Skip to content

The Grange: A Historic Greathouse

Many years ago a rustic gravel lane shaded by duel rows of lignum vitae and mahogany trees caught our eye as we were exploring St. Croix. We turned in and were richly rewarded with our first sighting of the historic 18th century greathouse known as The Grange. Amazingly, Jane, the custodian of Estate Grange (a private residence at the time), offered to give us an impromptu tour. Now owned by Steve and Young Baker, The Grange Estate is being re-opened as a venue, and they are welcoming the public to see the historic property firsthand.

The 26 acre Grange Estate property includes a greathouse, overseer’s house, what might have been a stable, and a village of about 150 people, according to local historian George Tyson. As when we toured the property, we saw a cornerstone suggesting it was built in 1761. Government records, however, establish that the house changed hands in 1738, thus refuting the later date. The actual age of the house remains unknown, but the Trust for Public Land believes that the existing house was built in 1753, before it was fully restored by the owners who acquired the estate in 1928 and carefully maintained the property while keeping in mind its historical significance as the birthplace and childhood home of Alexander Hamilton. 

The most interesting facet of the estate to us was that for several years it was the home of Rachel Fawcett Levine, mother of the great American statesman and founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton. She is buried on the premises and a gravestone was erected in the 1930’s to commemorate her death. According to the St. Croix Landmark’s Society, Hamilton’s mother was married on St. Croix at Estate Grange to a much older and cruel husband, John Michael Lavien, who owned a small sugar plantation. After five years of marriage and the bearing of one son to Lavien, Rachel left him when she was 21 and moved back to Nevis with her mother to her old home. There she met James Hamilton, and the two fell in love and moved to St. Kitts to live together. Since times were financially bad in parts of the Caribbean, James Hamilton found it hard to make a living for his family and was sent on a legal mission to St. Croix. Rachel came with him, bringing their two sons. After some months, Hamilton returned to the British islands and Rachel and her sons stayed on St. Croix with relatives.

Gravestone erected for Alexander Hamilton’s mother, Rachel Fawcett Levine

On the north side of the structure, in an area that was once a formal botanical garden, stands the original plantation bell which was cast in 1761 in Amsterdam. The property also houses a monument in memory of Danish gendarmes who died here during an outbreak of yellow fever in 1886 when the Estate Grange was used as a convalescent house for those stricken at the Christiansted barracks. We admired the grounds as we made our way toward the greathouse, anticipating its bounty of artifacts, stories and glimpses into St. Croix’s past. The Baker’s plan to be open to the public on Saturdays in order to share the history of the property that historian George Tyson uncovered during his research of Estate Grange.

The main level of the greathouse is served by a grand staircase ascending from the front door on the southwest corner of the building, which was added in the early 20th century. At the top of the stairs is the dining room. At one time, this room was a gallery, as its abundance of windows attests. It was converted to a dining room in 1929 by its then new owners who bought The Grange after their house in Beeston Hill was destroyed by the devastating hurricane of 1928.

The dining room at The Grange after refurbishment by Steve and Young Baker

East of the dining room is the high-ceilinged living room, or drawing room as it was known. In the east wall, a shuttered doorway opens precipitously on a vista of flat green fields that once were planted with sugar cane, St. Croix’s cash crop during the colonial period. A small conclave of converted slave quarters sits in a vale on the southeast corner of the property.

The Grange greathouse has five bedrooms and four baths. High ceilings provide storage capability built into the walls above eye level in each bedroom. One of the bathrooms even features an old six-foot bathtub. The basement level is comprised of two handsome, stone and coral-walled bedrooms as well as myriad storage areas. Arched window openings and passageways lend a unique architectural flavor and a decidedly non-basement-like appearance to this level. Currently, this space is home to Young Baker’s Frangipani Boutique, which is open on Saturdays.

Emerging back outside on the western exposure, we viewed the foundation of the old cookhouse which has been capped and converted to an above-ground cistern. An overseers cottage, built of the most abundant local materials of the time, rubble and coral, stands to the southwest. We meandered, trance-like, through the property, awed by the floral abundance we saw in every nook and cranny, including a lily pond in an antique cauldron beside the front door. Finally, and sadly, we said “goodbye” to our new friend, Jane, promised to return soon and drove off slowly down the lane. As a magical exclamation point to our adventure, a white-tailed deer trotted out of the bush and watched us nonchalantly as we made our way back to the 21st century.

You can learn more about Alexander Hamilton by visiting The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society’s website. As for The Grange Estate and it’s beautiful greathouse, you can rent the venue for public or private events, or stop by in Saturdays to shop the boutique or tour the property. The Baker’s also plan to eventually renovate the other buildings on the property for short-term and long-term rentals. The property is not only historical, but beautifully manicured and inviting, so I highly recommend stopping by.



The Grange Estate

The Grange Estate is an unforgettable event venue. Whether you are planning a wedding, corporate event, retreat, bridal shower or social gathering, The Grange Estate is the perfect venue. Nestled in the heart of the island just over a mile from the town of Christiansted, this historic estate offers a stunning backdrop for any occasion.…

(340) 489-0498


Read More
Learn More


Do More