The ruins at Rockfort on Windward Road in Kingston are passed on a daily basis with relative ease by hundreds heading towards Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport or to the eastern parish of St. Thomas.
At one time, however, the presence of the fort made for an inconvenient journey for travelers, but helped authorities regulate the traffic heading towards the city, protecting it from invasion. Rockfort, one of the six forts outside Port Royal that protected Kingston Harbour, was for a time the most important garrison after Fort Charles and Morgan’s Wall. Today the ruins remain; almost hidden by the buildings of the cement factory built there in the 1950s.
It is uncertain when exactly people discovered that the waters of the Rock River, the only river to flow directly into Kingston Harbour, had curative properties. Some say the mineral spring appeared after the 1907 earthquake, some say before, but what is certain is that the waters are radioactive and highly mineralized, meeting standards of all major mineral resorts regulations. The site is now a protected site of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust leased and maintained by the Caribbean Cement Company, which also runs the mineral baths next to the ruins.
Rockfort Mineral Bath is a favourite getaway for city folk, who throng to the facility to use the mineral baths, private Jacuzzis and swimming pool. The 11 private baths are individually named for various minerals found in Jamaica, and most are specially equipped to accommodate the disabled. All private rooms are open-roofed to allow air and sun in freely while patrons enjoy a rejuvenating soak.