The St. John Historical Society is a membership-based, non-profit organization. Throughout the past 49 years, the Society has been an authoritative source on St. John, meticulously documenting, preserving and then sharing with the public the history of this very special island.
The St John Historical Society was created to promote an appreciation and deeper understanding of the history and cultural heritage of St. John in the US Virgin Islands. Since its inception in 1974, the primary mission of the St. John Historical Society has been to identify, document, preserve and protect objects, structures, traditions, and features of historic, cultural, or archeological value to the unique island of St. John.
This has been achieved with the help of numerous professional historians, crafts people, artisans, musicians and educators who have brought this island’s rich history to life. Through its collections, publications, media, educational programs, seminars, field trips, special events and more, the St John Historical Society has been and continues to be St John’s leading resource for research and discovery.
The St John Historical Society is happy to announce its new location in Mongoose Junction above Sugar Birds boutique and adjacent to the Tap Room. It can be reached by appointment via the staircase behind the gift shop. The new location will not only be the Society’s main office, but more importantly, will house the organization’s collections under one roof creating a mini-museum. Visitors can also purchase books and historical gift items.
Each year, from November through April you may expect stimulating and entertaining monthly meetings chosen by their all-volunteer board of directors and presented by historians, crafts people, artisans, musicians and educators who will bring to life the rich history of St. John and the Virgin Islands. Generally, these programs take place on the third or second Tuesday of the month and are held at the Bethany Moravian Church Hall. The last meeting featured a screening of the local documentary, ”Our Island Our Home,” about the life of Senator Theovald Moorehead (1916-1995) reflecting on the argument he made in the late 1950s that tourists are welcome on St. John, but not at the cost of the happiness of Virgin Islanders.
In addition, the St John Historical Society tries to have an activity or field trip on the Saturday following the monthly meetings. This Saturday, April 1, the Society will sponsor a free event, The Amazing Historical Hunt in Cruz Bay, for children on St. John in grades 3 through 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 1pm at the Lutheran Church Hall. Adult volunteers will pair with teams of up to four children for the event. Teams will solve clues to historical and other places in Cruz Bay. Volunteers are needed to supervise the teams. Participants will receive event T-shirts (seen below) and will be treated to a pizza party after the hunt. There will be prizes for the winners. Email [email protected] or call 340-344-4303 to sign up as a volunteer, or for more information about the event.
In a continuing effort to promote a broader appreciation and understanding of St. John’s rich historical legacy, the Society published its first book, St. John – Life in Five Quarters. The five quarters refers to the five administrative districts of St. John – Cruz Bay, Maho Bay, Reef Bay, Coral Bay, and East End Quarters. In addition to numerous early images and postcards reprinted in the 200-plus-page volume, St. John – Life in Five Quarters contains 66 unique articles by numerous individuals. These articles and illustrations represent a close-up look at life throughout St. John from the first attempted Danish settlement in 1675, through the present day. This collectible book is available on Amazon.com or as a downloadable bundle on The St John Historical Society website https://stjohnhistoricalsociety.org/product/st-john-life-in-five-quarters-downloadable-bundle/.
The St John Historical Society’s website features an extensive media library filled with interesting stories, art, music and preserved photos https://stjohnhistoricalsociety.org/media/multimedia/ And the Society’s Facebook page is continually updated with their monthly newsletter detailing special events and programs https://www.facebook.com/StJohnHistoricalSociety.
Another goal the St John Historical Society has been able to complete, despite the pandemic, is an historical walking map of Cruz Bay, This wonderful folding map offers a self-guided walking tour of historical Cruz Bay, St. John. There are 20 points of interest with short descriptions. An artistic map of Cruz Bay drawn by local artist Lisa Etre is included with the points of interest marked. Also included is a timeline of the establishment of the town of Cruz Bay from 1680 to present. There are several old photos to help you imagine what Cruz Bay was like 60-80 years ago. Both the book and map are available at Bajo El Sol Gallery, Papaya Cafe and the Virgin Islands National Park visitors center.
You can order maps on their web site www.stjohnhistoricalsociety.org for $10 each with $1.00 for shipping and handling or send us a check at P. O. Box 1256 St. John, VI 00831.
The vitality and stability of the organization has been sustained and assured by a succession of very dedicated volunteer Board members over the years and is supported by membership and donations. Fifty years from now, today will be history. Act now to help the St. John Historical Society (SJHS) preserve, document, and share the unique historical and cultural history of our beloved island. You can become a member for as little as $30 https://stjohnhistoricalsociety.org/about/join/
Tax-deductible donations to the St John Historical Society can be made at www.stjohnhistoricalsociety.org. The Society also accepts donations of historic Virgin Islands artifacts like books, photos, dolls, games, baskets or antique irons the society does not currently have in its collection.