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Remember When: The Texaco at the Roundabout

The roundabout today

If you are lucky enough to have visited St. John previously, you’re probably aware of the fact that we do not have a single stoplight on island. The only time a stoplight appears is when we have road construction happening, and it forces a regular two-lane road down to one.

Rather than traffic lights, we have one roundabout in Cruz Bay. It’s located right near Dolphin Market at the intersection of Route 10 and Route 104. The roundabout is only about 15 years old, and prior to that, there was a Texaco gas station somewhat in its place. That business was forced to close in 2007 when the government took the land it was leasing through eminent domain.

I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy learning about island life from years past. And for some reason, I find the fact that there was a gas station right at the roundabout rather fascinating.

The Texaco gas station was owned by the late Robert O’Connor, Sr., a former Senator who operated it for 40 years. (Mr. O’Connor also operated his car rental company out of it at the time. That company remains open today.) He didn’t want to close the gas station, per old news reports, but was forced to, as the land was leased from the Territory, and local leaders said it was needed for the roundabout’s construction.

The Texaco in Cruz Bay. Image credit: Frank Barnako

That’s Dolphin Market on the left behind the red vehicle.

At that time, it was one of three gas stations. E-C was open over near the basketball courts and remains open today. There was also a gas station open in Coral Bay at the time, which closed years ago.

The roundabout was built to alleviate congestion in the area. It was constructed in advance of the opening of the current car barge dock, which they anticipated would increase traffic in the area. It was also built so larger trucks could take a left onto Route 104 (Southside Road) when traveling down Route 10 (Centerline Road) more easily. Prior to the roundabout, they’d have to “back and fill” to make the sharp turn.

Beginning stages of construction at the roundabout

I was perusing the internet looking for additional pics of the area when I came across a video taken by Frank Barnako. Frank was the original owner of News of St. John. I purchased the business from him in 2013. I then sold it to a part-time resident in 2020. The video is pretty cool in my opinion. Check it out for yourself:

And there you have it, folks. I hope you enjoyed reading this super random post today.

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  1. Michael Raley

    Wow! I remember it well! Always difficult to get in and out of, but wonderful memories, nontheless. NOW. Does anyone remember the Domino’s gas station in Coral Bay and have pictures?

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