San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
cultural heritage

Fire destroys Black Star Line building, a Limón landmark

A fire in the early hours of Friday consumed most of the historic Black Star Line building, considered the most representative example of Caribbean architecture in Limón province.

The Firefighters’ Corps received the first alarm at 5:15 a.m. and reported that the fire was fully under control at about 6 a.m.

Firefighter operations director Luis Salas said the fire completely destroyed at least 75 percent of the building. “The remaining structure is unstable and the recommendation is to remove it,” he said.

The Firefighters’ Corps stated that it will conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine the causes of the fire.

President Luis Guillermo Solís vowed to rebuild the structure.

The Firefighter’s Corps said the blaze destroyed some 75 percent of the Black Star Line building, and that the remaining structure is unstable and should be removed.

(Via Firefighters’s Corps)

Historic building

The building, made entirely of wood and zinc, was built in 1922 as the headquarters of the Universal Negro Improvement Association in Limón.

The Culture Ministry renovated the building in 1990, and in 2000 it was declared architectural heritage. The Ministry’s Heritage Conservation Center invested another ₡50 million ($92,000) in restoration in 2007.

The center’s director, William Monge, told The Tico Times Friday that immediately prior to the fire, the Ministry had been in negotiations with the Costa Rica Institute of Technology, TEC, to restore the building and bring it up to code in terms of basic safety and accessibility standards.

“It lacked a fire alarm system and there was no access for people with disabilities, among other problems,” Monge said.

Like most buildings listed as national heritage, the Black Star Line did not have an insurance policy. Its safety problems made it impossible for the National Insurance Institute to grant a policy, Monge said.

At the time of the fire, the Black Star Line had as tenants a Caribbean food restaurant on the first floor and an events venue known as “Liberty Hall” on the second floor, which hosted many of the city’s traditional celebrations.

The building was named for Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey’s steamship company, which he hoped would connect black business owners around the world with a steady flow of maritime commerce and help the African diaspora resettle the African continent.

Recommended: City by the sea

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

Log in to comment

Grey Swaby

The Remebrance of the Black Star Line.Build By Marcus Garvey who was a revolutionary and a Visionary .Who message was for Black People To Go back to Africa.He spoke correction and discipline to his people that followed him.This fire was a Historic event In Black history unknowingly ,due to Lack of Knowledge and Understanding ,due to the Surpression of The Black History Culture.hear is a perfect time people the learn a little more about our Black History .read this Article and Find out about the Fire that Burned the Black Star line down.if you have any questions about the rebuilding process ,please feel free to inbox me.

0 0
janman

Hasta luego CCDAGP!

0 0
ccdagp

The Tico Times deploys “JANITORMAN” again, to clean up any negativity that may be directed towards the Tico Times.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s superman? No. It can’t be, yes yes it is, it’s “JANITORMAN”!

0 0
Grey Swaby

Black Star Line Which is a Puerto Limon Costa Rican Land Mark That Burned Down Today .Its was a 90 year Old Land mark That sits In the Center and Heart of Limon.The Black Star Line was Name By Macus Garvey as a Solution to create opportunity for his People.This is a Very sad day in Puerto Limon .A part of Our History is Gone.And I pray for healing and Holy Ghost power of Love Sent to help bring the Black Star line to back to Life.in Due Time.heavenly Father Send my Blessing to Puerto Limon.

0 0
Constance Denisex

Peace Grey. Please send me your address. I attend UNIA meetings every week at #121 in Philadelphia. I want to spread the call for help from here. JimenezConstance@gmail.

0 0
ccdagp

I am beginning to wonder if I should continue reading the Tico Times! Seeing how they cater to self serving a-holes, potheads, and nut case’s like “GREY SWABY”.

0 0