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Bungalow Reconstruction Finally Showing Signs of Progress

Aug. 23, 2006 – After years of delays, the reconstruction of the historic Sanderilla Thomas Bungalow at Rothschild Francis "Market" Square is making visible headway. The steel frame for the roof is up, and workers are getting ready to place the metal roofing material over the frame.
However, Myron Jackson, director of the State Historic Preservation Office, said Wednesday that before the roof goes on, the concrete trays have to be completed.
The trays, which once were wooden, are used by vendors operating from the bungalow, which was constructed "circa 1905," according to Jackson.
The bungalow roof collapsed in 2003 when a tractor trailer backed into a support column. Five people inside the bungalow at the time were injured.
Jackson said he has ascertained through interviews that the bungalow was constructed after the Methodist Church across the street.
According to Jackson, the structure was built "through the generous donations of merchants," and he believes with some funding from the then colonial government.
The bungalow is named for Sanderilla Blyden Thomas, who Jackson referred to as "a legend."
"Her tray was on the northern end of the bungalow," he said, noting where she sold her produce and wares for at least four decades. Thomas was also a community activist, keeping her fingers on the pulse of the community on a daily basis.
The square in which the bungalow stands was named for another community activist – Rothschild Francis. Though the bungalow is being rebuilt to historical specifications, the columns, which were formerly cast iron, are now steel.
However, the historical significance of the square and the bungalow remain unchanged.
Jackson said that during the reconstruction, pieces of burnt china were found under the bungalow. The discovery is significant, he said, because it hearkens back to the fire of 1804, which burned for a week and destroyed much of downtown Charlotte Amalie. It was the fire that led to the building of the square, Jackson said, which was originally named for Casimir von Scholten, who is credited with establishing the first fire codes, which led to the building of the open square.
Jackson said Wednesday he is confident that the work will be completed and the bungalow will again be in use again by the end of the year.
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