Welcome To St. Maarten St. Martin

Philipsburg’s First House - Downtown St. Maarten

St. Maarten Island

The East end of Philipsburg, capital of Dutch St. Maarten, is where the town’s first house was built in the first half of the 18th century by Vice-Commander John Philips after whom the town is named. It remained the administrative center and more upscale part of town. It was here that St. Maarten’s most well known and iconic building was constructed, the present Court House which is still in use to this day.

The Commander who had the Court House built in 1793, Willem Rink, also built a house in this part of town after getting tired of commuting in from St. Peters, a trip that takes 5 minutes in a car today but they didn’t have cars then so it must have taken a while. Half of his house on Front Street still stands on the left corner of the alley that was named after him, Rink Steeg. Commander Rink, much to his surprise, found himself in charge of the whole island when the Civic Guard he founded conquered the French Fort St. Louis in Marigot in 1793 without telling him first.

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