Saturday, October 12, 2019

Shrouded In Mystery ~ Keeping The History

Peering in from outside the fence...
Since that day we stopped along the road on our way to somewhere else, I've been curious about the old mansion called Hacienda San Isidro (San Isidoro - there is some confusion about the name).  The mansion was built in 1906 and it looks like it's been a while since someone loved it!

The grounds are overgrown and the whole place just looks a little mouldy, but for some reason it calls to me!

The lovely wall out front with which I am well acquainted...
Thank goodness for Facebook groups, because without them I might never have realized this opportunity!  A random post alerted me to this Open House!  I am SO excited to get inside this place, and I'll take you with me in photos!!!  Lucky YOU!

A Puerto Rican friend of ours told us this story, and I'm not sure if it is the last installment of the saga of Hacienda San Isidro or not, I have been completely stumped in my hours of time spent searching the internet for information about this place.  The info is just not there people!  I found something about horses, but nothing concrete... Oh yeah, the story.  I was told that the property was once part of a sugar cane plantation.  That part seems kind of obvious... It was later purchased by a doctor, who mortgaged the property, split it up between house and grounds, then sold one parcel or the other, and then defaulted on his mortgage.  Again, not sure if any or all of that is true, but the property was supposed to have reverted to the municipality of Patillas.  Now, I guess they're trying to get some return on that, as the place is up for sale!  For a mere $245k YOU could be the owner of this little piece of well hidden history!

So let's go poking around!

My first photo from INSIDE the wall!
A closer look at the steps.  Guess that clears up the mystery about the correct spelling of the name...
A driveway leads along the eastern side, with an entry door to the main living area on the ground floor.
Along the front of the ground floor room, there are doors in the thick walls, that open wide instead of windows. 
The kitchen bar.  This wood has a 1970's feel to me and the countertops must not be original... but maybe they are!
The cabinetry is solid wood, pretty sure that's original, if not the countertops.
Bruce is exploring the huge pantry.  Solid cabinet, and windows to pass through the thick walls!
Behind the kitchen is a single car garage with lovely tiled floors!
Two large rooms adjacent to the garage make a dreamy Man-Cave!
Heading back into the house from the garage, again with the '70's wood!
This atrium is directly behind the kitchen sink, see the pass-through?
It's open with an iron grate to keep out large flying creatures,
And has a rock garden in the center.
A bedroom, a small bathroom and the laundry opens onto this atrium.
Small bedroom off the atrium
Small bathroom off the atrium
The grandiose laundry room with doors to the atrium and outside to the west side of the house.
There is tile everywhere! Even this western side open patio

West-facing side of the house
Once and for all, clearing up the name!
So, walking through the first floor, my impressions are:

The place is really in better shape than I thought it would be.  It would imagine it will need extensive electric work to bring it up to code.  It will need extensive work on the exterior walls, interior walls and ceilings to repair cracks/weakened cement and mould, and it will need an astounding amount of paint.  All of that is AFTER a thorough cleaning, of course.  The cabinetry and doors will need some remedial work, but they may make it through.  They're really rather grand and beautiful.

As living area goes, maybe the downstairs room was a maid's quarters?  It's small, uninteresting and close to the kitchen and laundry.  The front room would be nice as a reception area and for dining.  Open those doors and a nice cool breeze can come in.  The view onto the front lawn (after it's brought under control) would be lovely on a sunny day!

From the downstairs rooms, I walked back out into the garden to see the HUGE gazebo and bridge to nowhere.  It was originally a bridge to the area where the stables are located, but judging from the hastily erected fence, the land at the other end of the bridge does not come with the property currently for sale.

Nice touches everywhere!
I made my way to the grand stairs at the front of the house, pausing to peer into this cage beneath the stairs...Kennel maybe?
This would lend to the "Horse" connection.
All of the furniture for the upper floors would come through here.
More grand doors open onto the wrap-around veranda.  Wooden shutters for all.
Needs some work on the walls and ceiling, but very grand still!
The veranda passes around the west side unremarkably. Air conditioning holes in the thick walls ready for your new life!
Walking around the sunny east side with bedroom windows to greet the morning!
Coming around to the back veranda, more space here. 
Around back, we found the ceiling opening from the atrium below. 
Entering the second floor from the west, there is a spiral leading down to the laundry area.

Continuing into the second floor sleeping quarters, you pass this bathroom.
Entering the second floor foyer with two more grand doors opening to the front balcony
Looking back, beneath the spiral is where the lower spiral is, then this one goes up to the rooftop.
The rooms to the left are small bedrooms that could be used as media or office rooms.
Going to the right, you find the master bedroom, bath suite and dressing room.
Master bath suite could use some cleaning!

Feeling like a Grecian Goddess yet?
This could be LOVE!
A plain dressing room divides the bath suite and this master bedroom... also plain. Nice door onto the front balcony though. And windows open onto the east side veranda for lovely ventilation.
Continuing up the spiral staircase to the rooftop.  Wonder what's up there?
This cupola houses the top of the stairs to keep out the elements. 
Adorable!  Now all I need is a settee to relax on and someone to feed me grapes!
Two large gazebos to house your outside living furniture. It is nice and cool up here with a beautiful view.
Fancy grandstand at the front of the house.
An eye onto the front lawn
Top of a gazebo from the grandstand on the rooftop floor.

Gazing northwest from the western rooftop gazebo. Imagine having your morning coffee up here!
The back of the property has a three car garage and a guest house, then storage and kennels around back.
The building on the left is not part of the sale, and belongs to someone else.  There is evidence of life there, so
whomever owns it would be literally IN your back yard. 

Looking at the back of the house from the northwest corner
Heading for the guesthouse and garages
Newer construction with nice garage space!
Below the second guest house floor is a kitchen, bedroom and behind this building there is storage and kennels to the right.

Nice guest quarters

Guest Bedroom closet

Another kitchen area...
With some rather mouldy storage!
Stairs to the upper level
Unfinished upper story has a wrap-around walkway and several small rooms ready to be built in!
Looking at the main house from the upper story guest quarters
So we toured the guest quarters and found them to be much newer construction with nice fixtures and super sturdy build.  The entire outside ground floor area was tiled, and would make a lovely venue for outdoor BBQs or parties.  This part of the property was in much better condition and could be liveable with minimal effort.

The detail found everywhere is enchanting!
Walking back to the front of the property, I paused to marvel at all we had just seen.  How wonderful it would be, if money were no object, to own this property.  I can close my eyes and imagine how beautiful it will be when everything is cleaned up, repaired and restored to its former glory.  Furnishings to facilitate comfort would make this place a palace for some lucky person!

There is a feeling of peace here in this place.  The sunlight on the flowers, bees buzzing around.  Just needs some love!
This beautiful neighbour comes over to see us...
Imagine welcoming your guests here on the front drive...
Imagine coming out to greet new arrivals to welcome them into your gracious manor house...
Your front gate is thrown open...
And finally, I get to peer out from the INSIDE!
Yes, we're Lookie-Lous... but what an amazing opportunity it was for us to get to tour this property.  If only we had the money to back up my wants and wishes...  I hope that someone buys this property and lavishes the love and care upon it that it so richly deserves!  I will be waiting to see how it all unfolds... and watching once again, from the outside!


  1. Lovely . Thanks. I have always liked that house

    1. We drive by it often, and there has been some activity on the property. I hope that as things open back up here in Puerto Rico, they can really get going on their renovations! Thanks for commenting!

  2. Thank you for sharing. This property belonged to my great great grandfather.

    1. Oh how lucky you are!! Every time we drive by we glance over to see what's happening there. If you have stories or would care to share the history of this place, we would love to hear it!

  3. Hello! Whom did you speak to that stated the hacienda was for sale. I have passed by numerous times and never seen a sign on there. Would love to get more info. -

    1. A friend saw the open house advertised and we went to look around. It was before Covid. Someone told me that it was sold and they were going to make it into a B&B or a restaurant. That's just a rumor.

  4. This mansion and hacienda was owned by my grandfather's grandfather. His name was Don Bernardo Merle Guilfucci. His family originated from Mayaguez and were immigrants from Corsica off the coast of France. Accounts I have seen indicate that the house was completed in 1898. It is a well established fact that the Corsican immigrants that came to Puerto Rico established the coffee industry to such an extent that Puerto Rico was once the 5th largest exporter of fine coffee, mostly to Europe including the Vatican. It is obvious by the construction of this two story hacienda mansion that Don Merle was a wealthy man as were most of the Corsicans who immigrated to Puerto Rico. Some migrated back to Corsica with their wealth earned in Puerto Rico and built mansions in Corsica. The invasion of Puerto Rico and the ouster of the Spanish government and their banking system as well as the hurricane that struck the island in 1899 signaled the decline of the coffee industry and the wealth of the wealthy landowners.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! There is such an amazing history here and the ruins of the coffee and sugar production sites are everywhere! Much of what you say here about the coffee production, we learned from the grower at Hacienda Pomarrosa on a tour. I wish we could see it how it was back then. How awesome it must be to see your own history here in this hacienda. There has been some activity since the end of Covid but so far, we still can't tell what the new owner is going to do with the place.

  5. does anyone know if someone brought the place would make a beautiful B&B my father grew up there. I visit in 2022 it was still closed up no work has been done on it.

    1. I heard that it had sold before COVID and there have been some cleanup attempts and it looks like they've sealed some of the windows on the West side. When we were there, many were against the B&B idea but we thought it would be great for that as well. Thank you for you comment.

  6. I took some pictures to draw and paint it .

    1. Cool, I would love to see your work when you're done.