Tag: History

A Sad Loss for Green Turtle Cay

Green Turtle Cay lost a much-loved stalwart of the community with the recent passing of Iva Lowe Scholtka.

Born on June 13, 1935, Iva was the second of four children and the only daughter of Albert Lowe and Annie Curry Lowe. She was a happy, outgoing child who loved to read and write, and was rarely spotted without a book in her hands.

Amy Roberts All Ages School circa 1950

Iva Lowe (third from left) with her classmates at the Amy Roberts All Ages School. Teacher Amy Roberts is second from left, headmaster Jack Ford is at the back right, and Iva’s brother Alton is in overalls in the front row.

“Iva was very smart and popular,” says her younger brother, Alton Lowe. “She was a real doer and an organizer, always gathering friends together for beach outings and parties. She and Alice Gates Albury would organize dances.” And, with the help of local commissioner, Mr. Gerassimus, Iva and Alice arranged Saturday night movies for the community.

The Albert Lowe Museum’s Forty-Year Facelift

Please note that, to allow for the maintenance and repairs described below, the Albert Lowe Museum is closed from August 1 to October 31, 2018.

There’s big stuff going on at Green Turtle Cay’s Albert Lowe Museum these days. Museum founder (and my cousin) Alton Lowe jokingly refers to it as a “forty-year facelift.”

Seriously though, having recently marked the museum’s 40th anniversary, Alton’s taking steps to ensure the museum remains part of the Green Turtle Cay community for another forty years and more.

Albert Lowe Museum's 40-Year Facelift

New shingles arrive for the Albert Lowe Museum

Job one has been physical maintenance. The museum may be forty-something, but the building that houses it is nearly 200 years old. And before anything could be done inside, the roof needed replacing, to protect exhibits and archives from potential water damage.

Reader Q&A – Anyone Recognize This Book?

Does Anyone Recognize This Book About Abaco

I received the following query from a reader yesterday. I don’t know the book she describes. Does anyone recognize it?

“I purchased a book many years ago written by a German woman who traveled to the Abacos with her husband who was a doctor. I’m guessing around 1940s. She died before she finished it. Her daughter found the manuscript and finished the book. I loved reading the book so much I passed it around to a friend and who passed it to a friend and so on. I cannot remember the title or author. I wonder if you can help. Love to track it down.”

If you know the name and/or author of the book she’s looking for, please respond in the comment section below. Thanks!

The Salt Pig

The things I learn through this blog! I received some interesting and creative guesses as to what our unidentified object was — everything from bee fogger to watering can to bed warmer and even a bed pan.

Can you help identify this find from Green Turtle Cay's Albert Lowe Museum?

This salt pig, donated by Pat and John Robertshaw, is on permanent display at Green Turtle Cay’s Albert Lowe Museum.

But thanks to S. Allwood and David Chudley, we now know it’s a salt pig.

“Those Who Stayed” Shortlisted for Indie Book Award

I received a bit of great news recently. My book, Those Who Stayed: The Tale of the Hardy Few Who Built Green Turtle Cay has been named a finalist by the Next Generation Indie Book Awards program.

Presented by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group, the Next Generation Indie Book Awards (NGIBA) program recognizes and honours excellence in independent publishing. Each year, more than 60 monetary prizes and trophies are awarded to independent authors and publishers worldwide.

News from GTC’s Albert Lowe Museum

If you haven’t visited Green Turtle Cay’s Albert Lowe Museum lately, you should definitely drop by and meet our new volunteer tour guide, Esther Bethel.

A descendant of the Roberts family who built the home which now houses the museum, Esther would love to give you a tour, share her knowledge of Abaco’s history and show you original oil paintings by world-renowned Bahamian artist (and museum founder) Alton Lowe.

Last Call for Christmas Shoppers

Hi, all. Just a friendly reminder that there’s just one week left to order 2018 Green Turtle Cay Wall Calendars or copies of Those Who Stayed for guaranteed delivery before Christmas.

2018 GREEN TURTLE CAY WALL CALENDAR

Featuring thirteen colourful Green Turtle Cay photographs, this 12-month, spiral-bound wall calendar is printed on premium, glossy card stock.

It measures 8.5” x 11” (11” x 17” when open), and includes public holidays for the Bahamas, U.S. and Canada. Cost: $24, which includes shipping.


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THOSE WHO STAYED 

A full-colour, hard-cover, 185-page coffee table book featuring 200+ historic photographs and two dozen original oil paintings by Bahamian artist Alton Lowe.

Visitors often describe New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay as a charming fishing village, its narrow streets, clapboard homes and colourful flowers reminiscent of a New England town. But beneath this sweet façade is a past of piracy, poverty and privilege.

Hints of New Plymouth’s history are all around. A rusted anchor at Settlement Point. Two cannon standing guard on the public dock. Broken tombstones on the beach.  An old jail with stairs that lead nowhere.

For more than a thousand years, settlers have come here, drawn by the safety of the land and the bounty of the sea. And as the waves contour the shore, so have these migrants shaped this tiny cay.

By fate and occasionally by force, most were carried away.  A resilient few remained. This is their story.

Cost: $79.

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Questions? Contact me.

Thank you, and Merry Christmas to all!

Last Call! Just one week left to order 2018 Green Turtle Cay Wall Calendars and copies of Those Who Stayed for delivery before Christmas.

Those Who Stayed Goes to Show & Tell

Those Who Stayed Goes to Show and Tell A few weeks ago, I received this photo from one of my best friends in Vancouver.

Her seven-year-old daughter, Zoe, chose my book Those Who Stayed, to bring to school for show and tell. How cool is that?!

Zoe told her grade two classmates that the book was written by her mom’s friend. She explained that Those Who Stayed is about Green Turtle Cay and its history, and she showed a number of photographs from the book.

According to Zoe, the kids really liked the cover image, a painting by Bahamian artist Alton Lowe.

Zoe, I’m sooo touched that you took my book to share with your class. Tom and I can’t wait to have you come and visit Green Turtle Cay for yourself!

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Honouring the Shared Loyalist Heritage of New Plymouth and Key West

As we count down the days to the upcoming Island Roots Heritage Festival, I thought I’d take a look back at the very first Island Roots events, held nearly 40 years ago.

Planning the First Island Roots Festivals -- James Mastin, Betty Bruce and Alton Lowe

Planning the first Island Roots events — sculptor, James Mastin, historian, Betty Bruce and artist, Alton Lowe

The original Island Roots concept was conceived shortly after Bahamian artist and Green Turtle Cay resident Alton Lowe opened the Albert Lowe Museum in 1976.

The morning after the museum’s opening ceremonies, Florida historian Betty Bruce (whose own ancestors came from Green Turtle Cay) asked Alton what he had planned as a follow-up. As their conversation evolved, so did the idea of a festival that would honour the common Loyalist roots of the residents of Green Turtle Cay and Key West, Florida.

Program Schedule copyIn the late 18th century, having suffered  persecution in the aftermath of the American Revolution, many British Loyalists fled to the Bahamas, hoping to establish plantations. Sadly, many of these settlers were unprepared for the hardships of 18th century island living. When it became clear that the local soil was in fact unsuitable for large-scale farming, many packed up their belongings, their families and in some cases, even their houses, and returned to the U.S., where they helped establish Key West.

In the months following Betty and Alton’s original conversation, their idea gained popularity and plans began to take shape, both in Key West and on Green Turtle Cay.

A year later, in November 1977, Island Roots festivals were held in both communities.

More than thirty thousand people attended the Key West event, where they enjoyed art exhibits, a fashion show, a musical performance by the Royal Bahamian Police Band, a Junkanoo parade — and a slice of the world’s largest key lime pie.

Alton Lowe and Michelle Roberts of Green Turtle Cay present Key West Mayor, Charles McCoy with the New Plymouth flag

At the Key West festival, Alton Lowe and Michelle Roberts of Green Turtle Cay present local mayor, Charles McCoy, with the New Plymouth flag

In commemoration of their common heritage, and with the support of both governments, New Plymouth and Key West proclaimed themselves sister cities.

Bahamian MP, George Smith, presenting the sister city proclamation to Key West Mayor, Charles McCoy.

Bahamian MP, George Smith, presenting the sister city proclamation to Key West Mayor, Charles McCoy.

The celebrations continued the following day, as hundreds of visitors descended upon the New Plymouth settlement. The two-day inaugural Green Turtle Cay Island Roots Festival featured Bahamian music, dance and dramatic performances, a traditional Maypole plaiting and, of course, a Junkanoo rush.

Subsequent Island Roots festivities have been staged over the years and more recently, the Island Roots Heritage Festival has become an annual Green Turtle Cay event, celebrating New Plymouth’s Loyalist heritage and relationship with Key West, and reuniting Abaconians with family members from the U.S., Canada and beyond.

To learn more about the inaugural Island Roots Heritage Festivals, check out the current exhibit in the Wrecker’s Gallery at the Albert Lowe Museum.

All photos courtesy of the Albert Lowe Museum.

Related: Island Roots: Celebrating All Things Abaco, Island Roots Festival: Bridging Past and Future, Celebrating Our Bahamian Culture: Island Roots Heritage Festival 2014

Do You Recognize These Folks?

Bahamas, Abaco, Green Turtle Cay, History, Genaeology, PhotographMy cousin Evan Lowe (grandson of Pa Herman’s sister, Aunt Bessie) recently sent me this image. Evan is 99% sure that the woman on the right is his grandmother, Bessie Caroline Curry Lowe (b. 1903, Green Turtle Cay), but he’d like to confirm this and identify the other people in the photo.

If you recognize any of these people and/or you recognize the setting where the picture was taken, please let me know. Thanks!

Celebrating Our Bahamian Culture: Island Roots 2014

Bahamian music legend, Eddie Minnis, at IRHF2013

Bahamian music legend, Eddie Minnis, at IRHF2013

Food. Music. Religion. Art. Politics. And of course, Junkanoo. Though the world knows us for breathtaking beaches, spectacular boating and fishing and some of the best diving on the planet, these are the things about which Bahamians are most passionate, the things that shape our collective identity. And, under the theme, “Celebrating Our Culture,” they’ll be saluted at this year’s Island Roots Heritage Festival, being held May 2-4 in Green Turtle Cay.

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Junkanoo Performer, IRHF 2011

Though the event program is still being finalized, the festival committee says this year’s Island Roots will feature a diverse selection of Bahamian musicians, artists, artisans and authors, popular local dishes and culinary delights, traditional island games, informative displays and presentations and a family tree research center.

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A festival tradition — plaiting the Maypole — IRHF 2013

Island Roots allows visitors to experience authentic Bahamian culture and gives Bahamians the opportunity to learn about and celebrate their individual and collective histories.

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The Royal Bahamas Police Force Band — IRHF 2011

Of course, staging this much-loved, three-day festival is not inexpensive. To help with the myriad of event costs (equipment rentals, printing, transportation and accommodation for dozens of presenters and performers, just for starters), the festival committee has planned a number of fundraising events. If you’d like to support the Island Roots Heritage Festival, here’s how:

IRHF Cookout FlyerAttend the Fundraising Grill Out on Saturday, March 8: A grill-out will be held this Saturday evening at the basketball court in the center of New Plymouth. If you’re on the cay, please drop by for dinner and dessert. Grilling begins at 5 pm.

Donate a Raffle Prize: The festival committee is seeking prize donations for their annual raffle. If you’re able to donate merchandise, gift certificates or services, they would much appreciate it. If you’d like to contribute a raffle prize, let me know, and I’ll forward contact information for the festival committee.

Donate Cash: To make a cash donation, large or small, drop me a note and I’ll put you in touch with the committee.

If you’re planning to attend this year’s Island Roots festival and haven’t yet reserved your flights, accommodations, golf cart or rental boat, better get on it. I hear they’re booking up fast. Hope to see you there!

Related Posts: Green Turtle Cay 101: Getting Here, Green Turtle Cay 101: Staying Here, Island Roots Heritage Festival: Celebrating All Things Abaco, Island Roots Heritage Festival: Bridging Past and Future, An Unscheduled Performance at Island Roots

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