Magazine article Sunset

Admiring Architecture in Old Puerto Rico

Magazine article Sunset

Admiring Architecture in Old Puerto Rico

Article excerpt

VISITORS TO THE capital city of San Juan know its old town is famous for Spanish colonial architecture. But few know of the distinctive Spanish Creole buildings in Ponce, Puerto Rico's third-largest city.

In the late 19th century, Ponce developed its own blend of Spanish Creole and neoclassical architecture called Ponce Creole; it's characterized by the use of Corinthian columns, wrought-iron balconies, and gas lamps. It was dubbed Creole because it reminded some of New Orleans's French Quarter. Wealth from Ponce's sugarcane industry financed most of the elegantly ornamented buildings.

A 1 1/4-hour drive southwest of San Juan, Ponce is worth a visit to see its architectural gems on a self-guided walk.

Begin in the heart of the recently renovated historic district, at the Plaza Central, at Simon Bolivar and Union. Here, you'll see the finest examples of Ponce Creole. Look for exterior columns, a balcony with a grille, a wall of small windows. …

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