St. Croix ( Estate Wheel of Fortune )


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St. Croix ( Estate Wheel of Fortune )
Series Title:
Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions : drawings and reports, 1990 - 2012
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions
Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions
Place of Publication:
Corning, NY
Publication Date:

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
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University of Florida
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All rights reserved by the source institution.
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Estate Wheel of Fortune, St. Croix, USVI Introduction In September of 1996, Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions measured and photographed the ruins and buildings at Estate Wheel of Fortune, for the St. Croix Landmarks Society. We appreciated the help of Barbara Hagen-Smith, Director of the Landmarks Society, and especially George Tyson, who helped us with on-site orientation and information. Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions is a non-profit group which recruits volunteers from the US and Canada to help Caribbean historical societies, National Trusts, and other local groups with preservation projects. Volunteers from the US on this trip included Anne Hersh, Corning, NY, and Ibrahima Bangoura, of Germantown, MD. Local volunteers from St. Croix included Patti King and Bill Bakker. Also invaluable help was provided by Dazo, who helped clear. General Description of the Site The site is west of Fredericksted in an area of rolling hills. The site is owned by the Clarke family, and members reside there in two houses at the present time. The site consists of ruins of a sugar factory, an animal mill; manager house, barns, and walls and several ruins of slave housing, as well as a restored great house, which is being occupied, and another new house. The owner, Mr. Charles Clarke is very knowledgeable about the plantation, history and buildings of Wheel of Fortune and other estates in the area. More information should be gathered from him to help interpret this site. The site was very overgrown with thorny plants and the buildings were infested with wasps This made measuring difficult. All measurements are approximate, and further checking should be done. There were many pieces of machinery on the site, including a large gear wheel, at the north end of the building, steel plate vats, a large 20 foot long cylinder vessel near the walls to the north of the factory, and many others.


Building Description Building A. Factory The factory building was a two story building; some of the upper walls are still intact. The building was about 161 feet long, by 110 feet deep and is a T formation. The boiling area appears to have been on the end of the T facing north, where there are several arched openings on the lower level of the building. There were several cisterns and holding areas, including steel plate containers supported on piers at the north section of the building. These had inscriptions and were made in Glasgow in 1861 and 1854. Remaining walls are stone, two or more feet thick. Door and window openings are often elliptical brick arches We found many pieces of metal machinery, and one l arge gear wheel at the north end. The brick used in the walls was both y ellow and red ; and one large square brick was inscribed and from New York. There building appears to have been changed and adapted over time, with openings blocked in Building B. Animal Round To the east to the factory and slightly uphill are stone retaining walls from an animal round The present owner reported there had been a windmill at the site, and we could find some walls which may have been part of this structure. Building C. Possible Residence This building is close to the factory and to the south. The building is about 50 by 30 feet, and has one story stone walls remaining. There is evidence of former stair way on the north wall. To the south is a large Tamarind tree. Building D. Great House This building is about 60 feet by 45 feet. The grade slopes so that the south part of the building is two stories, and has a grand wide stairway with curved masonry rails. The building has been "modernized". Older photographs show that there was once an open wood porch on the north and east walls. The porch on the north has been enclosed, with stuccoed block. The interior of the building still has high ceilings. The exterior appears to be plastered with portland cement, an has modem windows and doors


Building Complex E. Auxiliary Buildings These buildings appear to have been bams related to the adjacent walls. This complex is 70 feet by 50 feet. Parts of these structures have roofs, and are being used for storage The walls are stone, with brick arched windows. Building F. Cistern This is a cylindrical structure quite near the house. It is about 16 feet by 7 feet. Walls G These walls are adjacent to the small cistern. WallsH These walls are about four feet high, with a beveled top, The walls start near the bams and extend into the fields down hill. The area was very overgrown and we were not able to find all of these walls. Near the north end of these walls was a large metal vessel. Buildings L Slave Housing About 340 feet directly to the north of the factory are remains of the slave housing. We could find six buildings with standing walls, and several of these had substantial remains of the roof. Several of the units were duplexes, and one had six doors. The duplex units were about 18 feet by twenty-eight feet. The walls were stone and the roofs were framed from wood with metal corrugated roofing. Some units had floors framed from wood beams and flooring about 12 inches above grade. These buildings were on a gentle slope, with the doors facing south. To the south of these buildings were several large Tamarind trees, and a calabash tree. There were many piles of stone, which were probably remains of other foundations; however the area was greatly overgrown. Further exploration should be done in this area to locate more of these buildings. Building J Modern house CisternK Modern cistern.


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Wheel of Fortune, eVE 1996


Wheel of Fortune, eVE 1996