Arroyo, Puerto Rico
Municipio Autónomo de Arroyo
Town and Municipality
|Founded||December 25, 1855|
|• Mayor||Eric Bachier Román (PDP)|
|• Senatorial dist.||6 - Guayama|
|• Representative dist.||30|
|• Total||23.0 sq mi (59.6 km2)|
|• Land||15 sq mi (39 km2)|
|• Water||8.0 sq mi (20.6 km2)|
|• Density||690/sq mi (270/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−4 (AST)|
Arroyo (Spanish pronunciation: [aˈroʝo]) is a town and municipality located along the southern coast of Puerto Rico and bordered by the Caribbean Sea, east of the municipality of Guayama and northwest of the municipality of Patillas. Arroyo is spread over 5 barrios and Arroyo barrio-pueblo (the downtown area and administrative center). It is part of the Guayama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The town of Arroyo was officially founded on December 25, 1855. However, some historians believe there were previous settlements in the area even previous to the Spanish colonization. It is believed that the name of Arroyo (which means "creek" in English) is derived from a small water stream where travelers stopped to freshen up before continuing on their way.
There are four different versions about the founding of the town, including that it was formed when a small group of people from the neighbor town of Guayama came to the region looking for a port to export and import merchandise. Still, a local newspaper called La Gaceta de Puerto Rico published in 1868 that Arroyo was founded in 1852. Between 1859 and 1860, City Hall signed agreements to open streets and build a town square and a sewer system for the town.
In 1858, Samuel Morse introduced wired communication to Latin America when he established a telegraph system in Puerto Rico, then a Spanish Colony. Morse's oldest daughter Susan Walker Morse (1821–1885), would often visit her uncle Charles Pickering Walker who owned the Hacienda Concordia in the town of Guayama. During one of her visits she met and later married Edward Lind, a Danish merchant who worked in the Hacienda La Henriqueta in Arroyo. Lind purchased the Hacienda from his sister when she became a widow. Morse, who often spent his winters at the Hacienda with his daughter and son-in-law, set a two-mile telegraph line connecting his son-in-law's Hacienda to their house in Arroyo. The line was inaugurated on March 1, 1859, in a ceremony flanked by the Spanish and American flags. The first lines transmitted by Samuel Morse that day in Puerto Rico were:
"Puerto Rico, beautiful jewel! When you are linked with the other jewels of the Antilles in the necklace of the world's telegraph, yours will not shine less brilliantly in the crown of your Queen!"
Puerto Rico was ceded by Spain in the aftermath of the Spanish–American War under the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1898 and became a territory of the United States. In 1899, the United States conducted its first census of Puerto Rico finding that the population of Arroyo was 4,867.
In 1902, Puerto Rico's Legislative Assembly approved a law to consolidate certain municipalities. According to it, Arroyo would be merged with Guayama starting on July 1 of that year. However, the law was revoked in 1905 returning Arroyo to its municipal status.
In early 1999, the U.S. Congressional record documented a commendation of Arroyo, on its 100-year relationship with the U.S., noting that many citizens of Arroyo have fought and died in wars for the U.S., such as Virgilio Sánchez and Raul Serrano.
On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria's wind and rainfall triggered numerous landslides in Arroyo. The hurricane destroyed 1,550 structures in Arroyo. A bridge on PR-725 collapsed leaving 130 families trapped.
Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Arroyo is subdivided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a small barrio referred to as "el pueblo", near the center of the municipality.
Barrios (which are like minor civil divisions) and subbarrios, in turn, are further subdivided into smaller local populated place areas/units called sectores (sectors in English). The types of sectores may vary, from normally sector to urbanización to reparto to barriada to residencial, among others.
Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico (Special Communities of Puerto Rico) are marginalized communities whose citizens are experiencing a certain amount of social exclusion. A map shows these communities occur in nearly every municipality of the commonwealth. Of the 742 places that were on the list in 2014, the following barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods were in Arroyo: the Marín neighborhood, Palmas barrio, Yaurel barrio, and the San Felipe-Arizona zone.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
1899 (shown as 1900) 1910-1930
1930-1950 1960-2000 2010 2020
Landmarks and places of interest
There are eight beaches in Arroyo.
Among the places of interest in Arroyo are the Enrique Huyke Monument, dedicated to the educator and athlete, and the Samuel Morse Monument, dedicated to the American inventor of the telegraph. Casa de Aduana is a museum located in Arroyo.
To stimulate local tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic in Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company launched the Voy Turistiendo (I'm Touring) campaign in 2021. The campaign featured a passport book with a page for each municipality. The Voy Turisteando Arroyo passport page lists Malecón Paseo Las Américas, Centro Vacacional Punta Guilarte, Faro Punta Figuras, and the Arroyo Surfing Park, as places of interest.
Festivals and events
Arroyo celebrates its patron saint festival in July. The Fiestas Patronales de Nuestra Sra. del Carmen is a religious and cultural celebration in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel that generally features parades, games, artisans, amusement rides, regional food, and live entertainment.
The Museo Antigua Aduana is a historic building that now showcases art by local artists, such as Angel Cora. In 2011, the Cine Renacimiento (Renaissance Cinema), which was founded in 1922, re-opened after a little over a year of construction to transform into a theater space compatible with new uses and now known as Teatro Renacimiento (Renaissance Theater). It is located at Morse St. (PR-178) and Arizona 7 St.
In recent years, manufacture and pharmaceutical industries have taken control of the economy of Arroyo. Stryker Corporation, a developer of medical implants and other surgical equipment, has a production plant in the town.
Since its foundation, Arroyo's municipal government has been led by a mayor, with its first mayor being Marcelino Cintrón. The current mayor is Eric Bachier Román. The city also has a municipal legislature that handles local legislative matters.
The municipio has an official flag and coat of arms. Arroyo's flag has two horizontal bands of equal size. The upper band is color orange, while the lower one is black. In the middle of the flag lies Arroyo's coat of arms.
The coat of arms is also split in two sections. The upper section features a church in a blue field a church with a rosary to the right and a flower to the left. The lower section features two silver telegraph poles on green hills. At the bottom, waving stripes of blue and silver, with a fish below them. Above the shield, lies a crown of three towers filled in with purple. Below there's a banner with the motto, Arroyo Pueblo Grato.
During the peak of the sugarcane industry in the island, Arroyo was part of the railroad system of the island, with trains hauling production to other municipalities in the island. A small portion of that train remained in use until recently for tourism purposes, under the name of Tren del Sur.
To reach Arroyo, visitors have to take the Puerto Rico Highway 3. However, there are other rural roads available to reach the municipality.
There are 13 bridges in Arroyo.
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