Friday, March 4, 2016

The Painted Ladies of Isla

Great background for memorable photos
They are the grand old dames of Isla, the painted ladies of centro – the one level wooden houses that are scattered throughout the downtown area of the island.  

Built back in the 1920’s and 30’s they have survived hurricanes, infestations of wood-eating tropical bugs and progress. 

La Tablitas - Hemingways different colours again

Tablitas or Hemingways Bar is probably the most photographed of all of the buildings.  Located on the corner of Matamoros and Guerro Avenues it was a favourite local cantina with a noisy mix of people enjoying their afternoon beverages.  It is a prime location for wedding photographers to capture a bit of local history and provide a colourful background for a memorable wedding photo.  Tablitas closed on Monday February 29th under the previous management.  According to island scuttlebutt the owner of the building did not renew the operator’s lease and is planning to open a cantina under his management.  Hopefully it will maintain its funky and fun character.

Tony Garcia's auntie owns this pretty building
Another beautifully painted grand old dame is on the corner of Matamoros and Juarez Avenues.  

Built originally by Tony Garcia’s grandfather Heriberto Delgado de Tejada, father to Guadalupe Delgado Diaz, the house now belongs to his auntie Apolonia Delgado Diaz.  

Painted a cheerful combination of raspberry pink, sunflower yellow and pale blue it is an eye-catching resident of the neighbourhood.  Recently the doors facing onto Matamoros Avenue were open and it appeared that a lady had set up a sewing business. 

Quite close by is another of our favourite painted ladies.  Located on Juarez Avenue it is divided by two fanciful paint jobs.  

The southern half is bright yellow with blue, red and white trim, while the northern half is a tropical orange with white trim.  We have never been able to figure out if this is two homes, or one home and one business. 

Hard to see in the daytime with souvenirs piled everywhere
Most of the other interesting houses are located along the pedestrian only street where the souvenir sellers are congregated.  Some contain shops, others are a false front with the entrance located on the main road of Rueda Medina.  In the daytime these buildings are usually hidden under piles of merchandise, and is difficult to really appreciate their character.  

Silk-screen printing shop
Facing the square near City Hall is a fairly recent addition, La Casa Madera, which has replaced the silk-screen printing shop.  

They have done a beautiful job of restoring the old building, and judging by the photos on their Facebook page are a very popular lunch stop for locals and tourists.

We have been told that the old wooden houses are protected from demolition by city bylaws.  The one thing that they can’t be protected from are fires – either accidental, or convenient fires.  

Fingers-crossed, the painted ladies will survive for many more years adding a bit of fun and character to the northern part of the island.

Hasta Luego
Lawrie & Lynda

Now Case de Madera Cafeteria

If anyone has more details on the history of these old time houses, please feel free to email me, or post a comment on the blog.  I can update the article as I find out more information.  


Gailmarie7 said...

What a great topic! Only wish more oners of these precious old buildings would treat them with so much love and respect. Thank you for you blog, sure love it.

Lynda & Lawrie said...

They are a fun bit of colour and history for the island. Hopefully more people will fill me in on the history behind some of the doors. Cheers Lynda