Pichilemu (Mapudungun: Small forest) is a beach resort city in central Chile. It is the capital of Cardenal Caro Province, and it is home to five historic monuments of Chile (Agustín Ross Cultural Centre (ex-Casino), Agustín Ross Park, Pichilemu railway station, El Árbol tunnel and Caballo de Agua) and was declared a "Zona Típica" (English: Traditional Area or Heritage Site) by National Monuments Council in 2004. As of 2002, 12,392 people were residing in Pichilemu.
Pichilemu was founded on December 22, 1891 by decree of President Jorge Montt and his Interior Minister Manuel José Irarrázabal. It was conceived as a beach resort for upper-class Chileans by Agustín Ross Edwards, a Chilean politician and member of the Ross Edwards family.
The city is part of District No. 35 and belongs to the 9th senatorial constituency of O'Higgins Region electoral division. Pichilemu is the main beach in O'Higgins Region, known as a place to surf, windsurf and funboard. Several surf championships take place in the city.
Tourism is the main industry of the city, but forestry and handicraft are also important. Pichilemu has many expansive dark sand beaches. Surfing competitions are frequently held at Punta de Lobos, which according to Fodor's is "widely considered the best surfing in South America year-round."
Agustín Ross Cultural Centre
, previously named Casino Agustín Ross
: Ross Casino
) is a historical casino
building located in the Agustín Ross
avenue, in front of Agustín Ross Park
, in Pichilemu
. The building was constructed in the late 1800s, and in 1906 the first Chilean casino was established there. It was closed in 1932 and converted into a hotel which functioned until the 1980s.
The casino is named after Agustín Ross Edwards, a Chilean writer, member of parliament, minister and politician. He was part of the powerful family Ross Edwards, which founded the newspaper El Mercurio years earlier. Based on his european experience, Ross bought a place named "La Posada" (English: The Inn) or Petren Fund in 1885. At that time, it was just some barracks with thick walls with a ground of 300 hectares.
The old Ross Casino was constructed in the late 1800s by Ross himself. It contained the first mail and telegraph service and a big store. The building had three floors, and was raised using imported materials. On January 20, 1906, the first Chilean casino was opened in that building. It was run until 1932, when Viña del Mar Casino was opened. After the closing of the Ross Casino, the building was converted into a hotel was which functioned until the 1980s.