Officially settled in 1832 by Black Americans, Edina was envisioned as a site of temperance with missionary ambitions. At the confluence of three major water bodies of water, including the Atlantic, the settlement thrived as a central port in domestic and international trade, making it a contender for Liberia’s capital city in the nineteenth century. The town’s past is reflected in the remnants of the settler architecture that occupy the gridded landscape, such as the estate and business office of Joseph James Cheesman, Liberia’s 12th president. Cheesman’s property sits along the bank of the St. John’s river, which allowed for the exchange of local products for imported Western goods at the doorstep of his commercial office.
Community leaders are supportive of efforts that will properly document and survey settlement patterns and architecture. Further investigation of Edina will illuminate the practical and material dimensions of Americo-Liberian settlement and their creation of complex Diasporic identities.