The wharf known as Port Hermina, Port Mina or the Fort Area, is located in the Bellaca stream in the municipality of Quebradillas. Despite the popular belief that it was a military post, the structure, which dates to the 18th century, suggests that it was used as a storage site, as a wave break, and possibly as a customs office. According to popular legends, Port Hermina was also the refuge of pirates, particularly the best known Puerto Rican pirate, Cofresí.
The main level of the fort was built of masonry, except for the wooden roof, windows and doors, none of which remain. The foundation of the building appears to have served as a wave break against the tides and wind. The name of the structure comes from the shipping businessmen Dionisio and Leonicio Hermina, who were landowners and business owners from 1824 through 1843.
Some historians suggest that Port Hermina, due to its remote location and difficult access, was a smuggling site. During the 18th and 19th centuries, ships from various countries stopped at this port to unload merchandise that was later bought by the people living in the surrounding region. For this reason, it is believed the site became very attractive for pirates.
In Quebradillas, according to popular tradition, the famed pirate Cofresí used this site as his hideout. According to legend, Cofresí had the support of the population of the coast of Puerto Rico because of his acts of charity, in which he shared his profits with the needy.
By the end of the 19th century, the structure was already in a state of deterioration, probably because it was no longer used. The fort was forgotten until its ruins were rediscovered in 1952. Today, Port Hermina is considered one of the most popular tourist attractions in the municipality of Quebradillas.
Adapted by the PROE Editorial Group
Original source: Walter A. Cardona Bonet, Quebradillas, el sitio de Terranova: Notas para su Historia, 1985.
Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: January 05, 2010.
This post is also available in: Español