The Moneague College – formerly the Moneague Hotel – dates back to 1891 and is architecturally significant, being built in the Georgian style with cut-stone and wood and having quoins on the sides of the building. The structure is enhanced with verandahs and solid wooden floors and staircases. The main structure remains pristine – a canteen has been constructed in keeping with the style of the main structure and has not compromised the integrity of the building.
The property on which the Moneague College is located was originally known as “Rose Hall” and at that time it was owned by an Englishman, John Hutchinson. He bequeathed the property to his two daughters, who failed to pay their taxes, and as a result, in the late 1880s, the Government acquired the property.
The Hotel was built in 1891 to house the visitors to an Agricultural Exhibition, which the Government was hosting. It was one of the six hotels first built in Jamaica.
The Hotel passed through many hands. It was originally run by a Mr. Ben Oliphant, an Englishman, then by Mr. Bobby Alexander, a Jamaican businessman, and finally by a Mr. McCaulay, who was reputed then to be the third best cook in the world.
The Hotel received many famous visitors among whom was the then Prince of Wales, as it was noted for its food and rolling landscape green. All produce used by the hotel was grown on the hotel’s farm. It acted as the catalyst for the development of Ocho Rios as a resort town and then became a REST STOP, rather than a final destination.
The facilities were later used to house the Royal Engineers from England and then became a camp for wayward girls, and during World War II, it became a soldier’s camp. A water well was installed to facilitate the use of the property as a camp.
In 1956, Dr. Aubrey Phillips founded the Moneague Teachers’ College. Today, the building is used to house the student population but is also rented to groups fro retreats and seminars.
The Moneague College building is important in establishing the history and character of St. Ann and is a distinctive example of the historic development and cultural heritage of the area.
The College building is in good condition, unaltered and still located on its original site.
Source: Our Island Heritage Newsletter