Holden Memorial Hospital, later known as the Chateau Caribbean, long ago
The Chateau Caribbean, a beautiful historic building suffered devastating loss November 27, 2016 as a fire engulfed the building. This beautiful building was built in 1927. It was 100% built by Canadian Ceder. It was built and assembled in Canada, then dismantled, shipped to Belize, and reassembled in the spot where it was until yesterday. It was owned by the Biddle family and was the most expensive home built of its time. It survived the Hurricanes of 1931 and 1961. It later became known as the Holden Memorial Hospital under the care of Dr McCleary. This building was truly a magnificent home and a tremendous loss to our historical heritage. There are only a few historical homes left, the Belize Estate home is one of them. Those that remain need to be preserved for the generations to come.
This used to be the best place in Belize to get a t-bone steak meal back in the late 70's/early 80's. It was truly a historical landmark.
It was originally the home of Fred & Minnie (nee Grant) Biddle. He was the son of Capt John Biddle (Mr. Vidal who became Mr. Biddle.) He owned a popular store where the Belize City Post Office is now located. Capt John Biddle & Catherine (nee Lind) had three children: John, Adelia, and Fred. There is a back story about that structure. It was built in Canada, maybe Nova Scotia and then deconstructed and and shipped down in pieces to British Honduras. Biddle's store had the best toys. It had a beautiful staircase and floors.
There is another story that the Biddle House was designed by C. N. Fraser and built by Fred Biddle from Belize mahogany. It was fun to play in that attic.
Dr. McCleary developed and added the hospital wing, he was also the owner of the Mango Walk that was situated in the Independence Village which he sold after a while. David Bradley was the administrator at the hospital for many years and developed a great friendship with Dr. McCleary and Ms. Eunice Bayba. The ground floor was converted to a night club called Zorba the Greek back in the 1980s. In the 70's Dr Cabrera one of the physicians there.
In 1820 when the Old Public Hospital was built and you were considered a “Poor White Person”, one would have to apply for admission to the hospital from any Magistrate for approval.
Missing Chateau Caribbean’s Sea Food Combo,those Sizzling Steaks and most of all Vera Lowe’s warm, welcoming smile.
Had the pleasure to work there with Tracy Panton and other great friends.
George Villanueva: Chateau Caribbean was located on the waterfront next to the Radisson Ft George Hotel in Belize city. The Chateau Caribbean Hotel and restaurants was a fantastic and favorite location for many of us. Was the former home of the Biddle Family and had survived many devastating Hurricane here in Belize city.
To many of my generation, will remember it as Holden Memorial Hospital. Dr McCleary was in charge of the location.
Even during its heyday it was a mixture of grand proportions and design with an execution of construction and materials that couldn’t quite keep up, but had survived with character that far outweighs its lack of polish. Laid back and low key, with good service and food, this place was an example of the old Caribbean, I was a bartender there in the early years just before tourist became a major industry.
Sadly the building was lost to fire on November 30, 2016.
Great photos of Chateau Caribbean owned by my relatives Mr and Mrs Lo. Was the holding over for them one week before it went up in flames that Sunday morning. Sad to see such a beautiful building go up in flames, the same as our 150+ yrs building on Queen Street next to AP. I get very very offended and insulted when people on social media make comments about set fire or insurance claims. Ignorant people need to know that one cannot under nor over insure a structure. Therefore much more is lost during a fire than what it was insured for. This 150+ yrs old building on Queen St was actually oozing pine oil/sap from the exterior walls during one of the fire across The Belize Times Press and was actually emitting some smoke from the extreme heat. I had to use my own garden hose to cool down the walls because the idiot R. Light.... refused to let the fire service turn their hoses onto my building although most of the Times Press was gone. Thankful my building did not burn down from that fire but from an internal fire in my building. Thankful the building next to use The Upstairs Cafe also very old and top floor out of wood did not get affected nor AP (concrete).
Three photos below courtesy George Villanueva.
A drone video of the Belize Chateau Caribbean Hotel. March 2018, 500 days after the fire, with a little history of the building.