A Bimble Around Christiansted, St Croix
We decided after lunch to launch Baby Beez to have a little explore of Christiansted - the former capital of the Danish West Indies with a population (2004), of about 3,000. Christiansted has preserved the 18th-century Danish-style buildings constructed by African slaves. The commercial area centres on King and Company Streets. The residential area, including portions originally settlements for free blacks, extends inland and uphill from the commercial area. The town has several small hotels and restaurants many on the quayside or boardwalk. Solid stone buildings in pastel colours with bright red tile roofs line the cobblestone sidewalks, adding a touch of European charm. The town's symmetry, with streets running at right angles to the waterfront, makes it popular for walking tours.
We parked Baby Beez on the waterfront passing this great bar set in an old sugar mill. We had a leisurely bimble after finding a ‘hole in the wall’ beginning with the Lutheran Church – originally the Dutch Reformed Church built in the 1740’s and transferred to the Lutherans in 1831.
The small Limpricht Park - sadly locked, did have a tired resident next to a former Government Secretary - Mr. Limpricht.
Next we found the Old Market, laid out to the original plan from 1735 and still in use. Across the street we found Apothecary Hall, a tiny open museum set behind a glass panel on Queen Cross Street. Every white person we saw said a cheery “Hello”, all the black people a lovely “Good Afternoon”, everyone was helpful in pointing things out to us or just generally stopping for a chat.
The Christiansted National Historic Site, established in 1952, has mounted lots of information and name plaques on many buildings, so even if they are not famous enough to feature on the walking tour map, they can be appreciated, photographed and recognised. These buildings are Quin House and Brand Corp Depot - now the home to the St Croix Telephone Company.
The Steeple Building – formerly a Lutheran Church – dates back to 1753. It houses a display documenting the religious history of St Croix. Top of the steeple showing some hurricane damage.
Fort Christiansvaern (own blog) was the first public building to be started by the Danes after the island was purchased from the French in 1733. It is built of Danish yellow brick and was completed in 1749 and later expanded. Its present appearance reflects the 1830’s period.
Old Customs House with its sweeping staircase is a delightful old building completed in 1830, stands across the grass from the fort. It now holds the National Parks Service offices.
Old Scale House on the harbour front, known as the wharf houses on one side the scale used in former days to weigh the barrels of rum and sugar. On the other side is a bookstore and gift shop.
Government House (brought us to end of our bimble through the streets of this exceptional little town) was in part the former home to a Danish Merchant. That section dates back to 1749; another section, previous town house of a wealthy Danish plantation owner, was joined to it in 1826, together becoming the seat of the Danish West Indies government. We look forward to our 'out and about' tomorrow with GB and Sarah but for now time for a Mud Slide or two.
ALL IN ALL A SMASHING LITTLE TOWN WITH LOVELY PEOPLE, VERY HOMELY
VERY DANISH, QUAINT AND LOOKED AFTER