Our first stop was at the information building, where giant blown up posters gave us a quick rundown of the Mill. For the dates and names sticklers among you, here is a brief synopsis of the Mill:

During and after the American Civil War (1861-1865), Americans living in the southern United States migrated to Belize. The immigrants settled initially in the Cowpen area of the Toledo District, then migrated to different areas, primarily southern Belize, investing large amounts of capital in sugar estates. During the 18th century and early 19th century, numerous small sugar mills were established throughout southern Belize.

Hidden in the jungle one mile in on the access road to the village of Sittee River, Serpon Sugar Mill is the country’s first historical reserve. It contains the remnants of the steam-powered Serpon Sugar Mill that was established in 1865 and marked the start of Belize’s industrial era. Serpon Estate was managed by its Scottish owner William Bowman.

Estimates are that at its peak, the Serpon Sugar Mill was producing and shipping 1,700 pounds of sugar a month. In the late 19th century, Serpon was a technological marvel with its main crusher, boiler, beam engine, furnace, and hot air exchanger – all powered by steam. That was a breakthrough when compared to the manual process used previously by the Mestizos and Mayas.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun