Before the Marsh Harbour Airport was built in 1959, the small island of Elbow Cay was a remote, sleepy outpost with fishing and shipwreck salvage as the main sources of livelihood. Hope Town, its only settlement, was co-founded in 1785 by Wyannie Malone, a widow from South Carolina who traveled with her four children for safe refuge after the American Revolution.
The community of Hope Town has done a tremendous job in the preservation and education of their past. The Wyannie Malone Museum exhibits and preserves much of the settlement’s rich and diverse history through memorabilia, artifacts, old photos, and documents. The community has also sustained other parts of their history: the cholera graveyard and the building of the Abaco dinghies that are seen at regattas throughout The Islands of The Bahamas.
Adjacent Elbow Reef is home to one of the most recognizable landmarks in the country, the candy-striped lighthouse. Residents of Hope Town initially opposed this lighthouse being built in the 1860s, as it was foreseen as a direct threat to their wrecking trade. They now lovingly embrace it and actively resist the automation of its remaining beacons.
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