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Arbela/Grillasca
Yauco

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Hacienda Arbela was established by Domingo Mariani Dominicci (1815-1902) when a 471 tract of land was segregated from his  Hacienda Santa Clara  which already by that date consisted of approximately 1,400 cuerdas.  Arbela was the wedding gift of Mariani Dominicci to his eldest daughter Maria de los Angeles Mariani Mariani (1872- ) when she married Corsican born Jose Maria Trani Dragoni (1856-1919) on July 19, 1889.

The years after Hurricane San Ciriaco of 1899 until the death of Trani Dragoni in 1919 were marred by financiall difficulties which culminated in among other legal issues, a 1925 foreclosure action filed by Banco Crédito y Ahorro Ponceño evidenced by information in the Trani Family Document Collection at the Library of the University of Puerto Rico.  Once a widow, Angela relied heavily on the advise of her deceased husband's relative (son of Francisco Grillasca Dragoni), son-in law and eventual Mayor of Ponce Andrés Grillasca Salas (1888-1973) who was married to Angela Trani Mariani (1895-1992) and who bankrolled the operation of the Arbela for a few years after the deat of Trani Dragoni.  After a series of court battles, Hacienda Arbela passed from the estate of José Maria Trani Dragoni ca. 1928 to Andrés Grillasca Salas and came to be known as Hacienda Grillasca.

According to Luis Edgardo Diaz Hernandez in his book Castañer: Una Hacienda Cafetalera en Puerto Rico (1886-1930), "In 1903 and 1904 coffee production on the island was high.  Scres. de Castañer Hnos. S en C committed to sell 650 quintals of coffee to Fritze, Lund & Co. and Carlos Armstrong in Ponce by the end of December.  Great part of the coffee sold by the firm was bought from other nearby haciendas among which was La Arbela of Domingo Grillasca."  This is an error, it reasonable to believe the reference made by Diaz Hernandez was to Domingo Grillasca Vechiolli (1844-1914) who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1865 and according to the 1910 Census records was a coffee farmer and resided in Barrio Rio Prieto of Yauco.  Grillasca Vechiolli was owner of the nearby Hacienda Santa Cecilia in Barrio Rio Prieto and was related to Jose Maria Trani Dragoni since Trani Dragoni's father was Simón Trani Vechiolli.  Aside from this family relationship, Joe Roig Greene, a Great Grandson of Andrés Grillasca Salas, verified Grillasca Vechiolli never had ownership in Arbela.

Andrés Grillasca owned and operated Hacienda Arbela until the 1960's when the majority of its lands were sold to the Government of Puerto Rico, segregated and distributed in "parcelas" to local residents.  In 1978 its owner was José Vera who owned the processing facilities and 22 cuerdas of the approximately 1,000 that at one time formed Hacienda Arbela.  According to information provided by Eng. Lorenzo Dragoni, its current owner is Pablo Muñoz, Grandson of Gloria Arjona Mariani, the Great Granddaughter of Domingo Mariani Dominicci, and Luis Muñoz Lee, the son of Ex-Governor Luis Muñoz Marín. Pablo also currently owns Hacienda Santa Clara  and produces Café Cuatro Sombras .

Haciena Arbela is located in Monte Guilarte at a height of 2,526 feet above sea level on PR-374.  Its manor house and all other remaining structures were built ca. 1930 when the original structures were destroyed by a fire.  The pictures below are part of a 1987 study made by Archeologist Luis Pumarada O'Neill.  Source: Puerto Rico State Historic Preservation Office.
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