Croix is the largest of the USVI islands and home to two well preserved and intriguing forts. Just steps from one end of Christiansted’s popular Boardwalk is Fort Christiansvaern and its surrounding structures, their yellow brick facades brightly illuminated by the strong Caribbean Sun. Now within a National Park,
Fort Christiansvaern was completed in 1749; its sturdy walls once defended the early Danish settlement from pirates and intruders – its cannons still pointing out to sea. Nearby, emblazoned with the same banana yellow façade, is the 1841 Customs House with its impressive stairwell. The white-towered Steeple Building was St. Croix’s first Lutheran church and is where I saw a local art exhibition.
On the island’s west end, Frederiksted’s treed waterfront promenade leads up to the red-walled Fort Frederik. The fort once protected the town, but now welcomes cruise ship passengers as it sits just opposite the cruise ship berth. Inside the fort is a museum highlighting the 1848 slave revolt that took place right outside the fort – an event that eventually led to emancipation. I was most impressed with a cracked 1778 bell that once rang on the nearby Estate LaGrange.
“It was the bell that was used on the plantation – each had a bell to call the men and women to work,” explains Frandelle Gerard, Executive Director of Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism, Inc. “It was used if there was a fire; to announce the end of the work day. And when we had our slave revolt, all of the bells on all of the plantations rang as a warning and as a sign to the enslaved people that it was time to mobilize and move into Frederiksted.
St. Croix Taxi and Tours
John and Lu’s Taxi Service, CadasseJohn@yahoo.com, 340-227-8433
St. Croix Safari Tours, firstname.lastname@example.org, 340-773-6700