The centre of San Fernando’s civic life and the location of several attractive colonial-era buildings, Harris Promenade stretches from the long 1950s-style facade of San Fernando General Hospital to Library Corner in the east, its shady paved centre dotted with benches and tables, an ornate Victorian bandstand and statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Jamaican black rights activist Marcus Garvey. On the southwestern end, the distinctive yellow-stone building with its curving arched windows is the city’s police station; half of it remains roofless after a fire in 2009. Across the road, the grand Neoclassical City Hall from 1930 dominates the western end of the promenade, though it faces stiff competition from the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help one block to the east, a huge white modern building with a tall clock tower that can be seen from most places in the city.
The promenade’s two roads converge in front of the Carnegie Free Library, an ornate terracotta pile built in 1919 and financed – like many others the world over – by the Scottish philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Behind it, on the promenade, an old steam locomotive recalls the last run from Port of Spain to San Fernando in 1968. People packed the carriages, hanging out of the windows to be part of this historic occasion, which was subsequently immortalized by the late Lord Kitchener’s famous calypso Last Train to San Fernando. The chaotic junction of seven roads just east of the library is known as Library Corner, with its modern clock tower.