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The Cannon at the Ferry Dock

Hello friends! So as I mentioned last week, the purpose of Island Tidbits is to share stories about items on island I find to be very cool and/or interesting. So today we’re going to start by chatting about a cannon, which is located beside the ferry dock in Cruz Bay.

The bulk of people who visit St. John, or return to the island, do so via the Cruz Bay ferry dock. And as we do so, we pass an important element of our island’s history – a cannon that was previously located at Fortsberg in Coral Bay. The ruins of Fortsberg, an 18th century citadel fortress, are located on a hill above the eastern side of Coral Bay harbor. Fortsberg was the site of a successful slave rebellion in 1733.

This particular cannon was relocated from Fortsberg to Cruz Bay when the ferry dock was being built in 1838. At that time, it was placed with its muzzle facing downward and into the ground, a common practice during peacetime. The cannon was used as a hitching post for donkeys or horses. (The fort at Fortsberg was decommissioned in 1765.)

The cannon at the Cruz Bay ferry dock was originally placed muzzle down. Image source: Library of Congress

When the dock was remodeled in the 1990s, the cannon was placed pointing out to sea, which is culturally and historically inaccurate. The good news is that the ferry dock is set to be renovated once again, and local historians and residents are asking that the cannon be restored to its original position.

The cannon’s current position

In 2013, three additional cannons were uncovered on the beach in Cruz Bay. It is believed that they, too, were originally located at Fortsberg. The three cannons were removed at the time, and moved to a “secure place” according to a 2013 St. John Source article.

Three cannons were found on Cruz Bay beach in 2013. Image source: St. John Source

Pretty interesting stuff, right?

That’s all I have for you today. Thank you so much for reading! I’ll be back later this week. 🙂

Go of the beaten path, visit beautiful beaches, explore St. John’s rich history & so much more..


  1. David B

    I can already see this is going to be a great site. Married on Trunk 2003 and 2 times a year visitor as we have ownership in Grande Bay. I am sure I will come up with a topic or two. Be there in October !

  2. Colleen Norrgard

    Welcome back, Jen…we have missed you!! You always did such a wonderful job writing interesting things about ‘our’ island!! We look forward to your interesting information that keeps us in touch…
    Thanks for your info in advance!

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