12:37:16 PM

Dan, This is Susanne Gravendijk Wirth, now living in Chicago. What a wonderful archive of our life on the little island in the wind! I have never had such a special Christmas present as your website! The memories come flooding back with every page I open! When I have tried to tell people about the awesome gift of my birth and youth in Aruba, they only have the contemporary images of modern tourism to use as reference. You have brought to life so many of the many aspects of our era. I am grateful to you for all of your hard work of learning, organizing and creating this evolving archive for us all. Bon Pascu i Felis Anja Nobo Janet Susanne Gravendijk Lago Class of 1962 Daughter of Lago Cashier, Arie Gravendijk, from Amsterdam, and Janet Tole, Lago School teacher 1940-42, from Kansas. Bungalow 339 and 164

1:04:11 PM

Dan, enjoyed the site. Doing a website is truly a challenge. Barbara 'Dodge' Zarrella '61

2:47:20 PM

Dan: A very impressive web site and I can see you have really put your heart into it. Since I am reading this on Christmas Eve, I will consider it a gift! Many thanks, Ray Burson (Lago '54)

2:57:56 PM

Dan, An excellent job in bringing back so many wonderful memories of Lago Colony. We did indeed have a picture-perfect life in our own tropical paradise. Sharon (Pace) Slayton Class of 1956

7:50:41 PM

Great site! It's obvious that you put much hard work into the website. Thank you for making the Lago and Colony information accessible via the web. My two daughters will especially appreciate learning more about the Colony. My youngest, Amy, was born in the Lago Hospital in 1970. We have returned to the island many times and could only show Amy where the hospital once stood, but have not been able to show her any photos. Best regards, Charles "Chuck" Colton Esso Research & Engineering Company Project Engineer Aruba HDS Project Barbara & Charles Colton Bungalow #2 (1970 - 1971) Daughters: Julie & Amy Colton

1:51:42 AM

I love looking at all the old pictures of the Colony. Reminds me of the many pictures I would view in my grandmother's photo albums when I was a young girl. My father and grandparent's spent many years on the island in the early years of Lago Colony. 1933-1946 Winnie Smith O'Connor

12:18:43 AM


2:36:11 AM

Hey Danny... Merry Christmas!! Good Job on the this Website...I know it takes a lot of focus work to make happen... You have done a great job getting this off the ground. You might refer to this now as work in progress.... Best Wishes, Reg Kennerty '55

5:35:09 PM

My mother, Maude A. Welch, was another entrepreneur teaching dance (from ballet to ballroom) for many years.

3:32:47 AM

Very nice work Dan--I'm sure your web site will be a big "hit" with our Lago Hi gang. And hello to classmate Mary B. Congratulations, Dominic Macrini'52




8:28:03 PM

I am deeply impressed by the quality of the Lago web site you have made. Congratulations! I was married twice by Governor Wagenmaaker, once in Dutch to be legal, then in English so we could understand it. This was in the Governor's office in Oranjestad then after lunch we were married again in the Colony church in July of 1941. My bride came down on the Grace Line via Curacao. I had met her while a student at M.I.T., and she was a nurse at Children's Hospital in Boston. That marriage lasted 62 years until my wife passed away in 2002, so you can see the Aruba weddings were highly effective! George W. (Bill) Potts




2:08:33 AM

Dan, This is from Ed Hillstead. Your father and I headed the Instrument Department for many years. (about 1932 to the 1950's). Your Dad would be mighty proud of this Web site that you have worked so hard to develop. If I find any photos I'll send them. It is not likely that I have any since a lot of our possessions, that were shipped on retirement, were destroyed while in storage in Miami. I'm 96 now and doing quite well.

I just completed browsing through your website and found it well designed and most informative.  My grandfather and father worked for Lago Petroleum.  Granddad began in 1926 and Dad in 1929 at age 19.  Dad was with Lago Petroleum when it became Creole and retired in 1963.  I was born in Maracaibo as well as my brother and sister.  I spent 20 years living in Lagunillas, Tia Juana and La Salina.  Attached is a photo of two Lago Tankers tied up at the Lagunillas dock.  I don't know anyone who lived in the Lago Colony or worked at the Aruba Refinery however, I think of all of us as part of the same extended Creole Family.
Have a great day!

Hello Danny;

My name is Ed Veneman and just enjoyed your web page tremendously.
I lived on Aruba from 1948 till 1956 and again as a Dutch Marine from
1959 till 1961.
Thank you for sharing these great memories.

Ed Veneman
HI Dan...
I am way behind on my e-mails...I have been a sick puppy the past 1 1/2 weeks. Went down to Houston for a couple of Family Christmas get together with both sides of the families, and came back with a duzzy of a COLD!
Just wanted to say ..What a "GREAT JOB" you have done on the Website...that takes a lot of time and energy...and we Aruban's really appreciate what you have undertaken. Keep up the Good Work!
Best Wishes for a safe, healthy, and prosperous new Year!!
    Reg & Joan

Dear Dan,
Just wanted to compliment you on your web site, as it is a trip down memory lane for those of us that were fortunate to have lived and gone to school there. My name is Ted Gibbons from the class of 1950.

Click here to see the Gibbbon's family history

Well Dan looking at your web site resulted in this trip down memory lane for which I'm extremely grateful to you. Thanks again and wish you and your family all the best in this New Year!!!!  1/6/2006

Hi Dan:
I sure am enjoying the website.  I've been through it several times and see something new each time.  However, when viewing the pictures of reunions, most don't have the names of the folks in the picture.  So the only ones who know who the people are, are the ones that were there.  I recognize almost nobody.  Forty-five some years later I know that people change and it would be nice to see who they are.  Any way to get the contributors to id the people in the photos in the future?
Thanks....Frank Pekary (60)
2/1/2006  For the record, you have not been congratulated yet on the wonderful job you have been doing with this website. On the island almost everybody has had a direct link to the refinery, surely at least an indirect link. Among the locals there is much interest for the website and mostly it will be considered as an archive for times gone.
I still have a complete 1973 calendar issued by Lago featuring color pictures of different sites, among other the then recently inaugurated airport on November 8, 1972. After having scanned these pictures, I will have them emailed to you, should you be interested.
Merrill Robles. President of the Orchid Society of Aruba
2/4/2006  Dan: Visited you web site and have to admit, you've done an excellent job in reconfiguring the site. It was good to begin with, and now you have gone the extra step and made it even better. Good job!  Don Gray.


My name is Joe Carroll.  We first went to Aruba in 1943 and I graduated in 1951.  I returned in 1962 to work in the refinery, and was transferred to Baytown, TX in 1976.  I have been intending to go through our old Aruba pictures and send them to you with appropriate notations.  If you would like to have them, let me know where to send them.

I've enjoyed all the work you have put into this web site.                              Joe Carroll      2/11/2006


I was very moved by your site. My grandfather worked in Aruba, at Lago from the 1920’s until his death on the island in 1958. I have heard so many stories about Aruba from my Dad and my grandmother when I was young. Even some of my Grandmothers friends from the Lago days used to visit my parents house when I was a kid. The stories they told have remained as wonderful memories even though I never lived there. I have a number of old photographs of Lago that were taken by my Grandfather. He lived in bungalow #269, next to Dr Carrell. My Grandfather was Mechanical Superintendent when he died in 1958, his name was Guillermo Ernesti better known as Ernie when he was at Lago.

Thank you again for a great site. I hope I can help by sending so Lago I send them to this email?

John Ernesti  2/18/2006

2/20/2006   Teddy, (I am sure he intended to write Dan)
I just spent an hour and half at your new (revised) site.  What a trip!  I am still not finished viewing and reading your entire presentation.  I can not even begin to appreciate the manhours involved to put this together.  I visited your old site a year or so ago and must say the new site is very pleasant upgrade. 
I know that I sincerely appreciate all the work that has gone into this monumental effort.   Everyone that goes to your site has to come away with a feeling of peeling away the years, remembering the good times and very few of the bad (if any), being reminded of people, friends and lovers (yes there were some of them also), and special places on our little island paradise.  What a great effort.
Skip Goodwin, Class of 53
Dan: Just between you and me, the latest addition "Carnival 2006" just doesn't fit the theme of the Lago website. Although I recognize you as creator and editor of the site, attracting world wide attention to "our" past (meaning Lago people) is an invasion of my private life which I do not wish to share with others. I really hope you rethink putting this kind of stuff on in the future. Sorry for the negative thought but I think other former kids from Lago might agree.  3/3/2006

3/4/2006   Dan,

I do not know who the anonymous writer might be, however, I am delighted with everything you put on the website and even more thrilled that Richard Beaujon, whose Uncle Fred worked with my father, is contributing from the Aruba side, keeping the connection between us intact.

I want our story told and love to be able to refer people to our Lago Colony site where they can learn more about the Aruba we knew, then, and our part in it.

Everyone who knows me, knows that I am Aruban, first, and Dutch-American, second.  With grandparents in both Holland and Kansas, I always felt separate from both families, left out and alone.  It has only been at home, in Aruba, that I feel whole.  Leaving for college was the hardest thing I have ever had to do and it has felt like an endless exile from home for all of the years since graduation from Lago High...for I was one of the lucky ones who was born in Lago Hospital and lived my entire life in Aruba, except for one school year at boarding school in Arizona.

My soul has never put down roots in this country and I hunger for every morsel of information about my home island, historical, from our past and from before Esso arrived, and current events.

And, my donation for the continuity of the site in the future is going in tomorrow's mail.  Tomorrow will mark 62 years since I was born in Lago Hospital, so Aruba is even more on my mind, than usual.



SUPER SUPER site !!!  My uncle & dad worker at Lago '69 thru '74 on the HDS mods for A.G. Mckee & co although we were not "Lago" employees  we still lived in the colony and spent most of our time in the colony except in '71 we lived in downtown waiting for a trailer. in the colony, I learned to SCUBA and was in the water every day, it was the best time of my life. I was 18 at the time, we shot pool at the ESSO club and cleaned up for Mr. Simmons the bar tender, I would  like to hear for any construction "brats" that also shared the same good times that the Lago kids did...Jim Patterson Jr.  My Dad Pat Patterson is 84 now and doing fine. keep up the good work!!!!  3/5/2006

If any "construction brats" are out there reading this and want to contact Jim, send me an email and I will forward it on to.  Would also like to hear from some of the other "construction brats".  Dan


I sent Larry Riggs the following email which he posted on his

Lago Bulletin Board


Hi,  I am thinking about bidding on the photo scrapbook from Aruba being sold on EBay.  The purpose of buying the book is to save the photos on the Lago Colony web page.  After I have scanned in the photos and put them on the web page I would have no use for the scrapbook, so if someone in the Lago group is interested in bidding on the book let me know and I will buy it and then send it on to them, after I have scanned.  This is as long as the price does not go through the roof but I would not think there would be much interest outside the Lago group.  Now, if two or more people want the book after it is scanned then I guess we got a problem or we can have a raffle.  If it can be determined which family the book comes from that is different.  I sent an email to the seller to ask if he knows, or if there is any name in the book.  He replied that he purchased the book at a flee market and does not know and the book is at his store.  He will go in to the store on Wednesday (only open Wed. to Sat.) and check and let me know.  If I find out a family name I will let you know, then I would think the family should bid on it, if they want it, and maybe if they were successful they would scan the photos and submit them to the web site.  Please let the group know. Thanks.



I know nothing about it, but I think it is just wonderful that you are doing this.  Let Larry, and therefore all of us know if you find out to whom it belongs.  I remember you as a little very blonde little boy, and I remember your Mother too.  I was class of  '48 so I doubt you remember me.  Betty Ann Binnion Burkholder.  3/6/2006


Visited Al & Anne last week and showed some of the pictures that my mom & dad took in Aruba way back in the early 30’s.  I will select some of these and send them to you for your use on your Web.  I also have an interesting picture of you taken back in the middle ‘50’s.

I am not bidding on the book and do not want the book.  Don Rosborough.  3/7/2006


To lessen your total exposure to the photo album we have combined at few to take an even percentage of the total bid cost.

 Stan Norcom, Warren Norcom, Reggie Kennerty, Carl Beyer, Steve Fremgen. 

Looking at the pictures that were posted I also saw that the album was late '30;s to early '40's.   The picture of the group of girls at Palm Beach is essentially the class of '41 except Helen Polick who was class '40.  Lone Palm Stadium looks like late '30's cars. 

If you win in I will volunteer to scan the pics at a good dpi, clean them up as good as possible and burn a CD on the whole bunch which you can use to put on your website and anyone can get a copy. 

You can keep the album and get it to some family member or resell it on eBay or put it in storage!

 Hope this might work for you...hope too that noboby else will be bidding.

 Let us know,  Stan 


Hi Danny-

I've been into your website - again and again and again and....  Love it.  By any chance do you have a really good photo of the old Dining Hall that was down by the GOB?  I may have missed seeing a picture in all the photos you have on line but I'm looking for one to add to my small collection.

Regards,  Lisa (Chod) Gray.  3/9/2006  Dan's note, if anyone has a good photo of the Dining Hall how about sending it to Lisa and you could also send me a copy for the web site.. Thanks. Dan.

Hello I am Camiel Schlangen 29 year from the Netherlands
I send your a drivecard from my grand father for your information of this page.
He worked from 1940 t/m1956 of Aruba als so the eiland police. My mother (Wilma borned 5 Jan 1943  en she is deadt from 23  jan 1996) en her sister (Alda borned 1945)  of this eiland . In 1950 is my grand mother (Anna Bouten- Eggels) comming  back to Holland.She life in Buggenum white her childeren. My grand father leave a 6 years worked to 1956.He comming soon back to Holland. He is deadt from February 1980 en my grand Mother Januari 1987. I have a picture from mij mother also child of Aruba.
Have you kwestjes than send a mail to : E-mail address on file with Dan Jensen.
Camiel Schlangen  3/11/2006. I do wish I could write Dutch half well as Camiel writes English. Dan.
Hi, Dan!  I love your website and have just enjoyed reading Capt. Alexander's story of what it was like to cross the bar at Lake Maracaibo.  I'm curious about the geology that produced the lake and the circumstances of its joining the sea. If the rollers at the bar were anything like those on the north coast of Aruba, they must have been something.  The pictures of Baby Lagoon after the hurricane are surprising, if that's the way it really looks now.  Certainly is different from when we were there. I remember your mother and dad, and your female dog which my male dog was fascinated by. (Was your mother's name Alma?)  Best regards,  Bill Moyer  3/17/2006
Danny,   Good job,  thanks.   The captions really help in viewing the pictures.  I will check and see if I have any more old pictures squirreled away.   Your site is really growing and looks great.
Dick Faunce  4/8/2006
That is quite a website you have established!
A. John Geis
Chapel Hill, NC  4/8/2006
When I get an email from someone about the web site and I really do not know them, I write and ask if it is OK to use the material on the FEEDBACK page. I get a lot of comments about the web site, but very few about my writing. Well…I got an email about my writing and wrote to ask if I could use it on FEEDBACK and this was the replay:

"Not sure why, but don't feel comfortable with your posting my notes on the site."

The person was so nice about my writing I decided to use them anyway, I guess what would be call in TV: "sound bites". Sort of like what you see on the back cover of a paperback book, they always have short quotes of what the reviewers have said about the book when it goes to print in paperback.  You sometimes wonder what was said between the quotes.

This would be on the back of my paperback edition, just can’t quote the source.


"I've just read your engaging tale about the destruction of the old Esso club."

"Amazing. I kept laughing aloud and reading faster to see what would come next. Well written!"

"When I read the 'contribute to the site' section I wondered if you're planning your demise soon? It seemed like you might be."

"It's an awesome site. I think you might have the only existing photo of the old commissary. When I saw the photo I marveled at what a beautiful art deco building it is, something I never noticed as a kid."

"Anyway, thanks for a good laugh, and a job well done on the website."

"Growing up in Aruba is something that can only be understood by others who grew up in Aruba. Your website is wonderful. Thanks."

When I wrote to ask permission to use that above and got the rejection the email also contained the following.

"After I sent you my earlier note, I found the 'stories' section and read your other stories. I particularly liked the 'club tickets’ story and the 'my dad's pickup truck' story. I've read all of them out loud to my husband and we laughed and laughed. You're a good writer! Both my husband and I could both completely 'see' the stories. (Her husband also lived in Aruba) You've got a good eye for detail. More, please!"

Got to tell you, it made me feel good!

Like most ex-Lagoites, I'm grateful for the amazing site you've made, and hope you're able to use the attachments.
Tom Schindeler
Class of 1964
April 17, 2006
    Finally got around to visiting your re-formated Lago web site. Quite a good job. You have rearranged the topics in a eye-appealing and readable order. Of all the web sites regarding Lago/Aruba, yours is the best arranged and contains more information than the others. I particularly like the section regarding Esso/Lago tankers and Auke Visser's web site (I see where Auke has reformated his web site for about the fifth time).
    While on the subject of tankers...Never have found the depth that the Oranjestad lies on the seabed floor off the reef. Several months ago I got into a conversation with Steve Fremgen; he and I more or less agree that the reason no one dives to the site is that it is too deep. Not even scuba gear would get you to that depth. I'm not a diver, never have been, but find it interesting. Lots of artifacts. I estimate the depth of the Oranjestad's permanent home to be at least 600'.  What say you?
    Getting geared up for U-156/U-502 Roundtable #4; don't know if I've told you before, but Clyde Harms, Jorge Ridderstaat, Jr., Dufi Kock, and Ray Burson will be our speakers. Clyde on the sighting of U-502 inside/outside Oranjestad Harbor, Jorge on his new book The Lago Story, Dufi on his work-in-progress (History of Savaneta), and Ray (main speaker) on the period leading up to and after the U-156 attack. Figure there will be (hopefully) about 30-35 in attendance. 
    Don  Gray  4/20/2006
I just looked through that wonderful photograph album from eBay that you so nicely displayed. What great pictures. I would guess the scrapbook was put together by Arthur and Jean Drummond--more likely Jean, who apparently was very photogenic--if they were indeed a couple, though I have to admit I never heard of them. Their Bungalow #278 was probably pretty close to our #268, though I'll check on your map to see for sure.  There are only a few names I recognize (Sunny Mingus is one), because the folks are roughly a half generation older than me.  I remember the "'Vincennes"--have a model of it--and that the "Ajax" (probably the "Achilles" too) visited Aruba for fuel as they headed to the South Atlantic looking for the Graf Spee.  (My Dad was very interested in the Graf Spee, and I'll be happy to write a brief article about that if you can use one, it your readers aren't saturated with Moyer missives by now.) The photos of the three German freighters were interesting.  My Dad said they came to Aruba for bunker fuel but were delayed because so much occurred in German/Dutch diplomatic relations.  "Antilla" may have had the least fuel, and the least options as to what to do when Aruba wouldn't refuel her.

Incidentally, I noticed someone complained about your insertion on the web site of pictures from "Carnival" in Aruba.  I disagree with that person, enjoyed seeing the costumes and remembering Oranjestad and its people.

Thanks again for the great job you're doing.      Bill Moyer,  4/20/2006

You've done a great job, Dan!   Thanks sooooo very much for scanning those slides for me.   It's OK to go ahead and add them to your "What's New" link. 
Every time I go to your site it just gets bigger and bigger with more and more information.  It is an invaluable source of historical information about life as it used to be on our beloved island.
Thanks, Dan
Keep up the good work.  We were all talking about your site at the reunion and remarking on how great it is.  It really takes us back to the good old days.  Thank you so much for all your work.
Say "Hi" to Mary B. for me.
Dotty (Learned) Dill
Thank you.  That is a marvelous work you have done in honor of my father and mother.

Gerry Smith  6/2/2006

6/8/2006   Steve Fremgen is staying at the Cunucu Villas while at the 2006 Aruba Reunion in Aruba.  He sent the Villas' owners his, as well as the Lago Colony web site addresses.  This was their comments about the site: Thank you for forwarding your websites as well as Dan Jensens'. We have spent a few nights searching through them and look forward to hearing the history first hand during your stay, time permitting of course. I am amazed at how tight the community has stayed, having reunions all over the US in addition to Aruba. I am even more amazed that the time was taken to record the individual homes with homeowners, job titles, children etc. That is quite an undertaking but I am sure it will be appreciated by many over the years. Please don't hesitate to let us know if we can be of help before your arrival.
Kind Regards, Rick & Sherrie
Enjoyed the piece and the pics on the gun emplacements.  When I was younger and used to ride in the AFC planes, I remember seeing those from the air as we flew almost directly over them when turning from downwind to final approach into the flying club runway.  The 7.5" guns (190mm) surely had a range of about 15 miles, but for short ranges like a submarine outside the refinery harbor, would have been very ineffective.  They did not have the elevation needed to lob a shell over the refinery and into the water close by.  Pretty poor planning; I suspect that they chose those locations to protect the guns from ship to shore fire if a German battle cruiser came by to shell the place.
Thanks for posting that; I had not seen those emplacements for over 40 years.
Stephen M. Fremgen   6/28/2006
My name is Mike Horigan, My grandfather was J. J. Horigan President of Esso from 1946 to 1956. My father used to tell me stories about my Grandfather throwing parties for the Queen. My father is Jack Horigan. He just passed away. I wish we would have found this web site before he died. We found my father and my aunt Betine's photos on this website when they were little kids. This is a wonderful website keep up the good work.  7/4/2006
Dan: I have just viewed the photos that your son Paul took in Aruba and may I say WOW!! they are the best I've ever seen.  My heart is still pounding!  I've given others the information that they can view some reunion pictures on your website.  People I know and e-mail with have been wondering why we've heard nothing of the reunion.  Ann Orr Klein  7/12/2006
Great website!  Mom, Mary Lopez, is thrilled with it. She lived there from 1930-1932, 1934-1955.         Sharon Lopez Mosley  7/17/2006
Hi , I'm really honored for what your doing, my grandfather Roman Kock and my great grandpa Pieter johannes Kelly used to work in the Lago, (sadly both
deceased) my greatgrandpa was working at the time of the German attack, he
told that they had to work in the dark , no lights were allowed, but a mere lamp.
I have really great story for you, maybe you heard of it...

Taken from a local book 'History of the schutterij Aruba and vrijwilligers korps during the 2nd world war 1939-1945'


Strange coincidence with a passenger of U-156

'An ex employee of the Lago was visiting Germany and had to go to a Service Station to pump gas. His car had had a number plate with 'Aruba' written on it , which most of the lago employee uses when there on vacation in America or Europe. The assistant at the gas station, limping, looking at the number plate saying , Aruba ? 'well it was there that I lost my leg' the worker at the gas station was no other then Dietrich A. von dem Borne , the 2nd official of the U-156 in the year 1942

The chauffeur informed Sr. William C. Hochstuhl , the author of the book ''German U-boat 156 (that brought war to Aruba) with his encounter in Germany. So Herr von dem Borne helped translate and describe the ' log book' of U-156. Mr. von dem borne was working at that time at Esso-A.G Hamburg and was the only survivor of U-156.'

Anyways I would really like to see a program on the 'History Channe' about the German attack.. 'The day that Hitler lost the War' might be a good title.... Most of the people don't know about what happened here, only locals here and a handful of people in the states. A tiny island that God protected, it wasn't just a mere coincidence that they forgot to unplug the main deck gun.. and that the torpedoes didn't hit the refinery... plus the 3000 TNT ship that just left the island a day before the attack.
thank you for your time.
R. Kock.
Hello Dan Jansen,
First.....I must tell you that I have absolutely no idea who you are,  but you certainly have done a  wonderful job putting this website together.  I've spent the last two days reading the most interesting stories,  looking at great photos,  and's been a trip back in time, of sorts!
Our family lived in Aruba between 1948 and 1953,  and still,  after all these years of living in and traveling to other exciting places,  Lago Colony, in ARUBA remains one of my most cherished memories.
The booklets called,  "Ink Spots".....I only saw the one for the year,  1946.  Are there others,  possibly from those years listed above?  Are there any photos of individual students as Graduating Seniors?  My sister,  Dorothy 'Dot' Huffman,  and myself,  Mimi Huffman,  would have graduated in 1956 and 1958 had we still lived there. 

I happened across the website a short while ago because I was looking for pictures and written history to give to my children.  For years,  they've heard me talk about,  ARUBA,  and the only pictures I had were personal ones,  (family type pictures), but not much showing the actual community or island.  My search on the Internet eventually brought me to your website.  I'm amazed at how large and full the website appears,  and yes,  I did go to the link you mentioned and saw many pictures of remembered friends.  What fun~ 

Mimi Huffman Alexander


I enjoyed meeting you and your son Paul at the Aruba Reunion in June. We talked briefly after the U-156(?) roundtable.  I sure enjoy the website. I think it is a tremendous way to give the Aruba kids a place to continue the legacy of the Lago Colony and Lago Oil.

Jim McCasland
(Son; Marjorie Smith Fincher)
(Grandson; L. G. Smith)
August 12, 2006

hi Dan:
Very nice site you got here my name is Dino, from Aruba, San Nicolas.  I have been living in Cologne, Germany since 1974 I received the link to your website today from a friend who is living in Aruba and who grew up with me in the 1950s' - I often played baseball against the Colony high school, I also used to wash an old 1955 Mercedes Benz on Saturdays for 5 guilders a wash.that was great small change for a movie in principal theater with popcorn etc. the guys who used to live in the Village and San Nicolas have found a social club called
Caribbean Lagoon in Holland and we have reunion parties 2 - 3 times a year. You can imagine the most are around 60 years and were or are baseball lovers.  I like the photo of old Oranjestad I have been looking for a photo or photos of old San Nicolas. It would be great
if you could find such old photos of other parts of the island, San Nicolas would be great. Dan,  keep up the good work. 
dino di aruba
living in Germany
ps. am sending a copy to the chairman of Caribbean Lagoon
and here's a link to our website 
Dear Dan,
I would like to applaud you for your phenomenal work on maintaining and updating this amazing website.  I first heard of lago-colony when a “seasoned” friend of mine who grew up (currently lives on the happy isle) suggested I “travel” …that was five months ago – well, I recently visited Aruba (live in the states – florida to be exact) – words could not describe how finally, after soo many months - I was there!!!   As a matter of  fact, I knew exactly where every building stood at one point in time ….it’s such a shame the government can’t do something to preserve the land or even upgrade one of the standing buildings (school/club) making it into a cultural center – a good way of increasing tourism to the southern end as well as conserving the memories of past/current generations in addition to future ones.… Can a letter(s) be written to the local papers or even the government for some type of assistance??  What do you and others think???  Is this a cause worth fighting for or is it a futile one????  I am more then willing to write the letters (with some of your suggestions/comments) and maybe (?) even meet with government officials.  As you can tell – I am passionate about the island and the people who live there (i met many who welcomed me into their conversations/lives) as much that I plan to make Aruba a yearly trek….
Again, thank you – Ileana 10/19/2006
Dear Dan,
Thank you so much for responding so quickly to my letter...yes, post my letter on your site - maybe the lago "cause" will inspire others or maybe some have thought of the same but you know how that goes - always takes one strange person to shake up the tree (ha-ha)..I know the government is not too keen on making changes (ecological ones) but what government, I plan to write..I'll keep you posted of my trials and tribulations along the way...
- Since you asked and I forgot to mention - my visit to Aruba was the first time but I feel as if I have been there already via your site as well as my friend's outlook while growing up there.   For added information, I didn't stay at the low/or high end hotels - I stayed at Charlie's Apts. in Saventa - rented a vehicle from Clemie's in San Nicolas (didn't put the a/c on and enjoyed the breeze/sunshine) and drove to my hearts content..let's put it this way - in 3days - I put over 425miles - how's that for seeing the happy isle.. in addition, I went to the local supermarkets as well as Ling's..I would enjoy the sunrises at the pier at Charlie's and the sunsets by the Anchor..I even went periodically to the library in San Nicolas, as you can see my stay was unusual to say the least...if one is to truly enjoy - then enjoy - like a true local...
Ileana  10/20/2006
I was searching for information on the Queens own Cameron Highlanders time in the Dutch West Indies when I came across your informative site.
As part of the research into my family tree I have been looking into the war record of my great uncle David Tait Milligan. He was with the 4th battalion and arrived in Aruba on the 21st of September 1941 I think he was a lieutenant at the time. He left on the 13th of February the following year to return to the UK via the USA.
Reading your web pages and viewing the pictures has been very helpful in adding a little bit more detail to the bare bones that I have,thank you very much, the time and effort you have put in is appreciated.
I wonder if you know if the highlanders were involved in guarding any prisoners of war during their period on the islands, as after leaving the caribbean my uncle was stationed at a POW camp in east Africa. Thanks once again, I look forward to sharing this new part of the story with the rest of my family.
your fraternally Mark Milligan  11/18/2006
I recently found your site on Lago Colony. Its very interesting and I look forward to exploring more.
My great aunt and uncle lived in the Lago Colony around the time 1940-1944. My uncle Howard Wade was living there and his girlfriend Oleta Moseley lived in Texas. She went to Aruba, married him in December of 1939, and they lived there for 3 or 4 years. Would you know if I could find a record of this?
I have found some old programs from different Lago events that I will try to scan and send to you.
My great aunt was a teacher and I have been told she taught school in Aruba so I hope to be able to find something that confirms this.
She kept a book, "History of Aruba," which was written in English. It was published in Aruba in 1940 and talks about how the oil business has impacted Aruba. It seems to be written in part by some people with Lago Colony. My great aunt had written her name and address in the book,
"Oleta Moseley Wade
Bungalow 11, Lago Camp
Aruba, Netherlands West Indies"
I looked at the map on your website but there does not seem to be a bungalow 11. Any ideas on where it could have been?
Hopefully I will learn more from your site and contribute some myself.
Becky Moseley  11/26/2006
Austin, TX

Bon dia,

My name is Jacques van der Scheer, we live in Seroe Colorado (1576) for about two years. My compliments for your web-site. Knowing about the history of the Colony makes this wonderful place to live even more interesting. From the moment we bought the house (a ruin at that time) I liked the simple design/architecture of these houses, they have simple straight lines. Would you have any information on architects/building company etc. of these houses? Are they for instance LAGO-houses that were developed/designed in the USA and build on several places in the world? If you need any information on the present situation, I might be able to help you out. My neighbors know quiet a bit about the history as they lived there for a long time.

Kind regards,



Great site. I am an Aruban guy born in the 70's and is great to see the history of my Island on your website. You touched us all in our hearts. Keep up the good work and if I were you I would submit a request to the Aruban Government to pay part of your expenses. I am sure that they will gladly pay every penny.

Alex de Cuba  March 11, 2007

Dear Mr. Jensen,

I found your website today, and what a fortunate thing that was!

I have been traveling to Aruba since 1994. Over the past decade or so I have gotten to know some of the people who grew up on the island during the period just after World War II. Your website has put photos to the stories and made them that much more real.

I've written a novel entitled An Island Away, which is the story of three people whose lives intersect in San Nicoholaas. The novel takes place at the present time but there is the background of Esso, the Colony, and what Aruba was like. I'm currently working to get this novel published and have begun the sequel, Under A Blue Flag, which takes place 15 years after An Island Away ends.

Some day I would like to pry into the archives in Austin and see these photos and materials first hand.

Again, thank you for the info and keep a look out for my book in the future.


Daniel Putkowski
   March 12, 2007


I just had to write and let you know how much enjoyment I’ve had on this site.  I have relived so many wonderful memories.  My father T. J. (Terry) Phillips brought us to Aruba in 1949.  My father passed away nine years ago and my mother had to move to a Nursing Home recently due to poor health.  We’ve been preparing to sell their home and discovered tons of pictures etc.  As soon as I’m able to sort through them and make copies etc. I’ll gladly forward them to you.  March 12, 2007

Diane Phillips Berthelot 


Dear Sir, 

I'm very thankful  for the wonderful job done by you concerning the history of Aruba during World War II.  This is a hidden part of our history as they never went that deep at school. I once read an article mentioning that  Aruba supplied the allies  with fuel during WW II, but that was it.  At nights my mom would tell us stories about their friends and relatives that were bombarded at sea.

Kind regards,

Franklin  March 12, 2007

Dear Mr. Jensen,

Some time ago I found your website on the internet with the history of the Lago Oil Company. I was very pleased, especially because I was born and raised in San Nicolas (2nd generation Aruban), with an uncle and aunt who used to live in the colony and worked for Lago. Moreover, one of my students submitted a digital paper to your website sometime ago (Andreina Kock).

The reason for my e-mail is the following. Currently, I'm working on a small book on the economic development of Aruba, going back 50 to 60 years in time, and then looking towards the future. As part of my publication, I would like to illustrate some of the developments, and use some of the b&w pictures posted on your website.

My question is if I could use some of the pictures on your website, and include a reference with special permission and thank you to you and your website for the use of some pictures (about eight pictures in total).

Your permission and cooperation would be highly appreciated, particularly as the publication will also be used for educational purposes.

Thank you for your consideration, and I await your reply.

Dr. Ryan R. Peterson, PhD, MSc
Dean of Hospitality & Tourism Management Studies
Professor of Tourism Management & Marketing
University of Aruba –  4/15/2007


Hi, Dan!

My name is Pam Riemann and I have enjoyed the Lago Colony website more than words can say. I cannot thank you enough for it! My family lived in Aruba from around 1935 to 1952 when we left and came to Wisconsin where I still live. My father's name was Arthur Bunyan, and he was a draftsman or engineer at Lago I believe. We lived at #22 Mount Scenerystraat. My uncle was Clement St. Aubyn, who was the manager of the Esso Club. His son Andrew still lives at the family home at #35 Mount Scenerystraat. I will try to assemble and forward some of the pictures my sisters and I have of our years in Aruba. My parents were originally from British Guiana, so the lyrics in "God Bless Lago" about the strangers that came to Lago for work are really true!
Your website has revived and given new life to many of my long dead and vague memories and eased a deficit in my life caused by my family leaving Aruba when I was only 4 years of age. Throughout my childhood my parents never stopped talking about Aruba. I wish we had gone back. Isn't it amazing how once you've lived on Aruba, you never forget or stop longing to be there again. Your website has been the best thing to happen to me in over 50 years. Thank you again, so much!

Pam  4/15/2008

Well what a night of nostalgia I’ve had here reading through this website and coming across Bill McMaster’s pages with the photos. If I can dig up some photos I’ll send them in. The names are etched in my memory from family conversation and I remember them better than someone met yesterday. I remember Marion Fernando and Sally Armstrong and I am told that Jimmy Armstrong escorted my mum to hospital when I was about to arrive. I think I was on the island slightly later than Bill, and slightly earlier than the Hill sisters, but I did meet Dorothy and Olivia at a Spanish language society in Belfast. Yours is a very sad story Bill, that’s probably why I remember your name as my father would have been reflecting on lost friends and colleagues. I remember too being called out of bed one night, very unusual, to stand on the verandah and watch flames of all colours envelope one of the tankers out at sea, as my dad went out to go to the refinery. I married and left Northern Ireland for army life and am now widowed with two daughters and a grandchild of 5 years. My father was Captain Jack Fisher of the Boscan. I have bookmarked the website so will visit again. Regards Carol Hinds  4/16/2008

Hello Dan,
My name is Sandra Joy Smith. Lloyd G. Smith was my grandfather.  My father was Edmund Joseph (Ned), Lloyd and Lucy's third child.  I am doing some personal research on my family history and came across your website.  I want to say how much I appreciate your work.  It is wonderful to have so much information available in one spot.  I have not seen all of it yet but wanted to jot this off to you while I was thinking of it. I am sure I will be spending much more time looking through all the information and pictures.  What a treasure trove!
Hi, I stumbled on the website about the LAGO while searching for more info about the lago for a project for my nephew. As being an Aruban myself and my late grandfather, may he rest in peace, as an former employee of the LAGO, I was very emotional to see the site with all the pictures etc. My mother is actually born in the LAGO hospital. I am 33 years old myself, but I grew up on the stories about the refinery of my grand father. So seeing this website brings a lot of memories about him. He passed away two years ago, I miss him everyday. He was telling his stories about LAGO till his last day, so it had made an impact on him for the rest of his life. once more it's nice to see people dedicated on such an wonderful experience since in my opinion LAGO wasn't just a refinary; it was a way of life. And by seeing people like you, the pictures, the stories I believe that even stronger. It's sad today that a lot of people don't care about it anymore, since life got such hectic. But I believe once in a while we should stop, look back and see our heritage form the past. It made us today, who we are now.
Once more, Thank you for the great efforts to keeping the memories alive.
Sincerely yours,
Godfried "Brian" Lampe.
Grandson of the late Juan "Fan" Vries.  January 6, 2009

Dear Dan,

I recently came across your website while doing some re-search on Aruba.

My story, My name is Jenny and I’ am a young girl in my twenties and I live in Texas. My family is from Aruba, they were all born in Aruba but later moved to Texas in the 70’s.

My grandfather is Dirksz he was a baseball player in Aruba and he also worked at Lago.

Growing up my mother always told us stories about Lago and the colony and about Aruba-the way is was when she grew up there in the 50’s. The days when Aruba was still under the Queen.

Her stories were so amazing and captivating her words seem to take me to another place.

I myself have been to Aruba several times for vacation and to see family. But its not the same anymore. Its nothing like the pictures and the stories that were told to  me growing up.

On my last trip to Aruba in 2008 my mom took me to see Lago and it was a very emotional journey. We were able to drive through the colony (it is no longer gated and guarded) you could tell it was being kept up or maintained the government has sold the houses and property to islanders. The tennis court was falling apart and there was graffiti everywhere. You could see homeless people (chollers) roaming around. As we drove around my mother would point out different land marks and say that's where that happened and this is where this happened and this was the house of so and so. And this is where the boss lived. And we came to a party here at this house. She was so excited like a kid in a candy store to re-live her childhood.

We made are way through the colony and back down in front of the Lago church. It was beautiful, I stood there in the sun and I closed my eyes, I tried to imagine for a second what it was like years before. I made my way over to the statue in front of the church to read it. And It was so emotional I got so choked up and I was just crying, I guess the reason was because there I was reading this memorial and it donned on me that I was not alone I was not the only one that felt this way about what was once my mothers homeland. It was not the same anymore and this was not the 50’s, everything changes.

But how wonderful it once was.Jenny Dirksz Rodriguez

AUGUST 10, 2010

Congratulations with a very nice website with lot of useful information. I really enjoy reading about lago colony. I am aruban, my grandfather used to work at Lago and told us a lot about the colony. My father and all aunts and uncles where born at the Lago colony hospital. I was searching internet for information of Lago colony since i am interested to buy one of the bungalows.
Thank you very much.


August 3, 2011

I would first like to congratulate you in doing such a wonderful job with your website. 

I discovered your website a couple of years ago and I was impressed straight away. Your collection of photographs and stories etc is a great insight to how the area was back then.  The website has been an inspiration to us, and the photos have helped us to visualize just how great a place this was to work and live all those years ago.

Regards:  Stacy and Dean

Your web site describes in great detail the early beginnings of the refinery, and its rise to prominence. However, it most interestingly documents the human side of the refinery story. It provides a wonderful account of the people of the Lago Colony, their lives and their community. It further provides a remarkable look into the safe quarters, the neighborhoods, the districts and the close-knit family life that the company strived to supply for its employees, their families and the people of Aruba. Unfortunately, this is a corporate subsidy that is basically no longer provided by the big businesses of today – at least those within the US.

Thank you again for your detailed account into this interesting historical side of Aruba. Upon our next annual visit in February of 2013, we will now be able to view and visit these same areas with a heightened since of knowledge and understanding thanks to you and your web site. Kind Regards, Owen Matthews


Several weeks ago my eldest grand-daughter (12 years old in sixth grade) told her Mom they were reading a book THE CAY and it is about Curacao.  My youngest daughter got her hands on the book and it is a novel about a family in Curacao who were there when the Germans attacked during WWII and (like in Aruba) didn't feel safe so they escaped to a "deserted island" and led a Robinson Crusoe type life.  At that point my daughter had Hannah (the sixth grader) call me to see if I would come down and address her Class re how it was during an attack etc. etc.  

I agreed.

I have just finished a lecture to 115 Sixth Graders (four Sections of the Class and their Teachers) and supported by words with 55 Power Point Slides on a large screen that my Daughter Valerie and I put together last weekend.  I want you to know that due to both your efforts over 90% of what I used came directly from your website.  I augmented them with some pictures on a Lake Tanker trip, a copy of a censored letter I had sent to my Grandmother and a few maps.  The youngsters were thrilled as were their Teachers so I think we all had a win win.  Thanks for all your efforts for it made things infinitely easier for my daughter and me. 

Best regards to you both

Bob Griffin


October 31, 2014

Hello Paul,
    We are sorry to hear about your Dad's passing. I know you have many fond memories of times together and will miss him.  I enjoyed our relationship and will miss him as well.
Frank Binetti

November 8, 2014

My condolences on your father passing away.  I enjoyed reading the "New Stuff" on his website.  I am also a Lagoite, I lived there just after the refinery closed and was there during the time they still had a security gaurd at the entrance of the Colony. I remeber I used to be able to ride around in the colony on my little BMX bike and had all of baby beach to myself. I have a special affiliation to the Colony since I feel I am the last of the families that lived there.  I would like to render my services to you in regards to redoing the website using Word Press.  Its a very flexible interface and is for Bloggers.  I can help with transferring the domain name as well as inputting the pictures.  The website can also be mobile friendly since most people nowadays have smart phones or tablets.  If by any chance you would like to sell or pass on the website to someone who would be willing to continue it let me know, I wouldn't mind.  Once again my condolences and let me know if I can be of any help. Thanks

Dan Barros

November 8, 2014

I was surprised and saddened when I read Dan's obituary today, as he did more than anyone to keep our Aruba family together through his web site.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Jensen family at this time.

Ted & Phyllis Gibbons.   ( class 1950)

November 11, 2014

Dear Mr. Jensen,

With great sadness I've learned about the passing away of your father Dan Jensen. I've never had the pleasure to meet your father in person but I had a few email exchanges with him. My name is Willem Donck and I live in The Netherlands. I've been a Divemaster in Aruba for some time, guiding (many American) divers on dives to the reefs and wrecks of Aruba. In order to give divers the real background story on the wrecks of Aruba I did research on the history of the Antilla wreck and the Pedernales wreck. I established the
website The website of Dan has been a great help for me in my reseach. What made your father extraordinary to many is the fact he must have been one of the first to understand and acknowledge the importance of keeping memories alive. With the foundation of his website he contributed to the historical awareness of the Lago community in particular and Aruba in general. He therewith has left a great legacy which many people enjoy today.

I sincerely hope it will be of some comfort to you and your family knowingthat your father made a difference to many and will be missed by all of us.

Willem Donck The Hague - The Netherlands

November 11, 2014


Good morning.  It was both sad but a shock to me when I heard yesterday that your father passed away, although I knew that he was not feeling well, based on the regular contacts I have with him. 

I will never forget my dear friend Dan.  He was so kind to publish his book "The Propeller" for our SS Oranjestad Memorial Committee and graciously donated copies of the books to us.

Dufi Kock
Writer and Historian

Savaneta, Aruba

November 14, 2014

Hello Paul,
Last week we've received the bad news.
We are sorry to hear that your father has passed away.
From 2009 I had contact with him after a visit to his website Lago colony.
We've read that the website will remain online and we are very happy with that.
It's a very unique historical work, what your father has created about
a very important period in the Aruban history.
When we visit the front page we still enjoy the music of the Lago song,
our thoughts go back to Aruba where we have lived with great pleasure just like your parents.
We wish you much strength and may memories comfort you in time of sorrow.
With kind regards,
Dick & Mandy de Bruin
One of the divers in diveteam SS Oranjestad.
Purmerend, Holland


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