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Heritage house opens

The beautiful Rankine Heritage House at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is now open to the public, offering a fascinating glimpse into Cayman’s past.

Visitors and locals can walk through the historical Caymanian home which is more than 100 years old, and experience what life used to be like.

The small Caymanian home was donated to the Botanic Park by Julius Rankine from East End in the mid-90s. The house was restored, a sand garden developed, as well as traditional ornamental and medicinal plants added. The project was spearheaded by Amanda Bush and John Lawrus at the Botanic Park.

“It is a very sweet little house and seems like stepping back into history,” Ms Bush, accounts officer said. “It was a joint effort by all staff at the Botanic Park and they were eager and pleased to contribute to bringing it back to its original look.

“We are equally pleased with the feedback from our visitors. Many can relate to the bygone era and recognise the vintage objects and remark that it is like their grandparents’ home.

“It’s success will be that it brings back fond memories for the older folks and be an educational tool for the younger ones, and its appeal for the park.”

Mr. Lawrus, general manager, said: “I am extremely proud to see the Rankine House opened up again, for all of our visitors to enjoy and reflect upon the history of the Cayman Islands.

“It was great to see all staff members come together in this important project which was coordinated by Amanda Bush. The importance of preserving historic buildings only goes in one direction, as once they are gone there is no chance to renovate or save the building.

“By seeing period buildings, whether related to someone or being culturally significant, visitors and long-time residents are able to view the aesthetic and cultural history of a time that has now passed. We hope the Rankine House continues to be part of the important cultural history of the Cayman Islands which needs to be maintained and shared with all.”

James Miller, maintenance and tour guide, said that he was excited to be able to show people Cayman’s heritage.

“I’m looking forward to doing the tours with people and showing them how we lived in the old days,” Mr. Miller said. “There’s still a lot to do. I have to finish planting the corn and banana plants out the back and prepare salt fish to hang in the kitchen. We’re also going to plant sugar cane and get a cane compressor like how they use to do, as well as have a thatch rope making station.”

Patrick Thompson is director at the Tourism Attraction Board and said that he was delighted that Rankine House is now open to the public.

“The manager and staff have done a tremendous job in preserving the house since it was donated to the Botanic Park. The Tourism Attraction Board is in the business of preserving the history and culture of the Cayman Islands.

“While this is significant, I believe aptly showcasing this history and culture is of paramount importance. Guests to the park will now be able to experience the unique interior of this old-time Caymanian house.”

Guided tours can be booked on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m., and usually take two hours to complete.

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The Cayman Reporter is Cayman's leading free newspaper, published every Wednesday and Friday. Contact us at 946-6060, or email us at [email protected]

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