What happened to D’Monte colony?

D’Monte colony is just off TTK Road. Take the road just before Indian Terrain outlet, and the first right leads to D’Monte colony.

The road is deserted except for early morning walkers. The road is deserted except for early morning walkers. The road joins St.Mary’s Road at the other end.

There are about 10 houses in the road, all built identical. Most of these houses are boarded up with weed growing all over the place. It is the houses that are intriguing

There is a D’monte park (now called Kalignar Karunanidhi park) that is reasonably maintained. . All houses are built in similar style, exact replicas. Except for a couple of houses all of them are boarded up, and have not been occupied for atleast 10 years. The houses must have been built in 1970s I guess, based on the construction style. Each house has a garage on the side, a small path way leading to the main house, space for garden on the otherside. It is sad to see them break down, the compound walls sinking, weeds growing, and poritons of the house falling down.
Why have the house owner’s let the houses go to such a sorry state?

Why has no builder bought this block out? Afterall this is close to Park Sheraton Hotel, and is in Alwarpet where land is quoted at Rs. 1 crore a ground.

Did these houses belong to Anglo Indians? D’monte was one of the directors of Arbuthnot bank, leading Madras Bank that collapsed in 1906. I remember one Anne D’Monte being nominated as the Anglo Indian MLA in TN Assembly in 1990s.

So many questions, no answers. Anybody has answers?

6 Comments so far

  1. Nilu (unregistered) on July 14th, 2006 @ 11:03 am

    If I can go by hearsay, I think there is a legal battle on. On the basis of allocation or something. But yes, will have to dig up on this

  2. R.S.Money (unregistered) on July 15th, 2006 @ 7:31 pm

    Some two decadeas back the colony was used as quarters by the Easun Group Companies to their Executives. One such house was provided by them to AGM of south based Bank, with them the Easun group was having so many facilities. Eqach house is a separate one as rwo houses of these days and very accommodative and beautiful one.

  3. Lakshmi Venkatakrishnan (unregistered) on July 15th, 2006 @ 9:40 pm

    Our family was one of the residents of De Monte Colony in the good old days when it was alive with a lot of interaction between the families, the majority of which were the families of executives of Hackbridge Hewittic and Easun Group. In those times the houses were well maintained with beautiful gardens. One can never forget those wonderful days. It is a pity that these houses have been neglected like this.

  4. G V Balasubramanian (unregistered) on July 15th, 2006 @ 11:34 pm

    There is an article in “The Hindu Business Line of October 2003 on D Monte Colony http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2003/10/06/stories/2003100601301300.htm.
    HAT do you get if you blended a deserted road, unoccupied houses, broken gates, wild creepers, dry leaves changing places and eerie silence? Just the right recipe for a mystery sequence in a TV serial, you might say, before the director shows in the next frame some skull and bones behind a tree. Well, cut, cut, and get back to reality, we’re talking about D’Monte Colony located in the heart of the city and sitting pretty close to prime property.

    If you are driving through the patch, at a stone’s throw from Park Sheraton Hotel, with windows open, slow and not honking, better take a few quick breaths and don’t be surprised if your palpitation increases.

    What made news about this colony is that a few days ago a watchman was found dead. But if you had observed those unprotected premises that become the target practice of urchins returning from a nearby school, you would have noticed how there are holes made by vandals in the backdoors, enough for anybody to creep in and vandalise, and utilise as the right venue for some business with criminal intent.

    I log on to S. Muthiah, the reference point on anything anciently madrasi. He patiently narrates how it was all a property that one John D’Monte owned in mid 19th century. He was a director in a big company but his personal life was a tragedy. His wife was mentally unsound and so D’Monte stayed in Kovalam with his ailing wife.

    To add to his misery, his son disappeared from on board a ship when returning to India after his studies abroad. Vexed, D’Monte willed the property to the church. During the mid 20th century – say around 1960 – there was some good development of the place. Single storey houses were put up and leased out. Of late, however, the whole place has fallen into disuse.

    Enquiries reveal that some of the companies or parties who took the property on lease have since vanished or gone bust, and it is the legal wrangle that is holding back effective utilisation of these houses – they are neither maintained, nor sold. A few are rented out but it would need a great courage for the residents to live there, with an air of creepiness around. Perhaps the curse that befell D’Monte is still lurking around.

    How foolish, one might say, to think like that in the 21st century, when we swear by Windows and sleep with a mobile. Yet, it is not unusual to have haunted places around.

  5. Chenthil (unregistered) on July 16th, 2006 @ 5:10 pm

    Lakshmi, even those who just use the road, like me, feel sad about the situation. For someone like you who has lived in those houses, it must be heartbreaking.

    GVB, thanks for digging out that article. It answers my queries. The colony is haunted now, for sure.

  6. Pithu (unregistered) on July 17th, 2006 @ 3:01 pm

    What a coincidence that I should read for the first time in so long about De Monte colony, on July 16th, the birthday of a dear childhood friend who lived there for many years! We spent a lot of happy years playing cricket and eating gooseberries off the trees.

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