Discover Cacique | HAYNES LIBRARY

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.
— George R.R. Martin

The sun beats down overhead, and a welcome breeze rolls over the skinny island’s ridge, rustling the casuarinas and sweeping through the old bay windows of The Haynes Library, where musty novels and nautical maps tell the story of The Bahamas’ oldest public library. Built in 1897, with glorious views of the azure harbour, this marvelously-maintained colonial relic is open for business as usual.

Welcome back to Discover Cacique. Today we’re puddle-jumping across to the island of Eleuthera to the fading pastel-pink splendor of historic Governor’s Harbour - the very first capital of The Bahamas with the nation’s very first public library.

Haynes Library. Image by  Alessandro Sarno.

Haynes Library. Image by Alessandro Sarno.


A Fine Place for a book worm.

Haynes Library was built by colonial Governor William Fredrick Haynes Smith. The upstairs has long housed a library, but the ground floor was originally comprised of offices and a humble abode for the local doctor. The pastel pink building has been renovated and maintained through the efforts of an organization known as “Friends of the Library” who have made sure that this historic site remains a fully functioning Public Library with the addition of computers and Wifi to bring it into the modern age.


A Story Fit For A cocktail.

Eleuthera was founded in 1648 when Captain William Sayles and a group of Puritans, known as the Eleutheran Adventurers, sailed from Bermuda in search of religious freedom. Along the way, they found this beautiful gem of an island and named it Eleuthera, after the greek word “eleuthero” meaning “free" because of the intense sense of freedom felt about the untamed nature of the island.

As the original capital of The Bahamas, Governor’s Harbour saw its full potential in the mid 18th century through the farming and export of the infamously sweet Eleutheran Pineapple. At this time, as many as 40 schooners would anchor in the harbor awaiting the opportunity to collect the harvest. Sadly, this prosperous trade did not last. The US government intervened and began subsidizing the pineapple industries of Cuba and Hawaii, to the detriment of the Eleutheran economy. Today, these infamously sweet pineapples are enjoyed by locals and international connoisseurs, such as our very own cocktail craftsman Kyle Jones. Check out The Eleutheran Breeze - the perfect drink for those balmy bookish afternoons…


one for the books.

While you sit there in the shade supping your Eleutheran Breeze, you need a good story. So here’s our recommendation for some Bahamian classics:

  • Wind from the Carolinas tells the tale of three American loyalist families who fled the revolution, abandoning their plantations for the island life. Their grand attempts to recreate their wealth make for a fabulous read.

  • Out Island Doctor, another must for the Bahamian bookshelf, tells the true story of a man who leaves behind the security of small-town Indiana to embark on a new life, sailing around The Bahamas as a self-taught medical practitioner in the 1950s.

Both of these books have been checked out of Haynes Library many times over and will continue to awaken the Eleutheran Adventurer in all of those who discover them…

Aerial of Governor’s Harbour. Image by Eleutheran Life.

Aerial of Governor’s Harbour. Image by Eleutheran Life.



At Cacique, we love to tell stories about the characters and places that coloured the rich tapestry of our Bahamian history. For more information on historic experiences with Cacique International or to arrange a tour to one of our remarkable Bahamian landmarks, please feel free to contact us.

Looking forward to the next story!  ;)SMS