History, and the preservation of visible guides to the past, appears to be a very subjective business.
It seems to me that the history of the growth and prosperity of St Thomas is inextricably linked with the communication links it provided to and from the rest of the world.
Our harbor, with its communication tower on Hassel Island, attracted the first trade vessels. Because vessels came and went from all over, it became the chief communication center of the West Indies with letters and packages moving from ship to shore to ship. At the same time, due to its status as a free port (Similar to St Eustacius) it was the natural place to store, buy and sell trade goods.
When steam ships took over from sailing vessels, St Thomas harbor became a prominent coaling station. This kept the vessels coming and added to our prosperity.
Imagine the negative effect on the way we are today, if the preservationists of the 1800s had succeeded in banning the commerce in coal. Their reasoning being coal was dirty, smelly, and an eyesore in our beautiful historic harbor.
We were the essential port of call for all the packet ships coming to or from South America as well as the Royal Mail vessels coming from Europe.
When communication took the next leap forward, we became the first link between the cables coming from South America to those going to North America and the rest of the world.
Now we are moving to the age of cable-less technology.
It seems we are turning a blind eye to the very history we profess to want to expose to say a communication beacon on Hassel Island is not logical part or our heritage.
Not allowing the tower, or making it only a flagpole is simply a resistance to any change in the status quo.
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