Five years ago, it would have been difficult to find a "greathouse" for sale. Today, there are a myriad. In fact, the opportunities to own historic properties are incredible, with options ranging from greathouses to in-town houses to large acreage with old sugar mills, factory and village ruins, all in varying states of preservation and all unique! Many of the homes were built with the old yellow Danish brick which was abundant (leftover ballast from the ships) and also with cut coral stone, also in good supply and very solid to provide hurricane resistance. Some great houses were built along the coastline and others nestled in the hills. The in-town houses were built by wealthy, European merchants, often in the neo-classical style, with arches, quoins, and galleries, or small shingle-sided hip roof cottages built by Africans and their descendants. The properties are numerous but here are a few to start.
On the West End, the greathouse at Estate Butler Bay, built in the 1700s, has a beautiful arched gallery with a stunning view, looking down across a beautiful grassy field with large old trees (Mahogany, Baobab, Saman, Tibet) and out to the brilliant blue water and sunsets. In addition to the greathouse, the property includes ten acres, ruins, several cottages, a separate cookhouse, and an impressive variety of plants.
The adjacent estate at Mt. Washington is also on the market. Originally a 1700's Danish cotton plantation later converted to a sugar plantation, it features a greathouse built in the 1800s, reclaimed from the forest and totally rebuilt to near original details. It includes factory ruins, an animal mill, and 12+ acres. The house is in immaculate condition and has a wonderful view overlooking the ruins and a nature sanctuary.
Continuing toward Frederiksted, Estate Prosperity greathouse has just arrived on the market after many years in probate. The greathouse was once one of the finest on island but has been abandoned for many years and is due for a major restoration. The property includes an additional 80+ acres.
The Estate La Grange greathouse is also available. Not quite as old as the first three, the greathouse was built in the late 1800s from coral stone. Many of the original details are intact, with interesting proportions - thick walls, deep windowsills, crown dentil moulding, tray ceilings, and tile floors. Visting the location is like discovering a secret garden. With an ample supply of water, La Grange is lush and green, with magnificent Mahogany and Saman trees. It also includes some acreage.
Even in Frederiksted town, many historic properties are for sale, ranging from formal town houses to several more Victorian detailed, modest and uniquely crafted mortise and tenon wood frames. The Totten house sits on the waterfront; Liberty Hall, with beautiful coral stone walls, sits on the hilltop, Apothecary Hall and three houses are in the same block of Queen Street. Thankfully, Frederiksted has seen several beautiful historic restorations the past several years, as appreciation for these wonderful structures is renewed. Christiansted, likewise, has dozens of historic buildings for sale, ranging from stately commercial buildings near the waterfront, to elegant residences and quaint vernacular homes.
Around the island, there are many more - Estate Grange (Alexander Hamilton's family home), Estate Pearl (original structure quite possibly dating to the Knights of Malta), Estate Beeston Hill (overlooking Christiansted) - greathouses with provenance available for the right price.
The list goes on and on. Please contact us for more detailed information about these special properties. Their histories are fascinating, offering remarkable stories of the whims of fortune. We are hopeful that preservationists will be inspired.