Happy Sunday everyone! In this week’s edition, you’ll get an update on progress, but also a bit of a history lesson and tour of the seldom seen, yet oldest and most historical plantation on St. John. First, the construction update.
We’ll start with the tower villa. The tile guys laid have already done the outside balcony and applied a final finishing coat of concrete and sand to level out the floor inside the building. Lori selected a beautiful through body porcelain tile for the balcony and interior of the villa which goes in this week.
Before we tile the interior, the crew is starting the tiling from the observation platform and working their way down the stairs and then to the roof top terrace.
The cypress tongue and groove ceiling has arrived, and the team has furred in the bedroom ceilings.
The Upper 1BR villa is receiving final wiring and has had its exterior balcony tiled.
The framing of poolside villa #1 is almost complete, and electric and plumbing on poolside villa #2 moving along.
While we’re moving the top 4 villas through to completion, work has progressed on the lower portion of the site with the team pouring 80 yards of concrete until 9pm last Friday night. They finished the final pour on the Office and Laundry facility…
…as well as the suspended slab and lower stair and landing area for the Honeymoon suite. Note, this slab was poured on Friday evening, and the walls are already being formed for the sides and roof of this villa. One more pour and it will be ready for finishing.
That’s it for the construction update! Now, onto the history lesson…
The Carolina Plantation was founded March 25, 1718 by a group of Danish planters and was the largest plantation on the island of St. John. Ruins of the original factory (1725), Sugar Mill (1733) and great house (1720’s) have been left largely untouched for the last 100 years as they are on private lands and have rarely been visited. This plantation is also where the slave rebellion of 1733 originated.
In the following picture, you can see the sugar mill on the left side of the picture. The great house is just up and to the right. You can also make out the Moravian church on the right hand side of the painting.
The Plantation was acquired by the Danish Crown in 1755 and sold to a German nobleman, Baron Heinrich Carl Schimmelmann. William Henry Marsh acquired the property around 1877 and the Marsh family has controlled Estate Carolina ever since. After slavery officially ended, the Plantation continued to thrive under the ownership of former slaves as it transitioned from sugar cane production to cattle ranching and bay rum oil production. The Marsh family lived in the great house until it was destroyed by a hurricane in 1924.
After receiving permission from the owner, a group of us visited the ruins on Saturday to explore this amazing relic of history. Shout out to Leah Randall for the awesome pics of the ruins! We took a tour of the great house, which you can see in the painting at the top of the hill. Below this house was the slave village and quarters.
The old sugar mill, built in 1733, still contains the remnants of the support timbers used to hold the floor upon which the mill’s machinery rested.
Prior to the windmill’s construction, the slaves used to crush the sugar cane using horses or donkeys on a large circular paddock. The walls of the paddock were anywhere from 5 – 15′ in height depending on the terrain.
In addition to the mill and horse paddock, there are remains of the factory itself. A large, rectangular two story structure.
Next to the factory, there is a large well, approximately 30′ deep which still has water in it today! Note the brick lining of the well. You can see where the hand tools scrapped against the dense basalt rock
The grounds also contain ruins of a hospital, a second great house and many other small structures. At it’s height, the plantation covered over 1,700 acres and had 175 slaves, 25 houses and 53 rooms.
Carolina Plantation is also the site of a Taino Indian settlement dating back to 500 A.D., which was first uncovered in 1924 by a Danish archaeologist. Needless to say, this is probably one of the most historic sites on the island.
It was also Cameron’s first time on the swing. She’s going to be a zip line girl, I can tell already!
Have a great week everyone!