HGC presents a peek inside some of the historical gems found in Nassau.
The Balcony House
Balcony House, a historic structure dating back approximately 220 years, is known to be the oldest surviving wooden residential building in The Bahamas. Its namesake balcony, which offers views over Market Street (formerly known as Prison Lane), is supported by wooden knee braces, an architectural style prevalent among 18th-century loyalists. In 1985, the Central Bank of The Bahamas assumed ownership of Balcony House, embarking on a comprehensive restoration project. In collaboration with the Department of National Archives, the property was officially unveiled as the Balcony House Museum in 1994.
The Priory (Dunmore House)
The Dunmore House, constructed by Lord Dunmore in 1788, initially served as a residence for Governors until the completion of the current Government House in 1804. In 1829, the War Department acquired Dunmore House, transforming it into Officers’ Quarters and a Mess Hall. Later on, the house was made into a military hospital. In 1893, the Roman Catholic Church acquired the property from the War Department, repurposing it into a priory. Today, it is the forthcoming location for the National Museum of the Bahamas.
The Nassau Library
The Nassau Public Library is an octagonal-shaped building located at the southern end of Parliament Square that borders Shirley Street. This was the first building constructed in Parliament Square in 1797 and originally served as a prison. The first and second floor of the building was occupied by the prisoner’s cells, and the third floor was used as a shared space, from which a bell rang to summon House of Assembly members to meetings. In 1879, the building was converted into a library, reading room, and museum. The former prison cells that once confined prisoners now serve as storage for books. This includes Arawak artifacts, historical prints, newspapers, and colonial documents.