The Silos of Hatchet Bay

Many years ago when we had first come to Eleuthera, I saw the stone silos in Hatchet Bay dating back to the farming days and I had an idea. These were structure that had been here for many years and many hurricanes and had survived. They were iconic spots on the island and being a builder I saw an opportunity.

What I saw was a series of stone silos that had survived for many years through all kinds of hurricanes and weather. They could be adapted and turned into residences. The views would be spectacular as well as unique but as things turn out it wasn’t to be.

Below is a video I shot showing the area that it encompassed which I believe is roughly around 2,000 acres of land.

If you don’t know the history of the silos I’ll give you a brief overview.

“The Hatchet Bay Plantation was established in 1936 by Mr. Austin Levy, which produced dairy and poultry products. It was purchased by the Bahamas Government in 1975 and subsequently controlled by the Bahamas Development Corporation. It is now closed, but the Silos stand tall as a reminder of how wealthy and striving the community once was.

It is also home to the Hatchet Bay Packing House, that is run by the Bahamas Department of Agriculture. Pineapples, cabbages, onions, watermelons, pumpkins, sweet peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and cucumbers are some of the produce that is shipped to New Providence from Eleuthera.”

From all that I have heard, when the Hatchet Bay Company was operating, it was referred to as the “Breadbasket of the Bahamas” because of the amount of produce that it produced. It was also a large employer of Bahamians on the island.

“With fond memories of the Bahamas from his honeymoon, Austin Levy set up a dairy and poultry farm in 1936 on thousands of acres at Hatchet Bay. He took the place of a group of retired British officers who had started the original Hatchet Bay Company a decade earlier with the idea of quarrying limestone building blocks. It was this company that cut the channel from the sea to an inland lagoon, creating Hatchet Bay’s hurricane-proof harbour.

Levy imported cattle from his Sherman Stock Farm in Massachusetts and supplied milk, eggs and ice cream to the Nassau market for decades. Even after he died in 1951, his plantation continued to employ hundreds and provided much of the infrastructure for nearby Alice Town. In addition to agricultural facilities, the operation featured restaurants, stores, a yacht club and a power plant.’ You can read more about this and other businesses that were formed during this period of time here.

Leon Levy died in 1951 and In 1975 the government took over the farm which went into decline until the point where it was no longer operated.

 

 

This article was published on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 in the following categories: Featured Articles

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