Before I sent it to some magazines to publish, I would like to share the walking map of historic Charlotte Amalie I wrote to my loyal readers. Enjoy!
CHARLOTTE AMALIE WALKING TOUR
1 Legislature Building – Site of the 1917 transfer from Denmark to the US. The original structure was built in 1828 as a barrack.
2 Fort Christian – Built in 1680 and is the oldest building in the USVI. Named after Danish King Christian V it was expanded in the 18th century and the Victorian clock tower was built in 1874 (the 1671 date represents when construction started on the fort). This fort, along with two batteries at the harbor entrance and two gun towers built on nearby hills, formed the defense for the town.
3 Vendor Plaza & Emancipation Park – You can do a bit of shopping for t-shirts, souvenirs, jewelry, and local crafts under these tents. Across the parking lot you will find a park commemorating the emancipation of slaves in 1848 with a statue of a conch blower.
4 Frederick Lutheran Church – Built in 1780, its the 2nd oldest Lutheran church in the New World and the oldest church in the USVI.
5 Post Office – Inside you can view two huge murals painted in 1941 by Stevan Dohanos of Saturday Evening Post fame.
6 Government House – The Danish Colonial Council built this building in 1867. It is now the hub of the Governor’s activities. Inside you will find two paintings by Impressionist Camille Pissarro along with other artwork and West Indian antique furniture.
7 Hotel 1829 – This home was built in 1829 using a ship as building material. Adjacent to the hotel are the 8 99 Steps (actually 103 built from ship ballast in the 1700’s). In the hotel you can join a tour, which grants you access to this building (check out the Tiffany window & 100 year old chess pieces), the Caribbean Amber Museum (check out the $2.1 million amber waterfall), three houses built in the early to mid 1800’s decked out in period furnishings, three swimming pools, a rum factory (with rum tasting), and 9 Blackbeard’s Castle. This was one of the gun towers used to protect the harbor (stopping troops from firing down at the fort). Built in 1679 as Skytsborg (Danish for Gun Tower), it got its current name from a legend Blackbeard used it as a stronghold. Don’t forget to check out the pirate statues.
10 St Thomas Reform Church – Founded in 1744 it’s the oldest congregation on St Thomas. The original building burned down in 1804 and this one was built in 1844.
11 St Thomas Synagogue – Congregation was formed in 1796 and worships in this building built in 1833. It is the 2nd oldest synagogue in America. The menorah dates from the 11th century and the sandy floor represents the Jewish struggles during the Spanish Inquisition. Check out the adjacent museum and shop.
12 SOS Antique – All along Dronningens Gade (Main Street) and Veterans Drive you will find stores, shops, restaurants, and multiple walkways, passages, and alleys. My favorite store is SOS Antique, which specializes in antique and reproduction nautical and shipwreck artifacts. Many of the buildings between these two streets are old Danish warehouses and several of the passages connecting Main Street with the waterfront were manmade canals at one time. If you are thirsty I enjoy the quietness at 13 Beer Garden.
14 Market Square – Originally built as a slave market, the current structure was built in the mid 1800’s and today it’s the site of a Saturday morning farmer’s market.
15 St Peter & Paul Cathedral – Built in 1806 and contains the artwork of Belgian artists, Father Servais and Brother Ildephonsus.
16 Frenchtown –St Barts fisherman (who speak French) built shelters here when they visited, thus giving this neighborhood a unique feel from the rest of St Thomas. There is a French culture museum and the Pie Whole, which is my favorite restaurant on the island.