Can You Name These Green Turtle Kids?

Came across this photo while I was going through some archives last night. It was taken in Green Turtle Cay sometime around 1970 – give or take a few years. How many of these kids can you name?

In fact, why don’t we make it interesting? Continue reading

Those Who Stayed: Where to Buy It

I’ve had a couple of emails lately from early Christmas shoppers, asking where they could buy my book, Those Who Stayed. As a reminder, here’s the complete list of Bahamian stores carrying it.

Outside the Bahamas, you can order it online HERE.

June 29 Book Signing Benefits the Albert Lowe Museum

The Albert Lowe Museum has invited me to appear at a book signing event at the museum on Thursday, June 29. This will be my last signing before I head back to Los Angeles for the summer, and part proceeds from every copy of Those Who Stayed sold that day will benefit the museum.

If you’re on Green Turtle Cay next Thursday, I hope you’ll drop by and say hello!

A Direct Flight from Nassau to Green Turtle Cay

Every day this week, as a lead up to my Marsh Harbour book signing on Saturday, May 13th, I’ll be sharing historic Abaco photographs and brief excerpts from my new book, Those Who Stayed.

With the exception of the few years during which Abaco was served by the luxurious Content, travel to and from Nassau meant a long, often unpleasant voyage on the mailboat.

The trip became much easier in the late 1940s, however, when Bahamas Airways began flying amphibious aircraft from Nassau direct to New Plymouth.

Direct Flights from Nassau to Green Turtle Cay

A Bahamas Airways seaplane at Settlement Point. Photo by Lionel Hodgkins, courtesy of Margaret Albury.

Continue reading

Laying Rope

Every day this week, as a lead up to my Marsh Harbour book signing on Saturday, May 13th, I’ll be sharing historic Abaco photographs and brief excerpts from my new book, Those Who Stayed.

In the late 1880s, believing it held the key to the colony’s economic success, Bahamian Governor Ambrose Shea introduced sisal, a plant that yields a stiff fibre used to make rope, twine, mats and other household items.

Lambert Gates (left) and Vertrum Lowe laying rope, circa 1950. Photo courtesy of the Albert Lowe Museum.

Since the U.S. had no domestic sisal supply, the governor pointed out, there was a ready market nearby. Furthermore, since sisal plants live more than a decade and survive in virtually any condition, they require minimum care. Continue reading

The Surprising Effect of WWII on Green Turtle Cay

Every day this week, as a lead up to my Marsh Harbour book signing on Saturday, May 13th, I’ll be sharing historic Abaco photographs and brief excerpts from my new book, Those Who Stayed.

As the Bahamian sponging industry died and the Depression took hold, many Green Turtle Cay men took up shark fishing — harvesting and exporting hides, fins and livers. More rich in Vitamin A than even cod liver oil, shark livers were the most valuable by-product.

The Surprising Effect of WWII on Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas

Green Turtle Cay shark fishermen land the day’s catch along the shore of Settlement Creek. Photo courtesy of the Albert Lowe Museum.

And though Green Turtle Cay’s shark fishermen had no way to know it, events half a world away would soon have a dramatic impact on their new industry. Continue reading

The Beginning of Modern Tourism in Abaco

Every day this week, as a lead up to my Marsh Harbour book signing on Saturday, May 13th, I’ll be sharing historic Abaco photographs and brief excerpts from my new book, Those Who Stayed.

When Abaco’s trusty, long-serving mailboat, the Priscilla, was destroyed in the 1932 hurricane, she was replaced by the Content, a converted luxury yacht.

The mailboat CONTENT - the beginning of modern tourism in Abaco, Bahamas

The mailboat Content (Image courtesy of Eric Wiberg, Mailboats Bahamas, and Earl McMillen, McMillen Yachts, Inc.)

Originally owned by a West Palm Beach millionaire, the 120-foot Content had been purchased by the R.W. Sawyer Co. of Nassau, and converted to a mailboat, captained by Green Turtle Cay’s Roland Roberts and Stanley Weatherford. Continue reading

We Have Liftoff! Those Who Stayed Has Officially Launched

In addition to commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Albert Lowe Museum, An Evening to Remember on January 7 was also the official launch of my coffee table book, Those Who Stayed. I’m pleased to report that it went very, very well!

The Launch of Those Who Stayed - a coffee table book about the history of Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas.

Alton and me at the book signing table

Continue reading

The Story of the Albert Lowe Museum

During my last visit to Green Turtle Cay, I had a long chat with Bahamian artist Alton Lowe about the Albert Lowe Museum — specifically, the structure in which it’s housed. Turns out that the museum building’s history is as fascinating as the artifacts displayed inside.

Albert Lowe Museum, Abaco, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas

Albert Lowe Museum, Green Turtle Cay

Built in 1825 by the Roberts family (who owned a department store on the property where Sid’s Grocery is now located), this two-story Loyalist home features traditional gingerbread-trimmed porches, dormer windows and one of the only cellars on the cay.

Upstairs Bedroom at Museum

Upstairs Bedroom in the Albert Lowe Museum
Photo by Tom Walters

As was common at the time, the house has a separate kitchen building (which remains fully functional), as well as a four-hole latrine. The latter was an indication of the family’s wealth, since it offered correctly sized holes for men, women and children.

Kitchen Building

Separate Kitchen and Latrine Building – Albert Lowe Museum

During the 19th century, when wrecking was a mainstay of the local economy, goods salvaged from shipwrecks were stored in and sold from the house’s cellar (which now serves as the museum’s Wrecker’s Gallery.)

Later in the 19th century, future British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain lived here as a young man prior to purchasing his own home on the cay.

E. Willis Bethel Photo: Albert Lowe Museum

E. Willis Bethel
Photo: Albert Lowe Museum

And in the early 20th century, when merchant ships sailed from New Plymouth to New York packed with pineapples and returned laden with dry goods and other supplies, the stars and stripes flew over the house’s porch as it served as residence and office for U.S. Consul, E. Willis Bethel.

When the 1932 hurricane demolished New Plymouth’s library, this house – one of just a handful of structures in the settlement to survive the storm – served as a library until a new one could be built.

Sadly, by the mid-1970s, the Roberts house had fallen into disrepair. It was being rented out as office space when Alton purchased the home and set about its restoration.

He scoured the Bahamas for architectural elements – like porch spindles from a historic home in Nassau – that were true to the house’s vintage, as well as historically accurate reproduction pieces – such as gingerbread trim, hand-made by his brother, Leonard Lowe.

A year later, before Bahamian, American and British dignitaries and hundreds of onlookers, Alton opened the Albert Lowe Museum — the first museum in the Bahamas.

Sir Clement Maynard Cuts Ribbon

Alton Lowe looks on as the Hon. Clement Maynard, Bahamas Minister of Tourism,
cuts the ribbon to open the Albert Lowe Museum.

Named in honour of Alton’s father, a well-known model ship maker, the museum’s mission was to preserve Bahamian and Abaconian history and serve as an educational tool for young Bahamians.

Opening Day, Albert Lowe Museum Photo: Albert Lowe Museum

Opening Day, Albert Lowe Museum
Photo: Albert Lowe Museum

Today, the museum showcases three centuries’ worth of paintings, sculptures, writings, models, photographs and other artifacts documenting the lives of the Lucayan Indians who first inhabited these islands, and the Loyalists and their slaves who settled here after fleeing post-revolutionary America.

It’s a diverse and fascinating collection, housed in a building that’s played a key role in New Plymouth history for nearly 200 years.

Model ship by Albert Lowe, on display in the museum

Model ship by Albert Lowe on display at the museum
Photo by Tom Walters


Recognize Anyone?

Here are a few more photos from the albums of my grandmother, Lurey (Curry) Albury and my uncle, Cuthbert Albury. I suspect most of these were taken in Abaco, but aside from that, I know very little about them. I’ve included whatever information I have in the captions below each photograph. If you can help identify any of these people or scenes, please post a comment below, or email me.

If I had to guess, I’d say this was Cherokee Sound during the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in the early 1940s.
Anyone know for sure?

This group looks like the staff of a hotel, perhaps. I’m fairly certain that the man seated in the front row third from left
is my uncle, Cuthbert Albury, of Marsh Harbour, Abaco.

I know this is the wedding of Dorothy Albury, daughter of Bissell and Jean Albury, but I don’t know who any of the guests are.
Anyone know?

My cousin, Evan Lowe, and I wonder if this could be my great-great-grandfather, Thomas Wesley (“Pa Wes”) Curry, of Green Turtle Cay….?

Related posts: Putting Names to Faces, Faces in Need of Names , (More) Faces in Need of Names, We’re Getting There