Santa Rita

The Hacienda Santa Rita was established in the early 1800s by Miguel Quiñones de Miraval (1735-1810) who was married to Ursula Maria Nazario de Figueroa y Martinez de Matos (1751-1841).  It was located in the Barrio Guanica, then of San Germán, in a sector called "Ojo de Agua" because of a nearby spring. 
It was really developed by Felipe Quiñones (1758-1839) who after the death of his first wife in 1809, married her sister Maria Ana (Mariana) Quiñones Nazario de Figueroa, the daughter of Miguel and Ursula.  The hacienda takes the name after Felipe and Mariana's daughter Rita.
It was Felipe and Mariana's son José Maria Quiñones Quiñones who between 1839 and 1849 grew Santa Rita to 893 cuerdas.  By 1871, Santa Rita consisted of 19 different parcels or "fincas" totalling 1,800 cuerdas.  In October, 1892 Jose Maria, then around 80 years old, sold Santa Rita including the sugar factory and its 2,081 cuerdas to one of his creditors, Domingo Mariani Dominicci, a rich coffe grower from Yauco.  From then on, the name was changed to Hacienda Desideria in honor of Mariani's mother.
In 1897 Mariani sold Desideria to the New York firm Santa Rita Estates, Inc. represented by Umbach Rieman.  Santa Rita Estate was incorporated in NJ and was one of several companies related to the corporate reorganization of Guanica Centrale .  By 1910 Desideria was mainly planted with sugar cane by the Guanica Centrale SA by virtue of an agreement with Santa Rita Estates, Inc.  That same year Umbach Rieman sells Santa Rita Estates, Inc. to Ensenada Estates, Inc., a Connecticut corporation.  In 1917 the South Porto Rico Suagr Co. parent company of the Guanica Centrale, represented by William Schall and Edmund Pavendstedt, acquired the assets of Ensenada Estates, Inc. which was represented by William J. Ehler and a gentleman by the last name of Bohshed.
During the latter part of the 1940s and before my grandparents moved to Ponce on or around 1950 when my grandfather got terminally ill, my brother remembers going to their house in Santa Rita and to what he called the "pool", which was one of the tanks of the "riego" or irrigation system.  The structures of the Hacienda were along a short street about 400 meters long, my grandparents lived in one of the last houses along this street which is pictured below.
In the 1940s, the white structure with the arches, which is accross the street from the house and ajacent to the two story building, was used as storage and garages for farm equipment.  As stated in the link above, this structure used to house slaves prior to the abolition of slavery in 1873.

In 1953 the two story house and some land in its immediacies was acquired by the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Fatima who still occupy it to this day.  The property was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
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