Sunday, April 30, 2017

1827 CUBA

CUBA IN 1827

The streets of Havanna are very narrow an lowest in the center. Side walks are in proportion and as little attention is paid to keeping any part of the pavement in repair, it is difficult to walk with ease.
In addition to this the part of the city next to the wharf is usually crowded with mules, carts and negroes.
The most prominent public building that meets the eye after landing is the government house, aka “Casa de Goberno”. This fronts on a square, Plaza de Pirmas, it is two stories high, supported in front by ten heavy pillars and arches and occupies a square of nearly 300 feet. The lower apartment is is used for the various civil and military offices of the government. In the center is a large gate opening to the court yard and the upper story is occupied by the Captain General and his officers. The public prison is one one side and military on the other.
The Plaza de Armas, in front of this building is a square of equal size. It was once a grass plot but the present governor has erected a tow foot high stone wall around it and placed an iron railing on it. He has subdivided it into smaller squares by stone walks running through it, and around each of the divisions in the center. An iron railing is being erected. Such of the beds as are already finished are filled with a variety of flowers, cultivated with the greatest of care. This lace is used as a public walk for the ladies at evening.
On Thursday evening of each week the royal band of musicians parade on one side of the square while the center is occupied by spectators usually comprising the youthful of both sexes.
On such occasions the dress of the ladies is white , with no head dress, except perhaps a few roses twined in the hair. When the moon is shining the effect is singularly beautiful.
On one side of the square is the Post Office, aka Correo, occupied for a variety of purposes beside the one indicated by its name. The front of this building is not very unlike that of the Government house.
The building occupied by the officers of the customs are small and low and situated near the wharf, to which there are several passages guarded by soldiers, and as most articles of produce of the Island pay an export duty, an officer is always placed there to prevent any contraband.
Another public walk, called the Alameda, overlooks the bay, is 100 rods in length and two in width, with a walk built of stone four feet high on the side of of the water and a similar one three feet high next to the road. The walk is entirely of stone, plastered and rendered as smooth as a marble hearth. It is generally thronged on moonlight nights when the reflection of light from the bay, the music of the forts, and the display of beauty and the mildness of the Cuban sky give a peculiar sensation of pleasure. At the head of this walk is the Theater of which nothing can be said except that in its appearance it is a decent building. Performances of the stage are generally characterized by decency.
On the opposite side of the bay is Regla, once the resort of pirates. Boats are constantly crossing to this place on feast days. The number of these small boats is upwards of 300, all covered by an awning over the stern.

Abstract : Harrison Howeth, 2017 , from Wilmingtonian & Delaware Advertiser , 3 May 1827 .

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