If you have ever dreamed of owning a piece of historic property, St. Croix currently has several amazing options available. When “sugar was king” in the Caribbean, St. Croix was scattered with sprawling sugar plantations. As time marched on, many of these plantations were partially destroyed by hurricanes, or were abandoned when the sugar trade ceased, subsequently falling into ruin. Today, many of these historic plantation properties are still privately owned and have been restored, or have had new homes built amongst the ruins. Arguably the most well known and stunning of these properties is Estate Mt. Washington.
Nestled in the sub-tropical rainforest on the West End of St. Croix, Mt. Washington was one of the original Danish estates built on the island in the 1700’s. Originally a cotton plantation in the 1750’s, the plantation thrived during the early to mid-1800’s when it converted to growing sugar as its main crop. In its heyday, “Estate Mount Washington” was a 160 acre plantation consisting of the great house, a guest cottage, a managers house, the Tranberg cottage, stables, an animal mill, a molasses cistern and rum factory, a sugar boiling shed, a barrel storage and aging room, a dungeon, two water cisterns, three wells, a water mill, a bell tower, and a plantation village of 17 cottages where the laborers lived. Over time, the great house was lavishly expanded to double its original size, making it approximately 6,000 square feet.
While the plantation village remained occupied until the 1930’s, a hurricane destroyed the great house in 1899, and was hit again in 1916. With their home in ruins, the occupants fled the plantation and the great house wasn’t occupied again until 1986, when the current owners moved in. When the current owners began work on the estate, the rainforest had reclaimed the ruins of the great house, which were discovered buried on the grounds in June of 1984. Over the next two and a half years the jungle landscape was cleared away from the ruins, an archaeological study was completed, and the great house was restored to its former grandeur. The owner’s attention to detail and dedication to the authenticity of this historic home is evident at every turn. The home currently houses a renowned collection of the owners’ West Indian antiques, which perfectly complimenting the home and setting, making you feel like you have truly stepped back in time – while still offering all the modern conveniences you could want.
Over the years the Estate Mt. Washington great house, grounds and ruins have been the background for countless photoshoots of brides and models, ﬁlms, and catalogs. Mt. Washington has been featured in magazines such as Colonial Homes/Traditional Homes, Gourmet, Architectural Digest, Coastal Living, and British Vogue. The estate has also been the site for a Danish ﬁlm, and was featured in an episode of The Bachelor. The great house and furniture collection have been featured on the St. Thomas television show Inside Out, as well as photographed in Caribbean Elegance by Michael Connors. On more than one occasion, Mt. Washington has been the centerpiece house on the St. Croix Landmarks Society’s House Tours as well as being featured in a major Copenhagen newspaper, and in island publications and websites such as Island News, St. Croix This Week, and right here on GoToStCroix.com.
Today, this 12.31 acre property includes the 3 bedroom, 3 full bath, 2 half bath great house, a separate guesthouse with two bedrooms and two baths, two stand alone and fully restored cottages (with two bedrooms and two baths) that serve as rental properties, an orchard, beautiful ruins, and a labyrinth. The sprawling great house features stone and cut coral construction, cathedral ceilings, a large gallery offering picturesque sunset views, a large pool, and includes the period West Indian furnishings. The property itself is situated on the side of a hill above the rainforest valley offering a magnificent view overlooking the green hills across tree tops, down the length of a Nature Preserve, all the way out to the blue Caribbean Sea.
To learn more about the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own this majestic property, please contact Kim Lucas of St. Croix Island Life Real Estate, or visit the website for this property at: www.estatemtwashington.com. You can also read more about the unique labyrinth at Mt. Washington, and the history and role of St. Croix’s sugar mills in the blogs listed below.
– Jennie Ogden, Editor