Christiansted Historic Site
Part 18 in a series
Excerpts from Divers Information on "The Romantic History of St. Croix" by Florence Lewison, 1963, St. Croix Landmarks Society.
The picturesque wharf area of Christiansted is now a National Historic Site under the supervision of the U. S. Park Service, which offers daily walking tours of the area and buildings. Enquire at their office in the old Fort for the schedule.
FORT CHRISTIANSVAERN. A typical example of 17th and 18th century military architecture built by the Danes. Finished in 1749, it was a garrison for the army and later a police station. Many changes have been made: a Commandant's quarters, a powder magazine, a stable and other parts added.
GOVERNMENT HOUSE. Originally a merchant's house, it was bought in 1771 by the government for headquarters, and for living quarters of the Governor-General. Two years later it was remodeled and again in the 1818-20 period. At this time an adjoining house on the side street was bought and added. There were extensive repairs in 1864 and expensive furnishings bought for it. A fire in 1936 damaged it badly, and a new third story was added for living quarters...The Danish government has been most generous in helping refurnish it in the original elegant style.
THE STEEPLE BUILDING. One of Christiansted's most historic landmarks, this beautiful old building was put up in 1750-53 as the Lutheran or State Church; with the steeple added in the 1790's. By 1831 the Lutherans gave up the building as in bad condition, and it became at various times a military bakery and storehouse with many structural changes, as well as a hospital at one time. It was closed for many years. After research and years of authentic restoration work under the direction of arthitect Fred Gjessing and historian Herbert Olsen, it opened its doors again early in 1964 as a museum for the National Historic Site under the Park Service.
THE LIBRARY BUILDING. This graceful two story building was at first only one story when completed in 1751 to be a Customs House. It was modified and the second story added in 1828-30. It was later used as a Post Office.
THE OLD SCALE HOUSE. This is the building that now houses the V.I. Tourist Bureau downstairs; and the Harbormaster's office. It was a weighing station for the Customs House. The old scales are still there, where the out-going bales of cotton, hogsheads of sugar and puncheons of rum were weighed, as well as all the exotic in-coming cargo.
THE POST-OFFICE BUILDING. This rambling pink structure with its inner courtyard was completed in 1746-49 to serve as the big warehouse for the original Danish West India and Guinea Company which first colonized the island. Editor's Note: Though these wonderful, old buildings remain, since "The Romantic History of St. Croix" by Florence Lewison was published in 1963 by the St. Croix Landmarks Society, the Tourism office has moved several times and is now located on Queen Cross Street in Government House.
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