The sprawling Royal Victoria Gardens, located just opposite the Nassau Public Library on Shirley Street, were part of the former Royal Victoria Hotel. Built by the Bahamas Government in August 1861, it was the first luxury hotel in The Bahamas and became the center of business and social activities during the American Civil War and bootlegging during the days of American Prohibition. It was also home to many British and American airmen during World War II. And, reportedly, segments of the movie, 'Gone With The Wind', were filmed there.
After it ceased operation in 1971, the hotel sat vacant for some time. Several years ago, the main building was destroyed by fire and was subsequently completely demolished. The portion of the hotel that was saved now serves as home to the Bahamas Ministry of Health. Most of the grounds are now a parking lot, but some of the gardens remain.