Old town of San Juan, Puerto Rico ca 1900. Clo…

Old town of San Juan, Puerto Rico ca 1900. Close-ups in comments

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Detroit Publishing Co. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2016803658/

Original for comparison: https://i.imgur.com/qYLWgb2.jpg

Puerto Rico had only been in American hands for mere 5 years when this photo was taken, if less than that. In 1898, during the Spanish–American War, Puerto Rico was invaded and the United States acquired Puerto Rico and three other territories (Cuba, Guam and the Philippines) from Spain under the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1899). Today it’s home to 3.4 million Puerto Ricans.

This photo was taken in the old town of San Juan here (streetview), most buildings are still standing – except the church to the right. You can still see the old cobblestone streets and some buildings dating back to the 16th or 17th century, when Puerto Rico was in Spanish possession.

Looking further down the street, near the end we can see a cream white building with a red roof towering over the other buildings – this is San Juan City Hall at Plaza de Armas. It was first built in 1604.

The tramway was built in 1900, and existed until 1957. If you are into trams and streetcars, I recommend you read this historical page about the tramways of Puerto Rico, it contains many photos of old San Juan as well: http://www.tramz.com/pr/sj.html

Today the tramway is gone, but I found one uncited sentence on Wikipedia saying the city is planning on bringing it back. Does anyone have a cited source on this, perhaps there are news articles talking about it in Spanish? I hope we get to see it running one day again in Old San Juan. I can imagine the hurricane might have ruined those plans.

For other tidbits of Puerto Rico’s history in the last 100 years since this photo was taken, I direct you here: http://welcome.topuertorico.org/history5.shtml


Close up left side From left to right – you can hint a man sitting in the doorway to the left, the sign declaring that this is a tailor shop. Perhaps it is the owner sitting there, mending some clothes or sewing a coat up to fit a client.

A boy selling some kind of seafood – I believe clams, with a sauce in the white bowl to go with it.

The people looking out the doorway seem to be customers of the bakery, and clerks of the shop next door. The yellow text on the green leftside building spells out “Confiteria La Nueva Central” I wish we could look inside to see and smell what tasty pastry and bread the bakery had in store that day.

A BARBERIA sign let’s you know you can have your hair cut and beard shaved.

Most pedestrians seem to be heading to their destination by walking, and many of them are barefoot.

Close up right side. An older woman walking down the street, perhaps she has just been practicing her religion in the church. A gentleman strutting down the street looking just dashing!!

Enjoy the colors! 🙂