Parroquia Nuestra Señora del Pilar (1917) Canóvanas, Puerto Rico
Fachada actual es de la década del 1970’s
Casa de Jesús T. Piñero Canóvanas, Puerto Rico
Built in 1931
Some Background Info Following the US acquisition of Puerto Rico in 1898, the US appointed the governors for the island. In 1946, Jesus Piñero became the first Puerto Rican to hold this office. He was also the last governor to be appointed by the US. His home in Canóvanas, lovingly called Casa Rosada, is now open for tours.
Having built a thriving business of cattle and sugar cane, Piñero and his brothers were well-off, financially speaking. When he decided to marry, he wanted to build a house for his new family. Piñero traveled a lot and seemed to take design elements that he like and fused them into one unique house.
The house was built around 1931. He and his wife raised 2 children here. After his sudden death in 1952, the house was abandoned. It was left in ruins due to some vandalism and Hurricane Georges.
The Instituto de Cultura Puertoriquena (ICP) (Institute of Puerto Rican Culture) acquired the property and restored it to its former glory. The Piñero children have greatly sponsored the efforts for its recovery and maintenance. It now is a nice example of living style between 1930-1950′s.
In the hallway of the first floor, there are pictures of the house as it looked when the ICP acquired the building. It was in horrible shape! All that remained of the house was the walls and floors. They did a great restoration job, with help from the Piñero children’s and locals’ recollection of what the house looked like.
They even have much of the original furniture, which had to be bought back from people who had acquired the pieces. As we toured the house, I was amazed at the size of the rooms, the tile work, the indoor kitchen and bathrooms, and the "modern" appliances. There was even a walk-out basement, which is very unusual for any house in Puerto Rico.
Some displays in the house have been set up to highlight some of Piñero’s many hobbies. He was a ham radio operator and film maker. And he was a nature lover, so in his travels he would bring back all sorts of plants and birds. It is said that the yard was full of plants and trees, and that he had an aviary. So now, they have on display an old ham radio and the yard is planted with a variety of trees and there is even an aviary (though no birds). There are a few picnic pavilions if you want to sit and enjoy the yard.
Right next to the house is another building where there are photos and information (all in Spanish) about the political life of Piñero. Not only was he governor, but he was also a Resident Commisioner, he was influential in starting one of the main political parties in Puerto Rico, and he held local political offices. The ICP also uses this building for presentations, meetings and community service activities.