I’ve written about Devon House but only recently returned to do a tour of the Georgian style house, which is located in Kingston. Devon House was built in 1881 for George Stiebel on a property that was known as Devon Penn.
Popularly described as Jamaica’s first black millionaire, Stiebel, the child of German and Jamaican parents, was a carpenter, shipper and gun runner. He struck gold after he invested in a mine in Venezuela and made a fortune, returning to the island a rich man. Stiebel got involved in politics and business, bought 99 properties — it was illegal to own 100 or more – and built Devon House.
The house features classical Georgian lines – simple form, detailing and symmetry. It was built entirely of brick and wood with high ceilings, carved transoms over elegant doors, and ample louvered windows that circulate air efficiently throughout the house. The furniture is a mix of Jamaican, English and French antiques, and reproductions. The large 35-foot ballroom is, without doubt, the mansion’s showpiece with its Broadwood piano, Wedgwood ceiling and English chandelier that Stiebel bought.
Stiebel married Magdalene Baker in 1851 and had two children Sigismund, named after his father, and Theresa. When he died in 1896, the mansion passed to Theresa, then Theresa Jackson, the only surviving child. It was later sold to the Melhados in 1922, then to the Lindos, who lived there until 1965. Devon House was turned over to the government of Jamaica. Today, the mansion, which sits on 11 acres, is known as one of the premier destinations in Kingston to enjoy culture, art and heritage, the lush grounds, and its very popular “I-scream” (ice cream).
The mansion has been restored several times, the latest in 2008. Many of the old buildings from Stiebel’s time are still in use. For example, the Grog Shoppe was the horse and carriage stable and blacksmith’s shop; the Courtyard Shops were servants quarters, and the current Devon House Bakery used to be the kitchen. When I visited recently, workers were replacing the wooden shingles on these buildings.
Devon House Particulars
Tours run on weekdays only with the last tour at 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $10, per person, includes ice cream.
Devon House is located at 26 Hope Road in Kingston.
This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.
29 comments on “Devon House Revisited”
Very beautiful house 🙂 It’s worth another visit.
What a beautiful home and property. I love home tours and we normally try to fit one in when we\’re traveling- if we find one worthwhile nearby.
Beautiful tour Marcia, I loved all the detail work of this home, but really I could enjoy the whole day just lounging in one of those chairs in the veranda with a good travel book!
Wow, I’d lvoe to live in this house! It’s beaiutiful. I like that it;s not stuffy for an old house. It looks so warm that it seems like people still live there. Siebel’s from-rug-to-riches story is interesting. I find it fascinating how much properties he amassed. Does he have other homes like this somewhere in Jamaica?
I still love this house and could see myself living there! Very impressive.
Wow, what a place, Marcia. I loved this tour (and could get used to living in a house like that!) 🙂
What a beautiful home! Thanks for the tour.
The building is beautiful, and what an impressive interior it has!
I love the wooden floors and think I’d be most comfortable – like it’s an option – sitting in one of the comfortable chairs in the foyer. Love the name of the chaise lounge – the fainting couch.
Nice touch with ice cream at the end.
I always enjoy touring grand homes. (My kids? Not so much.) This looks like a beautiful one. I’m so glad that you had a photo of the ballroom. When you mentioned the Wedgewood ceiling, I was so curious about what that looks like.
I love that the tour includes icecream! Looks like a fantastic house and I like Stiebel’s style – owning 99 houses 🙂
Lovely captures! I would certainly like to visit the place, looks interesting indeed. Thanks for the pictures Marcia, have a lovely day 🙂
What a beautiful residence and it looks like a wonderful tour. I remember the Georgian style. Glad you finally did the tour. How awesome is that ballroom and I especially love the ceiling art. I like how much light there is coming in to this place. Thanks for the tour!
You’re welcome, Mary. It was interesting getting a peek into the way the wealthy lived back then.
The ballroom was very impressive. It wasn’t difficult to imagine the parties that took place there.
You’re welcome, Arti. Devon House is quite an interesting place and beautiful landmark.
Stiebel was an astute businessman, owning all those properties. The mansion was the jewel in his empire.
Going to Devon House for ice cream is the thing to do, it’s a hit with people of all ages.
So do I, Michele. I’m not surprised that your kids don’t.
It’s definitely an impressive ballroom. I had no idea that Wedgwood did ceilings until I saw it here.
I think you’d be quite comfortable there, Leigh.
Apparently, women’s corsets were so tight, they could hardly breathe and they fainted a lot.
Yes, the ice cream is a lovely touch.
It definitely looks like there is more than a bit of culture and heritage to be found in this property. It’s good to know that after being sold several times the Jamaican government owns and can take care of it now. What a great cultural jewel.
It definitely does, Andrew. I really enjoyed the tour.
You’re welcome, Cindy.
It’s quite manageable, not like some of the others that would need a large staff to keep it going.
And the surroundings are quite attractive.
It’s a beautiful house, Debbie, and very inviting. Yes, it’d be great to live there.
He was quite an interesting man, for sure. From the research I’ve done, this is the only house and property from his collection that remains. The others have been sold.
Thanks, Noel. And a glass of lemonade – or whatever cold drink you prefer.
I think you’d like this one, Tonya. It is a beautiful place and definitely worthwhile visiting.
It sure was, Muza-chan.
Beautiful Georgian style property, obviously well maintained. You say it was turned over to the Jamaican Government, was this as a gift?
It is, Richard. The government prevented its sale to developers but I haven’t found anything that confirms its sale to the government. I assume it might have but can’t say for sure.
Thanks for your visit.
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