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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cockburn Town, Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands — Caribbean Region (Atlantic Ocean)
 

The History of the West

( Grand Turk )

 
 
The History of the West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 2011
1. The History of the West Marker
Inscription. The western side of Grand Turk is the leeward side of the island. This is the side protected from high winds and storms. Because of this, it was the primary anchorage for the sailing vessels that came and went from Grand Turk for hundreds of years.

The west coast is littered with artifacts left by these ships. Anchors, cannons, stone ballast, and even bottles lay sometimes within a few feet of shore. These remnants of our maritime past can be seen almost anywhere you snorkel on the west side of Grand Turk.

Why Did People Settle Here?
From 1678 to 1964 there was one export in Grand Turk, sea salt. Bermudians, in their first sailing sloops, came seasonally and then settled permanently in the 1790s. The salt shipped from the Turks Islands was an important part of the British Atlantic trade system. When loading, ships anchored inside the western reef and small lighters transferred the salt from huge piles stored near the downtown dock.

Not all anchors found along the coast are evidence of a wreck. Crews occasionally had to cut their anchors away. One of the earliest references to a ship at Grand Turk notes the loss of an anchor.
Ships Log: Henry
Friday, January 28th 1865
Fair weather to the north. Early our boat to the Northern Key to see if there was any salt made. Between 9:00 and
The History of the West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 2011
2. The History of the West Marker
10:00 had a tornado at WNW blowing very fresh which occasioned us to let go our grapnel and chain under boat. At 11:00 the boat returned from the Northern Key bringing with them several Iguanas, but found no salt.


What You Can See Here...

The schooner David Morris was driven ashore during the hurricane in 1926. The remnants of this shipwreck can still be seen just off the seawall in front of the National Museum. There are also two anchors embedded in the coral nearby.
Behind you, the National Museum has displays and artifacts that include our unique maritime past. This includes the Molasses Reef Wreck, the oldest ship to ever to be found in the Western Hemisphere.
 
Erected by Turks and Caicos National Museum.
 
Location. 21° 28.277′ N, 71° 8.856′ W. Marker is in Cockburn Town, Grand Turk. Marker is on Front Street just from Stonehaven Alley, on the left when traveling north. Click for map. located 1 block south of Murphy Alley. Marker is in this post office area: Cockburn Town, Grand Turk 00109-9000, Turks and Caicos Islands.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sunnyside (within shouting distance of this marker); Free Mason's Lodge (within shouting distance of this marker); Miramar
Shiping from Turks Islands, BWI image. Click for full size.
The History of the West Marker
3. Shiping from Turks Islands, BWI
(within shouting distance of this marker); Crofton Coverley House (about 120 meters away, measured in a direct line); Grant Building (about 120 meters away); Timco (about 120 meters away); Todds (about 150 meters away); Victoria Public Library (approx. 0.3 kilometers away). Click for a list of all markers in Cockburn Town.
 
Regarding The History of the West. Cockburn Town is home to the Turks & Caicos National Museum, which is housed in the colonial-era Guinep House, on Front Street. The house is believed to be over 180 years old and much of its structural material came from local shipwrecks, including a ship's mast, which is one of the building's main supports. The site was donated to the Museum in 1990.

Among the National Museum's collections is an exhibit of shipwrecks, including the oldest known European shipwreck in the Americas, the Molasses Reef Wreck, dated 1505.

Other exhibits detail the history of the Lucayans, the Space Race, Turks and Caicos postage stamps, Slavery and the Slave Trade, the Sisal and Salt industries, Royal Events, as well as a general history of the islands.
Turks and Caicos Museum, as mentioned image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 2011
4. Turks and Caicos Museum, as mentioned
The museum also maintains a garden, which is adjacent to the Guinep House.

Also of interest are the museum's research projects, including its Message in a Bottle Project, recording nearly 40 years' worth of messages to wash upon the shores of Grand Turk.(Wikipedia)
 
Also see . . .  Discover a Wreck: More about Molasses Reef Wreck. (Submitted on February 18, 2011, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels
 
an Iguana, as mentioned on marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 2011
5. an Iguana, as mentioned on marker
The West Coast of Grand Turk, as mentioned image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, October 23, 2008
6. The West Coast of Grand Turk, as mentioned
Seen here from the balcony of The Turks & Caicos National Museum
Columbus Landfall Marine National Park image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media
7. Columbus Landfall Marine National Park
The area along most of the Grand Turk's western shore, from the high water mark out to 100 meters in depth, is protected as the Columbus Landfall Marine National Park. The park boundaries exclude Grand Turk's Cruise Center, at which can be seen in the distance on the left the MS Carnival Destiny.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 741 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   6, 7. submitted on , by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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