CHRISTIANSTED – For the first time in 30 years, a Virgin Islands governor and his family are living full time in the historic Government House in the northeast town on St. Croix.
Governor Bryan said first lady Yolanda Bryan and daughter Sumayah are excited about the privilege of living in the “people’s house.”
Aliyah Bryan, the elder daughter of the Governor and the First Lady, attends college in Georgia and will reside at the residence during visits home. Kobe, the family’s miniature schnauzer is also settling into the residence located on the third floor of Government House.
According to the Revised Organic Act of 1954 Section 11 Paragraph 2, “The Governor shall maintain his official residence in the Government House on Saint Thomas during his incumbency, which house, together with land appurtenant thereto, is hereby transferred to the government of the Virgin Islands. While in Saint Croix the governor may reside in Government House on Saint Croix, which house together with land appurtenant thereto is also transferred to the government of the Virgin Islands.”
Currently, St. Thomas’ Government House is under renovation. The third floor initially housed residences but had been utilized as offices in previous administrations. The current renovation and design plans will be converting it back into a residence also available to the Governor and his family.
“We look forward to welcoming residents and visitors alike to St. Croix’s Government House,” said Governor Bryan. “I love history, so it has been a pleasure getting to know more about the surroundings in which I live and work. It is quite humbling to remember that the structure was built by the hands and sweat of the brow of many of our Virgin Islands ancestors. We will be very respectful of their legacy. ”
St. Croix’s Government House is two houses joined by an open gallery. The largest house was built in 1747 and purchased from a prominent merchant, Johan Wilbem Schopen in 1771. The other house completed in 1797 was purchased in 1826 from Major Adam Sobotker, a merchant and army officer. The most extensive restoration on the buildings to date was in 1995.
First Lady Yolanda Bryan is busy making the residence as comfortable for her family as possible and has been adding the special touches to make it feel like home, she said.
“The artifacts and antique furniture are lovely, and while we are rearranging a bit to fit our needs, we are cognizant of the value of these items and will protect what has been entrusted to us by the people of Virgin Islands,” the First Lady said.
“I really enjoy the view of Christiansted town from our gallery, meeting visitors to Government House, and visiting with the merchants in town. I plan to host activities, especially in the courtyard, where our residents and visitors of all ages will be able to share in the appreciation of our beautiful surroundings,” the First Lady added.