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St. John History: Annaberg School

Trail to Annaberg SchoolThe Annaberg School
The Annaberg School was one of the Caribbean’s oldest public school houses. The partially restored building, sometimes referred to as the Mary Point School, can be reached by means of a short (0.2 mile) well maintained trail, which begins off the North Shore Road about thirty yards from the intersection of the Leinster Bay Road. The structure was stabilized in 1987 through the efforts of the St. John Historical Society who also provided the informational exhibit. Volunteers from the St John Historical Society have regularly maintained the area with the most recent  cleanup being last Saturday.

The trailheads are not readily visible by cars traveling on the roadway so be careful and pay attention to road traffic when entering and exiting the trail.

Annaberg SchoolHistory of the Annaberg School
In 1839, the Danes passed a law requiring that both free and slave children attend school. The schools were built with funds obtained from the colonial treasury and were run by Moravian Missionaries. Classes were taught in English.

This concern for the education of the slaves was quite unusual considering the low priority given to schooling in the West Indian plantation societies in general. In the Danish West Indies, public education, even for white children, was not available until 1788. As a justification of slavery, the Europeans promoted a philosophy that Africans were somehow less than human and could not be educated. In most colonies education for Africans was prohibited either by law or by custom. In the Danish West Indies, the philosophy gradually became more liberal. This was, in great part, due to the success of the Moravian Church in attracting African converts. White society now had to contend with the fact that many of these enslaved people were, like themselves, Christians.

Moravian clergymen taught the slaves at their missions in the islands, even before the passage of the 1839 law. They also pressed the government for educational reforms.

Another factor that led to the establishment of public schools for slave children was the ongoing process of humanitarianism and reform in Europe. King Frederick VI of Denmark was a liberal and a reformer. He maintained a friendship with Peter Van Scholten who was the governor of the Danish West Indies in the early 1830s. Van Scholten dedicated his governorship to the amelioration of the adverse conditions of slavery, and was instrumental in the passage of the educational reform law. In 1848, Van Scholten declared an end to slavery in the Danish West Indies, when faced with the prospect of a major rebellion on St. Croix.

The Annaberg School was completed in 1844. The location was chosen because, at the time, this was the most populated area of St. John. The recently renovated school building is representative of the architecture of the period. The location, overlooking Mary Point, Leinster Bay, and Tortola is quiet, serene and well worth a visit.

Excerpted from St. John Off the Beaten Track

St. John Virgin Islands Events

st john arts festivalSt. John Arts Festival

On Tuesday afternoon, St. John’s own, first-class reggae band, the Inner Visions, will be playing in the Park.

On Tuesday evening at 7.30pm at the Gifft Hill School auditorium (upper school building) there will be a special showing of the film “Chasing Ice,” in association with the St. John Film Society. This film is a must-see to actually witness, in time-lapsed filming, the dramatic effects of global warming on the Arctic Ice Cap.

There will be a select exhibition of hand-made island crafts in both the Dept. of Tourism’s little park and the main park.

A show of children’s art will be on the 2nd floor of the Market Place, as in past years.

St. John and Virgin Islands News

Five years in, efforts to control lionfish reassessed
By ALDETH LEWIN (Daily News Staff)
Published: February 17, 2014

ST. THOMAS – The proliferation of the Pacific lionfish throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands has led to a newly revised management plan.

In the summer of 2008, the territorial waters were free of lionfish.

In early 2009, divers and fishermen began to spot lionfish, first on St. Croix, then St. John and finally St. Thomas.

The zebra-striped spiny predators were first sighted off Florida in 1992. Since then, the invasive species has spread rapidly throughout the eastern seaboard and into the Caribbean.

Lionfish have a voracious appetite for smaller fish and can severely deplete fish populations that are necessary players in reefs’ fragile ecosystems. It is a native of the western Pacific, and has no natural predators in the Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean Sea.

When the invasive species was first found in territorial waters, local divers and ecologist leapt on the problem, getting word out to the public about the serious economic and ecological threat the fish posed.

In October 2009, the first Lionfish Response Management Plan was presented to the public, drafted by biologist Barbara Kojis with a grant from V.I. Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

Five years later, it was time for the plan to be updated.

The revised plan recognizes that while the lionfish population can no longer be prevented from invading the territory’s reefs, strategies may help slow the growth and protect specific reefs and areas from being wiped out…. read more

St. John USVI Live Music Schedule

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Erin Hart
7:00 – 9:00
201-1236

Castaways
Karaoke Night
9:00
777-3316

High Tide
Chris Carsel
6:00 8:00
714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Steel Pan
6:30
776-6378

Island Blues
Karaoke
8:00
776-6800

La Tapa
Sambacombo
6:30 – 9:30
693-7755

Morgan’s Mango
Greg Kinslow
6:30 – 9:30
693-8141

Ocean Grill
Lauren Jones
6:30 – 9:30
693-3304

See Weekly St. John Music Schedule

St. John USVI Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. East northeast wind 16 to 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

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Estate Enighed Cemetery
Grave of Wilam WoodThe renovated Estate Enighed (pronounced EN nee high) greathouse in Cruz Bay now houses the Elaine Ione Sprauve Public Library.

William Wood, an Englishman, born on the Dutch island of Saba in 1692 was the first recorded owner of Estate Enighed was. He came to St. John with his family sometime in the 1750’s and became the owner of the estate. William Wood died on St. John in 1757, and his grave can be found on the Estate Enighed property in back of the library…. read more

St. John Virgin Islands News

Winter storm impacts flights to V.I. airports
By ALDETH LEWIN (Daily News Staff)
Published: February 13, 2014

ST. THOMAS – Bad weather on the mainland caused canceled flights at the territory’s airports Wednesday.

V.I. Port Authority spokeswoman Monifa Marrero said all Delta flights were canceled Wednesday through today.

Jet Blue’s Boston flight was canceled Wednesday morning as well…. read more

Investigation Continues into St. John Homicide
By Lynda Lohr — February 13, 2014

The police continue to investigate a homicide on St. John that has garnered attention from the stateside media. The body of James Malfetti, 41, was found inside his Boatman Point Road apartment on Jan. 19 with stab wounds to his neck.

“The officers are working on the case every day,” Police Department spokesman Melody Rames said Thursday.

In response to harsh criticism in stateside media reports that claim the V.I. Police Department isn’t responsive and isn’t aggressive enough in pursuing the case, Rames would only say “the focus is on the case.”

Malfetti, who was from Scotch Plains, N.J., had lived on St. John about a year and ran a technical consulting business.

His parents, James and Rosemary Malfetti, hired a private detective to investigate their son’s murder for them.

“We have what we consider a very strong suspect,” detective Todd Phoenix said from his Florida base.

While Phoenix declined to name the suspect, he said that person resides within the territory.

Phoenix said his investigation was hampered because he was called into the case a week after Malfetti’s body was found. Additionally he said he wasn’t getting cooperation from local law enforcement agencies…. read entire article

Chess Tables Debut in Cruz Bay Park
By Lynda Lohr — February 12, 2014

…Lioness Bruce held court Wednesday as the Chess in the Parks initiative headed by V.I. first lady Cecile deJongh unveiled two chess tables in Cruz Bay Park….

…While deJongh envisions that both children and adults will enjoy the chess tables being installed in the territory’s parks, she said when it comes to students playing the game, it will improve their thinking skills.

Retired educator Alecia M. Wells, who accompanied the Sprauve students to the park, said they’ll learn hand and eye coordination as well.

For now, players will have to bring their own chess pieces because there is nowhere in the park to safely store them. The tables are bolted down to prevent theft.

The two tables installed on St. John, as well as one each in three parks on St. Thomas and three on St. Croix, were made by participants at My Brother’s Workshop, a St. Thomas-based nonprofit agency.

DeJongh said the tables cost $250 each, about a tenth the cost of importing them from the mainland…. read entire article

Caribbean Sea water beneficial to your health
Read VI Daily News Article

St. John USVI Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Stephan Sloan
5:30 – 8:30
776-5336

Castaway’s
Mikey P
9:00
Dance Party
11:00
777-3316

High Tide
Mikey P
7:00 ish
714-6169

Island Blues
Brother Nature
8:00
776-6800

Morgan’s Mango
Lauren
6:30 – 9:30
693-8141

Ocean Grill
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:30 – 9:30
693-3304

Shipwreck Landing
Tropical Sounds
6:30 – 9:30
693-5640

Skinny Legs
Chris Carsel
6:00 – 9:00
779-4982

Spyglass
James Milne
5:00 – 8:00
776-1100

See Weekly St. John Music Schedule

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. East southeast wind 13 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Full Moon will rise at 6:12 PM AST

Sunrise 6:47 AM AST – Sunset 6:19 PM AST

 

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cinnamon bay cattle dip
Cinnamon Bay, St. John US Virgin IslandsOn the western half of the beach at Cinnamon Bay just west of the Cinnamon Bay Archeological Museum, there is what looks like a pile of rocks. Looking from the other side one can see that it is was a man-made structure and many visitors to the beach wonder what in the world it was.

This artifact, left over from more than a century ago was in fact a cattle dip.

Cinnamon Bay Cattle
In the early part of the twentieth century, Cinnamon Bay was primarily dedicated to cattle ranching. The cattle from St. John were prized for their beef and were shipped to St. Thomas, Tortola and throughout much of the Caribbean. Without refrigeration, the animals needed to be shipped live as the meat from a slaughtered cow would soon spoil. Therefore, the cattle were driven to the beach and led to the cattle dip, where they were bathed in a solution of chemicals in order to kill any ticks or other unwanted pests. They were then swum out to anchored sailing vessels where they were lifted aboard using a boom, block and tackle. Read more about the history of Cinnamon Bay.

St. John USVI Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Lauren Jones
3:30 – 6:30
776-5336

Castaway’s
Brother Nature
777-3316

High Tide
Jason Laurence Jones
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
714-6169

Island Blues
Oasis
8:00
776-6800

Ocean Grill
T-Bird
6:30 – 9:30
693-3304

Shipwreck Landing
Tom Mason & the Blues Buccaneers
6:30 – 9:30
693-5640

Skinny Legs
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:30 – 9:30
779-4982

See weekly St. John music schedule

 St. John Weather

A chance of rain before noon, then scattered showers after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. East wind around 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

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Cinnamon Bay Sugar Mill

Cinnamon Bay Sugar Factory (Photo by Dean Hulse)

An 18th century plan to end slavery in the Danish West Indies (now the US Virgin Islands)

In the late 18th Century, Dr. Paul Erdmann Isert, proposed a plan that would effectively have ended slavery in the Danish West Indies and probably in the entire Caribbean. At the verge of being adopted by the Danish King, the plan was thwarted by a conspiracy based on St. Croix that resulted in the assassination of Dr. Isert. Read Article

St. John Events Tonight Saturday 03/16

Gifft Hill School Auction
The 27th Annual Gifft Hill School Auction will be held at the Westin St. John Resort & Villas
http://www.giffthillschool.org

See Full Events Schedule

Chocolate Hole DawnSt. John Weather

Another beautiful dawn, promising to be another beautiful day
The High Surf Advisory has been discontinued
Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy with rain showers
High of 79F
Winds from the ENE at 10 to 15 mph
Chance of rain 20%
Sunset: 6:29 PM AST
Water Temperature 82.9 degrees F

St. John Live Music Schedule

Beach Bar
Dave Gerrard
9:00
777-4220

Castaways
Mikey P 9:00
Dance Party 11:00
777-3316

Cruz Bay Prime
Mike Wallace
7:00 – 10:00
693 -8000

Miss Lucy’s
David Reed
6:00 – 9:00
693-5254

Morgan’s Mango
Luba
6:00 – 9:30
693-8141

Ocean Grill
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:00 – 9:30
693-3304

Rhumblines
Lauren
7:00 – 10:00

Skinny Legs
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:00
779 4982

See Weekly Schedule

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Lutheran Church St. Thomas 1941

After a morning church service on Christmas Day – Jack Delano, photographer – 1941 Dec.

Lutheran Church

The Lutheran Church on St. Thomas is the second oldest Lutheran Church in the western hemisphere. As the official church of Denmark, Lutheran ministers arrived with the first settlers and the first services were held in the courtyard of the fort.

In 1754, a church was built outside the fort and began ministering to blacks for the first time. Lutheran Ministers translated the Bible to Creole, and the same minister held services for two separate congregations, one Danish and the other Negro Creole.

The church was destroyed by a hurricane in 1772 and was replaced in 1789 by the Frederik Lutheran Church. The construction was financed by a free black parishioner, Jean Reeneaus.

The original Georgian-style building was reconstructed in 1827 after being destroyed by fire and then again in 1870, after damage suffered in a hurricane.

From “St. Thomas” by Gerald Singer

Things to do — St. Thomas
Mango Tango Presents Works Created in a Small Format
By Source Staff — January 21, 2013
Mango Tango invited artists represented by the gallery to create one to six works in a square foot format. Additionally artisans in Haiti, Guatemala and Panama were given the same invitation to make handicrafts in the small format. The final result is an Art by the Square Foot Exhibition that begins Friday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Jan. 25. Participating artists include Andrea Anderson, Caroline Duprey, Shari Erickson, Kristen Maize, Adrienne Miller, Mel McCuddin, Merryn McDonald, Kat Stevens, Brenda Sylvia, Mandy Thody and Dana Wylder, as well as a few newcomers…. read more

St. John Weather

Partly cloudy with rain showers
High of 84 degrees F
Breezy: Winds from the ESE at 15 to 20 mph.
Chance of rain 20%.
Sunrise: 6:54 AM AST – Sunset: 6:08 PM AST
Water Temperature (Charlotte Amalie Harbor) 82.9 degrees F

St. John Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:00 – 8:00
776-5336

Castaways
Flip Flop Rock
8:00
777-3316

Coconut Coast
St. John Flutes
5:30 -7:00
776-6944

Cruz Bay Prime
Sambacombo
7:00 – 10:00
693 -8000

High Tide
Lemuel Callwood Steel Pan
4:00 – 6:00
714-6169

Shipwreck Landing
Chris Carsel
6:30 – 9:30

Sun Dog Cafe
Wednesday Night Jam
Lauren & Mark Wallce
7:30-10:30
244-9713

See Weekly Schedule

 

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Old Stone Bridge

Fredriksdal and the Old Stone Bridge
The following photos were taken at the Fredriksdal ruins, easily accessible by a trail through the thorny sweet limes right off the main road in the Annaberg Area. The old stone bridge (above) can be found at the end of a short trail on the other side of the road.

History
Fredriksdal was named for Frederick Von Moth who lived on St. Thomas. He purchased the property from Reimert Sødtmann, magistrate of St. John in the early 1730s. (Sødtmann and his stepdaughter were among the first victims of the slave rebellion in 1733.) Von Moth was commander of the civil guard on St. Thomas and later became governor of St. Croix.

The grand entrance and stairway of the Fredriksdal Ruins are the remains of the estate house, which served as living quarters for the owners of Annaberg Plantation and are visible from the road. There are extensive ruins extending back into the bush. They include the remains of an oven, a well, a horsemill and other old structures and walls.

St. John Trail: Fredriksdal

Looking up through the well tower on the old Fredriksdal Estate

Fredricksdal ruins St John Virgin Islands

Stone stairway once leading to the Fredriksdal great house

Fredriksdal ruins st john usvi

Well tower at Fredriksdal ruins

St. John Live Music – Thursday April 19

Banana Deck – Steel Pan by Lemuel Samuels – 6:00 – 9:00 – 693-5055
Castaways – Dance Party – 11:00 – 777-3316
Driftwood Dave’s – Just Mike – 7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
High Tide – Inner Vision – 8:00-11:00 – 714-6169
Island Blues – Ike – 7:00 – 10:00 – 776-6800
Morgan’s Mango – Mark Wallace – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill – Chris Carsel – 6:30 – 9:00 – 693-3304
Shipwreck Landing – Slammin – 7:00 – 10:00
Skinny Legs – Lauren – 6:00 – 9:00 – 779-4982

See Weekly Schedule

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St. John USVI branch of Chase Bank 1965

Cruz Bay Branch of Chase Manhattan Bank 1965

Cruz Bay, St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)
It wasn’t until 1958 that St. John had its own bank. Before that year, people had to go over to St. Thomas to do their banking. Largely through the efforts of St. John administrator, George Simmonds, and Senator Julius Sprauve, the first Virgin Islands senator from St. John, the West Indies Bank and Trust Company was persuaded to open a branch on St. John. Senator Sprauve sweetened the pot by offering rental space to the bank at a reasonable rate.

In 1962, The West Indies Bank and Trust Company was taken over by Chase Manhattan Bank.

The photograph above was taken in 1965 and was provided by Bob Garrison, aka the Trail Bandit.

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Statue of Christopher Columbus located in the Plaza Mayor in the Old City of Santo Domingo.

Statue of Christopher Columbus located in the Plaza Mayor in the Old City of Santo Domingo.

In the ship’s log and in his diary Columbus made the following observation concerning the Taino: “They are a very loving people and without covetousness,”…”They are adaptable for every purpose, and I declare to your Highnesses that there is not a better country nor a better people in the world than these.”…They are so ingenious and free with all they have that no one would believe it who has not seen it; of anything they possess, if it be asked of them, they never say no; on the contrary they invite you to share it and show as much love as if their hearts went with it…”

Father Bartolomé de Las Casas, who wrote extensively about the Taino culture and their interaction with the Spanish invaders, sailed to the West Indies with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage. The Spanish fleet also carried more than 1500 adventurers, former prisoners and ex soldiers with battle experience in the wars against the Moors of North Africa.

Father Las Casas wrote:
“…God made all the peoples of this area…open and as innocent as can be imagined. The simplest people in the world, unassuming, long-suffering, unassertive, and submissive. They are without malice or guile…Never quarrelsome or belligerent or boisterous, they harbor no grudges and do not seek to settle old scores; indeed, the notions of revenge, rancor, and hatred are quite foreign to them…They own next to nothing and have no urge to acquire material possessions. As a result they are neither ambitious nor greedy, and are totally uninterested in worldly power…They are innocent and pure in mind and have a lively intelligence…

“It was upon these gentle lambs, imbued by the Creator with all the qualities we have mentioned, that from the very first day they clapped eyes on them the Spanish fell like ravening wolves upon the fold…The pattern established at the outset has remained unchanged to this day, and the Spaniards still do nothing save tear the natives to shreds, murder them and inflict upon them untold misery, suffering and distress, tormenting, harrying and persecuting them mercilessly.

“They forced their way into native settlements, slaughtering everyone they found there, including small children, old men, pregnant women, and even women who had just given birth. They hacked them to pieces, slicing open their bellies with their swords as though they were so many sheep herded into a pen. They even laid wagers on whether they could manage to slice a man in two at a stroke, or cut an individual’s head from his body, or disembowel him with a single blow of their axes. They grabbed suckling infants by the feet and, ripping them from their mothers’ breasts, dashed them headlong against the rocks. Others, laughing and joking all the while, threw them over their shoulders into a river, shouting: ‘Wriggle, you little perisher.’

“They spared no one, erecting especially wide gibbets on which they could string their victims up with their feet just off the ground and then burn them alive thirteen at a time, in honor of our Savior and the twelve Apostles, or tie dry straw to their bodies and set fire to it…The way they normally dealt with the native leaders and nobles was to tie them to a kind of griddle consisting of sticks resting on pitchforks driven into the ground and then grill them over a slow fire, with the result that they howled in agony and despair as they died a lingering death.

“It once happened that I myself witnessed their grilling of four or five local leaders in this fashion (and I believe they had set up two or three other pairs of grills alongside so that they might process other victims at the same time) when the poor creatures ‘howls came between the Spanish commander and his sleep. He gave orders that the prisoners were to be throttled, but the man in charge of execution detail, who was more bloodthirsty than the average common hangman (I know his identity and even met some relatives of his in Seville), was loath to cut short his private entertainment by throttling them and so he personally went round ramming wooden buns into their mouths to stop them making such a racket and deliberately stoked the fire that they would take just as long to die as he himself chose. I saw these things for myself and many others besides.

“…It is reported that the butcher-in-chief arranged for a large number of natives in the area and, in particular, one group of over two hundred who had either come form a neighboring town in response to a summons or had gathered of their own free will, to have their noses, lips and chins sliced from their faces; they were sent away, in unspeakable agony and all running with blood…”

In the United States of America and in the Caribbean, Columbus Day is celebrated on the twelfth of October.

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If you’ve been to Trunk Bay lately, you’ve probably noticed the that the ruins of the old Trunk Bay sugar mill have not only been cleared, but also are undergoing a stabilization project headed by the Virgin Islands National Park.

The Trunk Bay area was first claimed and settled by Adrian Runnels even before Denmark laid official claim to the island of St. John in 1718.

But Mr. Runnels and his enslaved entourage were not the first people to live on Trunk Bay. That honor belongs to descendants of indigenous Americans who first came to St. John around 1000 BC.

Archeological findings indicate that Trunk Bay was settled by these first Americans who called themselves Tainos around 700AD. Here they lived, planted yucca, fished, gathered fruit, fabricated pottery, tools and weapons and conducted their social and religious ceremonies until about 900 AD.

It seems that around that time these settlers left in a hurry, evidenced by the finding of cooking pots, which were still filled with food.

When Christopher Columbus sailed past the north shore of St. John on his second voyage, he either did not see, or at least did not report, any signs of the island being inhabited. This seems quite strange in that archeological evidence indicates several rather large villages along that coastline that existed until sometime around Columbus’ voyage.

The question is, what happened to the Tainos of St. John? Did they flee advancing Carib warriors? Were they in fact still on the island when Columbus passed by and were later wiped out by the depredations and diseases brought on by the European onslaught? Were they forced off the island by some natural disaster such as a hurricane earthquake or tsunami or did they just move on seeking greener pastures.

Perhaps the answer lies buried under the soil of St John waiting for an archeological discovery or perhaps we will never know what happened.

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Brought to you by Gerald Singer, St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)