A Quick Stop at Columbus Park, St Ann

According to the history books, Columbus landed in Discovery Bay, St. Ann in 1494. Later, we learned that it wasn’t Discovery Bay but a spot a mile west, at an area known as Columbus Park, now an open-air museum located just off the north coast highway and overlooking the beautiful, expansive bay.

You’ll find several interesting artifacts including a bell from the last steam locomotive used by the Jamaica Railway Corporation, a replica of a Taino canoe, a section of an aqueduct, and a waterwheel.

Columbus Park
Aqueduct at Columbus Park
Columbus Park
Columbus Park
Columbus Park
Columbus Park – Planet locomotive
A Quick Stop at Columbus Park
Mural of Christopher Columbus
A Quick Stop at Columbus Park
View of Discovery Bay from Columbus Park

Though you can see a little of the park from the highway, I can’t count the number of times I’ve driven by it without stopping. Usually, I’d be on my way to some other destination and don’t have time. But in June, I decided it was time.

I was quite surprised to see the park and the number of artifacts there. In speaking with a few locals they said there were plans to turn the park into a heritage site. It seems this plan has been in the works for some time, however I haven’t been able to find out what exactly is planned and when work will begin. Still, it is an interesting display. I doubt there is another similar site on the island.

In addition to Columbus Park, St. Ann can claim a strong connection to the Italian explorer. He spent a year in the parish in 1503 after a ship wreck. It was during this time that the first Spanish settlement, Sevilla la Nueva, was established. Near Seville, as it is now known, is the only statue of Columbus on the island.

Linking up this week with Travel Photo Thursday, that Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox organizes.

37 comments on “A Quick Stop at Columbus Park, St Ann

  1. This looks like an interesting stop, and it’s great that you finally got the chance to check it out. I’m excited to be headed back to Jamaica next year for a road trip around the island, so I’ll definitely be combing through some of your older posts for some tips!

  2. It’s fascinating to see different artifacts from different time period in this park. It’ location must be very strategic to have that much connection to history. I remember reading about Coumbus being stranded in Jamaica for a year. It stuck in my mind bec I found it interesting that he sent some of his men paddling to Hispaniola to get help but the governor of Hispaniola hated Columbus so much that he barred any effort to rescue him and his crew. Ha! Ha! I thought the political drama even way back then was pretty interesting.

  3. It must have felt very satisfying to finally make the stop to investigate Columbus Park. We are guilty of not investigating turn-offs from the highway from Townsville to Brisbane. In future we should take one turn each time just to see what is there. The trouble is they usually take quite a long time to reach. We know a lot about Columbus exploring Australia, but not Jamaica!

  4. Guilty. I’ve done the same thing – driving by a place so many times and then when I stop I realize what a little gem it is and ask myself why I didn’t stop sooner. Another interesting post, Marcia!

  5. From what we learned in school, the Taino Indians, who were native to the many of the islands, welcomed them. Unfortunately, they didn’t last too long. Again, according to our history books, they had no immunity to the infectious diseases the Spanish brought and some died, others from being overworked by the Spanish, who were anxious to find gold.

  6. Hahaha, that’s funny, Jan. I know a lot about Columbus ‘discovering’ several islands in the Caribbean but not Australia!
    When you think of it though, if we stopped at every turn-off, we’d likely miss a lot of the bigger things. What we need is more time, right?

  7. I guess as long as there’s politics, there’s drama, right. I’d forgotten that part of the story about the governor. He was probably jealous that Columbus had the ear and support of the King and Queen.

  8. That’s fantastic, Dana! I remember doing that when I graduated from high school. It was such a fun thing then and still is.
    Let me know how I can help.

  9. Hi Marcia! I would never thought of their being an aqueduct in Jamaica. That’s a mural of him. I wonder if he really did come ashore with his trusty dog! 🙂

  10. I’m surprised about Columbus exploring Australia (from Jan’s comment above). Interesting. Columbus Park is also very interesting. I love these lesser-known historical sites that keep history alive. Cool mural of Columbus.

  11. I finally turned off the Trans-Canada Highway this weekend and discovered a world in a National Park I never knew existed. It’s amazing what can happen.
    This whole Columbus discovering America makes me think he had a very good publicist. So much info detailing all the people that arrived way before him. Still I love the aqueduct at Columbus Park.

  12. Isn’t it funny how often we pass by local attractions without taking the time to explore? I’m glad you finally decided to stop – it seems like such an interesting historical park! I had no idea that Columbus had been stranded in Jamaica for a period of time – I suppose that’s because our history classes north of the border focused more on the English and French explorers than the Spanish – so I have learned something today as well!

  13. Those places that we drive/walk by time and time again without actually going in often surprise us the most! Nice to have such a wonderful park so nearby, Marcia!

  14. Fascinating! Love all of the historical relics especially the aqueduct! I am so happy that there is work underway to protect these lands for generations to come!

  15. Hahaha, that’s a good question, Nancie! I’m not sure but now you’ve got me thinking….
    Actually, we have quite a few remaining aqueducts, some are in better condition than others.

  16. Glad you learned something new, Lisa. I didn’t know (or probably forgot) that Columbus was stranded in Jamaica until I did some research for another post I did on him a few years ago. You know, now that you mention the English and French explorers, I realize they were all busy in the Caribbean and Central/South America looking for gold.

  17. I always learn interesting things about Jamaica from you. I didn’t know Columbus made his way there too or was stranded. This looks like a great park. I like open air museums and especially ones with great views. I really hope they turn it into a heritage site soon.

  18. Hi Marcia,

    Thank you for sharing and love the photos! Anyway, is it free to enter the open-air museum? Or is there a fee that we need to pay?

  19. Oh, wonderful, Mary!
    Columbus made two trips to Jamaica. It was on the second that he was stranded.
    This is a pretty special park that I do hope they’ll turn into an official heritage site.

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