Notes on Vieques Historic Architecture
The architecture of Vieques reflects the historic processes of the Island's social, cultural and economic development since the mid 19th century. The principal historic monuments of Vieques and places of historic interest include: Fort Count Mirasol (Fortn Conde de Mirasol), built between 1845 and 1855; the Puerto Mulas Lighthouse (1896) overlooking the dock at Isabel Segunda; Puerto Ferro Lighthouse (1896) inside Camp Garca on the south coast; the Frenchman's House (La Casa del Francs) built in Esperanza at the turn of this century by the French sugar planter don Vctor Mourraille; the tombs of Teophile Le Guillou, the "Founder" of Vieques, in Santa Mara, adjacent to the ruins of the Santa Mara sugar mill; ruins of the Playa Grande sugar central inside Navy's west end base (NAF); and the old cemetery in town. Several of these pieces of Vieques historic-architectural patrimony are on the Federal Register of Historic Places and the Puerto Rican Institute of Cultures Register of Historic Monuments. A recently completed study of Vieques historic-architectural resources of Vieques carried out with the help of the State Office for Historic Preservation in Puerto Rico resulted in the nomination of thirteen new sites and the compilation of new documentation and materials for our museum. The presence and influence of French landowners during colonization; the growth and development of Vieques' sugar economy, from slave days to the industrialization in the post-abolition years; an increasing commercial sector, serving the needs of the local population, the sugar "haciendas", and with significant connections in the nearby Danish Virgin Islands; a continuing influx of black, English speaking workers from the British Leeward Islands and wealthy British and Danish merchants from neighboring areas; and the greater interaction with Puerto Rico during the twentieth century, are all significant elements of Vieques' history, documented in the nineteenth and twentieth century rural settlements, in the urban economical development of Isabel Segunda and in the architectural expression of residential, industrial and commercial buildings throughout the Island of Vieques.