Frederiksted, a community in the U. S. Virgin Islands (population 732), is located on the west end of the island of St. Croix. The town was founded by the Danes and laid out in 1751.
Frederiksted grew slowly. Most of its inhabitants were dock and warehouse workers, craftsmen, house servants, merchants, planters, and government officials. By 1875, the town’s population reached 3,817, the highest of the 19th century.
Frederiksted often suffered hurricane damage, but the most destructive event in the town’s history was manmade. In October 1878, protesting laborers from the outlying plantations set fire to much of the town. The burnt-out area was almost immediately rebuilt, with many of the structures reflecting the ornate Victorian architecture of the period. Despite rebuilding, the town never completely recovered from the incident.
Frederiksted is important for its collection of architectural styles ranging from early Danish military and neo-classical to late Victorian residential construction. The town also retains important examples of the English Gothic Revival, Georgian, and well-designed 20th century commercial buildings.
Among Frederiksted’s attractions is the Fort Frederik Museum, built in 1760 to protect the community and discourage smuggling of rum and sugar to the Dutch Islands. Just outside town are the Lawaetz Museum, the site of an early 19th century sugar plantation and later cattle farm, and the Whim Plantation Museum, which includes several steam engines and a neo-classical great house built in 1794.
Designated a Preserve America Community in November 2008.
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