The municipality of Bayamón is located in the north central area of Puerto Rico and has an area of de 115.1 square kilometers (44.4 square miles). It is known as the “pork rind city.” According to the 2000 census, the total population was 224,044 bayamoneses. Bayamón has twelve wards: Bayamón Pueblo, Buena Vista, Cerro Gordo, Dajaos, Guaraguao Abajo, Guaraguao Arriba, Hato Tejas, Juan Sánchez, Minillas, Nuevo, Pájaros, and Santa Olaya. The patron saint’s festival is dedicated to the Holy Cross, and it is held late in April and the beginning of May. The city’s economy is based on commerce and manufacturing.
Bayamón has won awards for its advanced environmental and community projects and policies. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the municipality as a community with significant environmental achievements in Puerto Rico, which include an ecologically responsible golf course, established on a former landfill site. It is the only golf course in Puerto Rico that serves low-income communities as a priority.
Bayamón is bordered on the north by Toa Baja and Cataño, on the south by Aguas Buenas and Comerío, to the east by Guaynabo and to the west by Naranjito, Toa Alta, and Toa Baja. The topography of the municipality is largely that of the northern coastal plain, although towards the southern part in its wards of Dajaos, Santa Olaya, and Guaraguao Abajo there are hills that rise 600 feet. In Nuevo and Guaraguao Arriba wards there are elevations of up to 1,600 feet. Notable elevations include Santa Ana Hill, at 394 feet, Mount Vergara, at 886 feet, and Mount La Peña, at an elevation of 1,811 feet.
There are five rivers in the municipal territory: Bayamón, Minillas, La Plata, Cuesta Arriba, and Hondo. The Bayamón river basin is 26 miles (41 kilometers) long and its drainage basin measures 105 square miles. The river springs from the mountains in Cidra and empties into the San Juan harbor. Along its course in Bayamón, the river receives waters from the Minillas River and Bello Gallón, Callores, El Marques, Magueyes, Las Peñas, and Santa Olaya brooks. Burgos and Rivera brooks, in turn, empty into Minillas River. The La Plata River makes a timid appearance in the municipal territory of Bayamón and marks the frontier with the municipality of Naranjito. Tributaries of the La Plata include the Cancel, Dajaos, Del Juicio, La Yegua, and Naranjo brooks. The Cuesta Arriba River, the sole tributary of which is Quebrada Grande brook, is close by. Finally, there is the urban stream Río Hondo with its tributary, Quebrada Cerro Gordo.
The origin of the name Bayamón is uncertain. It is possible that it was the name of a cacique, or Indian chief, since the territory that is now comprised by the municipality was one of the taino territories, or yucayeques, on the island. Historian Cayetano Coll y Toste identified this town as the settlement pertaining to Cacique Majagua.
The founding of the town of Bayamón is closely tied to the cultivation of sugar cane. According to historian Mario Rodríguez León, O.P., three stages can be identified in the process of founding the town. The first occurred in the late 16th century, when mining ended and the first small and mid-size mills were established to produce sugar. The mid-size mills lead to the founding of Bayamón, since the population increased along with the increase in agricultural production, which in turn lead to the creation of new institutions. The Catholic Church, for example, built two parish churches. At the end of the 17th century, however, there was a period of crisis and stagnation; and of the four sugar mills along the Bayamón river, only Santa Cruz had an adequate level of production.
In the second stage, between 1700 and 1770, the Santa Cruz sugar mill and the church predominated. The population of the town increased substantially, making the sugar mill in effect the founding site of Bayamón. However, it is during the third period that the church of the Holy Cross moved from hacienda Santa Cruz to a place called Alto del Embarcadero, literally the landing point, in 1770. Don Miguel de Muesas, captain general of the island, was granted permission by King Charles III of Spain for the official creation of the town. On May 22, Father José Martínez de Matos blessed the land where the new temple was to be built and laid the cornerstone for the building. Thus, Bayamón was separated from the jurisdiction of the parish of Guaynabo. Towards the end of the 18th century Ignacio Mascaró y Homar drew up the first city map, construction of the church was completed, and the plantation economy, central to economic development, was firmly established .
The Bayamon flag was designed by Mrs. Gloria M. León de Rodríguez and officially adopted by the municipal council in 1977. The flag has a blue Latin cross, edged in yellow, on a white field. The design and colors echo the symbols of the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of Arms
The official coat of arms was designed by the attorney Roberto Biascoechea Lota and bears a blue cross on a silver field. The coat of arms symbolizes the Catholic Church and the old Santa Cruz sugar mill, the original historic site of the town of Bayamón. The cross is surrounded by a blue band decorated with sugar cane flowers, know as guajana. The blue and silver colors are an allusion to the waters of the Bayamón River and the first hydraulic system established on the island in 1549. The guajana flowers symbolize the cultivation of sugar cane and the sugar industry, which are central to the origin and social and economic development of the town. The shield is crowned by a five-tower castle, indicating that this a city. The motto on the coat of arms reads IN HOC SIGNO VINCES which means “with this signal you will win”.
1772-1773 José Ramírez de Arellano
1774 Manuel de Guzmán
1775-1776 Bernabé Dávila
1777-1799 Lucas de Fuentes
1800-1802 Juan Francisco de Fuentes
1803 Tomás de Rivera
1806 Miguel Dávila
1807 Miguel Ramírez de Arellano
1810 Alonso Dávila
1812 Juan Francisco de Fuentes
1812-1813 Francisco Ruiz and Peña
1814 Luis Ramírez de Arellano
1814 Laureano Ramos
1818-1819 Manuel de Villalba
1820 Miguel de Andino
1820 Francisco Ruiz and Peña
1821-1822 Alonso Dávila
1823-1824 Miguel de Andino
1825-1826 José Riguera
1826 Pedro Vassallo
1827 Tomás Pacanins
1828-1831 José de Rivera
1831 Tomás Prieto
1832 Joaquín Goyena
1837-1841 Miguel de Andino
1841-1843 Francisco de Paula Cepero
1843-1846 Antonio Padrón
1847 Mariano Vassallo
1847 Tomás Prieto
1849 Ramón Suárez
1849 Arturo O’Neill
1850 Escolástico Fuentes
1851-1852 Félix O’Neill
1853 Andrés Vega
1856-1859 Francisco Jiménez Prieto
1860 Andrés Vega
1861-1862 Francisco de Aguilar
1863-1864 Antonio de Aramburu
1864 José Sicardó
1867 José Muñoz
1868 Andrés Vega
1870 Octavio Ortiz Zárate
1870 Eduardo Pardo
1871 G. Quiara
1871 Vicente Rodríguez
1871-1872 Anastasio Maisonet
1874 José Arvelo Calzadilla
1874-1875 Marcial Colón
1876 – 1879 Manuel Fernández Umpierre
1879 – 1880 Bernardo Pérez
1880 – 1881 Manuel Capetillo
1881 – 1883 Manuel García Maitín
1883 – 1884 Bernardo Pérez
1884 – 1895 Eugenio Santaella and Cortón
1895 – 1897 José Alonso González
1897 Manuel Valdés
1897-1898 Félix Pérez Rivera
1898-1904 Juan Mateu García
1905-1910 Virgilio Dávila
1910-1911 Manuel Gaetán Barbosa
1912-1914 Rafael Díaz Cintrón
1915-1918 Ignacio Carballeira Cañellas
1919-1920 José Oller Díaz
1920-1924 Ramón Luis Rodríguez
1924-1928 Enrique Ponsa Parés
1928-1933 José Dolores Miranda
1933-1934 Juan C. Rodríguez
1934-1944 Angel Rivera Rodríguez
1944-1948 Rafael Torrech Genovés
1948-1952 Ramón Espinosa
1952-1960 Rafael Torrech Genovés
1960-1964 Julio “Tulio” López Corbera
1964-1968 Julio Castro Rodríguez
1968-1972 Guillermo Campos Ayala
1972-1976 Manuel Aponte Borrero
1976-2000 Ramón Luis Rivera Rivera
2000- currently Ramón Luis Rivera, Jr.
Hon. Ramón L. Rivera, Jr.
Places of Interest
- Dr. Pilar Barbosa Library– inaugurated in 2000, this is the Bayamón municipal library, honoring the memory of the first official historian of Puerto Rico. The building has several rooms for educational, cultural, and recreational activities.
- Carmen Delia Dipiní Theater and Coffeehouse – inaugurated in 1997, honoring the memory of this immortal singer. The space is used by the community for theatrical and musical productions.
- Angel Rivera Rodríguez City Hall– inaugurated in 1980. It was the first so-called aerial building in the Caribbean, spanning a main highway, Route Number 2.
- Tennis Center –the public has had use of these facilities since 2002.
- Children’s City
- Onofre Carballeira Sports Center – comprises the Rubén Rodríguez Coliseum, the Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium, the Miguel J. Frau Public Gymnasium, Alberto Santiago Central Park, and sculptures on the Guadarrama Walk and the Emergency Management Unit.
- Fine Arts School – created in 2001 to complement academic training and cultivation of the Arts.
- Hacienda Santa Ana – founded at the end of the 18th century by ship captain Fernando Fernández. It was dedicated to sugar cane production.
- Church of the Holy Cross
- Monument to José Celso Barbosa
- Monument to Traditional Folksingers
- Bayamón Museum and Historic Archives- Dioramas and photographs that show the history of Bayamón from the 16th century to the present. The archives contain historical documentation for the municipality.
- Francisco Oller Art Museum- exhibitions of works by Francisco Oller, Tomás Batista, Juan Santos, and Angel Luis Rivera Feliciano. The museum has two areas devoted to carved wood saints by different artists and two temporary exhibition halls.
- Doll Museum – holds the 952 pieces collected by Catalina Hernández, to whom the museum is dedicated. It was opened in December 2000.
- Alberto Santiago Central Park– a large, centrally located area for outdoor recreation. It is located in the Onofre Carballeira Complex facing City Hall.
- Children`s Central Park – inaugurated in 2007, this park is dedicated to children and recreation.
- Luis A. Ferré Science Park – facilities include a planetarium, and aerospace museum, the Electric Power Authority museum, the art reproductions museum, the archeological museum, the transportation museum, the natural sciences museum, the telephone museum, the marine ecosystems museum, the health pavilion, and the zoo.
- Botanical Garden – inaugurated in 1990 and located on PR Route 167, Sabana sector of Buena Vista Ward.
- Robert Junghanns Park – located on land left by the agronomist Robert Junghanns on PR Route 167. There are facilities where activities can be held.
- Performers’ Walk – located between the City Hall and the Church of the Holy Cross.
- José Celso Barbosa Walk
- Río Hondo or Río Bayamón Lineal Park – located on the banks of the Bayamón River, it runs for 9 kilometers, about 5.5 miles.
- Town Square – located in the town center of Bayamón.
- Río Bayamón Golf Course and Driving Range – modern golfing facilities along the Bayamón River at the intersection of PR Route 177 and PR Route 891.
- Braulio Castillo Theater – inaugurated in 1984; it honors the famous actor from Bayamon. The theater seats 376 and has hosted many theatrical events and shows.
- Francisco Oller Theater- the building dates from 1938 and seats 662. One of its halls is dedicated to the music of Felipe “La Voz” Rodríguez.
- José Celso Barbosa House-Museum
José Celso Barbosa Alcalá – Physician, journalist, political figure (member of the Puerto Rico Senate 1917 – 1921) and poet.
Lucecita Benítez – Singer. She has been called the “voice of the nation” thanks to her talent and charisma as a singer.
Braulio Castillo Cintrón – Adopted son of Bayamón. He was a renowned dramatic and musical actor.
José Antonio Dávila – Physician, translator and poet. The author of Vendimia (1940), Almacén de baratijas (1942), and Motivos de Tristán (1957). He wrote the biography of the musician and composer Mariano Feliu Balseiro, a native of Bayamón.
Virgilio Dávila – Poet and political figure. He was born in Toa Baja and became an adopted son of Bayamón. He was mayor from 1905 to 1910. The town hall, today the Francisco Oller Museum, was built under his administration
Pedro Dávila Ortiz (Davilita) – musician. He devoted body and soul to the dissemination of Puerto Rican music.
Braulio Dueño Colón – musician and composer. He wrote both classical and popular music. His compositions include “La amistad,” “Noche de Otoño,” “La aurora,” “Soledad,” and others.
Isabel Gutiérrez del Arroyo – Historian. The author of El reformismo ilustrado en Puerto Rico (1953) and numerous articles published in local and overseas journals. She was full professor at the history department of the University of Puerto Rico until 1987.
Francisco Manrique Cabrera – Educator and poet. He is the author of Poemas de mi tierra (1936), Huella, sombra and cantar (1943), Antología de poesía infantil, Notas sobre la novela puertorriqueña de los últimos veinticinco años (1955), Manuel Zeno Gandía, poeta del novelar isleño (1955) and his best-known work, Historia de la literatura puertorriqueña (1956). He is known as one of the best writers in the Neo-criollo style.
Francisco Oller y Cestero – Adopted son of Bayamón, an illustrious painter, whose works include “El velorio,” (The Wake), among many others.
Santiago Polanco Abreu – Representative (1949 – 1964) and President of that body (1963 – 1964); Resident Commissioner in Washington, D.C. (1965 – 1968).
Jesús Sánchez Erazo “Chuíto, el de Bayamón”– Folksinger of Puerto Rican music.
• Marathon of the Holy Cross – May
• Tree Lighting Ceremony – November
• Caminata por la diabetes- November
• José Celso Barbosa Birthday Conmemoration – July
Note: These articles have been edited and checked by academics and specialists in History. Discrepancies may exist among historians regarding some data.
Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: June 04, 2010.
Images Gallery of Bayamón
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