Puerto Rico’s NRHP Listed Landmarks Part 1
As an unincorporated territory of the United States, a number of Puerto Rico’s notable historic sites, buildings and structures are listed on the US National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) as being worthy of preservation, and are therefore protected under the National Historic Preservation Act. The NRHP was established in 1966 with a list of criteria places must meet in order to be listed on the register, and in September 2012 there were 306 Puerto Rican places listed on the register, with 62 of the island’s 78 municipalities having one or more listings.
In Western Puerto Rico, which includes the Porta del Sol area, there are up to 60 entries on the register, with Mayaguez having 18, the highest number of the region. These include Asilo De Pobres, Casa Consistorial De Mayaguez, Cementerior Muncipal de Mayaguez, Duran Esmoris Residencia, Edificio José de Diego, Faro de la Isla de la Mona, Gómez Residencia, Isla de Mona, Logia Adelphia, La Case Solariega de Jose De Diego, Logia Adelphia, Nazario Rivera Residencia, Plaza Publica, Residencia Heygler, Ramírez Fuentes Residencia, Residencia Ramirez De Arellano en Guanajibo, Teatro Yagüez, US Custom House, US Post Office and Courthouse.
Asilo De Pobres was originally built as a shelter for indigent members of the community and has also served as a sanatorium for the elderly with facilities for occupational therapy and arts and crafts. Built in the Classical Revival Style, the building is a superb example of the this architectural style, also known as Neoclassicism, and was added to the NRHP list in 1985.
Located on the Colón Main Square in Mayaguez, the City Hall (Casa Consistorial De Mayaguez) was originally built in 1845, but was destroyed in the 1918 earthquake which devastated much of the northwestern coast of Puerto Rico. Rebuilt in the Neoclassical style in 1926, the building has continued to serve as the city hall of Mayaguez. Its whitewashed façade, ornate trimmings and cobalt blue Greco-Roman columns, give the building a stately appearance and make it a well-known landmark in the city.
Surrounded by brick walls featuring a series of niches the Cementerio Municipal de Mayaguez was designed by Félix Vidal de D’Ors and constructed in 1876. According to a law promulgated in 1872, the cemetery had separate areas reserved for the poor and non-Catholics. It is listed with several surrounding buildings and structures and is the final resting place of a number of notable Puerto Rican personalities, including the founder of the Movimiento Pro Indepencia and Puerto Rican Socialist Party Juan Mari Bras; educator, businesswoman and politician, being the first woman in the commonwealth to be elected to a government legislative body, María Luisa Arcelay; musician Mon Rivera; and actress/comedian Alicia Moreda Tuya.
Continued in Part Two