The former Ponce Casino is located on the corner of Marina and Luna Streets in the municipality of Ponce. It was built to house the social activities of Ponce’s high society in the early 20th century. Over the years, it has served as a post office, a public health unit, and a provisional city hall and tax collection office. Today, the municipal government uses the first floor for various government offices and the second floor for social and cultural activities.
The structure, which dates to 1922, was the third headquarters of the Recreational Society of the Ponce Casino. The site not only served as an activities room, but also housed a library that made available a collection of foreign newspapers and scientific journals, as well as rooms for games and lectures. Once the society was dissolved, the government of Puerto Rico acquired the building.
Architect Agustín Camilo González was in charge of the design and construction, and the craftwork was done by José and Víctor Cott and by Camilo González, Jr. Ponce painter Miguel Pou was in charge of creating tapestries and other ornamental elements. The structure’s architectural style incorporates various decorative elements from the early 20th century. It is built of reinforced concrete and has two levels, with a beveled module on the corner where the casino was located. The roof, incorporating neo-classical and Rococo elements, is a mix of masonry bricks and reinforced concrete.
The structure is distinguished by its protruding balconies, cornices, corbels, balusters, Tuscan columns, pilasters, and half arches. In the interior of the casino, the ceilings and walls are decorated with fine plaster detail work, and there is an interior, L-shaped patio. A stairway connects the lower floor with the upper level, where the grand salon for activities is located.
The building was restored in 1990. The salons were used once again for social and cultural events, especially those of the municipal government. Since 1987, it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which is administered by the United States Department of the Interior.
Adapted by the PROE Editorial Group
Original source: Ponce, ciudad museo 2001. Project sponsored by the Puerto Rican Endowment for the Humanities.
Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: January 08, 2010.
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