It has been three years since Alpha Boys School transitioned to Alpha Institute. Changing from a residence to a day program allowed Alpha to focus on its educational and technical training. Somethings haven't changed. The school's commitment to serving the most vulnerable, is one, for example. Another is the Suzuki van.
As Jamaica’s capital city from 1534 to 1872, Spanish Town was the focal point of the island’s social, economic and political life. During this time, the town witnessed the evolution of modern Jamaica. It welcomed the Spanish when they fled Sevilla La Nueva and observed as they developed its land. It watched the English invasion and subsequent occupation of the island, and later, listened while the governor read the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves, in its “Plaza Mayora.”
To ensure you don’t miss any of these important sights, it’s best to have a local guide help you find your way through the town’s maze of streets and lanes.
Start: Spanish Town Methodist Church, White Church Street
Finish: Emancipation Square, at Rodney’s Memorial
Distance: Approximately 0.75km (0.5 miles)
In its prime, Spanish Town was a magnificent and impressive metropolis with stately red brick homes and grand monuments. Today, it is Jamaica’s third largest urban center with a population of approximately 87,000 people and, sadly, much of its grandeur has been lost to the ravages of time. Some shining examples of Georgian architecture still exist, however, as reminders of the town’s golden era.
1. THE METHODIST CHURCH
Opened in 1953, this small but beautiful chapel serves as the head of the Spanish Town Methodist Circuit, which was created in 1816 and consists of five churches.
Directions: Immediately facing the Methodist church, you’ll notice the massive western wall of the St Catherine District Prison.
The city if Kingston actually includes 200 acres that make up the Royal Botanical Gardens, but locals call it Hope Gardens. The gardens were established in 1873 on a section of land from the estate of Major Richard Hope, one of the original English colonisers. Today the gardens are home to Jamaica's most popular collection of endemic and exotic botanical collections including the national tree, Blue Mahoe. The cassia tree grove by the main entrance was planted in 1907. Most of the plants and trees, particularly the mango and various spice species found here, originally came from a captured French ship on its way from Mauritius to Hispaniola in 1782. Find out what they look like today at the Hope Gardens in Kingston. Read more about Hope Gardens on Trip Advisor here.
Once home to pirates, Port Royal is home to close knit community that maintains its ocean traditions. Located at the tip of a 10-mile spit of land, everyone in Port Royal wants to be in Port Royal. Who wouldn't? A history overcoming earthquakes, hurricanes, fires and being labeled the "wickedest city in the west" as far back as the 17th century means there is something special about Port Royal. Where do you find it? Well one of the best places to look is in the water surrounding the town. It's a virtual archaeological goldmine filled with pieces of history. Above ground Port Royal is where local Kingstonians go for fish, a morning jog or a weekend bike ride. You haven't seen Kingston if you have not seen Port Royal! Check it out on > lonelyplanet <
You may have heard it was selected by National Geographic's Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe (2011) as the 4th best place in the world to eat ice cream. In Kingston's history, Devon House is a lot more than that. Built in 1891 on 51 acres called Devon Pen, it was the home of Jamaica's first black millionaire, George Stibel. The ballroom still has the original chandelier purchased by Stiebel for the room. Now home to restaurants, bars and an 11 acre park, Devon House is one of Kingston's most popular local destinations. For Devon House tours please visit devonhousejamaica.com.
Watch Tony Myers, co founder of the Jamaica Sound System Federation, introduce the history and purpose of sound system culture in Jamaica. From making their own speakers to creating the foundation of Jamaica's music industry, the sound system is at the centre of music and entertainment.
The Jamaica Sound System Federation is located at 13 Minott Terrace and welcomes visitors who can experience how sound systems are built from the ground up. Visitors may also test how they sound on the microphone on the house sound system, Jam One Sound. For more information contact Alpha Boys School Radio by email or on Facebook and we will make the introduction to a tour guide or to the Jamaica Sound System Federation directly.