St. John On Foot And By Car: A Walking and Motor Guide to the History and Natural Beauty of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islandsby Rebecca S.. Koladis, Randall S. Koladis
About the Author
Randy Koladis and his wife, Becky, are long-time lovers of St. John and the Virgin Islands. The couple was married on nearby St. Thomas and lived for a number of years on St. Thomas and St. John. Randy was a former teacher at All Saints School on St. Thomas, and he also worked at Caneel Bay Resort on St. John. Although the couple now/b>… See more details below
About the Author
Randy Koladis and his wife, Becky, are long-time lovers of St. John and the Virgin Islands. The couple was married on nearby St. Thomas and lived for a number of years on St. Thomas and St. John. Randy was a former teacher at All Saints School on St. Thomas, and he also worked at Caneel Bay Resort on St. John. Although the couple now resides in Hartford, Connecticut with their three children, they are, nevertheless, frequent visitors to the Virgin Islands and St. John - the island of their dreams.
- Island Ways
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- 3.78(w) x 7.48(h) x 0.28(d)
Read an Excerpt
From Northside Tour:
Another highlight of a visit to Cinnamon Bay is the self-guided walking tour of the Cinnamon Bay Loop Trail. The trail winds past the ruins of a sugar factory and takes you on a pleasant hike through the shady forest above Cinnamon Bay. To reach the trail entrance, walk back up the road from the beach. When you arrive back at the commissary, follow the road past the parking lot and amphitheater to North Shore Road, where you turn left. The trail entrance is located on the right hand side of the road about 100 feet ahead.
There is a plaque just inside the ruins showing your location and the route of the Cinnamon Bay Loop Trail. It takes about 30 minutes to complete the half-mile course.
Leaving the plaque, walk up the trail about 50 feet to the ruins of the large sugar factory. Note the round circular platform to the left. This is the horsemill where the raw cane stalks were crushed between iron rollers. Power to rotate the rollers was supplied by horses, mules or oxen that were harnessed to a central shaft and forced to walk in a circular path. The cane juice extracted from the stalks was funneled by gravity into the factory building where it was heated and boiled in a series of pots. Beds where the pots were seated are still visible on the left side of the ruins. After exploring the sugar factory, return to the plaque (in front of the factory) and follow the trail along the right hand side of the building. The large circular chimney adjacent to the factory building is attached to several ovens where bread was baked to feed the slaves. A few steps beyond the factory building, the trail winds to the right and leads to the remains of a bay rum still. The still can be identified by it’s pyramidal chimney.
Just to the right of the bay still is a marker indicating the entrance to the hiking trail above the ruins. Before going up the trail, you may want to walk across the small stone bridge to the right where you can view the remains of the Cinnamon Bay Estate House and several out-buildings. The plaque in front of the building shows an artist’s rendering of the original estate house. The Cinnamon Bay Estate House was destroyed by a hurricane during the early 1900s, however, the steps leading up to the main entrance are still clearly visible.
Retrace your steps back across the stone bridge, turn right at the bay
rum still and head up the path. The surrounding hillsides are dotted with bay
trees. Bay trees are easily identified by their smooth brown trunks. The
trees thrive in the rich soil and damp climate found on this side of the
island. At one time, children were used to climb the trees and pick the
leaves and drop them down to women waiting below. The precious oils were
extracted and combined with rum and other alcoholics to make a scented
perfume. If you were to crumple a leaf between your fingers you would
immediately experience the intoxicating and rich aroma of this plant.
In 1733, optimism was running high on St. John. To many, there seemed no limit to how big tiny St. John might grow. But then, in the early morning hours of Sunday, November 23, disaster struck in the form of a fierce slave revolt, which gripped the island in a horrific nightmare of terror and havoc. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary on the fateful morning to the lone sentry on duty at the fort in Coral Bay as he watched a small group of slaves slowly making their way up the hillside toward the fort. “Ah, slaves with wood,” he thought as the group drew near. The guard knew it was customary for slaves to bring wood to the fort every Sunday. Sensing nothing unusual, he jumped down from his watchtower and opened the gates.
Once inside, the slaves produced cane knives, which had been carefully hidden in their bundles of wood. They pounced on the unsuspecting guard, and quickly hacked him to death. There were seven other soldiers asleep in the guardhouse at the time. They might have been slightly aroused by the scuffle outside, but before they could fully awaken, the rebels had battered down the door, and swarmed down on the defenseless men. Within minutes, the mutilated bodies of six of the seven soldiers lay dead on the floor. One soldier managed to escape and make his way over to St. Thomas, where he spread the alarm.
Leaving the guardhouse, the rebels mounted the gun-deck and fired two blasts on a cannon, which signaled the start of the revolt. With the aid of drums and horns made of conch shells, word of the revolt spread quickly around the island. Slaves marched from one plantation to the next, ransacking great houses, setting fire to cane fields, and murdering white masters and overseers.
In Coral Bay at Estate Caroline, Judge Sodtmann, the son-in-law of Governor Gardelin, was singled out and brutally butchered before the terror-stricken eyes of his twelve-year-old daughter, who was later murdered as well. The rebels hated the judge because of the harsh sentences he had imposed upon island slaves. As punishment, they made the judge dance in a circle on a table (mimicking the manner in which slaves were often forced to dance for the entertainment of the masters) while they sliced at his legs with their cane knives.....
Over at Caneel Bay, about forty planters gathered at the home of Peter Durloe. With the aid of a small cannon, they were able to hold off the rebels just long enough to escape in a boat that arrived from St. Thomas. The Danes... [struggled] to restore order. “We pursued the blacks over the mountain all the way to Coral Bay,” wrote Governor Gardelin to the Danish king shortly after the start of the revolt. “Arriving below the fort we attacked a band of rebels in force on the hill. After a sharp engagement in which we lost two men, we succeeded in recapturing the fort. During the charge several blacks were captured. Our forces being insufficient to garrison the fort, we abandoned it after spiking the guns. The next day we captured twenty men and women besides three who attempted to escape to Tortola in a boat. We beheaded ten, but they were only followers, not leaders. I am fearful,” Gardelin concluded, “that it will take a long time before we catch the instigators of this bloody insurrection.”
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