Historical Perspectives

February 28th, 2007

The land on which our house is situated was once part of a thriving sugar plantation. In 1844, an englishman visited the Virgin Islands and made a booklet of sketches. Amazingly, the sketches survived to be rediscovered and published by the local historical society. Two of those sketches are relevant to us as they show the way it was here over 160 years ago when sugar was king.

(Click on the photos for a bigger sized image)

The sketch below shows three plantations with the nearest being Rust up (op) Twist. The large windmill on the left still stands. The house was burned in 1878 by the free but desperately disenfranchised former slaves. The foundation and other buildings not pictures still survive.

sketch1

Our house is now situated to the right of the greathouse, on the shore.

plantation 2005

This shows the Rust up Twist plantation as it looks today. The red roofed building is modern as is our house on the beach to the right.

The second sketch shows a water pump windmill which is rare on St Croix.

sketch2

The water windmill survives today but is completely surrounded in a dense mangrove swamp. It is sometimes visible from our upstairs gallery depending on the density of the vegetation (jungle!).

water windmill from cane mill

This week, I finally decided to delve into the jungle to look at the windmill up close.

mangrove

The density of the mangrove swamp is amazingly.

windmill mangrove

It took me quite a while to thread through them to get close to it. After three different attacks, I finally got close.

 

waterwindmill

I am surprised by the overall condition considering that it has not been touched in 160 years. It is surrounded by water so I did not try to inspect the interior.

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