Interesting Old Pos...
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Interesting Old Postcards

Posts: 230
Estimable Member
Topic starter

This link has historical USVI postcards showing, among other things, women coal carriers with head baskets, all commercial ships and no cruise ships around St. Thomas, and one picture of Charlotte Amalie Harbor with no houses on the hills. It's interesting to see what's changed and what hasn't.

Who can fill me in on the coaling of ships? I assume there was no mining on St. Thomas and Hassel Peninsula/Island, and that the coal was brought in from elsewhere.

Posted : November 1, 2004 10:06 am
Posts: 2259
Noble Member

Good assumption. Yes, St. Thomas was quite an entrepot (free port) in those days as the USVI continues to be today. Everything was traded here. Hence the warehouses which now house the stores downtown. There were coaling companies on Hassel Island. One was Hamberg-American. Hassel Island was connected to the area now known as Frenchtown. They later opened it up to let garbage float through and later than that, dredged for boats. All kinds of boats came and coaled here including passenger ships!

I have most of those cards. I have some showing tourists. Some even have messages on them dating back to 1899! They didn't quite say 'having a good time, wish you here here' but quite similar with the words of the day.

There is a lecture on the coaling of ships by Per Nielsen later this month by the Landmarks Society. There is an ad running in The Avis about it. You could learn a lot from him! He will be over here for the same lecture right afterwards, for the St. Thomas Historical Trust.


Posted : November 1, 2004 11:00 am
Posts: 0
New Member

Good morning, FOG,
I think Westergaard in "Danish West Indies under Company Rule " talks extensively about the coaling stations on St. Thomas. By the way, thanks for putting us onto Arnold Highfields' writings. It was startling for me to read of his call for Danish reparations in the VI; certainly a unique analysis of the educational situation. His mention of records needing to be translated and Virgin Islanders needing to be trained in Danish to do it reminds me of Boyer's remark about old records and deeds stored in the hold of a ship in St. Thomas harbor. Are they still there? Highfield is right - the nameless thousands who toiled here deserve the preservation of material their unsung labor created.


Posted : November 1, 2004 1:59 pm
Posts: 3030

Hello Former Ohio Guy,

I enjoyed that link, interesting pictures of the Caribbean. Thanks!


Posted : November 2, 2004 4:14 am
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