The Yagüez Theater, located in the heart of the municipality of Mayagüez, is also known as the “Cathedral of the Sonorous Art.” It has been the stage for cultural activities and shows since the early 20th century.
Construction of the theater began in 1907 under the direction of Francisco Maymón Palmer, son of Italian immigrants who were among the first to introduce cinema to the island. In 1909, the original wooden building was inaugurated. It was designed by the brothers Félix and Julio Medina.
The Yagüez Theater quickly became the main center for shows in the town of Mayagüez. Operas, dramas, operettas and silent films were shown there. On June 19, 1919, while the silent film La vestal del sol Inca was being shown, a fire broke out that destroyed the building and killed some of the people present.
Reconstruction of the theater began in 1920. Mayagüez architect Sabás Honoré was in charge of the design and engineer Manuel Font was in charge of construction. The structure, this time built of reinforced concrete, displayed a main façade with a pediment that announced the name of the building. It also had an imposing portico, above which was a pointed cupola that marked the entrance.
The rectangular building included a ticket office, a horseshoe-shaped auditorium with three levels, the stage, and a backstage area with stage machinery and dressing rooms. The floor of the stage was made of wood planks. The lamps and other decorative touches were imported from Spain and Italy.
In 1977, the municipality of Mayagüez acquired the theater from the son of Francisco Maymón and conducted a renovation of the building. In 1985, it was added to the United States Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Sites. It is used today for shows, theater festivals and municipal activities.
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: January 08, 2010.
This post is also available in: Español