Once a "Great House" built by slave labor in 1780 for plantation owner William Eden, the National Historic Site of Pedro Saint James has been restored as a living history exhibit telling the story of the Cayman people. Known locally as the "Pedro Castle," the three story building has at different times been destroyed by lightning, fire, hurricane, and neglect. The 18-inch-thick stone walls enclosing the ground floor are all that is left of the original building where the proclamation to end slavery in the British Empire was read by the governor of Jamaica in 1835. At the time of emancipation, there were 700 slaves living in the Cayman Islands.
The house was purchased by the Cayman government in 1991 and visitors are now led through the islands' history by a descendant of the original family who still carries the Eden name. Pedro Saint James now includes more humble traditional buildings and a stand-alone kitchen illustrating daily life of Caymanians, including utensils and a large woven basket that reflects African influences. From the main house, rebuilt with wrap-around verandahs on the upper level, you have a glorious panorama of the Caribbean. Marvel at the wide mahogany floor boards of the verandah, made from 150-year-old trees imported from Jamaica for the reconstruction effort. There is also a multi-media 3D presentation every hour, with a final seating at 4pm.