By Greyson Beights
Historian, Author, Event Organizer
IG: @greysonbeights, @globetrottinghistory
There is amazing history in the Abaco Islands and are many accessible historical landmarks you can visit still today to learn about and experience the history for yourself.
Carleton Point in Treasure Cay marks where six hundred American loyalists founded Treasure Cay after migrating to the Bahamas during the American Revolution. They built the settlement in 1783. The settlement, however, was short-live as in 1785 after a hurricane hit, the Loyalists abandoned it. A plaque now marks its location at the north end of what is now Treasure Cay Beach.
The Long Dock in Cherokee Sound is the longest wooden dock in the Bahamas at 770 feet. The dock was first built in 1942 for unloading mail boats and cargo ships. Through hurricanes, the long dock has been destroyed multiple times and every time, the persistent people of Cherokee Sound have rebuilt the dock. The present dock standing today in Cherokee Sound was finished in March, 2007.
The Village of New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay was originally settled by the American loyalists in the 1770’s. The picturesque village filled colorful houses and shops is wonderful to walk around. The old jail in New Plymouth, built in the 1800’s, can be still be visited today. Also in New Plymouth is the Albert Lowe Museum, the first historic museum in the Bahamas and a historical landmark in itself. The museum features model ships, local art exhibits, and displays exploring local history.
Hope Town in Elbow Cay has been tremendously well-preserved and is filled with important historical landmarks. Like many other settlements in the Abaco Islands, Hope Town was settled in the 1700’s by American loyalists. In the 1850’s, residents of Hope Town were exposed to the Cholera epidemic and you cn visit the graveyard site where around 100 residents were buried. Elbow Reef Lighthouse was built in 1864 and is the only remaining lighthouse in the world to be hand-cranked and kerosene burning. The Wyannie Malone Historical Museum first opened in 1978 and teaches the history of Hope Town with historic photos, furnished rooms, clothes, housewares, and displays.
The Abaco Islands have had an important role in the history of the Bahamas, from to the native Lucayan people to pirates, to British rule to Bahamian independence. We must learn and experience the history in every way we can. I have only mentioned a few historical landmarks and I encourage everyone to visit these and the many more that can found throughout the islands.