One of Jamaica’s most celebrated historic landmarks, the Devon House Mansion is the architectural dream of Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel. Having gained his wealth from gold mining in South America, Stiebel was among three wealthy Jamaicans who constructed elaborate homes during the late 19th century at the corner of Trafalgar Road and Hope Road. This corner fittingly became known as the Millionaire’s Corner.
The Devon House mansion is a beautiful blend of Caribbean and Georgian architecture, furnished with an expertly curated collection of Jamaican, English and French antique pieces and reproductions. The Mansion overlooks a vast expanse of perfectly manicured and lush, green lawns. Stiebel’s legacy lives on with the beautifully maintained Devon House, which was declared a national monument in 1990 by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. This was done under the instructions of the Rt. Hon. Edward Seaga, who was then Minister of Development and Welfare with responsibility for cultural affairs, and later Prime Minister of Jamaica.
Devon House has since evolved from being home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel, to being synonymous with fun, family entertainment and recreation in Kingston, where guests can tour, shop, dine and relax.
600 acres of glebe was awarded to Rev Zellers by King Charles II, of which Devon Penn was a part. The glebe lands stretched from the St. Andrew Parish Church, north to Sandy Gully, encompassed Old Church Road and included the grounds of the present Kings House. To the south it bordered Trafalgar Penn, now occupied by the British High Commission.
The Rectory was sold to George Stiebel. The Devon House mansion was then built by Stiebel, Jamaica’s first black millionaire, who earned his riches through gold mining in South America.
The Rectory was built by the St Andrew Parish Church on the Devon Penn. The rectory was occupied by the church’s Rectors for the next 128 years.
The Devon House was sold to Reginald Melhado, a successful entrepreneur. The final sale agreement, however, did not include the 51 acres, which the Stiebels purchased from the Anglican Church, but instead, 11 acres of the land. The remaining 40 acres was subdivided to form such roadways as the Waterloo and Devon Roads.
The Devon House was sold to Cecil Lindo. He was known as a smart and savvy businessperson, who had investments in the alcohol industry. One such was the purchase of the J. Wray and Nephew and Monymusk Estate.
Agnes Lindo had opted to live in New York following her husband’s death. The Devon House Mansion was then left vacant.
The then Minister of Welfare and Development, the Hon. Edward Seaga, became aware of plans to demolish the Devon House Mansion. He agreed that the beautiful house could not be bulldozed by developers. As such, he placed a restriction order on the property under the National Trust Act which ceased the demolition of the mansion. The Government of Jamaica then purchased the Devon House property.
Prime Minister, the Hon. Michael Manley opened Devon House as the National Gallery
A complete refurbishing of Devon House was done by the Government of Jamaica, led by Tom Cancannon. The newly refurbished Devon House mansion was then opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Devon House was designated as a National Monument by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust
Devon House named the 4th Best Place to enjoy ice cream in the world by the National Geographic, in their book Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe
Devon House launched as Jamaica’s First Gastronomy Center by the Hon. Edmund Barlett, Minister of Tourism