Bluebeard Castle Hotel – St. Thomas VI

Description

“Among the several projects in the Virgin Islands was the Bluebeard Castle Hotel. The group of buildings was erected on the summit of a hill 200 feet above the sea. An ancient stone tower with walls 5 1/2 feet thick, is supposed to have been the watchtower of the famous legendary pirate, Bluebeard. The building on the right in the larger illustration contains the lobby, administrative offices, dining room, bar, kitchen, and service rooms. A detail of its entrance portico is illustrated on the right side of this page. Terraces planted with palms, tropical flowers, and foliage surround all the buildings. The building in which Bluebeard’s tower is incorporated is one of the guest houses and, with other guest houses and cottages, provides accommodations for 100. Much of the construction is concrete or stone, some is frame, and the roofs are mostly metal. Since no well water is available it is necessary to catch all rain water which is stored in large cisterns under the buildings. The project was completed in May 1938 at a total cost of $271,842 of which amount the P.W.A. appropriated $133,644, the Virgin Islands $20,000 for the land, and the W.P.A. $118,198.”

“When the United States acquired the tower in 1933 it was part of a program to develop the tourist trade on the Island proposed by the first civilian governor after the 1917 sale of the Virgin Islands to the U. S., Paul. M. Pearson, and the buildings on the estate were converted to a hotel. Operators of the hotel during the period it was owned by the Government were: Dmitri V. Starrossalsky, Bernard Krug, Leonard Brewer, and Ruben Barnett. President Franklin Roosevelt visited the Hotel on 7 July 1934. With the new government administration in 1952, it was decided to dispose of the venture, and the sale to a private organization was effected in 1954. The buildings surrounding the tower have been considerably augmented since the estate was converted to a hotel.”

“Numerous improvements were effected at Bluebeard Castle which proved to be necessary after a preliminary period of operation. Special attention was given to water supply, sanitary installations, electric wiring, kitchen facilities and other service units of the hotel. An attractive dining porch was erected on the west elevation of the main building which has increased the dining-room space and which greatly adds to the comfort of the guests. The temporary operation of the hotel by the government during the period of construction was concluded on November 30, 1937, when a private operator took over the operation of the hotel under a lease. The operation of the hotel by the government, paying all costs of operation from income, ended with a slight profit which has been deposited in the United States Treasury. The hotel has proved to be a useful means of attracting visitors to the Virgin Islands and has adequately fulfilled the purposes for which it was originally established.”

Source notes

Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior, For the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1937, By United States. Dept. of the Interior, Washington: 1937, P. 313-314.

Frederiksfort, "Bluebeard's Csstle" Bluebeard's Hill, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Written Historical and Descriptive Data, Historic American Buildings Survey- National Park Service, Washington Planning and Service Center.(http://cdn.loc.gov/master/pnp/habshaer/vi/vi0000/vi0029/data/vi0029data.pdf), accessed on May 7, 2017.

Short, Charles Wilkins, and Rudolph Stanley-Brown. Public buildings: A survey of architecture of projects constructed by federal and other governmental bodies between the years 1933 and 1939 with the assistance of the Public Works Administration. US Government Printing Office, 1939, p. 343.

U.S. Department of the Interior, Annual Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1938, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1938, p. 11.

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Location Info


Bluebeards Hill
St Thomas, VI 00802

Coordinates: 18.340511, -64.923756

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