Michele McNair Copyright © 2007
Miss Irene Been photo by Michele McNair Copyright © 2007

Miss Irene Been at her new Bed and Breakfast in October, 1998. It was shortly after this she became ill and passed away. What a loss...what a chef, what a baker.

 

Rock Talbot of Salt Cay - photo by Michele McNair - all rights reserved.
Rock Talbot photo by Michele McNair Copyright © 2007

Rock Talbot, husband of Netty Talbot, passed away in 2005. Rock was a great fisherman, builder and all around good man. He always had a warm smile, a good story, and such pride of family.

 

 

Uncle Lionel Talbot of Salt Cay - photo by Candy Herwin - all rights reserved.
Uncle Lionel Talbot photo by Candy Herwin Copyright © 2007


Known as Uncle Lionel, he can tell you all about fishing, the local waters and surrounding cays.

 

Constable David Wilson on Salt Cay - photo by Porter Williams - all rights reserved.
Constable David Wilson by Porter Williams Copyright © 2007

Salt Cay's own Constable David Wilson. Thanks to his diligence our island is secure and peaceful...just as it should be.

 

Salt Cay has been recommended as a UNESCO world heritage site. History buffs can busy themselves chatting to Salt Cay's friendly locals about the island's history and exploring old buildings and sites dating back to the 1600's. A stroll through Balfour Town is like a tour of an outdoor museum, 19th-century industry, with dilapidated windmills, salt sheds and abandoned salinas.

Cannon on Little Bluff Lookout

Salt Cay Ft Pleasant 18 Century cannon on Little Bluff lookout  -© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved.
Ft Pleasant 18th century cannon on Little Bluff Lookout
© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved
.

British cannon from the late 18th century found buried at the top of the hill some years ago, restored by local efforts. It is said the Bermudan Militia was stationed on the bluff to protect Salt Cay from the French who would periodially raid the island for salt.1


Mt Pleasant House

Salt Cay Mt Pleasant Guest House

Built in 1832 formerly owned by the Morgan family.


Old Salt Shed

Salt Cay Salt Shed  -© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved.
Salt Shed , Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands
© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved
.

This was an old salt storage shed, now used as a Government storage shed.


Salt Cay Methodist Church

Salt Cay Methodist Church  -© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved.
Methodist Church , Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands
© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved
.

Built by newly freed slaves in the 1830, the Salt Cay Methodist Church is an example of British colonial architecture. 1


The Sluice Gates and Windmills

  Salt Cay windmill  - Photo by Marta Morton -  harbourclubvillas.comSalt Cay windmill  - Photo by Marta Morton -  harbourclubvillas.com
Salt Cay sluice gatesSalt Cay water channel - Photo by Marta Morton -  harbourclubvillas.com

St Johns Anglican Church

Salt Cay St John's Anglicn Church  -© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved.
St John's Anglican Church, Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands
© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved
.

St. John's is a beautiful old Anglican church, built in the early 1800s. The church's graveyard stretches to her old sea wall. The doors open to the graveyard and allow the sea breezes to flow through to the altar. 2


Bermuda Kitchen

Salt Cay Bermuda Kitchen -© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved.
Bermuda Kitchen on Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands
© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved
.

Sunny Side - aka the "Brown House"

Brown House -© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved.
The Brown House, Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands
© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved
.

Built by shipwright-turned-salt proprietor, Alexander Harriott, in 1832, Sunnyside is another of the historic salt plantation homes on Salt Cay. The red columns supporting the upper veranda are made from trees planted to grow into place. The main support beams in the foundation are from a ships beam. The under area of the house is where the salt was stored.


The Benevolent Brotherhood Lodge

Salt Cay Benevolent Society  -© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved.
The Benevolent Brotherhood Lodge, Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands
© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved
.
Salt Cay Benevolent Society  -© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved.
The Benevolent Brotherhood Lodge, Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands
© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved
.

The Benevolent Brotherhood Lodge was formed before the advent of Turks & Caicos Islands National Insurance as a means for islanders to pool funds for funeral expenses, emergency loans, etc. There is a bass drum, tattered flag, a young Queen's picture and signs of concord, peace and fraternity. And, then, there are the two coffins awaiting occupants in a back room - small, wooden coffins made for the Islander of slight build and for a small hole dug in hard, salt-packed earth. The Lodge was reorganized in March 1915. The roster was still on the head table last April. 2


Balfour Town Public Library

Salt Cay Public Library
Public Library on Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands

Late in 2003 the dream of a Balfour Town Public Library on Salt Cay was realized.  With the encouragement and active support of the Salt Cay District Commissioner, a group of Salt Cay natives and residents came together to affirm the desire for a library accessible to both residents and visitors. 3


Salt Cay Clinic

Salt Cay Clinic
Clinic on Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands

District Commissioner's Office

housing the old jail. public telephone available.

need photo


Old Commissioner's Office

Two story building no longer in use.


Treasury Building

where salt-workers once collected their pay;

need photo


The White House

Salt Cay White House -© Jim Wark, airphotona.com. All rights reserved.
Salt Cay White House
Photo by Jim Wark, AirPhotoNA.com 1.719.545.1051

The Harriott family has splendidly preserved the White House, a Salt Cay landmark since the early 1800's. A stately salt proprietor's manor built in 1835 with ballast stone and from the ship's timbers that brought the family to Salt Cay. The salt house is an example of classic Bermudan architecture with the living quarters on the upper level and the salt storage underneath. The roof is of limestone and concrete.

Harriott 1844
D. Harriott 1844
O.L.P. Taylor 1844
Carving from Sapodilla Hill on Providenciales


Looking the other way ...

Salt Cay Salt Pans
Salt Pans - Salinas on Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands

Mt Zion Baptist Church

Salt Cay Public Library
Mt Zion Baptist Church on Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands

House with Bermuda Kitchen

Bermuda Kitchen on Salt Cay - photo by Marta Morton -  harbourclubvillas.com


Bermuda Kitchen

 

The remains of a Bermuda kitchen on a salt proprietor's property on the southern end of Victoria Street.


The Government House

Salt Cay Government house -© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved.
The Government House on on Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands
© 2007 Don Wiss donwiss.com. All rights reserved
.

This was once the home of the customs officers and government officials on Salt Cay. Its gabled tin roof, motley stone, brick and slate walkways, and large stone Bermudan kitchen are signatures of the island's architectural heritage. More photos of government house here:click

 

 


 


We welcome written material, historical tidbit, photo, memoir and correction to this presentation, very much so.
A big thank you to the Salt Cay community, as well as other visitors, friends and formal entities for their contribution to this project.

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