National Park Mystery Photo 35 Revealed: This Big Gear Turns No More
Long, long ago this big gear was used to help produce a sweet product.
Today, however, it has been frozen in place by time and lack of use. You can find it at the bottom of the roughly 3-mile-long Reef Bay Trail in Virgin Islands National Park, where it's a vestige of the Reef Bay Sugar Plantation.
The orgins of the plantation date to the early 1700s when cattle and cotton were the focus. However, the operation at Reef Bay turned to sugar production around 1800. After the slave trade in the islands was abolished by the Danes in 1848, the plantation later moved to steam power to grind the cane. Along with producing sugar, the plantation distilled rum, a product still synonymous with the Virgin Islands.
The ruins were stabilized by the National Park Service in the 1960s. Today, according to the National Park Service, the ruins represent the best-preserved sugar factory in the Virgin Islands.
Hike down the trail and you'll see, along with various buildings, one of the old boilers as well as the massive gears that drove the grinding operations.