Food, shaved ice, fruit and vegetable stands on North Front Street, an area known as New Market in Belize City, 1975
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May 26, 2024

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Same area but at a different time period.

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Food, shaved ice, fruit and vegetable stands on North Front Street, an area known as New Market in Belize City, 1975

Bernadette Burns: Those little houses were home to many families. They made their honest livings by selling snacks to school kids. Many fruits and the biggest grapefruits with salt and pepper. Most memorable was the fresco / shaved ice man, his syrup was the best. We saved our coins just to buy from him, never one day was he direspectful or mean to us. See the little boy, I could bet you that he has shaved ice in his hands. The man used to pack the ice in his hand, and then dip both ends in the syrup. See us hurrying to suck away, we turned out heads and angles to catch that melting ice. Pure fun. Cho when we buy supa, we made a little boat from our exercise book. Open it and supa time. Just a sad part of this area that I remembered. It was in the late 60's, the main swing bridge was being renovated, so they made a pantoon right after the white house crossing of traffic. It was about 12:30pm, and they removed the two barges from the center of the river. People were standing on the boards which linked the barges, the boards broke and many people fell into the river. That was a sad day for me because I was with school mates who went to buy books from school. That day one of my friends fell in and drowned. With respect to her family I will mention her beautiful name, Rita Hayes my class mate. It was very traumatic for me because I saw her as well as twelve others plunge into that dark water. Thank God some men were there and saved many. Rita went under the barges, My friend was gone, I still remember her.

Kenny Morgan: My neighborhood, the area was known as New Market. After Fisheries da Balderamos house, den Paapi di fresco man, den Kelly di tableta n cutobrute specialist, den old Joe and Ms Myrtle, Coolie Lady wid lee Junie mi deh weh di Baintons deh now, den di Riveros shop. We does call dehn Spanish and da neva wah insult. Afta Spanish da mi old bway Kelly weh does like drink, den di Baintons da dehn original spot, and Granny Pitts side a di cement vat. Di open area afta dat da weh Dembaz; Stanley Bell, Lenny Gam and di bros Bainton does sell dehn dehn fish da evening...

Raquel Rosado Lara: We used to call it lee market.

Mando Ram: Grew up across the street, at the corner of Rhaburn’s Alley.

Bill Carson: Papi used to sell fresco (shave ice with syrup) there. We used to call Rhaburn Alley paper alley.I was born at #5 Paper alley by a midwife named Miss Adolphus.

Josephine Burns: Papi's was the best tasting too. I remember we used to buy in milk cans and had to take them back.

Sarahann Collins: My route from school each and every day .

Roger Murillo: I used to go sell pint bottle da Ms. Myrtle and used to sell plastic bag wen people buy fish from my pa in front of where cakes by Karla located now.

Christine Alamilla: I lived around the corner on Pickstock St. Every Sunday I went to Mr. Papi for fresco. So delicious.. Mennonite building further up left with Mr. Dimas shop in front of it.

Kenny Morgan: Young bway ena di pic look like he just buy stew soopa fah Kelly, and ih syrup di escape caz he neva ker nutn fu get it ena... No, wudn't be fah Kelly, caz di RC sign deh da Ms Myrtle, which means he just about to pass Kelly shop.

Biggs Belize Harris: Memba "Dimas Shop?"

Mando Ram: Corner Pickstock and North Front streets. I used to go buy dey nearly everyday. Also, the club he had upstairs. His son ran it, he was like a Christmas cake, fruity.

Sandy Leslie: All those huts are gone. Its one little one there along with other small buildings.

Fuad Rishmawy: I remember mr. Bowen had his boat in one of them. It was the first and only time I met him

Kent Besson: I believe that I remember this area quite well. I knew this area as New Market. Police Buntin Fuller was living in the area further down to the left corner was where the Mennonite Center were and across the street on the right corner there was a club upstairs and a outhouse by the river just before the club.

Javier Santos: I remember my dad used to transport the Mennonites from Shipyard to Belize City and he used to park his truck at this same street.

Gregory Morrison: Mr. Paupy Smith had the best shave ice and syrup down the strip. I was like 10 -12 when they moved out the people from that location and gave them their new residency in the Queen Square Market area behind Belcan Bridge. I remember when the Prime Minister George Price announced on the radio they were moving them. And I remember when I did go past the area the homes were gone.

Yvonne Lindo: I used to sit on the balcony every evening and watch the speed boats make waves, and watch a bicycle rider turn in from Pickstock into North Front Street to cross swingbridge. Also watched a classmate play badminton. Soberanis a very nice girl. Interesting sight was the tugboats pulling all those huge logwoods wrapped with thick chains heading towards swingbridge.

Hart Tillett: Elizabeth Tillett (1785-1836), was the first to own the building in the right background (the Awe building). I've seen a map of N.Front where it joined up with Victoria St. and fizzled away into marshes. This was early 19th century. The spot was labelled "Tillett's Point." For good reason. It appears that the lands along N.Front St beginning at Hyde's Lane up to Tillett's Point were owned by our family and our kinsmen the Wades. Wills and Deeds confirm this. George Tillett, Elizabeth's brother owned the other tall building across the street from hers. My g/g/g/grandfather owned the bldg two houses down and his nieces were across the street. Yep, Tilletts aplenty at Tillett's Point.

Great little photo from Back then, near the Court House and Battlefield Park, I remember them ol coke delivered trucks, and the old Presbyterian church. The old Scot Kirk. Photo courtesy George Villanueva.

Harold Usher: This is the Presbyterian Church, otherwise known as Scots Kirk Church, located beside the Court House (not shown) and in front of the old battlefield park (not shown). Traffic is heading toward the Old Belize Market (traffic travel in the opposite direction today) and the swing Bridge. This was one of my Stomping ground in the 1950's. In the 1940's this are was relatively an open space and several village boats would park by the River side and we, the Neighborhood kids would have our recreation there swimming in the nice clean River (Creek) side. This area is situated, between Pickstock Street and Victoria Street directly in front of Rhaburn's (Formerly Paper) Alley. At the end of both Victoria Street and Pickstock Street over the River was a men's Outhouse - so lots of catto (Cat Fish) in the water. On one side of Pickstock Street was a two story Building which accommodated Dr. (Dentist) Awe and downstairs was some sort of a warehouse. On the other side of Pickstock Street along the River was a long zinc walled Warehouse then a space and then a large concrete vat. I don't remember what it was used for but it was always locked and occasionally we were allowed to fetch rain water from it. I don't know who controlled it. Starting at the other side of the vat, these wooden (almost shacks) stalls were located. They were all transferred from Court House Wharf in about 1949. There were about 10 of them. One was owned by some people name Flowers and one by Lester Forman and one by a man called Timber, and others. Some people slept in their hut and others did not. Lester Forman and Timber definitely slept in theirs. It was easy, the nice clean river was just nearby. As an aside, Timber died just after Hattie as a result of drinking poisonous alcohol from a bottle that floated by him.

These were shops, some people lived in the back but some had homes at other addresses. Just to the right of the red truck was one of the town's (city) fire bells and then the famous court house wharf, where all the sailing boats bringing in produce such as fruits and vegetables and coconuts and plantains and bananas and others, from other food producing communities, such as Sarteneja, Mullins River, Ambergris Caye, and others, would parked and unload their produces there at the wharf. During the 1940's and before, that is where the small time entrepreneurs (venders) had their stalls (huts) to purchase and then sell these products at retail price, after purchasing them at wholesale price from the boat owners. I used to park my push-cart out there and ran jobs for other community variety store owners who purchased from the boats owners larger quantity of their products also. I would carry their purchases in my Cart to their address in various parts of the town. Each trip was $0.15 cents in my pocket. In 1949 the Government moved the vendors and their stalls, mainly shacks from the Court House Wharf to North Front Street, along the river-side between, Pickstock Street and Victoria Street, in front of Paper (now Rhaburn) Alley. Apparently, that later became known as Lee Market. So, I turned the curve where the red truck is doing the same in this pictures many times, pushing my cart ahead of me, earning a living - Physically. Later on in 1956-7 I worked on the second Floor of Brodies and had the pleasure of sitting my its window and looking across and saw young boys doing exactly what I did a few years before, knowing that someday they will look back and appreciate that struggle.

Stephen Cain: If you look at the picture after the Presbyterian Church there is a sign Belize Dry Cleaners lower flat (same block where the DPP offices are now located) was Belize’s first ever dry cleaners back in the 70’s that was affected drastically by Hurricane Greta. There were far more bicycles being used than motor vehicles. DFC was in the upper floor of that wooden building once in the early 80's as I remember.

Nick Pollard: That red truck, do I see a white line in form of a wave? The truck resembles the flat beds that made up the Coca Cola sales fleet.

Michelle Rivana Buckley: Indian store next to market and upstairs was a motel in the building next to the church. My cousins were members of that church.

Penny Keating: Beyond the Scots Kirk was Dr. James Cran's home. Downstairs was his office. There was also a pharmacy on the lower level. The building beyond that was Capt. Foote's building then the market. Dr. James Cran left his home in Rhynie, Scotland to come to Belize. He married the daughter of Capt. John and Catherine Biddle. Dr. Cran is buried in Belize. The homes of Catherine Biddle and Dr. Cran are still standing in Belize City.

Photographs courtesy George Villanueva

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