Sitting on 11 lush acres in the capital city, the stately Devon House mansion was the home of Jamaica’s first Black millionaire, George Stiebel. It was built in 1891, on what was originally a 51-acre property.
Visitors to the historical site can go back in time with a tour of the Georgian-style great house. Furnished with a collection of 19th-century antiques from Jamaica and the Caribbean region, the house tells the tale of privileged West Indian society in the Victorian era. The ballroom still has the original English chandelier purchased by Stiebel for the room.
The finely crafted wooden Devon House is even more remarkable given that it was constructed by a man whose background made his climb to success particularly difficult. Stiebel was the son of a Black housekeeper and a German-Jewish merchant and made his fortune from investments in gold mines in Venezuela. He purchased 99 properties in Jamaica.
Today, the old stables, kitchen and other buildings on the property accommodate some of Jamaica’s finest restaurants, confectioneries and souvenir shops. Devon House I Scream, makers of Jamaica’s premier brand of ice cream, has its flagship store at the location.
Established during the sugar boom of the 18th century by English planter Thomas Reid, for several decades Falmouth was one of the most opulent towns of the New World. One of its founding fathers was Edward Barrett, great-grandfather of famous English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. While the town’s economic importance declined with the fall of the sugar economy, Falmouth today boasts the best preserved collection of Georgian-style buildings in the Caribbean.