Each estate page features at least one carousel of images featuring the windmill for that location. For locations that have been revisited in the early 2020s, current photographs appear in the first carousel. At a minimum, a carousel includes the depiction of the estate from 21 historic maps dating from 1671 to 1982.
This page describes the selection of photos and map snippets for each estate page. The future evolution of this site will add information to provide better understanding of each location.
Starting in the winter of 2021, systematically revisiting estates updated research on the condition of the windmills. For each estate, over 500 photographs capture the current appearance of the windmill tower. Over half of the 147 estates where a windmill may have been constructed have current photos.
On the majority of estates with missing photos, the windmill has been reduced to a foundation or never located. However, some of the locations have become inaccessible by the growth of bush along previously drivable roads, such as Punch in the West End and Hermitage in King’s Quarter.
The photos included on this website reflect the current condition of the windmill. Many towers are obscured by bush and efforts made to minimize the amount of obscuring vegetation in photos have been partially successful at best in some cases. This photo of Mount Pleasant Colquehoun illustrates the challenges of getting an image of a windmill foundation through heavy vegetation.
As much as possible, photographs include several views. An important view includes whatever rises from the ground, whether only a foundation or a relatively intact masonry tower. When the tower exists, photos depict the main openings, windows, and other interesting architectural features.
We welcome the contribution of any photos you would like to provide to add to the information presented on this website. As you may notice perusing the site, photos generally only include the windmill and surrounding landscape and rarely include people. You will receive attribution credit for the photos provided. Please Contact Us with your interests.
Each of the 147 estate pages includes a carousel of snippets from 21 historic maps of St. Croix, ranging in publication date from 1671 to 1982. Since some estates have a presence in more than one area, a couple individual estate pages have more than one carousel of map snippets. Nearly 3,000 individual snippets on the website each focus on an individual estate to allow the comparison of a single location over a period of centuries.
The chosen maps each provide unique information compared to other maps. For instance, while the Oxholm map published in 1799 appears in the snippets, the numerous reproductions of this map in England in the early 19th century are not included, since those reproductions provide no new information. In contrast, 10 variants of the Beck map, initially published in 1754, merit inclusion due to the unique information presented on each version.
St. Croix’s fairly unique rectilinear survey allows the relatively easy identification of specific estates across different maps, since counting rectangles from the coast or some other border provides easy comparison. The regularity of the basic land ownership survey provides a high degree of certainty that each snippet for an estate refers to that estate. That being said, some of the maps likely contain errors, such as depicting a windmill in the incorrect location.
All the historic maps present interesting challenges for assessing the accuracy of information included. Each map omits or relocates information that other maps present more consistently with field findings and information presented on other maps. For example, the original printing of the Beck map in 1754 places the windmill at Concordia in West End Quarter on the wrong side of the road, meaning it is actually placed in the incorrect estate block. Nearby, the Beck Map in 1754 places a windmill in estate 43 of Prince’s Quarter, which is now known as Diamond. While an animal mill appears on this map in estate 38, correlating with the existing windmill on the property of the Cruzan Rum factory, whether or not a windmill existed in estate 43 remains in question.
Omissions and inclusions call into question the meaning of icons on the 1856 Parsons map. This map omits the Bonne Esperance windmill in Queen’s Quarter and the nearby La Reine windmill in King’s Quarter. The windmill at these estates appears on earlier maps exists today. However, of the two windmills presented on the Parsons map at Little Princess in Company’s Quarter, one of which may have been a water tower. The icons of two decommissioned towers by Parsons at Mannings Bay in Prince’s Quarter raises questions about their function. While the two windmills shown operating in Castle Coakley on the Parsons map, the function of the third decommissioned tower raises questions, especially being positioned in the lee of the hill at a low point, underlining its potential use as a well tower.
Additionally, the topographic maps of the 20th century each omits windmills easily located in the field. Neither the c.1920 maps by the US Coast and Geodetic Survey or the 1958 and 1982 topographic maps by the US Geological Survey indicate an windmill ruins in estate Anguilla in King’s Quarter, ruins located in the field.
The snippet of each map for each estate centers on the estate featured on that page. In some cases, the snippet expands beyond boundaries of a single estate. Two situations inspired this expansion. The first situation resulted from the ownership of an estate stretching beyond a single estate. River Estate in Prince’s Quarter provides one example, where the expanded estate boundaries shows 3 windmills under common ownership on the 1799 Oxholm map. For this estate, the expanded ownership appears for multiple maps to show different windmill icon depictions across different maps.
The second situation resulted from a name or other distinguishing characteristic on a map stretching beyond the borders of the estate. This situation arose especially with the 1856 Parsons map, where estates such as Retreat in Company’s Quarter and Carlton in West End Quarter have the names extending past the estate property boundaries.
In addition to estate names stretching across boundaries, sometimes salient coastal names inspired the expansion of the map snippet to better place the location for the user. For example, Wills Bay is not always named on land as an estate name, but often as a coastal feature. Similarly, the windmill at Ham’s Bay is close to both Hams’ Bay and Ham’s Bluff, inspiring the expansion of the map snippets.
The snippets for the 1767 Küffner map, published along with Oldendorp’s book History of the Mission of the Evangelical Brethren on the Caribbean Islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John describing the Moravian missionary work, often expanded beyond the estate boundaries to provide the appropriate context. Due to the rectilinear survey of St. Croix, the Küffner map can be interpreted to place plantations and sugar mills into specific estates. However, the placement of names near these icons creates ambiguities about which icon the name references.
Similarly on the Küffner map, if an icon for a plantation settlement without a name or nearby reference appeared alone as a snippet, the icon would have no relative reference. In these cases, the area expanded to include other material to place the estate in context.
A place name from the Küffner map deserving mention is Maronberg in Northside A Quarter. This area, described in Oldendorp’s book, served as the home to people who escaped from slavery while remaining on St. Croix. Not long after the 1760s, this area became settled with sugar plantations and any escapees were further marginalized to even more remote areas to the north, such as the renowned Maroon Hole and Maroon Ride in the steep area to the east of Ham’s Bluff.
One map required significant estimations of the estate location. The 1671 LaPointe map provides distorted outlines of the St. Croix coastline. Since this map, created during the French period and before the Danish survey of the 1730s through 1750s, lacks the rectilinear base survey. Therefore, the snippets for many estates estimated exact locations, subject to revision given a more sophisticated analysis.
Photos from fieldwork conducted from 1989 to 1992 await uploading onto the site. These photos will provide some perspective of changes at the extremely local level. These photos will reside in a separate carousel on each estate page to clearly identify their age.
Additionally, we welcome submission of historic photos for future inclusion. Providing an approximate date and location of the photo provides context for the photo. Please Contact Us with your interests.