By Linda Straker
In recent times it’s a place known for its recreational purposes, but back in 1892, the place we now called Quarantine Point was not a recreational location.
It was not even called Quarantine Point!
Several buildings were constructed there in 1892, built to quarantine and isolate the victims of smallpox, yellow fever, malaria, and other communicable diseases common in the region at the time.
Those were the early years following the abolition of slavery.
At the time it was known as Goat Point or Long Point, and its location as an isolated peninsula on the South West coast of Grenada was ideal.
As the observation centre for the port of St George’s for arriving indentured servants and British sailors, anyone arriving in Grenada and suspected of being infected with a communicable disease was immediately brought to the station for observation.
The Quarantine Station was used as an isolation centre until the mid-20th century, by which time most of the dreaded diseases were eradicated or under control.
The research has not shown what happened to the people who died at the quarantine station isolation area. It is therefore not known if a portion of the area was used as a burial ground.
Some of the buildings became the quarantine area for an outbreak of leprosy and tuberculosis, while the isolation area for these two diseases was located south of Quarantine station at Petit Cabrits Point.
That Leper Settlement, as it was called, operated between 1928 and 1957. The location was within the vicinity close to the Morne Rouge Bay according to records from regional health organisations.
According to the A–Z of Grenada Heritage written by Angus Martin, beginning in the early 1900s the buildings at Quarantine station which was used by the medical staff were frequently used as a government rest house.
There is some uncertainty as to the exact period for which the Quarantine Station was used solely as a public health facility, and Grenada has never established a quarantine/isolation since that time.
It is recorded that the facility was used on 8 February 1896 as a picnic venue for visitors to the races from Trinidad, and in 1915–16 as a training camp for Windward Islands troops of the British West Indies Regiment of World War I.
During World War I, it housed the Grenadian detachment of the British West Indies Regiment.
During the Grenada Revolution, the People’s Revolutionary Government established a military camp there in the building called ‘The Big House.’ It was called Camp Boney.
By the late 1980s, all that remained were the foundations of the original buildings.
Presently, the relative seclusion, serenity, and commanding view of the site have secured its position as a popular picnic site.
Information from the Rotary Club shows that in 2002, the Government of that time leased the area to the Club for 33 years, for the development of a public park to be called Quarantine Station Recreation Park.
So the next time you visit the Quarantine station recreational park, remember its history.
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