The Miami Herald
Tue, May. 04, 2004
Columbus landing site gets visitor center, view

From Herald Wire Services

CHARLOTTE AMALIE -- A new visitor center and observation tower opened Monday at the site where one of Christopher Columbus ships landed more than 510 years ago, officials said.

Visitors to the Salt River Bay National Historic Park & Ecological Preserve in St. Croix will get the first unobstructed view of the location, officials said. It was previously best viewed from a desolate parking lot.

The new center -- previously a hilltop home -- and the 36-foot tower were on 8.5 acres of private land that the federal government bought for $2.2 million in March.

The park, which now has more than 1,015 acres, was created in 1992. The area encompasses wooded hillsides, the largest remaining mangrove forest in the U.S. Virgin Islands, tropical reefs and a submarine canyon. It is the only known site on U.S. territory where any members of a Columbus party set foot.