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Oakton House Jamaica

The Oakton House, a stately wooden structure caught my eye. Located in Half Way Tree, Kingston, it’s a stone’s throw from the Old Courthouse that I wrote about a few posts ago.

It was probably built in the 19th century, during the height of Jamaica’s Georgian period (1702-1910), but no records have been found to show who the original owner was.

Oakton House

Oakton House

Oakton House has seen many incarnations. At one time, it was the rest stop for soldiers who were on their way from Spanish Town, the old capital, to their camp in the Blue Mountains.  It has been an exclusive school, was a guest house in the 1920s, and a private residence for a famous baker, W.E. Powell, who had his business a few doors away.

Oakton House

Oakton House

Oakton House was sold by Powell’s family to the Kingston & St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) in the 1930s and was used as a fire station until the 1960s. It was refurbished around 2003.

It wasn’t hard to miss the barbershop sign on the front of Oakton House — I was shocked to see it. The lower level is now a Burger King restaurant and from what I’ve read, they are now responsible for the building’s refurbishment.

Oakton House

Oakton House

Oakton is a typical Georgian structure with louvered, jalousie and sash windows which can be adjusted to regulate the flow of air and keep the building cool. It also has side verandahs with wide overhangs that shield the house from the rain and sun. The arches of the brick undercroft were originally open to allow proper ventilation for the wooden floors and upstairs living quarters.

Oakton House is on the register of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust as a historic property.


This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.


  1. Beautiful 🙂 I love the stairs…

  2. Very nice. Is there a garden out the back?
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  3. Jackie Smith

    It is nice to think that corporations like Burger King could be instrumental in saving some of the wonders in the world like this one. A most interesting post Marcia!
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  4. Vera Marie Badertscher

    My, they did love stairways, didn’t they?
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  5. I would love to live in this house!
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  6. Andrew Graeme Gould

    What a charming piece of architecture, Marcia. Interesting background information.

  7. Love love love the teal window frames. Once I get that beach house I’ve always dreamed about, I will have teal window frames! ha
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  8. What a lovely place to visit and unwind. 😉
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  9. What abeautiful architecture! I like the slanted staircases that make for a grand entrance. I can’t believe it’s now a barber shop and a Burger King? That may be the fanciest Burger King establishment around. I hope they maintain it properly.
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  10. Love the colors and the beautiful staircase in the front.
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  11. It’s great that Burger King are looking after the building but at the same time, it’s a shame these commercial businesses have their signs spoiling the facade.
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  12. What a cute building. I love the blue-turquoise detail. Are new buildings designed to allow for cool air flow or do people rely on air conditioning nowadays?
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  13. Oh, Leigh, I wish! It’s one of my biggest disappointments that we’re not copying any of these details that would help keep our homes and offices cool. Offices, for example, depend a lot on a/c.

  14. I agree, Jenny. It really infuriates me to see it and makes me wonder what having a building designated heritage really means here.

  15. I agree, Becca. It’s a beautiful feature. A lot of the Georgian buildings have that staircase outside, sometimes curved, sometimes straight.

  16. It is quite beautiful, Mary. The staircase is a lovely feature of the house.
    Would have been lovely if it had been turned into a museum.

  17. Very interesting. There really are surprisingly many different influences and architectural styles in Jamaica (surprising for such a small country, that is).

    ps Sorry about the Burger King. 🙁
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  18. Love the double staircase and the porch! It looks perfect; I would enjoy being out in the verandah on hot summer months, drinking beer or something 😀
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  19. I agree, Aleah. The staircase does give the house an elegant feel and the verandah is perfect for a hot day and a glass of something cold.

  20. Thanks, Sophie. I agree. Even I didn’t realize how many different styles and influences there are.

  21. I agree. It’s a really beautiful place. Seeing it, it’s not hard to imagine what life was like then.

  22. It’s such a sweet touch, Jade, I hope you get that beach house soon!

  23. Thanks, Andrew!

  24. Me too, Debbie! It’s really a beautiful place.

  25. Yes, they did, Vera! I’m not sure why though.

  26. Thanks, Jackie. I was surprised to see Burger King there but it was good to hear they’re responsible for its upkeep.

  27. I didn’t go to the back but a garden would have been a nice touch.

  28. Oh, those stairs are elegant.

  29. What a handsome building, love the regularity of the windows and the symmetry of the stairs in front, elegant and unusual feature. I would have loved to have stayed there when it was a guest house, feeling the fans turning overhead, the breezes coming through the windows. Kudos to Burger King for taking on the maintenance of a historic building.

  30. That has to be the nicest Burger King I’ve ever seen, ha! I love the idea of it as a guest house…seems too pretty not to be enjoyed by visitors!
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  31. Looks like a nice place to unwind. I will have to visit Jamaica some day especially considering that it is one of the top countries on the Happy Planet Index.

  32. Sherry

    I think my favorite is the wrap around patio. I’ve always wanted to have something like that in my house, even if it doesn’t completely wrap around. One day, perhaps I’ll finally get it. The arched stairway on the outside (instead of the inside) is genius.
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  33. Cathy Sweeney

    Pretty house. I love the front staircases. Interesting history, too.
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  34. It looks such a peaceful place! I’ve never been to Jamaica before but it’s already on my bucket list… I wish I could have the chance to get there soon…
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  35. I hope you do, Niki. I think you’ll enjoy it.

  36. The staircase is so elegant, it really makes the house.

  37. A wrap-around should be a requirement of houses built in the tropics. It’s the best place to spend an afternoon, especially with a glass of lemonade.

  38. Yes, we are! You must visit, Christine!

  39. You’re right, Jess, it is a nice location.
    Like you, I love the idea of Oakton as a guest house.

  40. It certainly is a handsome building, Lesley, and Burger King is to be congratulated for taking on its maintenance.

  41. What a simple yet beautiful house. And I love its name too, classy!!!
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  42. That it is, Arti. Simple, beautiful and classy.

  43. I know people have already said this, but I love the staircase. It creates a new perspective at each angle it is looked at. I really like the history behind the building; it makes things quite mysterious! And I am really curious about the interior of the building. Nice post.

  44. Thanks, Roxy. It is a beautiful staircase. It add so much character to the building. Glad you like the post.
    I plan to look at the interior next time.

  45. When you do, please let me know. I would love to see some pics 🙂

  46. I’m curious about the inside too. Will definitely share my pics.