The Iron Market of Port-au-Prince
I spent part of the day today around Chan Mas and downtown Port-au-Prince. Above is a photo I took of the center section of the Iron Market. The earthquake damaged much of the market—much of one hall was destroyed, and this center section was twisted like a wet washcloth—and it was one of the first large structures to be rebuilt after the disaster. I told its backstory in a recent piece I wrote about Haiti reconstruction:
One of the most vivid symbols of recovery so far, the reconstruction of the Iron Market in downtown Port-au-Prince, was led by Haiti’s largest private company and employer, Irish telecom Digicel. CEO Denis O’Brien funded the rebuilding of the wrought iron structure, which features on Haiti’s 1,000 gourde bank note, with $16.5 million from his own pocket. The original incongruous building, complete with four minarets and a clock tower, left Paris in the late 19th century bound for Cairo; it was meant to serve as a train station. But when the Egypt deal fell through, Haitian President Florvil Hyppolite bought it and diverted to the island in 1891.
Hyppolite took office in 1889, hence the date on the line underneath the clock.