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I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Celebrating One Hundred Years

Last week, the 25th of August, marked 100th birthday of the National Parks. I thought to celebrate I'd post some pictures of the Virgin Island National Park. Most of the *park* resides on the island of St. John which was established in 1956 when Laurence Rockefeller bought up about two thirds of the island and donated it to the National Park.

Annaberg, one of many sugar plantations on the island, was under cultivation by 1731. By the 1800 it was one of the largest sugar producers on the island. This picture was take some time after 1933.
(Source)

The windmill was added sometime between 1820-1830. 
Up to that point the horse mill was used to grind the cane. 
You can see a part of it in the above picture to the far left, what looks like a curved wall.

 The factory building where the cane juice was boiled down to make sugar, molasses, and eventually rum. The wall to the right is part of the horse mill.

Boiling vats inside the factory building. Just one of the large iron pots remains in place, in the center of this picture.

 Looking through a window of the factory building at the windmill. 

 Catherineberg. During the slave revolt of 1733, the slaves used Catherineberg as their headquarters.
 It is the only windmill on the island you can walk under. 

Reef Bay. The last operating sugar factory ended production in 1908.

It was one of two factories that used a steam engine for grinding cane.
Above Reef Bay on a gut (a water course that runs after it rains) there is a waterfall with pools. The pools have water in them most of the year. Carved into the rocks above one of the pools are these petrogylphs believed to have been put there by the Taino (Arawak) Indians, the first inhabitants of the St. John. There is evidence people lived on the island as early as 1st century AD. They were gone long before Columbus arrived in 1493.

Maho Bay, which includes left to right, Francis Bay, Lillie Maho in the middle, and Big Maho.

Cinnamon Bay, taken from the sea, and home of the National Park campground. 
The building on the beach is an old Danish warehouse

Trunk Bay, is one of the most photographed beaches in the world. I've posted about it many times. This is the beach my grandparents bought in 1928, and where my grandmother had her first guesthouse. It's where I learned to swim. Now part of the National Park, it's a favorite place for visitors to come. There's even an underwater snorkeling trail that follows part of the shoreline of Trunk Cay. (The island to the far left is Jost Van Dyke, a British island. Dead center is Whistling Cay. Behind it is Thatch Cay. Thatch Cay is also British. The point of land to the right of Whistling Cay is Mary Point, which forms part of Maho Bay.)

Hassel Island, St. Thomas.
In 1671 Denmark successfully colonized St. Thomas and by 1680 the port of Charlotte Amalie was a thriving free trade hub. During the American Revolution, powder, arms, and shot were sent to the Continental Army by way of St. Thomas.

To protect the harbor, Prince Frederik's Battery was built in 1788. It sits right at the entrance to the harbor. During the Napoleonic Wars, Denmark was friends with the "Little General." St. Thomas was such an important port that the British occupied Hassel Island, once between 1801-02 and again between 1806-15. Both times they expanded or build new batteries and forts. During the British occupation, Prince Frederik's Battery, acquired its present name, Fort Willoughby.




The British built the Garrison House which was also used for storing munitions. It's construction is unique, and as far as I know, the only one like it in the world.













It's the only building in the islands that has wooden windows  covered in copper.














Fort Christianvaern, St. Croix. Christiansted, where this fort is, was established in 1735 and became the capital of the Danish Virgin Islands in 1755.
I hope you've enjoyed this brief tour of the Virgin Islands National Park. If you can't visit this one, do take  take the time to visit a park near you. We are blessed to have these lands set aside for us in perpetuity.

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for, what else? National Parks.
Here are some Parks and Monuments I've visited (not including the Virgin Islands. :)
Yellowstone
Grand Titons
Grand Canyon
Yosemite
Petrified Forest
Saguaro National Park
Death Valley National Park
Golden Gate National Recreational Area
Muir Woods National Monument
Redwood National Park
Mesa Verde National Park
Everglades National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Fort Larned National Historic Site
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
White Sands National Monument
San Antonio Missions National Historic Park
Lincoln Memorial
National Mall
Jefferson Memorial
Washington Monument

There may be others...

***

What are you thankful for today? Have you been to any parks or monuments? Do tell!


33 comments:

  1. Amazing photos. The ruins are fascinating. Bet they get a lot of visitors.
    I've been to most of those parks.

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    1. I think everyone should visit at least one or two parks in their life time. You simply can't go wrong viewing the Grand Canyon.

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  2. Old is Gold. Pictures looks good. Beautiful scenery clippings.

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  3. I've never known much about the Virgin Islands, but after reading your posts and, of course, your book, I've learned so much. I would really love to go to St. John now and see everything myself. :)

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    1. There's so much history there. It's amazing considering they're just pinpricks on the map.

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  4. Great pictures, Bish. The national park system was Teddy's huge gift to us, wasn't it? We just saw a film about the parks and I was reminded how important this public land is.

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    1. Let's clink our glasses of champagne to Teddy. He may have been quite the hunter, killing many animals in his life-time, but he had VISION!

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  5. Hi Bish, I’m not sure I will ever make it the Virgin Islands National Park, but that is OK because I can ‘see’ it through your photographs. Thank you for sharing them and for this very interesting post.
    I’m thankful the sun is shining I much prefer it to all the cold, damp days.

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    1. The wonder of the internet... across the miles and miles we can share our wee corners of the world. :)

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  6. Wow! Amazing photos. I would love to visit there. I've been to a few national parks on your list, along with Mt. Rainier and Olympic National Park. Beautiful places. I'm so glad that we have them to enjoy.

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    1. Thanks Tyrean. I'd love to see both Rainier and Olympic National Park. So many places to visit! It's like there's something for everyone.

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  7. What a distinctive National Park! America should be praised for establishing our National Parks -- true national treasures. :-)

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    1. It is distinctive, with more history that people realize.

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  8. That's a very imposing plantation.

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  9. Wow, what an in depth article and such beautiful and amazing photos. The beaches are lovely. Thanks for the tour and history lesson. I truly enjoyed learning about each National Park.

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    1. I could have said a lot more, Melissa, but it would have made the post too long! :D

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  10. Beautiful pictures! I didn't get to visit St. John or St. Thomas on my trip this summer, but I loved St. Croix and hope to return someday!

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    1. St. Criox has a lot of history too! Even more. in 1509 Ponce de Leon, first governor of Puerto Rico, to extend administrative influence to St. Criox made a truce with the fierce Carib Indians. But some idiot made a slave raid and the truce got broken.

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  11. Hi Bish - I certainly didn't know there was so much occupation of the Virgin Islands pre Columbus ... but I guess peoples went where they could sail to. Lovely photos and descriptions - totally whetted my appetite to visit and to learn more ... what a gorgeous place.

    We're lucky here - a lot of area has been protected and preserved ... we have a number of organisations that issue 'orders' to preserve - National Trust, Bird Reserves, Wetland Reserves, Wildlife in Trust - which I gave a talk about, but haven't written about.

    Fantastic post - many thanks ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Lots of occupation, lots of history. Not so much as in your neck of the woods, but quite a bit for this side of the pond. :)

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  12. Oh my goodness. These pictures are AMAZING. Wow. What adventures. Seriously. I'm so glad you shared. (And glad to visit again. Back to blogging. Been a while.) :)

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    1. Thanks, Morgan! It was truly an adventure growing up there, surround by all of it.

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  13. All of those ruins. It's a photographer's paradise.

    We wanted to visit Carlsbad when we lived in NM, but 4 years was not enough to see everything.

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    1. Yup, it is a photographer's paradise. Even though I have a ton of pictures every time I go down I take more! I've been to Carlsbad twice, quite a cave.

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  14. Fantastic pictures! I love seeing old industrial works and learning how they operated. The fort in the last picture looks to be very well preserved.

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    1. It is well preserved. But keeping these buildings in good condition takes a lot of money.

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  15. Gorgeous photos, Bish... I'm a sucker for a beautiful beach!

    Susan at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

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  16. Beautfiul pictures, Bish. Thank you for sharing such a lovely place with us. It's lovely to reflect from time to time and appreciate the place we live in or visit. Have a super September.

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  17. Wow! beautiful photos and lovely history! Thanks for sharing Bish!

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  18. There is a ruin of an old windmill very similar to yours in Newport, Rhode Island. They call it the Viking Tower but chances are it was really a windmill. Gorgeous photos!!!

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Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!