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Half Way Tree Kingston Jamaica

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Half Way Tree Kingston Jamaica | Image Source: uncommoncaribbean.comHalf Way Tree Kingston Jamaica | Image Source: uncommoncaribbean.com

By Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

If you ever head to our capital city of Kingston, Jamaica, you more than likely have some plans to visit Half Way Tree as well. This iconic crossroads has witnessed the transformation of Jamaica - from a colonial past to a thriving, independent nation. 

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Geographical and Cultural Hub

The capital of St. Andrew is Half Way Tree, which has a geometrically shaped town square in the middle. From there, the main roads run to the four cardinal directions: north to Constant Spring, east to Hope Gardens, south along Half Way Tree Road to Cross Roads on the way to Kingston, and west along Hagley Park Road to Cockburn Pen farmland by Waltham Park Road. King Edward's memorial clock keeps the time from its resting point atop an imposing tower in the centre of the plaza. Half Way Tree is strategically positioned as a hub for culture, commerce, and transportation. At the core of this bustling town is the iconic clock tower, a popular meeting point for us locals.

Background

Half Way Tree was formerly known as Half Way Tree Pen. Its history goes way back, starting with the "Hotchkyn" family who were reported to have owned it for 130 years. A direct ancestor of this family was Robert Hotchkyn, who served as Jamaica's attorney general in 1707. According to historians, the name Half Way Tree was given to a large cotton tree that stood at the intersection of four roads close to the Parish Church. People frequently stopped here (halfway) on their route from the western parishes into Kingston or farther east to rest or get refreshments at a nearby pub. Before the British took control of the island in 1655, the cotton tree is thought to have existed. As a tribute to English King Edward VII, the Clock Tower, which also serves as the focal point of Half-Way-Tree, was built.

Shopping Paradise

Half Way Tree is well known for its vibrant marketplaces and shopping centres, offering a blend of local crafts, international brands, and street food. The Half Way Tree Transport Centre is a bustling hub where taxi and bus services connect various parts of the city. Here, you can find everything from traditional Jamaican spices to the latest fashion trends.

One of the most popular shopping destinations for us locals, Half Way Tree vendors line the streets, selling an array of goods from fresh fruits and vegetables to handmade crafts. It's an ideal place to immerse yourself in the local culture and pick up souvenirs that showcase Jamaica's artistic flair. The most well-known plazas and malls in Kingston including Twin Gates, Mall Plaza, Tropical Plaza, Kings Plaza, Lane Plaza, and the Pavilion Mall, are all located in Half-Way-Tree.

Music and Entertainment

A taste of Jamaica's musical history is a requirement for any trip to Half Way Tree. Reggae, dancehall, and live performances may be heard all across the town. It offers a wide range of entertainment options for music enthusiasts, including tiny, private locations and larger concert halls. Finding street artists singing Bob Marley hits or stumbling upon fresh local talent is not unusual.

Cuisine

Our food is a combination of flavours, and Half Way Tree offers a wide selection of dining establishments to satisfy your appetite. There are many great foods to taste, like the well-known Jamaican patty and ackee and saltfish. Visit one of the neighbourhood restaurants or food stands to try some authentic Jamaican fare. There are many restaurants, from fine dining to casual, from fast food to health-conscious choices for you to choose from as well. And for dessert? Devon House is only a few minutes' walk away. 

Half Way Tree is a peaceful blend of the past and the present. Where history and urban vibrancy collide, this intersection captures the heart of Jamaica. It provides a look into the heart and spirit of our lovely island, from its historical roots to its bustling markets, vibrant music scene, and delectable cuisine. So, if you ever find yourself in Jamaica, make sure to stop at here, so you may discover the town's magic.

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References & Sources For Half Way Tree Kingston Jamaica

  1. Qc, F. P. (2017, February 9). Half-Way-Tree โ€” Jamaicaโ€™s crossroads. Jamaica Observer. https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/half-way-tree-jamaicas-crossroads/
  2. History of Kingston. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2023, from https://www.nlj.gov.jm/history-notes/History%20of%20Kingston%20&%20St.%20Andrew.pdf
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