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HomeNewsArchivesHistoric Bridges Could Be Tourist Attractions, Danish Lecturer Says

Historic Bridges Could Be Tourist Attractions, Danish Lecturer Says

Nov. 20, 2007 — Arne Rosenkvist gave a unique view of the Virgin Islands' historic bridges and roads to members of St. Croix Friends of Denmark and members of the general public Monday night.
Rosenkvist, a senior lecturer at the Building and Construction University in Aarhus, Denmark, gave the presentation at the University of the Virgin Islands.
He started his presentation — "Danish Roads and Bridges in the Virgin Islands, a Historic Perspective" — with a photograph from 1860 showing Queen Mary Highway through a sugar-cane field on St. Croix, with workers standing around carts and donkeys.
"None of this was here before the Danish came," Rosenkvist said. "There were no oxen or donkeys, so there were no carts, so there was no need for roads. There were footpaths."
His pictures showed the bridges from underneath and the roads from the side. Some of the older and more interesting bridges are not even accessible to the public. He had to cut his way through bush to get to them with local historians, such as Lawaetz family members, as guides.
In his discussion, sponsored by the friends, he said that is a problem. He pointed out that one of the bridges — located in the bush near the road to Mt. Washington on St. Croix — could become a tourist attraction because of its artistic merits.
Rosenkvist mentioned to the 27 people attending many of the recommendations he is making in a report he just finished cataloging "Old Danish Bridges and Roads."
The recommendations varied from restoring a bridge completely in Charlotte Amalie, to letting one in the St. Croix bush go back to nature, to giving some nameplates so people will notice them for what they are.
"You have good people here that can do the restoration job," Rosenkvist said.
Preservationists can expand on the number of trained stonemasons with six-to-eight-week classes.
Rosenkvist also praised the program of the Friends of Denmark and the Danish West Indian Society that hosts student apprenticeship exchanges with Denmark. The exchanges have featured students interested in masonry and restoration. They have worked on restoration of the fort in Frederiksted.
Some of the work they are doing is taking off cement plaster that was put on top of brick-and-limestone mortar. The cement causes damage by holding in moisture. At the fort there is a derelict lime kiln that needs restoration. The kiln was used to burn coral to make lime for mortar.
"The Moravians had a middle class of highly skilled hand workers and contractors, as seen in their architecture and footpaths," Rosenkvist said. An example of their skill is in Christiansted behind the Moravian Church, where a 100 foot long and seven foot wide stone footpath leads to God's Fields Cemetery.
In a question-and-answer session following the talk, Janet Hagbloom asked Rosenkvist how he finds bridges, and if there are more to be found. Rosenkvist said he goes to someone, they give him a hint, then more and more people give him hints and clues.
"I think there are more bridges out there," Rosenkvist said.
Another preservation tool may be to have local quelbe singer Jamesie compose a song about St Croix's bridges, Rosenkvist said, or Steffen Larsen could take photos of bridges while on explorations with Rosenkvist, and promote them with his art of photography.
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Nov. 20, 2007 -- Arne Rosenkvist gave a unique view of the Virgin Islands' historic bridges and roads to members of St. Croix Friends of Denmark and members of the general public Monday night.
Rosenkvist, a senior lecturer at the Building and Construction University in Aarhus, Denmark, gave the presentation at the University of the Virgin Islands.
He started his presentation -- "Danish Roads and Bridges in the Virgin Islands, a Historic Perspective" -- with a photograph from 1860 showing Queen Mary Highway through a sugar-cane field on St. Croix, with workers standing around carts and donkeys.
"None of this was here before the Danish came," Rosenkvist said. "There were no oxen or donkeys, so there were no carts, so there was no need for roads. There were footpaths."
His pictures showed the bridges from underneath and the roads from the side. Some of the older and more interesting bridges are not even accessible to the public. He had to cut his way through bush to get to them with local historians, such as Lawaetz family members, as guides.
In his discussion, sponsored by the friends, he said that is a problem. He pointed out that one of the bridges -- located in the bush near the road to Mt. Washington on St. Croix -- could become a tourist attraction because of its artistic merits.
Rosenkvist mentioned to the 27 people attending many of the recommendations he is making in a report he just finished cataloging "Old Danish Bridges and Roads."
The recommendations varied from restoring a bridge completely in Charlotte Amalie, to letting one in the St. Croix bush go back to nature, to giving some nameplates so people will notice them for what they are.
"You have good people here that can do the restoration job," Rosenkvist said.
Preservationists can expand on the number of trained stonemasons with six-to-eight-week classes.
Rosenkvist also praised the program of the Friends of Denmark and the Danish West Indian Society that hosts student apprenticeship exchanges with Denmark. The exchanges have featured students interested in masonry and restoration. They have worked on restoration of the fort in Frederiksted.
Some of the work they are doing is taking off cement plaster that was put on top of brick-and-limestone mortar. The cement causes damage by holding in moisture. At the fort there is a derelict lime kiln that needs restoration. The kiln was used to burn coral to make lime for mortar.
"The Moravians had a middle class of highly skilled hand workers and contractors, as seen in their architecture and footpaths," Rosenkvist said. An example of their skill is in Christiansted behind the Moravian Church, where a 100 foot long and seven foot wide stone footpath leads to God's Fields Cemetery.
In a question-and-answer session following the talk, Janet Hagbloom asked Rosenkvist how he finds bridges, and if there are more to be found. Rosenkvist said he goes to someone, they give him a hint, then more and more people give him hints and clues.
"I think there are more bridges out there," Rosenkvist said.
Another preservation tool may be to have local quelbe singer Jamesie compose a song about St Croix's bridges, Rosenkvist said, or Steffen Larsen could take photos of bridges while on explorations with Rosenkvist, and promote them with his art of photography.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.