Hassel Island forms the western edge of St. Thomas’s harbor. The island is approximately 135 acres in area. The highest elevation on the island is the southern peak, at 267 feet. The National Park Service acquired about 95% of Hassel Island in 1978, and is working to preserve and interpret the island’s rich history. Three sites on the island are owned by the Virgin Islands Government, and there are 3 private in-holdings.
Originally, Hassel Island was a peninsula. In the 1860s, the Danish government separated the land from mainland St. Thomas with the hopes of creating better water circulation in the harbor.
The earliest documentation of the ownership of Hassel Island is under the name “Estate Orkanshullet”. This Danish name is translated to “Hurricane Hole”.
Today, the island is named after James Hazzell, who purchased the land in 1784 and whose family maintained a presence on the land until the 20th century. There are many alternate spellings of the family name.
Explore this site to learn about Hassel’s rich history, the many unique sites on the island, and the constant conservation, preservation, and interpretation efforts made by the National Park Service, the St. Thomas Historical Trust, and dedicated community members.