St. John USVI Culture: A Description of St. John Written in 1967
"…St John today looks very much as it must have looked to Columbus in 1493-green densely clad mountaintops rising steeply from the sea, with only an occasional glimpse of houses to spoil the illusion that the island is uninhabited. The two principal communities are Cruz Bay, the main port of entry, and Coral Bay. The total population is presently about 800, of which some fifty are Continentals who have made St. John their home.
The machine age came to St. John in 1948 when the first jeep was brought over from St. Thomas on a sloop. Now there are about forty jeeps on the island and a few dozen trucks. The island's donkey population, after centuries of burden-carrying over the mountain roads, is virtually in retirement, except for those owned by families living in remote places where Jeeps still cannot go. Tourism is the main business of the island now, and the attractions of ready cash at the end of each week are more compelling to the islanders than the small gardens charcoal burning, and fishing of the past.
There are still elderly people who remember hearing their fathers talk
of their days in the cane fields and who themselves remember the days
of the Danes. The names of the old plantations – Carolina, Lameshur,
Annaburg, Adrian-remain as constant reminders of the past. And the island
itself, so long forgotten, has become a more important dot on the maps
of the West Indies as one of the most distinctive of our national parks…"
The name "Caneel Bay Plantation" has since been changed to "Caneel Bay Resort."
The booklet, A Little Guide to the Island of St. John, was sold at the Caneel Bay Gift Shop for $1.25.
Lito Vals and Ruth Low in St. John Backtime date the first automobile
in St. John at 1930.