The perfect backdrop for a memorable occasion …
History comes alive when you walk through the grounds of Estate Whim Plantation and the St. George Village Botanical Garden. At one point St. Croix was home to more than 250 plantations or estates and for 200 years the island was dedicated to the production of sugar. Drive around the island today and you can find ruins of these old plantations. You will also find a few plantation watchhouses. These small 8′ x 10′ structures no longer exist on St. Thomas and St. John so you only find them on St. Croix. There are a number of restored, mostly private, plantations including Sprat Hall, the oldest planation on St. Croix, Butler Bay, Estate Little Princess, Estate Mount Washington, Estate Whim, and Estate St. George.
Until the middle of the 20th century most of the plantations fell into disuse and dense tropical vegetation began to reclaim much of the properties and buildings. In 1954 St. Croix Museum Inc. began an eight year project to restore Estate Whim plantation and in 1972 the St. Croix Garden Club received the first parcel of land for what has become the St. George Village Botanical Garden.
Estate Whim Museum, located on 12 acres in Estate Whim, includes an 18th century neoclassical great house, slave quarters, factory, and a fully restored windmill. The stately Great House has an immaculate collection of sturdy mahogany furniture and hand-carved mahogany artwork. The original plantation covered more than 1400 acres and was divided in the 1920s when the Federal government bought the land for a homestead plan. Whim is the oldest sugar plantation museum in the Virgin Islands and the museum continues to actively collect and conserve artifacts pertinent to St. Croix’s colonial and modern history. The research library houses a superb collection of books, manuscripts, maps, photographs and archival materials that document Crucian and Virgin Islands culture and history. If your ancestors lived in St. Croix, the museum just might have some information about them.
Estate St. George, better known as the St. George Village Botanical Garden, is a 16.5 acre garden planted among the restored buildings and ruins of an 18th and 19th century sugar cane plantation. The site overlaps a 23 acre Amerindian site that was settled around 100 A.D. Today the botanical garden is home to 1500 native and exotic species and varieties of plants. It is the perfect place to learn about the natural beauty of the Virgin Islands. The museum at St. George Village chronicles the 2,000 year history of Estate St. George.
Both facilities are available for weddings and other special events and the lush tropical settings are ideal backdrops for what will surely be a memorable experience. You can find both locations along Centerline Road on the western half of St. Croix.
Remember, wherever you may roam on our lovely island of St. Croix, take only photos & leave only footprints…
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