By Stephanie Hanlon
By Stephanie Hanlon
ST. CROIX – Author Michael Connors said during his book signing at Estate Whim Plantation Museum on Saturday that much can be learned about Caribbean history through his new book “Caribbean Houses: History, Style, and Architecture.”
The book features several Caribbean islands, including St. Croix and St. Thomas, and explores the European influence on the region’s architecture. The book’s five chapters feature the interior and exterior of homes in what was once known as the The Spahish Antilles, the Dutch Leewards, the English Islands, the French Lesser Antilles and the Danish Virgin Islands.
The bright and vibrant photos feature the architectural style, as well as decorations and furniture, typical in the early years of Europe’s colonization of the Caribbean. In the more than 30,000 words contained in the book, Connors details the history of the featured homes, as well as the region in general.
In the Danish West Indies chapter of the book, both the Christiansted and Charlotte Amalie government houses are featured, as well as the Cane Bay greathouse on the south shore of St. Croix and the Whim greathouse on St. Croix.
Connors has been a member of the St Croix Landmarks Society’s board of directors on and off for almost 20 years. He was excited to have the books for sale at the Whim Museum store and to sign copies of the book on Saturday.
He said Whim has one of the best nonprofit organization missions on St. Croix and he will remain a faithful supporter. He also said he wants to continue to contribute to St. Croix in whatever way he can.
Becky Merwin, who was promoting the society’s membership at the book signing, said the photographs of Whim greathouse that are featured in the book are beautiful.
“Whim is one of St. Croix’s historical treasures and legacies and I think that being included in the book is helpful to promote heritage tourism,” she said.
Nina Cook, co-chair of the Whim Antiques and Collectable’s Auction and Fair Committee, said the book memorializes Whim greathouse, along with the other featured homes. She said that Connors’ influence has attracted a lot of interest on St. Croix and the island’s unique architecture and history.
Cook is also an interior designer with Twila Wilson and Associates and hoted that Connors has also contributed significantly to the antiques and collectibles market through his furniture line, of which he donated all the royalties to Whim.
Jeff Stewart, who is visiting St. Croix for Mardi Croix, said he has alwats been fascinated with Caribbean architecture and he is really excited to learn more about the subject in Connors’ book. He said he was also really impressed by thge size and quality of the book.
Gerville Larsen, chair of the Whim board and owner of the architectural firm and art gallery Taller Larjas, said the book signing is one of many events that Whim hosts in an effort to promote history and cvulture on St. Croix.
He said it is also about showcasing the talent of one of their board members.
“What’s so fascinating about the fusion in the book is the craftmanship and work done by enslaved Africans and Europeans,” Larsen said.
Connors is originally from New York and is currently a resident of St. Croix and a part-time resident of Maine. He said he can’t go too long without being on St. Croix so he comes to the territory at least once a month. He was once an art teacher at the Sion Farm School, now Lew Muckel Elementary School and he now serves on the Whim Museum Board of Directors.
Connors has been writing and teaching on fine and decorative arts for more trhan 30 years. He received a Ph.D in decorative arts from New York University where he taught for 15 years. He also works as a consultant to dealers, designers, private collectors and museums.
For more information on contributing to the Landmarks Society, call 772-0598 or visit their web site www.stcroixlandmarks.org