The St. Croix Landmarks Society
Excerpts from Divers Information on "The Romantic History of St. Croix" by Florence Lewison, 1963. St. Croix Landmarks Society.
THE ST. CROIX LANDMARKS SOCIETY is an island organization with many long-range plans for restoration and preservation projects. It is a non-profit organization dependent upon membership fees, donations,and such money-raising projects as its annual House Tours.
The Society's headquarters are outside of Frederiksted at Estate Whim Plantation Museum, one of the island's most beautiful showplaces. Its restored eighteenth century greathouse re recreates the opulent life of the sugar cane planters when the island was at the peak of its agrarian prosperity.
A "Crucian Craftsmen" exhibit is dedicated to those killed and untiring craftsmen who created everything from nails to fine mahogany furniture, carriage wheels to fancy ironwork: the wood joiner, the cooper, the wheelwright, the blacksmith.
The complete woodworking shop, where much of the "gingerbread" seen in Frederiksted today was made, has been recreated and demonstrations of the treadle-operated jigsaw, the great lathe and the handtools occur on special occasions.
The fixtures of an actual 18th century apothecary are on display and there is a special exhibit depicting town life. The visitor to Whim Plantation can sample freshly baked Johnny Cake from the cookhouse and stroll out to the restored animal and windmills that crushed the sugar cane.
Estate Whim Plantation Museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is nominal. Society members are admitted free. All museum and gift shop proceeds go to support the preservation efforts of the St. Croix Landmarks Society.
The St. Croix Landmarks Society Research Library is located at Whim Plantation. This reference library, staffed two days a week by a professional librarian is available by appointment, for the use of members and serious scholars. As well as books, the library has an excellent map collection and an extensive historical photograph collection.
A passive park is being created at the site of the Estate Clairmont ruins on the scenic north shore.
Cultural evenings such as lectures and concerts are regularly hosted by the Society.
Scholarly investigation into subjects of interest to the Virgin Islands is supported by the Society.
Gifts of historical sites and areas to be held free from development are received by the Society in a continuing effort to preserve our priceless past. The history of the Society shows many accomplishments. It is an amalgamation of two former groups: The St. Croix Museum and the Landmarks League, which joined forces in January, 1963. The two groups were responsible for the following: Establishment of the National Historic Site and zoned area around the wharf at Christiansted, now under the direction of the U.S. Park Service.
Establishment of a Museum in the Christiansted Library Building, with exceptional displays of Carib and Arawak material, and interesting exhibits of local Danish history. (Now in Steeple Building).
Transfer of the historic Steeple Building to the Park Service, which has restored it with care, to become a Museum encompassing some of the material from the old museum. Transfer also to the Park Service of the Folmer Anderson Collection of Carib and Arawak artifacts.
Annual House Tours,conducted weekly each February and March, through restored plantation mansions, and other famous old homes, plus many beautiful new tropical homes.
Acquiring reproductions of the original mirrors and chandeliers for Government House from Denmark where the originals are now in one of the Royal Palaces. Acquiring also the portrait of Alexander Hamilton and a reproduction of a portrait of King Frederik VII of Denmark, both of which now hang in Government House.
The reproduction of an authentic Danish Sentry Box now set up outside Government House.
Two "Awards of Merit" from the American Association of State and Local History were given the Society for "unusual and highly meritorious work." The Society is also affiliated with the National Historic Trust and American Association of Museums.
The Landmarks Society, as offspring of the two parent organizations with all their accomplishments, maintains an unceasing effort toward the preservation of St. Croix's unique assets and history. It has succeeded so far through the efforts of many interested generous and dedicated persons, both here and in the United States. The members are proud of what has been done, and welcome all who wish to join them in their plans for the future.
Editor's Note: Since "The Romantic History of St. Croix" by Florence Lewison was published in 1963 by the St. Croix Landmarks Society, many changes have occurred with the organization as you can imagine. Still completely viable and offering many wonderful programs, like exploring your family roots in the Library's Family History Center, and events like Candlelight Concerts, Ruins Rambles, Starving Artists Days, and Come Home to St. Croix that brings people from St. Croix, other islands, and abroad to celebrate their family history and traditions together. The Carl and Marie Lawaetz Family Museum, in Frederiksted's Rainforest, showcases the Danish legacy on St. Croix, while the Apothecary Hall Museum, located now on Queen Cross Street in Christiansted, is an authentically furnished pharmacy. Call 772-0598 for more information.