Roland Millard Andersen — 25 November, 1920 – 30 January, 2021

We recently learned of the passing of our dear friend and ardent supporter Roland “Andy” Andersen. He passed peacefully in his home in Orinda, California.

Andy was a native son of St. Croix. He was born in at home in the Golden Grove greathouse on Thanksgiving Day 1920. The doctor in attendance was Dr. Canegata. His father Folmer Andersen was the managing director of the Bethlehem sugar works and a talented amateur archaeologist with a passion for understanding and promoting the history of St. Croix which was little understood and often dismissed at the time. The Folmer Andersen collection forms the backbone of the archaeological collection curated by the National Park Service in Christiansted.

The Folmer Andersen Collection consists of thousands of pieces of pottery, bone, stone, and shell collected exclusively from St. Croix prior to 1931, primarily from soil disturbed by sugar cultivation. This image shows a sample of some zemis and adornos contained in the collection.

Andy loved the island of his birth for his whole life. After the Bethlehem Sugar works closed his family moved to New York where Andy attended the Stevens Institute in Hoboken, New Jersey, and from where he joined the Navy in which he served as an officer and engineer aboard the USS Kasaan Bay, CVE-69, through the end of World War II. His career then took him to California where he settled and raised his family. St. Croix remained close to his heart throughout and he has been back many times.

His love of history and all the fascinating stories and events associated with St. Croix lead Andy to commission an original oil painting depicting the encounter at Cape of the Arrows between Tiano and Columbus’ crew during the Admiral’s second voyage to the New World. Andy and his sons and grandsons delivered the painting to his favorite
Superintendent Joel A. Tutein in 2005. The maritime painting is titled “Christopher Columbus Second Voyage to Salt River Bay, St. Croix, Virgin Islands” by Hans Skalagard.

When the NPS opened the Salt River Visitor Contact Station it was planned to be a place where NPS could exhibit the Folmer Andersen Collection. Andy donated the flagpole to celebrate the new facility.

We are honored that the Andersen family has asked us to receive donations in Andy’s name to further the work of the National Park Service in preserving and promoting the cultural heritage and natural resources for which St. Croix is so well known. We are a 501 (C)(3) non-profit organization registered in the US Virgin Islands and we operate under a partnership agreement with the National Park Service.