Home Topics Cayman history

Topic: Cayman history

From fishing village to financial hub

With the help of historians Christopher Williams and Roy Bodden, the Cayman Compass charts the journey the island has taken, including its rapid growth in the past half-century.

Preserving for Posterity

When it comes to telling the story of local history, nothing is more comprehensive than the local newspaper. It represents the most extensive documentation of a community’s life and times, its priorities and perspectives, in a way no other material can.

Historic home damaged by fire

A historic Bodden Town home that was at one time visited by Queen Elizabeth was damaged by fire on Friday morning.

Seaman to recount story of ill-fated schooner Goldfield

Seaman H.E. Ross will recount the sad tale of the Cayman schooner Goldfield in a presentation at the Cayman Islands National Gallery at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The event is free.
Cayman Compass is the Cayman Islands' most trusted news website. We provide you with the latest breaking news from the Cayman Islands, as well as other parts of the Caribbean.

Letter: Gov. Cardinall would have been delighted

Once again, thank you, all of you Cayman Islanders for appreciating the work of people like my great uncle.

People Who Time Forgot: Harley Rivers

Harley Rivers was known as one of Cayman’s best roof thatchers in his time. Anyone who remembers the beachfront lounge cabanas at the old Holiday Inn will have noticed his work. He was a true gentleman who shone with old-time traditional kindness and hospitality.

50 years ago: Quadrille dancers keep history alive

In the Jan. 18, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, news from West Bay included: “Club Inferno is to be complimented on its initiative in organizing a dance for the older people of the island in an endeavour to keep alive the old-time dances.

What made headlines in Cayman’s first newspaper, 109 years ago

Reports of a large shark in George Town harbor. A fatal shooting. Vessels arriving and departing. A meeting of the Legislative Body. Almost all of these topics sound as if they could have been today’s front page news. They were, in fact, the subjects of stories considered newsworthy – 109 years ago.

50 years ago: Thanksgiving service and departures to sea

In the Nov. 30, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, North Side correspondent Nettie McCoy wrote: “The Annual Thanksgiving Service of the Women’s Guild was held on the 24th at 7:15 p.m."

Willy Jackson house a true Cayman cottage

This little home in Bodden Town, known as the Willy Jackson house, could well be one of the oldest residences in the district. According to the National Trust’s historic homes registry, the single story house is estimated to have been built in 1904 by Mr. Jackson.

These historic homes maintain their charm

Built on stilts of local ironwood, out of imported pine shiplap and featuring hip or gable zinc roofs, many of Cayman Brac’s historic homes survive to this day, exuding charm appreciated by residents and visitors alike.

50 years ago: Walton-Hines wedding, education visit recap

In the Nov. 23, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Cayman Brac correspondent Lilian Ritch wrote: “In a quiet wedding on Friday the 18th, attended by family, George Rayal Walton and Havilah Elizabeth Hines (nee Jackson) became man and wife.

50 years ago: Sailors head to Curacao

In the Nov. 23, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, West Bay correspondent Leila Yates wrote: “Messrs. Tracey Bodden, Lawrence Bush, Orville Powery, Ellard Ebanks and Cedric Bodden left on the 17th for Curacao via Jamaica, to join a ship for National Bulk Carriers.
Cayman Compass is the Cayman Islands' most trusted news website. We provide you with the latest breaking news from the Cayman Islands, as well as other parts of the Caribbean.

50 years ago: Delinquent youth called out in North Side

In the Nov. 16, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, North Side correspondent Nettie McCoy wrote: Leaving on Sunday was Mr. Burton Ebanks to join the S.S. Bulk Oceanic. Mr. David Ebanks returned to Miami to join his ship on Thursday 3rd."

50 years ago: Seagull from DC winds up in the district

In the Nov. 16, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Haig Bodden wrote: “How far do birds travel? A seagull which bore a tag from Washington D.C. was caught here on Saturday by Raymond Jackson.

50 years ago: Road accidents and the year’s first Norther

In the Nov. 16, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Cayman Brac correspondent Lillian Ritch wrote: “On the 5th there was a collision on the West End Road between an Opel owned and driven by Mr. Otto Foster of the Bight and a Ford car owned by Mr. Lionel Bodden and driven by Mr. Marvin Ryan, both of Watering Place."

50 years ago: Remembrance Day marked with Sunday ceremony

In the Nov. 16, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the Remembrance Day ceremonies held in George Town were reported as follows: “The main Remembrance Day service was held around the Memorial Cross in George Town at 10:40 a.m. on Sunday.

50 years ago: Youths cause trouble at Club Inferno

In the Nov. 16, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, West Bay correspondent Leila Yates wrote: “Mr. Leon Ebanks celebrated his birthday on the 10th with a big party at the home of Mr. Calvin Anderson.

50 years ago: Dramatic wartime story recounted

In the Nov. 16, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, in honor of Remembrance Day, Bodden Town correspondent Haig Bodden described some of the district’s experiences during WWII, which at that time had only ended two decades earlier.

The story of the 1932 Storm aftermath continued

The hurricane that hit the Cayman Islands in November 1932, known as the 1932 Cuba hurricane, or in the Cayman Islands as the 1932 Storm, was a Category 4 hurricane that hit Cayman Brac on the evening of Nov. 8 wreaking widespread destruction and death.

50 years ago: Controversy over Club Inferno

In the Nov. 9, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, news from West Bay included: “Four hundred and twenty people gathered at Club Inferno for their Halloween Dance on the 1st. This is the largest gathering at the club since the Byron Lee shows and Graham Thompson and the Mashyiannes would like to thank all who supported them on this occasion."

50 years ago: Families welcome relatives for winter visits

In the Nov. 9, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, George Town correspondent Frances Bodden wrote: “We welcome Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Watler of Miami who have come to spend the winter in the family home at Breezy Castle (Sound Land). We trust that Mr. Watler’s health will improve while out here. They arrived on the 3rd."

50 years ago: Northeaster brings welcome break from heat

In the Nov. 2, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, North Side correspondent Nettie McCoy wrote: “On Sunday we had our first North Easter for the season. This was also accompanied by heavy showers of rain.

People who time forgot: Lawrence Powell

Lawrence Powell of Breakers was quite a unique character. He spent much of his younger days traveling the globe as a merchant seaman. At the time when this photo of him was taken in the late ‘70s, he claimed to have 14 children, two washing machines and property that he would not sell.

50 years ago: Public meeting on new bills draws large crowd

In the Nov. 2, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Haig Bodden wrote: “Messrs. Anton Bodden and Richard Arch held a public meeting at the Town Hall last week. The purpose of the meeting was to inform the public of the proposed bills to be dealt with by the House of Assembly."

50 years ago: New managers at Rum Point, fishermen return

The Oct. 19, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, featured a column by ‘Sandys’ on the new management at the Rum Point Club: “Bet Alice’s eyes opened wide at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party but am sure they would have opened wider if she had seen what I saw last Sunday at Rum Point."

50 years ago: Education lecture rings familiar tone

In the Oct. 19, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Haig Bodden wrote: “‘Education is to develop mind, body, useful skills, expression and personal relations,’ – so said Mr. John Macpherson during the course of a public lecture arranged by Mr. R.M. Walters, headmaster of the Bodden Town school last Wednesday."

50 years ago: Girls’ Brigade visits Galleon Beach Hotel

In the Oct. 19, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, West Bay correspondent Leila Yates wrote: “On the 14th the leaders of the Girls’ Brigade accompanied the girls on a cycling trip to Galleon Beach Hotel where they received a warm welcome from the manager, Mr. Ainsley. Some of the girls went sea bathing. They report an enjoyable time.

50 years ago: Scope of mosquito issues highlighted

In the Oct. 19, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, news from George Town included: “Dr. M.E.C. Giglioli has informed the Caymanian that the Mosquito Research and Control Unit has recently been granted 41,329 pounds from Colonial Development and Welfare funds to cover capital equipment costs during its first two years of operation ending in April 1968."

50 years ago: Rankine Whittaker wedding, barges shelter

In the Oct. 12, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, North Side correspondent Nettie McCoy wrote: “Arriving on the 9th was Mr. Leslie O. Chisholm to spend his annual vacation with his mother and other relatives."

Old house a treasure trove of fond memories

Originally built in 1909, an all-wood traditional home which once housed some of North Side’s first settlers is still holding up strong. Today, the house is an enduring treasure of that era of Cayman’s history, from its construction to the family history that it holds.

50 years ago: Concerns raised over road paving plans

In the Oct. 12, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Haig Bodden wrote: “A son was born to Mrs. Evy Solomon on Thursday at the hospital, the child weighed 8½ pounds."

Skippers face off at catboat regatta

A number of Cayman’s beloved catboats were in action recently at a regatta that was now become a much anticipated annual tradition in West Bay. Familiar catboats and their skippers and crews, including the Captain D and the Brac Cat, were facing off with some new arrivals on the catboat racing scene, including the Destiny, at the annual David Foster Memorial Race, which took place on Sept. 25.

People Time Forgot: Duxey, Erskin and Cleveland Ebanks

Duxey Ebanks, Erskin Ebanks and Cleveland Ebanks performed for a private party in Dave Mitchell’s suite at the Galleon Beach hotel around 1973. Mr. Mitchell was the general manager of the hotel at the time and would hire the trio on occasion to perform for guests, or during the annual Easter regatta.

50 years ago: Bad conditions spur PTA threat to close school

In the Oct. 12, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, West Bay correspondent Leila Yates wrote: “At a recent meeting at the West Bay Primary School, the parents and teachers expressed their dissatisfaction over the way in which the school building is being treated by the public and also the deplorable condition of the toilets."

50 years ago: Oralee Dixon is Caymanian Weekly ‘personality of the week’

In the Oct. 5, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, East End news included: “Mrs. Charles Dixon, wife of our East End correspondent, who was recently appointed Acting Head Teacher of the Primary School in that district, is our personality of the week.

50 years ago: Poor attendance at men’s meeting

In the Oct. 5, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Haig Bodden wrote: “The monthly men’s meeting was held here on last Sunday. The attendance was poor but all the districts were represented."

50 years ago: Accomplishments praised and incidents at sea

In the Oct. 5, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Cayman Brac correspondent Lilian Ritch wrote: “We offer congratulations to Mrs. Warren Conolly on her appointment as Acting Director of Education. Islay is the eldest daughter of Capt. and Mrs. Harris Bodden of the Creek and we are humbly proud of this promotion awarded our ‘daughter of the soil.’

50 years ago: Caymanian Weekly celebrates first anniversary

In the Oct. 5, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor to the Cayman Compass, George Town news included: “This week the Caymanian celebrates its first anniversary by thanking all who have supported us through the 12 months that have past since we brought out our first issue on the Oct. 6 1965.”

Century-old Gun Bay church in limbo

One year and eight months after the doors were shuttered, still nothing has been decided on the fate of a 109-year-old church in Gun Bay, East End. The Gun Bay United Church, formerly the Presbyterian church, is thought to be the oldest surviving church building in the Cayman Islands, and to many in East End it represents a pillar of the community.

50 years ago: ‘Largest ever’ blue marlin caught, towed to shore

In the Sept. 28, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, East End correspondent Charles Dixon wrote: “On Wednesday the 21st Mr. Bertram Conolly and Mr. Hoyt McLaughlin raised and boated a blue marlin believed to be the largest ever caught on this end of the island."

50 years ago: ‘Politically our island is in an appalling state’

In the Sept. 28, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Haig Bodden wrote: “There is no secret that politically our island is in an appalling state. That some change in the near future is necessary cannot be denied by even the most faint hearted."

50 years ago: Snorkeler discovers bazooka shell

In the Sept. 21, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, news from East End included:

50 years ago: South Sound United Church hosts Sybil McLaughlin

In the Sept. 28, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, news from South Sound included:

50 years ago: Film screening raises funds for new North Side church

In the Sept. 14, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, North Side correspondent Nettie McCoy wrote:

50 years ago: Shedding light on district electricity charges

In the Sept. 14, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Haig Bodden wrote:

50 years ago: New teachers welcomed to the Brac

In the Sept. 14, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Cayman Brac correspondent Lilian Ritch wrote:

50 years ago: Woman’s Guild fundraiser fun includes mock wedding

In the Sept. 14, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, West Bay correspondent Leila Yates wrote:

50 years ago: Woman’s Guild holds successful Harvest Festival and Sale

In the Sept. 14, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, George Town correspondent Frances Bodden wrote:

50 years ago: Money order scam victimizes Mrs. Cromwell Ebanks

In the Aug. 17, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, North Side correspondent Nettie McCoy wrote:

50 years ago: Consternation over the purchase of a tractor to pick up garbage

In the Aug. 17, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Haig Bodden wrote:

50 years ago: Turtlers depart for Mosquito Cays

“Mr. Edward Rankine returned from Jamaica on July 21 after spending 4 months receiving treatment for his eyes. He is happy to say there has been some improvement.

50 years ago: Praising seamen and some road humor on serious topic

“Darley Solomon was an Ordinary Seaman on board the ill-fated tanker Texaco Massachusetts when she collided with the Alva Cape in New York harbour last month.

50 years ago: Community unites for Rivers Scott wedding

In the July 20, 1966 Caymanian Weekly: “The Sobeyville Baptist Church in Stake Bay was the very happy scene of the wedding of Miss Hyacinth Rivers, the loved and popular granddaughter of Capt. and Mrs. Kenneth Ritch."

50 years ago: Emmie Bush visits from Bonacco

In the July 20, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, West Bay correspondent Leila Yates wrote:

Gun Square, a slice of Bodden Town history

Gun Square is believed to be one of Bodden Town’s two historic defense points, the other being Guard House Hill at the western approach of Bodden Town.

50 years ago: Creek Primary School dominates spelling bee

“Spelling bee congratulations to the Creek Primary School! Rollin Jackson, Pamela Connolly, Ornel Brown and Shirlene Anderson won the first four places in the Inter-Schools Competition on Friday last.

50 years ago: Septuagenarian Nettie Levy profiled

“Following our news item last week that a 74-year-old grandmother was looking after a newborn baby due to its mother’s illness, we now report a little further on this fine lady.

50 years ago: Mighty Sparrow thrills

50 Years Ago: “Audience spellbound by Mighty Sparrow: Club Inferno was packed for three nights this week for the show by the Mighty Sparrow."

50 years ago: Spelling bee creates a buzz

An inter-schools spelling bee competition will be held at the West End School on Friday, June 24, the three primary schools competing.

‘Cayman Triangle’: The case of missing statue

Late 1975, George Town, Cayman Islands.

People time forgot: Clemens ‘Leme’ Dilbert

The salt-crusted wrinkles that cut deep into the features of Clemens Dilbert were the signs of decades of sailing the seven seas.

50 years ago: Tornado wreaks destruction

50 years ago: “Telegram received from D.C.: Tornado hits Cayman Brac."

Programs for kids bring Brac heritage to life

For the past few weeks, Brac Heritage House staff and volunteers have been out and about in the community delivering a variety of kid-friendly programs.

50 years ago: Visits of note, and a home phone refused

During the last two weeks, there has been an increase in the number of people arriving and leaving Bodden Town

Cayman Brac loses a veteran seaman

Cayman Brac is mourning the passing of Captain Robert McLearn Ebanks, a man who contributed tremendously to the seafaring heritage of the Cayman Islands and Cayman Brac.

50 years ago: A bull arrives, an eatery opens

In the April 20, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Cayman Brac correspondent Lilian Ritch wrote:

West Bay rope making lives on

Rope making is one of Cayman’s past industries that is kept alive by organizations like Cayman Traditional Arts, relying on volunteers like West Bayer Billy Banker

50 years ago: Heavy machinery a district first

“Miss Willene Byers, artist and gospel singer left on the 31st for her home in Cullman, Alabama. She spent 7 weeks here, most of her time was spent in Mt. Pleasant in the home of Mrs. Roy Ebanks.

50 years ago: Mosquito research device spurs interest

“The newest resident on Cumber Avenue in this district is a goat. Not the Village Ram, but a scientific ram used by Dr. Giglioli in his mosquito research program.

Kimpton to showcase Cayman maritime history

The Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa, now under construction on Seven Mile Beach, will feature an eye-catching piece of Cayman maritime history when completed.

50 years ago: Van accident a bit of a mystery

“As the vehicle landed on its wheels, he had restarted the engine and drove very slowly back into West Bay with the object of returning to the house occupied by Mr. Jack Graham and Mr. Bill Bennett where he had earlier been visiting."

This week