Courthouse Bells

Postcard featuring the Philipsburg Courthouse from the Barbara Cannegieter Postcard Collection.

Norman Wathey:
This was an iconic picture of the Courthouse probably circa 1965. It was before the first renovation. The post office was on the first floor and the court house on the second floor. A clarion was installed with the renovation. Business men were given the opportunity to “buy” a bell. So if you go up in the bell tower the bells are still there with the names, one such bell was with my grandfather’s name as well as other prominent names on the island. That’s why today the clock, on the bell tower, is still there for the clarion, both installed during the 60s renovation. The predicament today is the court does not want the bells because, understandably so, when the court is in session. The court house is presently being renovated again(60s, 90s and now). In an informal discussion with the renovating architect, I suggested to move the clarion out of the bell tower and relocate it to the southern part of the square. Of course budget is the issue. Hopefully something will happen. It would be a pity/ foolish to leave the clarion in the bell tower again ( like the 90s renovation) where no one can see it and if that is the case then maybe the individual “family” bells should be given to the families.

Courthouse Belles

Bernadine Brill:
The 3 girls are the Brill sisters, daughters of Mr. William E. Brill (Mr. B, from Middle Region, Dutch St. Maarten, Taxi 39) and Mrs. Frida Brill-Flanders (French St. Martin). From left to right: Gabrielle U. Marlin-Brill, Malva S. Brooks-Brill and Bernadine H. Brill. The picture was taken by a tourist after we attended Sunday morning service with our father at the Catholic Church on Frontstreet. We had recently immigrated from Aruba.

There were also souvenirs [printed with this image] like a long thick pencil and other items I don’t even remember right now. I got the pic of the postcard a few years ago from Mrs. Barbara Cannegieter after I seeing some historical pictures of St. Maarten that were posted by Mr. Alfonso Blijden. I wanted to know if he had or knew anyone who had a postcard or picture of the post office/courthouse with 3 girls standing in front of it. I was lucky enough to be contacted by Mrs. Barbara Cannegieter who sent me a copy via Facebook. So wonderful. Much thanks to Barbara Cannegieter!