Celebrate St. John’s History Tonight

Reggie Callwood of the National Park Service and SJHS member Helen Gjessing work on the restoration effort at Annaberg in 1987. Photo credit: SJHS
Reggie Callwood of the National Park Service and SJHS member Helen Gjessing work on the restoration effort at Annaberg in 1987. Photo credit: SJHS

The St. John Historical Society is celebrating its 40th anniversary tonight and you’re all invited to attend. The party starts at 5 p.m. at the Battery. Here are the details courtesy of the St. John Historical Society:

The St. John Historical Society (SJHS) would like to invite the St. John community to celebrate its 40th anniversary at a party at the Battery on Tuesday, March 11 at 5 p.m. The event will feature catered food and drinks and a slideshow of St. John and Historical Society images. A video entitled “Flight to Freedom: Hans Jonathan,” which follows the quest of a modern-day Icelandic family to discover the true story of their enslaved Crucian ancestor, will be shown, along with a presentation by V.I. historian and SJHS board member George Tyson. All are welcome to attend. Non-members are asked to consider making a donation at the party.

The SJHS began in February 1974 with a meeting of 19 residents at the V.I. National Park headquarters at the Creek in Cruz Bay. The goals and objectives of the SJHS were laid out that day and have remained largely unchanged since.

SJHS volunteers have played a major role in promoting and preserving the island’s unique history and cultural heritage throughout the society’s 40 years. The clearing and stabilization of the ruins of the Annaberg Country School was one of the first projects undertaken by the society, and stewardship of the site continues to remain a high priority for the SJHS, which completed its annual clearing of the school’s ruins on February 15.

The society was instrumental in the volunteer staffing of a museum at the Cruz Bay Battery, and later, at the Elaine I. Sprauve Library, in the 1980s. SJHS volunteers have left their mark across the island, from a sundial with an engraved plaque that was donated to the Emmaus Moravian Church, to the replacement of an illegible red stone plaque commemorating the construction of the Cruz Bay Battery with a new bronze plaque and the replacement of cannon mounts, also at the Battery.

Through the efforts of SJHS volunteers, the ruins of the Annaberg slave village were restored; the Enighed cemetery and the Elaine I. Sprauve Library were cleaned up and planted with inkberry trees, oleander, and ground orchids; and the oldest marked grave in the Cruz Bay Cemetery, where Lucretia Virginia Howard Minor rests, was restored.

The SJHS board of directors extends sincere thanks to the entire SJHS membership and all of the society’s loyal contributors and friends, both past and present. It is because of their support, and the support of the St. John community, that the St. John Historical Society has remained the active and enduring organization that it is today.

To stay up to date on everything that’s happening with the SJHS, visit www.facebook.com/stjohnhistoricalsociety.

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