San Miguel Plantation in the former Jaruco Province

In 1861, Tiburcia Sotolongo (Ochun Miguá) was born on San Miguel Plantation in Jaruco Province, about 8 to 10 miles outside of the town of Jaruco. I had the opportunity, in April 2004, to travel out to the former plantation site. Although there is not a lot standing there, the farmer operating the site brought my research associate, Roberto Gómez Reyes, and I around to see the ruins that he has found.

San Miguel plantation train station

San Miguel plantation train station
Picture 8 of 8

The gallery above has images of a number of stone and brick foundation structures. These were likely the plantation house and possibly the barn. The enslaved workers held there prior to the 1880s and the labourers later brought to San Miguel probably lived in wood structures. However, this gallery also features images of a few of the standing nineteenth century structures, including the San Miguel train station depot (now converted into a contemporary domicile), and a smokestack from a sugar refinery that likely serviced the location.

The area of Jaruco was a tourist site through the 1970s and well-known for its views and lush tropical forested region. The artist Ana Mendieta carved one of her works, Jaruco Caves, in the popular park site in 1983. Along with local residents, however, we were unable to find the installation. It is possibly covered in vegetation, or, worse, has been removed. Notably, Mendieta intended for most of her installation work to be temporary and for the photographs to function as the intended output.

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