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Windmills in the Virgin Islands

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Windmills in the Virgin Islands

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(@Barbara126)
Posts: 1
 

Hi-
I understand there are historic windmills in the virgin islands, left over from plantation days, but I can't find much information about where and how many. Can anyone help me? Are any visible from the sea? (for instance, cruise ships)

Thanks

(ps do they look like Spanish Windmills (Don Quixote style) or Holland windmills?)

 
Posted : December 27, 2005 5:32 pm
(@islandjoan)
Posts: 1
 

hi Barbara126

here's a link to a photo of a windmill on St Croix.
http://cruises.about.com/library/pictures/virgins/blstcx11.htm

There are around 200 windmills on St Croix in various states of preservation, and I believe St Croix has more windmills than practically another other Caribbean Island. I think you can see a few from the sea on the western side of St Cxoix, but most are inland.

If I find any other good websites with info I will post them here for you.

 
Posted : December 28, 2005 2:37 pm
(@islandjoan)
Posts: 1
 

Here's some history about the windmills on St Croix:
http://www.sgvbg.org/sugarcane.html

 
Posted : December 28, 2005 2:47 pm
(@theislander)
Posts: 3881
Famed Member Admin
 

Hello Barbara126,

The large majority of windmill ruins to be seen in the USVI no longer have the sails so its the tower that is left.

In the book Historic Buildings of St. Thomas and St. John by Gjessing & Maclean the authors stated that there are:

150 windmill towers on St. Croix

5 on St. John (I can't find where they listed them but they mostly discussed Annaberg, Reef Bay, Denis Bay Mill, Carolina Plantation and Estate Cathrineberg.)

4 on St. Thomas (looks like Contant, Fortuna, Solberg and Raphune.)

There are some horsemills, like the one at Caneel Bay on St. John. Also I remember a mill being in Mandahl on St. Thomas, it was destroyed a few years ago; not sure if it was a windmill or horsemill.

Coming into St. Thomas you won't see the mills from the water/cruise ship. You will see the watchtowers and the fort in Charlotte Amalie. You can see some of the mills on St. John from the sea along the northshore. And St. Croix, I am not sure if you would see any coming in by cruise ship but once on the island its hard not to see them as they are numerous.

They do not look like Holland windmills. They look more similar to the stone tower Spanish Windmills although the Spanish mills seem taller.

Here is an example; its the Annaberg Mill on St. John.

--Islander

 
Posted : December 28, 2005 6:24 pm
(@stx-realtor)
Posts: 131
Estimable Member
 

I once heard from a local in his 80s that there were originally right at 275 windmills built on STX over a period of 38-40 years when the island was first being divvied up by the various corporate owners from Denmark. Many have since disappeared, although over half still exist in some recognizable form as being the remnants of windmill bases.

If you are expecting to see the wind vanes on top, think again. The bases are what remain. You can tour some of them and many still have the crushing stones somewhat in place inside the lower level room inside. Some have been rebuilt into newer uses or incorporated into homes and businesses. There are many that are just rock piles with part of the circular (or square) foundation still in place. I've come across a few hidden inside rainforest jungle growth. In one case, the owner of the property had been unaware that he owned ruins!

 
Posted : December 28, 2005 7:44 pm
 PT
(@pt)
Posts: 2
New Member
 

Hello, islandjoan,
Thanks for posting the St. George web address in reference to the sugar mill question. The site itself has loads of other interesting stuff about St. Croix for the avid info collector.

PT

 
Posted : December 30, 2005 8:31 am
(@islandjoan)
Posts: 1
 

hey PT
you're welcome! Yeah there's very interesting stuff on that site, stuff you don't easily find elsewhere.

 
Posted : December 30, 2005 9:14 am
(@bill-cleveland)
Posts: 1
New Member
 

I recognize this is a little late to the party, but this website was recently launched. Extensive fieldwork located the ruins of 119 windmills or their foundations out of 150-160 that were ever built as interpreted from dozens of historic maps of St. Croix.

https://www.stcroixwindmills.org/  

This website is being actively managed and will continue to expand to provide more insights into the history of the Virgin Islands.

 
Posted : April 29, 2024 8:53 pm

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