Interpretive Circuit – Dabney’s Circuit
How to get there
From the Garden of Praça do Infante (south end of the city’s Main Avenue), in front of Marina of Horta, go down to the south, through the traditional cobblestone path towards the Porto Pim Beach. After passing the Hotel Canal on your right, turn left at the next intersection and walk about 600 meters until you reach the parking lot. Then, turn right towards the beach and follow the path next to it. You will find the Dabney’s House on your left.
Appropriate footwear for walking, waterproof jacket, hat, sunscreen and water
The Circuit follows along one of the most important historical periods of Faial Island in the 19th century. The Dabney Family lived on this island for three generations during 86 years and was responsible for a unique period of prosperity and political influence. This Circuit brings those memories to the present, passing through the family residences and the places used for business or simply for leisure.
The circuit goes through the following points of interest:
1. Dabney´s House
Old summer house of Dabney family. Bought by Charles W. Dabney in 1855, this house was part of a residential complex that included the house where the family used to rest, a cellar to produce wine, a small pier with a shelter for two boats and a viewpoint with vineyards surrounding it. It was the favourite place of the last two generations of the family to rest and leisure. At the beginning of summer, they used to leave their residence in the city to stay here until the end of October. Nowadays it is property of the Regional Government of the Azores, operating as the Headquarters of Faial Nature Park and as Dabney’s House, being part of Monte da Guia Complex.
2. Tuff House
Also known as the Old Whaling Station, the Tuff House was built in 1836 by the Lisbon Fisheries Company with the purpose to dry the codfish caught in Terra Nova at the Monte da Guia hillsides. However, the high humidity did not allow this project to succeed, so Charles W. Dabney bought it in 1855 and converted it in the first whale oil extraction station of Faial. It closed in 1942 due to the construction of the new Porto Pim Whaling Station. Today, it is owned by the Regional Government of the Azores, where the Porto Pim Aquarium – Live Fish Station operates, being part of the Monte da Guia Complex.
3. Horta Harbour
Due to its natural protection and the possibility for big ships to anchor with great shelter conditions, Horta bay was fundamental for Dabney’s businesses and commercial success. The exportation of wine, orange, limes, tangerines and products from the whale hunting developed by this family, was made through this bay, mostly to the harbours of the United States, Europe and Baltic, and even reaching India and Macao. Charles W. Dabney was one of the most important figures for the construction of the artificial harbour in 1876.
4. Relva Warehouses
Warehouses used by the “Dabney & Sons” commercial house to store the goods to export. The wine was acquired from Pico Island producers and stored here to be enriched with brandy and heated to accelerate the process of ageing and to reduce the deterioration. The oranges, wrapped in dry corn leaves, and the barrels of sperm whale oil were also stored in here, awaiting the arrival of the ships, between the end of October and the beginning of May. Now it is private property, with touristic and commercial facilities.
5. Villa Italy
This building was the headquarters of the “Dabney & Sons” commercial house. Due to its proximity to the harbour, almost all the business proposals and commercial contracts were discussed here. It was also used as a residence for friends and family members that visited the Dabneys. Nowadays this building is used by public services.
6. Consul Dabney Street
Formerly known as Canada do Beliago, it was elevated in 1863 to Consul Dabney Street by the Horta City Hall, in tribute to the family and all the help given to the inhabitants of Faial. Later, in 1877, the City Hall unveiled his photo in the Noble Hall of the Town Hall. His philanthropy earned him, after his death, the epithet of “Father of the Poor”.
House bought by Charles William Dabney in 1835. This propriety had several houses, a cistern, a windmill, a garden and a greenhouse and after being remodelled, he and his son, Samuel Dabney, used it as official residence and consulate. In 1858, it was chosen for a ball in tribute to the Portuguese Prince, D. Luís, who was the Portuguese king between 1861-1889, as D. Luís I. In 1899 the heirs of Samuel Dabney sold it to the “Europe & Azores Telegraph C.º” and in 1969 was adapted into a kindergarten, use that it still has nowadays.
House built in 1851 by the oldest son of Charles Dabney, John Pomeroy Dabney. Here occurred several cultural events of the city and it was the official residence of John Pomeroy Dabney until the beginning of the 19th century when it was sold by his daughter, Sarah, to the telegraphic cable company “Commercial Cable C.º” for the residence of its director. It was later bought by the Regional Government and, nowadays, is the official residence of the President of the Legislative Assembly of the Azores.
9. Carmo Cemetery
As a gesture of gratitude, in 1862, the Horta City Hall donated to the Dabney family a piece of land in the non-Catholic area of the Carmo Cemetery. In the next year ordered the construction of a memorial in their honour with the following inscription: “Memory of gratitude from the City Hall on behalf of its citizens to Mr Carlos Guilherme Dabney and his family for their philanthropy and acts of dedication to the inhabitants of Horta district, 1863”. Here lie 14 members of the Dabney family.
Bagatelle was the first residence of the Dabney family and was built during the Anglo-American war (1812-1814). Friends, family members and foreigners that stopped at the Horta Harbour during their trips frequently visited the house. In 1832, there was a ball in honour of D. Pedro IV, and in 1834, it received the visit of the Prince of Joinville, son of the Kings of France. Nowadays, it is private property.
11. Woodpecker Lodge
Old hunting house that the Dabney family owned in Capelo Parish, near to the building where, nowadays, is the Parish Council. It was the place chosen by the family for the hunting excursions of Scolopax rusticola, Columba palumbus azorica, and wild rabbits, or simply to rest. It was frequent to see several members of the family horse riding around the parish, mostly to Porto do Comprido, where a fishing and whale hunting station existed.
12. The construction of the tank and the house with the washing tanks was paid by the Dabney family to help the people of this rural and isolated parish. It was frequent to see washerwomen washing clothes and talking about their daily issues. This was the first place that supplied Capelo with potable water, receiving it from the springs around the Faial Caldera. It was an important place of conviviality and collective memory.
Consult Dabney’s Circuit site here.