View With A Room: Company House, St. Croix
It’s not the sort of hotel view most clamor for when visiting the Caribbean. There’s no beach or sweetly swaying palms to further stamp the most popular stereotypes of our home region in your mind. If you, like me, hold a special affinity for St. Croix and Caribbean history, then this view from room 402 at Company House, St. Croix is very special indeed.
Company House sits in the heart of downtown Christiansted, St. Croix’s principal town and haven for historic attractions. One of the most storied sites, the Steeple Building, stands out among the rooftops.
Church of Our Lord of Sabaoth
Like Company House herself, the Steeple Building has served the St. Croix community in a variety of ways over the centuries. During the height of the Danish colonial period – 1753 to 1834 – it was known as The Church of Our Lord of Sabaoth. At the time, it was the center of religious life in Christiansted. Look at most any antique image of the town and you’ll see the Steeple Building depicted prominently.
The historical importance of the Steeple Building site, however, extends well before its religious heyday under the Danes. Excavations in the mid-1950’s uncovered earlier foundations beneath the old church. Evidence suggests the site was in use as far back as the 1650’s, when the French and Knights of Malta held sway over St. Croix.
The old church later served as a military storehouse and bakery, a community hall, school, museum, and even an emergency hospital.
Landmark of Love
No matter the official label she carried, though, the Steeple Building has always provided one unofficial, yet essential service all throughout her history – providing a landmark for Christiansted.
For generations, mariners sailing into Christiansted harbor were assured that they were in the right place at the sight of her.
Today, the Steeple Building provides the same assurance for me. This makes waking up to the sight of her from Company House, St. Croix extra special, her bright red cupola always filling my heart with the warmth of home.