Parque de Bombas

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Parque de Bombas de Ponce
Parque de Bombas-Ponce Puerto Rico.jpg
Old Parque de Bombas firehouse building
Locator map
Locator map
Location of Ponce and the Parque de Bombas in Puerto Rico
LocationPlaza Las Delicias
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Coordinates18°00′43″N 66°36′49″W / 18.011905°N 66.613738°W / 18.011905; -66.613738Coordinates: 18°00′43″N 66°36′49″W / 18.011905°N 66.613738°W / 18.011905; -66.613738
Arealess than one acre
Built1882
ArchitectMaximo de Meana y Guridi
Architectural styleGothic Revival, Victorian, Moorish Revival church
NRHP reference #84003150
Added to NRHP12 July 1984

The Parque de Bombas (English: firehouse[1]) is a historic fire station in Ponce, Puerto Rico. It is one of Puerto Rico's most notable buildings, with some considering it "by far the most easily recognized landmark in the Island."[2] It is located at the Plaza Las Delicias town square, directly behind Ponce Cathedral. It was Puerto Rico's first ever fire station,[3] and was the city's central fire station until 1990. The building is now a museum. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on 12 July 1984.[4]

History[edit]

Parque de Bombas in the 1960s

The structure was built as the main exhibit pavilion for the 1882 Exhibition Trade Fair.[5] The Madrid-based central government assigned the task of designing and constructing it to a Spanish Army officer, Lt. Colonel Maximo de Meana y Guridi [6][7] who was also a trained architect and later served as Mayor of the city.

The building was unveiled at the fair.[8] After the fair concluded, the pavilion became a fire station. The first firefighters to work in the building were stationed on 2 February 1883.[9] In 1885, its official name was changed to Estación de Bomberos de Ponce (Ponce Fire Station).

The building was used briefly as the Mayor's office as a result of the earthquake that affected the city during that year.[10]

Due to its distinctive appearance and central location, the fire station became an icon of Ponce. The station was painted in the black and white color scheme that appears on the city's flag and coat of arms. The Ponce Municipal Band (formerly, the Fireman's Band), originally played weekly concerts from an open second floor stage attached to Parque de Bombas.[11] The band continues to play every Sunday evening, though in different locations. In the 1960s, a new fire station was built nearby at the junction of Calle Mayor and Calle Cristina. This became the main fire station for the city, reducing Parque de Bombas to a secondary role.

Museum[edit]

After 108 years of service, Parque de Bombas was vacated by the Puerto Rico Firefighters Corps in 1990. It was converted into a museum of firefighting. The architect in charge of its restoration was Pablo Ojeda O'Neill.[12] The newer fire station was taken over by the Instituto de Música Juan Morel Campos in 2008.[13] Ponce's central fire station is now located 1km east of Parque de Bombas on Miguel Pou Boulevard.[14]

Architecture[edit]

Front view of the firehouse

The building is located in the city's central "Las Delicias Plaza" and it is attached to the Cathedral of Ponce at its rear boundary. The building is made of wood with a pitched roof covered with galvanized zinc sheets. The windows are long and narrow with louvers, and are crowned by an oversized fanlight.[15]

Meana designed the building with a strong Moorish influence, including its basic rectangular plan with towers at its front corners, its ornate façade, its long and narrow windows with fans at its top and its bright colored paint scheme. Gothic revival architecture was also an influence. The building is painted red and black, Ponce's official colors. The interior is also very colorful, with vertical stripes of red and orange on the walls and a painted frieze with a fireman's motif.[15]

The basic plan of the Parque de Bombas is a typical rectangular Moorish structure with influence of the Gothic Victorian style, measuring 65'-8" in width by 26'-3" in length. It is two stories high with a tower at each corner of the front facade (Marina Street).[15]

The building's layout is a large, central space, flanked by two lateral towers, two stories in height, which opens to the main central area. The main central area is used as garage facilities for the fire trucks, and the two lateral towers are used as living quarters and exhibition areas. An elegant central two-sided stairway with elaborated cast iron railing leads to a mezzanine area used as administrative offices.[15] Some interior partitions were removed from the first floor when the structure was altered for its new use as a firehouse in order to accommodate the machinery. The building has been kept in good condition throughout the years.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ An archaic term for fire station, now known in Spanish as an estación de bomberos or a parque de bomberos. A literal translation is "Parking place of pumps"; bombas can also mean "bombs".
  2. ^ Top Five Ponce Attractions. travelponce.com Accessed 18 April 2017.
  3. ^ Adventure Guide to Puerto Rico By Kurt Pitzer, Tara Stevens, page 226 Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  4. ^ National Register of Historic Places Retrieved 31 July 2009.
  5. ^ National Park Service-Ponce's Parque de Bombas
  6. ^ Puerto Rico: The Puerto Rico Channel. Tour the Old Ponce Firehouse Museum. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  7. ^ US National Park Service: Historic Places in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  8. ^ Adventure Guide to Puerto Rico. Kurt Pitzer and Tara Stevens. Edison, New Jersey: Hunter Publishing. 2001. Page 226. ISBN 1-58843-116-9.
  9. ^ Hacen justicia con héroes del Polvorín. Reinaldo Millán. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Year 30. Issue 1469. 25 January 2012. Page 22. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  10. ^ Armando Morales-Pares, State Architect, and Abelardo Gonzalez-Architect, State Historic Preservation Office, 23 May 1984. In National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form – Parque de Bombas de Ponce – (Ponce Firehouse). United States Department of the Interior. National Park Service. (Washington, D.C.) Page 3. Listing Reference Number 84003150. 12 July 1984.
  11. ^ Imagen Ponce: Public and Private Interest in the Design of a Free Zone within the Port of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Archived 5 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Hermann Ferre III. Department of Architecture, MIT. June 1989. Photo. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  12. ^ Caminata Guiada: Centro Historico de Ponce[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Luchan padres y maestros por preservar el Instituto de Música. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Year 35. Issue 1776. Pages 4-5. 13 December 2017. Accessed 13 December 2017.
  14. ^ Héroes en el mundo: olvidados aquí. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 12 October 2011 ("sic": See date printed on the electronic version of the article). Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  15. ^ a b c d e Armando Morales-Pares, State Architect, and Abelardo Gonzalez-Architect, State Historic Preservation Office, May 23, 1984. In National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form – Parque de Bombas de Ponce – (Ponce Firehouse). United States Department of the Interior. National Park Service. (Washington, D.C.) Page 2. Listing Reference Number 84003150. 12 July 1984.

External links[edit]