From the Seventeenth Century to Now
The Buccaneer is a completely modern hotel with a fascinating historical background. It was in 1653 that Charles Martel, a Knight of Malta, constructed the first building on Estate Shoys where The Buccaneer is located.
This French Greathouse was placed out of sight of the sea to protect from roving foes. Later, after the Danes bought the island in 1733, Governor von Prock built his home on the estate, turning the French Greathouse into a sugar factory and erecting the sugar mill which is as it was in the days when sugar was king.
Michael Shoy, from whom the area known as Estate Shoys received its name, bought the estate from von Prock and began growing cotton. Later the Heyliger Company raised cattle here.
Finally in 1947, the Armstrong family, who had owned and operated the cattle estate since 1922, opened The Buccaneer for business with eleven guest rooms. It was the first hotel in St. Croix to be built and operated by an island family.
Guests, known as "continentals," made a two-day trip from the mainland to stay there and often mixed their own drinks, helped rake the beach, paint furniture, and plan meals.
In the early days, before modern tourism attractions, guests gathered nightly for cocktails. Today, The Buccaneer offers live music and fine dining for nightlife diversions, but maintains the repertoire of cocktails popular among early guests, including Cruzan Confusion, Raising Cane, Caribbean Sunset and Jump-Up-and-Kiss-Me. Read more about these
Guest rooms, which slowly and steadily grew in number to meet the demands of increasing business, were named after the coin of the day during the swashbuckling buccaneer era, including Lucky Farthings, Pretty Penny, Pieces of Eight and Doubloons, a tradition that continues with the opening of the Luxury Beachside Doubloons.
A Sampling of Prominent Guests Through the Years...
- Vice-President Joe Biden
- General Omar Bradley, World War II hero
- McGeorge Bundy, White House advisor
- President Carter
- James B Conant, President of Harvard and Chairman of National Defense Research, including The Manhattan Project
- Allen Dulles, "Father of the modern CIA"
- Doris Kearns Goodwin, Presidential Historian
- Jacob Javits, NY Senator
- Charles Rangle, NY Congressman
- Arthur Schlesinger
- Theodore Sorensen, White House advisor/speech writer for John F Kennedy
- Lance Armstrong, professional road racing cyclist
- Arthur Ashe, tennis great
- Amanda Beard, multiple Olympic medalist
- Donald Dell, tennis star
- Rowdy Gaines, multiple world-record holder in the '80's and sports broadcaster
- Artis Gilmore, basketball great
- Ken Griffey Sr., baseball Hall of Fame
- Misty Hyman, Olympic Gold medallist Sydney
- Floyd Patterson, heavyweight champion
- Luis Tiant, baseball Hall of Fame
- Joan Bennett, actress
- Lauren Bacall, actress
- Johnny Carson, TV late-night show host, who had a metal fleck fly into his eye while boarding in New York and required medical care. When he returned to his show, he mentioned on air the great care he received at The Buccaneer.
- Kirk Douglas, actor
- James Franciscus, actor
- Ben Gazarra, actor
- Helen Hayes
- Michael Jackson
- Faith Dane Johnson, sang "Bump it with a Trumpet' in "Gypsy"
- Sam Robards, actor
- Fritz Reiner, conductor
- RL Stein, author of the "Goosebumps" series
- Max Steiner, Hollywood composer, Gone with the Wind and A Summer Place
- Kathleen Turner, actress, Romancing the Stone
- Fred Friendly, broadcaster
- Kathryn Graham and Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post
- Bill O'Reilly, news commentator