Plantation Buildings

In the course of the 1700s the plantations were merged into larger units and on many of these buildings grew bigger and better as a genuine colonial architecture evolved.

Production buildings were modelled on locally adapted building techniques known from the English and French Caribbean islands. On the islands there are a great many ruins of these production plants, some of which are unique monumental evidence of the early industrial history. Others are completely overgrown with wild tropical plants. None of the factories or plantation buildings is in use any longer. The only significant sugar factory that still has a roof is the factory at La Grange on St. Croix.

The typical plantation worked with the following buildings and structures:


A mill that crushed the cane. It could operated by mule or horse, or be driven as a windmill
  • A cistern to collect rainwater and/or a well to supply the sugar production with the necessary amount of water
  • A factory was also called a ‘kogehus’ (boiling-house) where the sugar juice was reduced until it crystallized
  • A ‘cure house’ was where the sugar settled and molasses dripped from the crystals in a thick, brown sugar paste

A cooperage for producing barrels for transporting sugar
  • An walled animal enclosure (the animal pens) where the animals were kept overnight
  • The Overseer’s house, housing for the manager or master’s boy
A ‘Slave Village’ – where the slaves’ cabins were located

A ‘Great House’, that is the main building where the planter lived

A ‘cook house’, in this case meaning the kitchen, which was always built slightly away from the houses because of the heat and fire hazard