The Old State House
St. George's Bermuda
The Old State House in St. George's is one of Bermuda's most historic buildings. Built in 1620 on a hill overlooking the harbor, it is the oldest surviving building in the country except for some fortifications.
In addition, it was where the Bermudian government met for almost 200 years, from 1620 to 1815 when the government moved to Hamilton. When used by the parliament, this was known as the Sessions House.
The State House was built specifically for the House Assembly, then the only branch of parliament. Prior to receiving its own home, the House Assembly met in nearby St. Peter's Church.
Gov. Nathaniel Butler built the structure in an Italian style because he was convinced Bermuda and Italy shared the same latitude and climate.
He was quite wrong because Bermuda receives far more rain and its flat roof proved such a design flaw (it leaked) that other Bermudian buildings later adopted the sharp slanted roof.
The limestone blocks of the Old State House, which have endured these many centuries, are held together by an unusual mortar made of lime and turtle oil.
After the government moved out, the building was rented to the Freemasons who continue to rent it today.
And why not? The rent is just a single peppercorn per year.
The payment of the peppercorn has become a popular ceremony held in April that includes the government and military.
Open: Wednesday only 10 am-2 pm, May 1 through November 30. Closed: Public holidays. Admission: Free