Saturday, February 10, 2018

Philatelic Photograph: Prefecture of Martinique - Fort-de-France, Martinique

Prefecture of Martinique
Fort-de-France, Martinique

N 14° 36.297 W 061° 04.072

Quick Description: 

The Prefecture of Martinique was once the colonial governor's palace. Today it serves as the government center for Martinique. The entrance is on rue Victor Sévère in Fort-de-France, Martinique.

Long Description: 

Signs in three languages - French, French Creole, and English relate the history of the most important government building in Martinique, the Prefecture of Martinique. The main building was once the colonial governor's palace. It is now the prefecture of the Department of Martinique, an inclusive Department of France. The English language sign is inscribed:

Préfecture de
la Martinique:

From Governor Hotel to a state house in
the services of citizens

In the XVIIIth century, the various governors of Martinique left Fort Saint-Louis to settle in the new capital city, in a wooden building of colonial arhitecture located where the Prefecture now stands.

Two centuries later, in 1928, and after three years of construction work, the current buildings, the first ever to be built in reinforced concrete, replace the Governor' palace.

On March 1946, with the vote of the Law on departmentalization, the structure then became known as a prefecture.

In 1948, a ministerial decree relinquishes legal property rights to the department of Martinique. The State yet keeps exclusive use, free of charge and handles maintenance.

Hotspot of the political, social and administrative lie, the government Hall, then the Prefecture, bore witness to landmarks in Martinique's history, such as the welcoming of Victor Schoelcher, under-secretary of State to the Colonies who decreed the abolition of slavery in the colonies in 1848 or when the Prefecture took his quarters following the 1946 Law which turned Martinique into a department, the reporter of this law being none other than Aime Cesaire, deputy for Martinique. The Prefecture also harbored the celebration of numerous commemorations and a great many of social events were held there.

The different front appearances, roofs of "the palace" and of the two administrative buildings bordering the aisle of honor were protected as historical monuments on March 20 1990.

Since then, the outer buildings have undergone several renovation phases (1995-1996 and 2012-2013)

The Prefecture comprises three buildings:

The main building, "the palace", is, according to tradition, inspired from Le petit Trianon in Versailles. Built in a classically inspired arcitecture, the facade is regularly intersersed with great gaps. While the ground floor is from Doric order, an Ionic order was employed upstairs. Access is gained through great larhe stars and the main doors are made in art ironwork. They open on the vestibule leading to the Schoelcher and Eboue meeting rooms and to the central staircase. All the windows and doors are wood with louvered shutters.

The two administrative buildings along the main aisle, whose architecture follows from that of "the palace", open on passagesways leading to the offices.

Most of the period wooden work still sitting notably in the Prefect's office, were ordered to Mr. Antoine, cabinetmaker in Fort-de-France.

On October 17 2013 Manuel Valls, then Minister of the Interior, inaugurated two brand new modern and earthquake-resistant that were built at the rear of "the palace" (on Rue Louis Blanc) These wwo buildings enabled the merging of several on the same site as well as an improved reception of the service users. Between tradition and modernity, while still maintaining its luster of former times, the Prefecture of Martinique is resolutely turned towards the future.

The stamp was issued in 1940 by the then colony of Martinique as part of a set of 40 pictorial stamps issued between 1933 and 1940.

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