Despite numerous set backs, hard work and determination led to the creation of this premier attraction in the Virgin Islands. Here are just a few of the highlights during this process.
- 1963 - Pomagalski S.A. a French company constructs a fixed grip gondola from Havensight to the top of Flag Hill. At the summit, a bar & restaurant, which offers a 360° view, is built and becomes very popular. The WICO cistern and concrete catchment were also intact at this time.
- 1974 - Land lease fees for the Tramway escalated, so the foreign company shuts down the operation and leaves. In doing so, they cut the haul-rope and com-line and leave all the parts strewn along the lift line. One can still see gondola buckets in the bush in various locations. The old towers and line sheaves are standing today as a testament of this era.
- 1983 - Ron Turner and Rusty Gibson come to St. Thomas to look at property for a summer home. In the process, they discover 1 of only 2 pieces of property, in the USVI, still own by the Queen of Denmark. Inspired by the old tramway, they set out to re-ignite this dream. The two begin the long process to purchase 33 acres on Flag Hill directly across the road from the WICO dock.
- 1986 - On Dec. 31, 1986, the sale of A-1 Estate Thomas on Flag Hill is concluded. Tramway Properties, Inc is formed and the next phase of permitting begins.
- 1989 - Finally, the Flag Hill project is approved, zoned and initiated. Select lots were set aside for development and the remainder of the subdivision was sold as per conditions of the IDC. Roadway clearing began in August and Hurricane Hugo strikes in September. The hurricane devastated the island and Ron Turner was asked to put the project on hold and help the Governor through this crisis. In this interim, financing was lost due to the Savings & Loan collapse in US.
- 1991 - Financing is secured locally with Banco Popular. Turner goes back to work to build the mile long road, clears a building site at the top of the property and constructs building "C" of the master plan. Paradise Point is born!
- 1993 - After an extensive search for lifts worldwide, Turner meets Artur Doppelmayr and a group of Austrian investors who agree to build Paradise Point Gondola. St. Thomas Tramway-Joint Venture was formed between Tramway Properties Inc and Tramcon. Inc.
- 1994 - Under the keen eyes of John West and Sepp Gmuender, the tram was built in just 6 months by local tradesmen. Opening Day was Aug. 4, 1994 and the price was $10.
- 1995 - Hurricane Marilyn strikes and destroys the island including some of the Paradise Point building. The tramway survives with a derail & damage to two cabins and the communications cable. The tram re-opens in just 3 weeks with a com-line placed much lower down and the installation of the new hurricane clips.
- 1996 - Hurricane Bertha takes roof off of the Paradise Point building. Lavone Barker is contracted to repair it properly to standards much higher than existing code...it hasn't blown off since.
- 1997 - Tramcon. Inc. leases all facilities from Tramway Properties Inc and takes responsibility for complete operation & development of property. Price now $12.
- 2000 - Tramcon. Inc. sold to Canadian businessman Peter G. White. Extensive maintenance & area improvements begin. Murray Pridham is brought from Canada to oversee operations.
- 2002 - Name changed from Paradise Point Tramway to St. Thomas Skyride. Price now $15.
- 2005 - Major fire ruins Skyride Mall building requiring gutting and complete re-model. A record daily Skyride attendance is set at 1443 people.
- 2006 - Local artists work on site in the gazebo. New daily skyride attendance record climbs to 1682 visits. Price now $18.
- 2008 - The local Elskoe family acquires 50% of Tramcon Inc. from Peter White.
- 2009 - 1 Millionth Baileys™ Bushwacker Sold with winners visiting the Baileys factory in Ireland. Price now $21.
- 2010 - On Nov. 11, 2010, the remainder of Tramcon Inc is sold to the Elskoes.
- 2011 - In February, Murray Pridham returns to Canada.
- 2012 - Tramcon Inc files bankruptcy and returns 1997 lease of buildings to the original owners, Ron Turner and Rusty Gibson in November. Mr. Turner re-engages Lavone Barker as contractor for renovations to Paradise Point. The tram is operated by the US Trustee for the season under the watchful eye of Murray Pridham, who returns to assist with the transition.
- 2013 - On May 4, 2013, the tram is closed for major Skyride repairs and construction of new decks, cisterns, buildings, staircases and roadways. Many long-term employees are retained during the construction phase as tradesmen. In November 2013, the New Paradise Point, is opened for business. Locals Nite with Top Notch begins again on Wednesday nights.
- 2014 - Preparations begin for the 20th Anniversary of the tram. Price still $21.
The Restaurant & Bar at Paradise Point (Home of the Bailey’s Bushwacker” during the day offers a variety of frozen drinks to complement our lite fare menu.
What makes our facility unique is having a major attraction connecting to a banquets and event space. Paradise Point Tramway offers a unique opportunity allowing your attendees for an event to arrive and depart the venue via our Scenic Tramway Attraction. The tram currently holds up to (24) people in three cars moving in rotation at a 7-minute interval. READ MORE
Setting atop the highest deck of our facility at the top of the hill are (11) shopping options many with unique, one of a kind and made in the VI items, highlighting clothing, local art and signature gifts for purchase.
Umbrella shaded with direct views out to the harbor, this outdoor open-air facility can accommodate up to (132) people and is a perfect pre-function space prior to dinner.
With soft arched openings, the Dining Room gracefully invites you to enter under the shade of multiple palms. With space to accommodate over (88) for dinner or a reception for 120. This fully covered space could even work for a trade show or new product launch. The Dining Room is delightfully appointed with tropical ceiling fans and table spot lights. This banquet room appears to float in the middle of our facility and offers softly framed views of many a tropical sunset.
Our largest and most expansive banquet room on the property, the Patio offers a seating capacity for over 200 persons in one area. Fully covered and equipped with drop down rain & sun shades, this patio deck is fully adaptable for multiple types of seating and has an expansive direct ocean view.
Positioned to offer a direct view of the harbor as the backdrop for the photos from your special day, and artfully dubbed our Wedding Terrace, this outdoor facility is perfect for groups up to 150 persons. Need a dramatic open-air location for your opening reception? This venue is artfully perched with a West facing, expansive harbor view, and is the perfect perch for your next Sunset Event.
Our only Air-conditioned portion of the facility The Nest occupies the foundation space, closely notched into the hillside but with dramatic ocean views. This glass enclosed air-conditioned facility can seat up to 120 for dinner, 150 for a reception and is fully enclosed with private restrooms, its own built in bar and full kitchen facilities. Located on the lower hillside of the property this venue is the perfect location for a refined dinner for that smaller group. The Nest offers the intimacy and privacy you require for your next event.