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Arquitecture

Spanish colonial architecture can be seen in many houses built in the XVIII and XIX centuries that still surround the Plaza and main avenues: José I. Quintón Street, Baldorioty de Castro Street, Dr. Veve Street, among others.


Calle Baldorioty in 1910
 


Calle Baldorioty in 1997

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Plaza Luis Muños Rivera

The Plaza was remodeled twice recently: during the early 1990's and early 200o's. Its trees, planters, fountains, gazebos, and most of all its antique benches invite to blissful rest. There are several monuments in remembrance of historical events.


Plaza, between the church and city hall
 


Plaza, between the church and Quintón Street

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The Catholic Church

Its construction was finished in 1784. Its architecture style is late Hispanic American baroque, with influences of the 17th and 18th centuries. There is an inscription of the name of the contractor, Estanislao Colón, and year construction was finished on the front beam of the chorus balcony. The church contains paintings by José Campeche, Fransisco Oller, and Juan Ríos, in addition to several religions icons. The courtyard and grates around the building were constructed during the 1890's. The church has a rectangular plan, with a vault over the central nave, and two lateral naves that become sacristies at both side of the main chapel. Air Conditioning was installed in the early 2000's.


main entrancel
 
main entrance

 

City Hall

The current building was constructed during the second half of the 19th century, after two fires destroyed the city archives in 1869 and 1897. City Hall was re-constructed in the Andalucia architectural style in 1927. The project contractor was Engineer Manuel V. Domenech, and the superintendent of construction was don Víctor Santiago.


Coamo City Hall
 

Coamo City Hall
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Hollywood Theater

The theater did not operate as a movie venue during the mid 90's. It reopened as a movie theater at the end of the decade. It is also used for theatrical and musical productions, as well as for graduations and other school events. It has beeen opened sporadically as a movie theater and other events over the last few decades.


Theater in 2005
 


 

José I. Quintón Street

Main avenue, and one of the oldest throughways in the country. It was constructed over an old taino road which crossed the island from north to south. Named after the famos clasical composer and coamo resident José Ignacio Quintón. There are many buildings of notice in this street: Our Lady of Valvanera Catholic School, Baptist Church, Betances Pharmacy (founded in 1888), the Casino,and Historic Museum.


Commercial/Retail Zone

 

Old Gas Pumping Station

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Coamo Historic Museum

The two story building is in the European Neoclasical style, with walls and cealing made of brick and an interior courtyard. The second story floor is made of flooring board. Both the second story and the celing are supported by beams made of local woods (ausubo and úcar). Doors and windows are made of white pine. The lower level was build for commercial/retail use, while the upper level was a home.


View from Quintón street

 

View from the Plaza

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The building was bougth in 1976 by the Municipality of Coamo from the estate of Mrs. Eufrosina (Sisita) Cianchini Widow of Santiago using federal funds. The US$140,000 sale price included furniture and other antique artifacts. The original owner, Mr. Clotilde Santiago, was a whealthy land owner and businessman, and a member of the Diputación Provincial (Spanish colonial equivalent to be one of the Gobernor's apponted secreataries or advisors).

The museum, inaugurated in 1979, contains a large collection of artifacts form the private collection of Coamo historian Mr. Ramón Rivera Bermudez, as well as the furniture originally purchased with tho house. Other artifacts were donated by Mr. Felipe Monerau, adopted son of clasical composer José Ignacio Quintón, and the family of popular music composer Bobby Capó.

The museum kept intact several areas of the home with its original furniture: living room, dining room, main bedroom and kitchen. Other rooms were refurbished as exhibit halls. Many of the fine objects original to the home were aquired by Mr. Florencio Santiago (son of Clotilde) and his wife Sisita Cianchini from their travels to Spain, Italy and the Middle East.

The living and dining rooms are furnished and decorated in the Neoclasical Elizabethan style, and the furniture was made from mahogany and cedar by local artisans. The living room has a beautiful lamp, four large paintings representing the four seasons and a sculpture of Mr. Florencio Santiago by the italian artist A. Canessa. The four painting represent the four seasons, and were aquired in Spain at the beguining of the 2oth century. The main bedroom reflects the religious devotion of the Santiago-Cianchini, featuring several religious paintings and icons.

 

The Casino of Coamo

The building was bought by don Florencio Santiago from don Felipe Rodriguez McCarty. After don Florencio passing in 1924, the building was left to the Centro de Instrucción y Recreo (Center fo Instruction and Recreation). That organization was founded in 1882 as a social and cultural club social for the elite of Coamo.


2005 photo

 

1997 photo

Very elegant formal dances a and cultural performances took place in the rooms in the Casino during the late 19th century and early 20th century. Performances included great musisiand of the time like Juan Morel Campos, José I. Quintón and Angel Mislan.Today elegant dances and performances also take place here, but the club also sponsors public exhibitions and civic activities.

The building has a three main rooms (a great ball room, a sitting room with bar and a library), a courtyard, and a large balcony.

 

Our Lady of Valvanera Chapel and School

The chapel was inaugurated in 1685 in commemoration of the end in 1683 of a cholera epidemic. The school was founded in 1929, and today all grades are taught (K to 12th). The school was built around the chapel, and now the main entrance to the chapel is in the inside court of the school. A modern building had to be added in front of the main school building due to the need to add more classrooms because of increasing enrollement. The annex hides half of the facade and takes over part of the exterior court.


View from Quintón street

 

Chapel

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Baptist Church

Masonry building with wood and zinc roof, constructed between 1905 and 1910 by the first Baptist misionaries that came to Coamo. Its costruction was sponsor by the American Home Mission Society, and directed by Architect Crowley. The building was restored in the 1980's.


2005 photo

 

1997 photo

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Old Central Road

Was constructed between 1825 and 1886, mostly on over old Taino trails. Crosses Coamo from Aibonito towards Juana Díaz. That part of the road later became Carretera #14 at the beguining of the 20 century. Many buildings of economic importance can be found along or very near to Carretera #14. The piece of road that comes outr of downtown towards Juana Díaz is the "Piel Canela Boulevard" in honor to the popular composer born in Coamo Bobby Capo and his music.


One of many "Caminero" houses between Coamo and Aibonito
 
Road marker near Las Calabazas bridge


Piel Canela Boulevard

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Iron Bridges

Contructed between 1876 y el 1886 as part of Central Road Number 1. The steel parts were built in Belgium and ordered through the construction offices of Eugene Rolin & Co. in Paris. The bridges were assembled over masonry foundations under the guidance of Eng. Raimundo Camprubí. The bridge over Coamo River (at kilometer 34.1) is larger than the others, known as Calabazas (km. 39.2), Minas (km. 30.4) and Puente de Hierro (km. 23.9). Although a modern bridge is now used for vehicle traffic over Coamo River, the old bridge is still used for pedestrian traffic and to support water tubbing.


Puente Las Calabazas


Puente sobre Río Coamo

 

Baños de Coamo Hotel

<sorry, still working on the translation> The spa was inaugurated in 1847 with the construction of a wooden guesthouse by Mr Andrés G. Luhring. Luego el Sr. José Usera compró el negocio y contruyó en 1857 un elegante edificio de mampostería y madera del país. El Hotel Baños de Coamo cerró sus puertas en 1959. El Parador del mismo nombre se inauguró en el mismo lugar en 1978, construido por la Compañía de Turismo de Puerto Rico. Del hotel original se conserva sólo el restaurante y la piscina de aguas termales. Del resto del hotel quedan algunas paredes que añaden un ambiente antiguo al Parador, incluyendo la antigua caja fuerte que ahora se encuentra en el area de la piscina de agua fría. La piscina antigua, localizada detrás del Parador, está abierta al público en general.


Picina pública de aguas termales
 


Entrada al balneario público

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Pan-American Velodrome

During the 1970s and early 1980's, Coamo had the best cycling team in Puerto Rico. That was the determining factor to build the 1979 Pan-American Games Velodrome in Coamo, still the only velodrome in Puerto Rico suitable for international events. It was also used during the 1993 Central American Games.


1997 photo
 


1997 photo

 

Further Reading:

La Villa de muchos mundos - essay in Spanish by Arq. Ortíz Colom (Institute of Puertorrican Culture) about the architecture of Coamo
Parroquia San Blas de Illescas, Coamo PR - Oficial website of the parish