Miramar is the modern Cuban city par excellence. Its foundation was directly linked to the use of the vehicle as a passive author of its layout. It is a cast conceived for the upper class who thrived in Havana early 20th century.
In February 1911, the Marianao City Council approved Manuel José Morales the urbanization of the La Miranda country estate for the creation of the distribution Miramar. The original project was signed by the engineer Luis Morales and constituted the basis for the urban development of the area. Years later, José López Rodríguez (Pot) and Ramón González de Mendoza became the owners. Although Morales was still listed as the owner with the right to rent several blocks, it was under the latter that Miramar consolidated his fame. By 1918 there were only 17 owners in the entire urbanization.
Alfredo Hornedo built one of the most emblematic buildings of the cast, the Casino Deportivo Beach Club (current Círculo Social Obrero Cristino Naranjo, belonging to the MININT). The then senator Hornedo had been given what is known as “black ball”, for being a mestizo man of humble origin, when he tried to become a member of the Havana Yacht Club and the Havana Biltmore Yacht Club, two of the upper bourgeois clubs. habanera. By that date he appeared as one of the wealthiest characters in Cuban society and, insulted by the double refusal of entry, decided to build a private club. It was at the Casino Deportivo de la Playa where the popular casino dance was born in 1957.
Hornedo also built the Blanquita Theater, by the architect Enrique Gil, which featured a skating rink on its stage and achieved the title of the world’s largest in 1949, with 6,750 seats, 500 more than Radio City Hall in New York. In 1960 they changed the name of Blanquita to Chaplin, and in 1975, when the First Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) was held, they renamed him Karl Marx, his current name.
Among the most prominent properties in Hornedo were the Hotel Residencial Rosita de Hornedo (now Sierra Maestra), which had 172 apartments, 11 floors and two penthouses. Starting in 1960, this hotel was occupied by foreign technicians who worked in the country and in 1999 the building was adapted for the offices of the CIMEX SA corporation.
Hornedo’s portfolio of properties also included the Single Market of Havana (Mercado de Cuatro Caminos), the Cerro Cazadores Club, the Casino Deportivo distribution, and the Río Mar condominium building. Alejo Carpentier, when judging the Like Hornedo, he described him as “The king of the picúos of Havana.”
Miramar, exclusively residential neighborhood
Miramar, initially projected as an exclusively residential neighborhood, reflected in its first urban regulations that buildings should not exceed three levels, forcing them to have a portal with a garden. It was also established that said constructions should be surrounded, at least, by a lateral corridor of at least 2.5 meters. Initially the construction of apartment buildings was prohibited, as well as the establishment of shops in the avenues parallel to the sea.
The layout consisted of a grid of rectangular blocks of approximately 90 x 200 meters, delimited by a mesh of four avenues parallel to the sea. Each block was subdivided into 20 regular lots, eight towards the avenues and 12 towards the streets.
By 1920 the Torre del Reloj on Fifth Avenue and La Fuente de las Américas were built, located at the entrance of the urbanization. The tower was the work of the architect John H. Duncan and the second was conceived by the American architect John Wilson, with sculptures by the Italian sculptor Pietro Manfredi.
Fifth Avenue constitutes the backbone of the cast Miramar, differentiated from the rest by its central tree-lined promenade, its urban furniture and the majesty of the buildings that were built in its path. As is logical, the process of occupation of the territory began from this road and through the area closest to the river.
The “Pote bridge”, inaugurated in 1921, just a month before the death of its main promoter José López Rodríguez, facilitated the transit from Calzada street in Vedado with the Fifth Avenue in Miramar.
In 1924, the expansion towards the distribution of Miramar Heights, occupying the remaining area of the La Miranda farm and its neighbor La Josefina, with the first construction licenses in 1925.
At this time, the extension of Avenida Habana from the Residences Park of the Compañía Urbanizadora del Parque y Playa de Marianao to join the Fifth Avenue of Miramar, turning them into a single track.
And the tunnels were made
Between 1953 and 1958, the projects for the Línea and Calzada tunnels were approved, to further favor the transit from El Vedado to Miramar. In 1951 a suspension bridge project was carried out that was never carried out, which would have linked the Malecón with La Puntilla.
A project that was not executed was that of a boardwalk that would link El Vedado with Marianao Beach throughout its entire length. It was promoted by Carlos Miguel de Céspedes, when he was Minister of Public Works, but due to the privatization of the west coast it was impossible.
From the 1940s to 1959, the arrival in Miramar of a middle class made the neighborhood grow in height to gain space. At that time, multifamily buildings with apartments began to be built. This also led to the creation of services in the area, which until now did not exist.
In 1959 Miramar it was practically empty when the bourgeoisie went into exile. Many of these houses and mansions were taken over by the new government to meet the “new needs of the country.” Actually, quite a large percentage of them were destined to satisfy the personal wishes of the new leaders of the country. In general, the neighborhood was occupied by groups that obtained social merits with the change of government.
Later, micro-brigade buildings were inserted into the empty lots. Perhaps this is why many specialists affirm that it is one of the neighborhoods of Havana that has changed the most since its inception to the present.
In 1999, the National Monuments Commission, through Resolution 155, declared “Fifth Avenue and its surroundings a protected area for its historical-cultural value.”
When the new political-administrative division was made in 1976, the area occupied by Marianao was divided into three: Marianao, La Lisa and Playa. Miramar It then became part of the latter municipality, officially diluting its original limits.
Miramar, with its rich architectural heritage, constitutes one of the greatest urban testimonies of the economic and political changes that have occurred in Cuba. It’s quite a history lesson.facebook