The Invención de la Santa Cruz Church in the municipality of Bayamón is one of the oldest churches in Puerto Rico. It was in existence before 1770, when it was moved to the site where the municipality of Bayamón would be founded in 1772.
In 1770, the church, built of wood and located on the Santa Cruz Estate, was moved to the sector that was then called Alto del Embarcadero and is today the center of the town of Bayamón. On May 22, 1772, Father José Martínez de Matos blessed the site and placed the first stone for the temple. The same year, the town of Bayamón was officially formed.
The masonry structure has a single nave with a barrel vault ceiling that was completed in 1872. During the earthquake of 1867, the church suffered considerable damage, and a reconstruction project was begun. Between 1870 and 1898, the side walls were opened and chapels were created between the buttresses. The main façade, with a single entrance, is distinguished by its cornice that follows the form of the vaulted ceiling and rests on colossal Tuscan style pillars. The work is completed by two towers, crowned with bells, located at the ends of the main façade.
The side walls, with thick buttresses, have several doors marked by Tuscan pillars that support the pediment. The structure’s roof is crowned with a lantern cupola, which is a small tower that is taller than it is wide and that has windows and is used as a crowning touch on some buildings, particularly on churches. The choir stall has not been altered and retains its original wooden balustrade. The original floors from 1868 are made of gray and white marble.
In 1902, the parish high school was founded and in 1910 it was officially named the Santa Rosa de Lima School. It remains in operation today. The current parish house was built in 1925 and in 1947 an art deco style row of pillars was added around the temple. Despite its modern design, this latest addition is compatible with the historical architecture.
The Invención de la Santa Cruz Parish Church has been listed on the National Registry of Historic Sites since 1983.
Adapted by the PROE Editorial Group
Original source: Catalog of Properties, National Registry of Historic Sites, State Office of Historic Conservation, Office of the Governor, 1995.
Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 17, 2014.
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