Reef Bay Sugar Factory Historic District is a historic section of Saint John, United States Virgin Islands located on the south central coast adjacent to Reef Bay. The land is the site of an acient sugar factory. The property was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on July 23, 1981.
The first sugar plantation on the land was started in 1725 on the Par Force Estate. Oxholm’s 1800 map shows a sugar plantation with an animal mill on Par Force land. After Reef Bay Estate was formed by joining the neighboring properties, a new sugar factory was built. The factory was used for processing sugarcane into sugar and distilling rum. The factory buildings include a boiling room, an animal powered mill, and a still with a cooling cistern for distilling rum.
O.I. Burguest and Company purchased the property in 1855. With W. H. March managing the estate, the sugar factory was modernized and converted to steam in the 1862. An “engine room” measuring approximately 25 feet by 27 feet was added to house the cast iron steam engine and sugar cane crushing machinery. In 1864 March purchased the property at auction and he continued to operate a sugar factory on the land until 1908. Bay Oil was produced at the factory during the St. John bay oil boom in the early 20th century.
In the 1960s the sugar factory ruins were restored by the Virgin Island National Park and the ruins are one of the best surviving examples of a West Indies sugar operation.
While checking out the waterfalls, don’t miss these other popular Reef Bay attractions:
For those who prefer to limit their hike to one-way, register with a VI National Park tour that picks up hikers by boat at the bottom of the trail.
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