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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

99 Steps... Um... Well, 103 steps actually

Don't bother to count em, thousands before you have, and the published total is 103 steps. No one knows why the incorrect name, but it does have a more romantic sound to it. So, the 99 Steps it is. Located between Blackbeard's Tower (it's coming on this blog soon) and the Governor's Offices, it is a very steep climb to the top.

Much of the city's historical landmarks are at the top of the stairs, so it is entertaining to watch the cruise ship tourists struggle to climb.

Blackbeard's castle (like the number, badly named, but I digress and I am ahead of myself), the Rum Factory, Britannia House, the Three Queens Statue, at the base of the stairs is an Amber Museum and a walking tour of the grounds starts up the stairs.

So, the tourists make the climb. It is the shortest way to get to Jackie's office from our temporary housing. So, I walk them 3 times a day.

First thing you will notice, the stairs are very uneven, and the bricks are different colors. Before the infrastructure of the city was improved with roads (which is another story), this staircase was the fastest way to many of the busiest homes on the island. So, it was used as a mule pull. the broken bricks, wear and ruts were caused by the carts going up daily.

You will also notice the different colors of the bricks. There was not a brick manufacturing business on the island when the steps were built. The bricks were used as ballast on the ships coming to the New World (ships would arrive empty and return with the fruits of the local labor (Molasses to Rum to Slaves)). These bricks were then off loaded and replaced with kegs of rum. The different colors came from the holds of different ships.

But for those out of shape tourists, take a moment and enjoy the flours that line the walk. There are over a dozen varieties of local beauties...

And the view of the harbor from the top makes it all worth the trip...


  1. I have to admit I started dreaming at the mention of the rum factory and had to go back and start to read all over LOL - great history lesson and great exercise too!

  2. Beautiful photos, Dave. I've read your posts and it all sounds so interesting; you may not want to come home!