Cockburn Town, Turks & Caicos Islands

Cockburn Town, Turks & Caicos Islands

Cockburn Town is the oldest permanent settlement, having been initially settled by sea salt producers from Bermuda in 1681 and predates many other European settlements in the Caribbean, including Kingston and Nassau. The rise of the town was mainly due to the sea salt industry that once operated on Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos. At a time when salt was a valuable commodity, the natural shallow ponds in the Turks and Caicos were easy to adapt to the evaporation of ocean water.

The income from salt exports and the necessity of infrastructure were what created Cockburn Town. The architecture of the older structures in town was heavily influenced by the British Colonial Bermudian style. Construction of these buildings would typically be of formed limestone blocks mortared together, with an interior and exterior coating of smooth stucco to prevent the soft limestone from deteriorating. Roofs and floors would usually be made of wood planks. Duke and Front streets are lined with old Bermudian-style buildings, many of which have been restored and converted into villas and inns. The homes are bounded by stone-walled courtyards and streets lighted with quaint iron street lamps.

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