Plantation Mont Vernon in better days before the hurricanes. (Robert Luckock photo)
MARIGOT--Plantation Mont Vernon is to be completely restored in 2020 as part of the national Fondation du Patrimoine’s mission to save historical monuments throughout France and overseas territories, and is appealing for donations from the public for the project.
The historic landmark was completely devastated during Hurricane Irma in 2017.
The foundation annually preserves more than 2,000 monuments; for example, churches, theatres, windmills, museums and other historic structures. The foundation offers a guarantee of security and transparency with its financing. Each project is monitored rigorously by a network of experts composed of volunteers or salaried persons, and donations are only distributed to pay for the work when the project is finished or when important phases are completed, and on presentation of invoices.
The Plantation Mont Vernon project has been chosen by Mission Stephane Bern which in 2018 received a subvention of 353,000 euros towards reconstruction of the plantation house. The total estimated cost of the repair work is 1,237,000 euros. The objective is to receive 90,000 euros in donations.
Restoration work also includes renovating the stone walls on the ground floor of the house, renovating the cistern, and restoring and landscaping the grounds. The wooden floor in the house no longer exists and has to be replaced. Repair work is due to start in 2020.
Plantation Mont Vernon was named in 1814 after the famous Mount Vernon that George Washington had built. The plantation prospered with sugar cane and cotton from 1779 to 1862, and was one of the last witnesses to the island’s colonial history.
Unfortunately, Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean, devastated the island on September 6, 2017. Like 95 per cent of the buildings in St. Martin, Mont Vernon was also devastated.
Now owned by the Collectivité of St. Martin, the house and the 1.5-hectare site is destined for cultural and tourist events: shows, educational activities, promotion of local crafts, and so forth. It is hoped Mont Vernon will play an important role in conserving St. Martin traditions, culture and artistic endeavours.
More information on this project can be obtained from Carole Tondu of the Collectivité’s Culture Service. Persons interested in donating to this cause can go to