a white building with tall steeple alongside a road
The Steeple Building in downtown Christianstead.

NPS Photo

Quick Facts

Location:
Christianstead National Historical Site
Significance:
18th century Nordic/Danish architecture
OPEN TO PUBLIC:
Yes
Constructed on the foundations of an earlier French building, the Church of Our Lord God of Sabaoth was the first established Lutheran church in Christiansted (1753). Construction on the Steeple Building began in 1750 and the steeple tower and clock were added 1794–96. As a Lutheran church, multiple religious organizations—many that admitted Africans and African descendants—rented the space during “off-hours” to hold their services. In 1831 the building was deconsecrated and the Lutheran congregation moved to its present location. Afterward the structure served a number of different uses including: a military bakery and warehouse, community hall, hospital, elementary school, and museum. Despite its multiple uses, the Steeple Building maintained the formal and classical details of 18th century Nordic/Danish architecture. The Steeple Building was restored in 1960 to its circa 1800 appearance and interprets religious and community life under Danish rule. In 2012, the National Park Service completed and installed reproductions of church pews, the pulpit, and the Governor General’s pew box. In partnership with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources / Virgin Islands State Historic Preservation Office, the National Park Service will begin restoration work on the Steeple Building’s 1920’s-era E. Howard & Company time and strike tower clock in 2015, using parts from Fort Frederik’s sister clock that is no longer functional.

Last updated: November 20, 2018