- Ernesto Memorial Chapel -- Hispanic Heritage Month -- National Register of Historic Places Official Website--Part of the National Park Service
NPS.GOV
Search National Register Search nps.gov
 

Ernesto Memorial Chapel, Camuy County, Puerto Rico

National Hispanic Heritage Month
September 15-October 15

[photo] Ernesto Memorial Chapel
Photo by Juan Llanes Santos, courtesy of thePuerto Rico State Historic Preservation Office

The Ernesto Memorial Chapel, built in 1912, is located in the rural ward of Abra Honda, in the municipality of Camuy, Puerto Rico. The building represents Protestant growth in the Puerto Rican countryside early in the 20th century.  The Ernesto Memorial Chapel is of significance to the history of Puerto Rico in the areas of architecture and social history as it represents the establishment of Protestant ideals, concepts and values within the local social network during the early 20th century and the religious openness promoted by the change of regime in the island after the Spanish-Cuban-American War of 1898.


[graphic] photo
Ernesto Memorial Chapel
Photo by Juan Llanes Santos, courtesy of thePuerto Rico State Historic Preservation Office

Camuy, founded in 1807, remained a small town during the 19th century.  By 1878, it had the institutional buildings around the town square, a city hall, a Catholic church building, a wooden slaughterhouse and a wooden building used by the Guardia Civil. The urban core consisted of 111 families in 61 houses and 46 huts. The rest of the population, 1,710 families, were spread throughout the countryside. Just when Camuy was increasing its economic importance by means of the crop and cattle industries, the history of Puerto Rico took an unsuspected turn.  The Spanish-Cuban-American War of 1898 transformed the island from a Spanish colony into a territory of the United States.  The Protestant missionaries followed the footsteps of the United States soldiers, and divided the island among themselves after the Treaty of Paris was ratified, ending the war.  By March 1889, eight months after the occupation, representatives from the Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Disciples of Christ, among others, convened in New York to establish the procedures, boundaries and rules in the “Protestant colonization” of Puerto Rico.  Showing their numerical and organizational strength, the Baptists and Methodists claimed the major urban centers—Camuy was claimed by the Methodists. The Foraker Act of 1900 created a local civil administration and established the total separation of State and Church, quickly eroding 400 years of the Catholic Church’s power.

Ernesto Memorial Chapel
Photo by Juan Llanes Santos, courtesy of thePuerto Rico State Historic Preservation Office

After using a meeting-house for the services, in 1906 the Methodist Church acquired a lot to build the temple.  A local US family provided the initial funds. The Church took five years to build, from 1907-1912. Local residents and members of the congregation provided fee-labor that accomplished this difficult task.  The style of the Church served the purpose of breaking with the traditional architectural patterns of the Catholic Church and served to create an intimate, accessible space for the congregation and clergy. The 80-square-meter, square plan hipped roof building is entirely made from carefully and manually placed limestone rocks, with mortar used as an almost invisible adhesive element, giving the church a unique craftsmanship, texture and gravity-defiant appearance. The method of construction exemplifies the most intrinsic values of the Arts and Craft movement and its architectural derivation, the Craftsman style. Built under the guidance of Architect Albert Munson, the building’s interior follows the historic floor plan: a square plan, with a single nave facing the chancel in the ‘east wall’. The Ernesto Memorial Chapel was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on July 8, 2010.

Full documentation on the Ernesto Memorial Chapel

Hispanic Heritage Month

 

 

 

[graphic] Link to NPS.gov [graphic] National Park Service  Arrowhead and link to NPS.gov [graphic] National Park Service Arrowhead and link to nps.gov