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Wednesday, July 24, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesDevelopment Plans for Estate Liverpool Must Be Formulated With Care

Development Plans for Estate Liverpool Must Be Formulated With Care

Dear Source,

The Carifest deal concerning this piece of land on the West End of The West Indian Company Ltd. dock (known as Liverpool Estate) has finally fallen apart, and WICO is seeking proposals to develop the land for middle- and high-income housing.
I'd like to put in my two cents on the history of this wonderful property in the hopes that not all will be lost through development. In order to write about this I've enlisted the help of former WICO Dockmaster John Battles, who has shared the history of this site with me.
I got my first glimpse of Estate Liverpool in the early months of 1985 when, as a WICO employee and courtesy of my boss Hans Jahn, I was given a key to the gated property to walk my dog. Bess and I had a great time there.
Huge genip trees, the abandoned remnants of old stone buildings, all sorts of plantings, a huge iguana population. To me it was a part of paradise not seen by too many, and I truly relished my time spent there as Bess leaped
from rock to rock and we just had fun. It was also the first time that I realized iguanas could swim underwater.
I haven't been able to find the origins of the old stone buildings there, but Antilles School was started by Howard Jackson and was originally located at Villa Santana and then moved to Liverpool Estate in the mid '50s.
Cast of characters according to John Battles – and so many stories there! Headmistress Debbie Finch; Aunt Tibby; Barabara Weber (who went on to become Barbara Battles when she married John); Judy Erdman from Connecticut, who married Battles' friend Jim Makrianes); Tedd Waggonaer, son of composer and New York Philharmonic conductor Theodore Von Waggonaer; Jim Alfred, a teacher from upstate New Tork; Albert Keep, ex-dean at Williams College, who took over Debbie Finch's position as headmaster.
Last but absolutely not least, the wonderful and incredible Martha Kenney Christiansen, who has passed away but whose memory remains cherished and whose presence is still sorely missed by so many.
I swear that their lives reverberate to this day at Liverpool Estate via mutterings and chucklings haunting through the bush!
The V.I. Yacht Club was originally located at Yacht Haven Marina, but they were forced to move in the mid '50s and found a spot up by the mill on Crown Mountain Road. Since most of the members (understandably) didn't want to be in a landlocked spot, they split off and formed the STT Yacht
Club at Cowpet Bay, where it is to this day.
The remaining members of the V.I. Yacht Club relocated to the Liverpool Estate circa 1959, but it was pretty much a social club. They built a clubhouse and a pool. Both are in ruins now. But the pool, even though stagnant and
teeming with tadpoles when I was regularly there, was a testimony to history. Obviously to finance the pool and the clubhouse, members made donations, and the pool was surrounded by tiles inscribed with donor names.
Paiewonsky, Lockhart, etc. many of whom remain here to this day but many of whom are long gone. I would love to retrieve these tiles for posterity before they get bulldozed by those who simply don't care.
Just from my own perception of this unique site and input from John Battles, I sincerely urge that WICO be extremely circumspect where any construction bids are concerned. This location is replete with history, is a haven for wildlife, whose environment has been so rapidly diminished over the years and what's there right now should be preserved as much as possible.

Anna Clarke
St Thomas
Anna Clarke has been a full-time resident of St Thomas since 1984. She was secretary to the late Hans Jahn, president of The West Indian Company Ltd. for 10 years.

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