I have a bit of a thing for history – I wouldn’t say I am a history buff, but I would certainly like to be.
Old buildings? They give me goosebumps. I can sit and stare all day. Give me a tour, and well, you have a bff for life.
Take the Magnificent Seven in Port of Spain, Trinidad, for example. While my husband and I were driving around Port of Spain a few weeks ago, I kept noticing these few homes – nay, they weren’t just homes. They were mansions.
Along Queen’s Park Savannah, which is a lovely park in the middle of Port of Spain, there are 7 of these magnificent buildings in a row.
It’s no wonder they came to be called The Magnificent Seven – they are the most magnificent homes I’ve ever seen.
1. Queen’s Royal College
Somehow I managed to delete the photo I had taken of this building, so I am borrowing a photo that I found online at MacoCaribbean, where you can read all about the history of the building.
I honestly wasn’t too impressed with this building – I mean, it’s a school, aren’t schools supposed to be fancy?
2. Hayes Court
This is the Anglican Bishop’s residence. Of all of the Magnificent Seven, it is the most well kept and modernized! And while this picture – taken with my iPhone4 – doesn’t quite capture the magnificence of Hayes Court, rest assured, it is pretty magnificent. The stone work and glass detail are so intricate, it’s just beautiful. I hope to have a better camera the next time I go to Trinidad so that I can take better photos!
3. Mille Fleurs or Salvatori House
Mille Fleurs is the most run-down of all of the Magnificent Seven. As you can tell from the photo, it has details that would make an architect drool. The barristers are so delicately carved that I can only imagine what the inside of the home looks like. I did a little research online and found that at one point, homeless had broken into the home and were squatting for years! The government of T&T had to forcibly remove them, and it has sat empty ever since. Many of these buildings use aluminium extrusion procedures to get the perfect finish.
It is currently owned by the government, though I could not find any information online about a possible renovation. It broke my heart to read that it has been uninhabited since 1979 – when the government of Trinidad and Tobago purchased the home for $1,000,000. to use as the offices of their National Security Council.
Ambard’s House was built in 1904 by French architect Lucien Ambard. The nickname Roomor comes from the family that purchased the house in 1940. All of the building materials were brought from France and Italy and it simply spellbinding, with its carvings, marble ornaments, porthole windows and iron cast elements. This is the house that I kept coming back to, I have never seen anything like it…and it warms my heart to know that a family actually lives there – the children of the family that has lived there since 1940!
It is the only one of the Magnificent Seven that remains a private residence.
5. Archbishop’s Palace
You can definitely see that there is a difference in the aesthetic of the Archbishop’s Palace, compared to the rest of the Magnificent Seven. The architecture stands out because it is of strange design, having been built by an Irish architect heavily influenced by Indian design. While it is quite regal, I personally prefer the look of the other homes that are built mainly of wood – they seem much more unique!
I somehow forgot to snap a photo of this – I have no idea how that happened, maybe I was too distracted by the Castle next door?! – so I am borrowing this photo from Wikipedia. You can read their info about it here. That’s right, Whitehall has its own Wikipedia page. This is some pretty important shit, people!
Whitehall was built by a merchant by the name of Joseph Leon Agostini, and features the Moorish Mediterranean style. I realized while doing my research that this is why I was not familiar with this style of architecture – you don’t find many Italian or Moorish buildings in the USA! Joseph Agostini’s family came from Corsica, hence the White Hall’s resemblance to the architectural style of Southern Italy and Corsica. During its history the building has housed the British Council Cultural Center, the Trinidad and Tobago Central Library, and governmental offices. It is currently being renovated and will be the Prime Minister’s office once it is complete.
7. Stollmeyer’s Castle
That’s right. A CASTLE. A freaking castle in downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad. It is also known as Killarney, which is the name the second owner gave it – the first owners never even moved in because the Mrs. thought it was too fancy. She gave the home to her son and his wife, who obviously had no qualms living in a castle. I know I wouldn’t!
Today, the castle is used as Prime Minister’s office. It is under renovation and we had to go across the street to Queen’s Park Savannah to get a decent photo because the fence was so high! I read up a bit on Stollmeyer’s Castle, and it seems that it was modeled after a wing of the Balmoral Castle in Scotland. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when the renovations are complete…
Have you seen the Magnificent Seven? If you are planning a trip to Port of Spain, Trinidad, I highly recommend that you grab a camera and take a walk along Queen’s Park Savannah and take a look!