Thursday, June 22, 2006

Annaberg Sugar Mill

One of our favorite excursions on St. John was our visit to the Annaberg Sugar Mill. Technically it was the ruins of the Annaberg Sugar Mill, an 18th/19th-century sugar factory built in the height of the Danish plantation era, when sugar and slavery dominated the island for 150 years. Today the ruins are maintained by the National Park Service.

Adventurer James & Tim. (06/12/06)

Built between 1797 and 1805, the Annaberg Sugar Mill was dominated by a large windmill, which was used to crush sugar cane stalks. Slaves would feed the sugar cane stalks into the rollers, and juice would flow downhill to the factory.

The remaining windmill structure. (06/12/06)

The heart of the Annaberg sugar operation was the boiling room. The slaves would ladle the cane juice from kettle to kettle, gradually concentrating and purifying the boiling liquid. Then they would pour the juice into flat wooden pans where it cooled and crystalized into sugar. Timing was critical. If juice was removed too soon, it became molasses instead of sugar crystals.

This was the boiling room. (06/12/06)

In all, it was a very interesting lesson in the islands' sad era of slavery.

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