The Annaberg area, south of Mary Point, was once the most populated
section of St. John. There were plantations at Maho Bay, Mary Point,
Fredriksdal, Annaberg, Leinster Bay and Windberg. The historical
ruins and places of interest can be accessed via the North Shore
Road, south of Leinster Bay Road. This is an excellent area for a leisurely
stroll. The terrain is relatively flat, and the surrounding forest
is shady and lush. The historical sites are close to the road and easy
to get to. The more intrepid can make their way further into the
bush to explore the area to a greater degree.
Old Danish Road
Old Danish Road
The National Park has cleared a section of an old Danish road, so that you can
see what the island roads looked like back in colonial times. The cleared section
of old road is located right near the intersection of the North Shore Road
and Leinster Bay Road, just across
from the Annaberg School.
Just east of Big Maho Bay, the North Shore Road
splits into two one way roads. The Windberg Ruins are located on the side of
the road that heads back toward Big Maho Bay and Cruz Bay.
Slaves on the Windberg Plantation, as well as on plantations all over the island,
did anything in their power to resist the conditions to which they were subjected.
These acts of resistance included such tactics as mutinies aboard slave ships,
overt rebellion such as the violent and almost successful slave rebellion of
1733, suicide, self-mutilation, abortion and marooning or running away from the
plantation. They resisted as well by pressing for the enforcement of already
established laws, which had been passed by Danish liberals to improve the conditions
of slavery, and by conducting labor actions, such as strikes, work stoppages
In 1831, the slaves at Windberg staged such an action. Forty slaves
reported to be ill and checked into the plantation sick house. The overseer
on the plantation reacted by forcing the slaves to work. One woman died,
and the police conducted an investigation. The overseer was fired, and
a new overseer was brought in. The new overseer, reluctant to use extreme
force, was faced with the difficult task of restoring the plantation
regime. He was neither feared nor respected and was unsuccessful in
compelling the slaves to go back to work. Windberg remained in a state
of disorder until the landfoged (island administrator) intervened on
the overseer's and owner’s behalf.
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.
The area is covered with sweet lime and
other thorny vegetation, so wear appropriate clothing to explore.
Old Stone Bridge
Old Stone Bridge
Across the road from the Fredriksdal Ruins is a seldom used trail that was once
part of the Old Danish Road. It leads to a fairly well preserved stone bridge
that is almost hidden in the thick bush.
Annaberg School Trailhead
The 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
the St. John Historical Society who also provided the informational
exhibit. In 2006 volunteers again cleared bush, improved the trail
and dedicated a new informational plaque. More information
about the Annaberg School