Charlestown Walking Tour, Part 1

Many locals are not fond of cameras.


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Eighty planters from neighboring St. Kitts, who came over to make their fortunes in tobacco, founded Charlestown around 1660. Unfortunately, the Nevis soil was far rockier than St. Kitt's, so plans to create a major tobacco export center never materialized. The town itself, however, is one of the best-preserved old port cities in the Caribbean, including cobblestone streets.

Charlestown is a relatively small place, ideal for a leisurely two-hour walkabout. Exploring, you'll soon appreciate how Nevis' aristocratic past still influences the islanders: Nevisians retain a genuine, friendly civility. Nevis is a good place to walk, but be aware some people don't like cameras much. Ask permission before taking anyone's picture downtown.

Generally, you'll find that the description of poet Don Hecox generally accurate: "There are no strangers, only those friends you have not yet met."

Starting from the Alexander Hamilton House, this walk takes about 2 hours.

1) The combined Alexander Hamilton House Birthplace and Museum of Nevis History marks the birthplace of this illegitimate son of a Scotsman and a Creole. Migrating to America, Hamilton became a famed American statesman, serving as the first Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington. He was later killed in the famous duel with his political rival, Aaron Burr. His likeness is immortalized today on the back of the US$10 bill.

Both 1755 and 1757 (preferred) are given as Hamilton 's birthdates. The original Georgian-style home was built in 1680, but destroyed by an earthquake during the 1840s. Now rebuilt, the stone-block building contains Hamilton memorabilia, historical documents and photos of Nevis, and antique furniture on the first floor. The Nevis House of Assembly sits on the second floor.

Just a short distance from Charlestown is the Hamilton Estate, one of the last remaining sugar factories on Nevis, with all its production machinery still intact.

2) St. Paul 's Anglican Church: Although the church was built as recently as 1830, grave markers in the church sanctuary floor and cemetery date back to 1702. John Huggins, founder the great Bath House hotel, was buried here in 1821. Hidden behind a tall wall is St. Paul 's, stylistically similar to other English parish churches; a mix of gothic and classic elements. It is still an active place of worship.

3) The Rookery Nook: Built between 1850-60 as a livery stable, The Rookery Nook has been a popular local tavern since 1940.

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