San Sebastian

La Fe’s beginnings as a “trapiche” date back to around 1828 when upon the death of Juan Bautista Echeandia, a Spanish immigrant from the Basque Country that arrived in San Sebastian in 1822 from Venezuela, his sons Cecilio and Agustín started to cultivate sugar cane in addition to coffee, cotton and rice in what was then known as “La Finca Echeandia”.  In 1835 the hacienda was leased to Bartolomé Iriarte, Cecilio and Agustín's brother in law, who in 1845 acquires it just to get foreclosed on it in 1854.
After going through several owners since 1854, in 1875 Pedro Antonio Echeandia Medina, Juan Bautist’a Grandson, acquired the property and by 1894 he was the largest land owner in San Sebastian with approximately 1,112 “cuerdas” of which 232 were used to grow coffee.  Due to the fluctuations and decline in coffee prices during the last few years of the 19th century, Pedro Antonio decided to grow sugar cane and take advantage of the developing sugar industry of the early 1900s.
It was Pedro’s son, Cecilio Damaso Echeandia Velez who gave the name of La Fé to the hacienda.  Cecilio Damaso continued to operate the hacienda until 1920 when its ownership passed on to his son Pedro Antonio Echeandia Font who operated it until 1936 when Angel Abarca Portilla, one of the owners of the nearby  Central Plata acquired it.  La Fé closed down in 1942.
The Hacienda has been since acquired by the Municipal Government of San Sebastian who operates it as a museum.  Behind one of the chimney pictures, you can see the hoist used to unload sugar can from the ox-carts.  Among the equipment pictured you can see the mill or "trapiche", the boiler to produce the steam to power the mill and the "volanta" or large wheel to transfer the power from the boiler to turn the mill.  By the size of the machinery as compared to those pictured in  La Esperanza  and La Igualdad for example, this ingenio was a small one with limited production.