circa 1970 - View from future site of Point Pleasant Resort
In 1969, Gunther Pfanner, from Long Island, NY, was looking for a change in his career as an Aerospace Engineer. During a visit that year to St. Thomas, he spotted a “For Sale” sign on Smith Bay Road. Over a period of 3 years he and his wife Ruth purchased 15 acres of land of which 4 acres were determined unbuildable.
They said it couldn’t be done! However, the steep grade didn’t bother Gunther. He and his wife, Ruth, had already developed vacation properties in Vermont. Slopes in Vermont are even steeper than what he encountered at Point Pleasant. In fact, the incline would actually work to the Pfanner’s advantage. Every unit would have a clear view of Thatch Cay, Tortola, Grass Cay, Jost Van Dyke and St. John. The Pfanners’ goal was to design a resort that would be environmentally friendly while providing a tranquil natural environment to restore and renew the human spirit.
In February 1973, the dream started to become a reality as ground breaking started. The first phase of Point Pleasant Resort consisted of 18 units in the main building (now called the A-building) and was opened to guests in February 1974. The six shoreline buildings were added in 1977. The upper restaurant, Mirador (formerly The Agave), was built in 1978 followed by two buildings known as the “lower and upper high rise” in 1979. The Hilltop units were constructed between 1980-82 and the last major addition to the resort was the conference center (now the fitness center) built on the hilltop in 1985. Point Pleasant grew from 18 units in 1974 to 124 units in 1983, which is what is here today.
Because there was no public water utility, drinking water has always come from a deep well on the property which is slightly brackish, and converted to drinking water at our reverse osmosis plant operated and maintained by the association. Gray water which has been collected from sinks and showers, our waste water treatment plant and rain catchment system is used to irrigate the plantings on the property.
The resort’s picturesque hillside setting features a unique tropical nature trail that winds through 2 ½ acres on the property, ingeniously carved by hand to follow the curve of the land.
During the development of Point Pleasant, the Pfanners received two Environmental Awards from the VI government for preserving the natural beauty of the property and for designing the buildings to fit the land. One year after opening, the Pfanners were given the Environmental Protection Law award by the Virgin Islands Conservation District.
Tragically, in February 1981 during the hilltop construction, Gunther Pfanner passed away, before the entire resort was completed. The family was able to continue and fulfilled Gunther’s dream. They continued to manage Point Pleasant until 1985.
Gunther Pfanner (1922-1981) Point Pleasant Resort Founder & Visionary
Ruth loved Point Pleasant with all her heart and often asked about it. She shared that love with many employees and owners throughout the years. Ruth was a woman of faith and was an inspiration to many throughout her life. She was an active and dedicated member of the St. Thomas Assembly of God Church. A vibrant woman with an infectious smile, Ruth will be greatly missed by her many friends, family and Island community.