New Book: Puerto Rico Then and Now

PRThen and Now

Jorge Rigau has recently published Puerto Rico Then and Now (2009), a bilingual edition in the Thunder Bay Press Then and Now series. Puerto Rico Then and Now focuses on architecture found on the island, especially in Old San Juan’s historical center and other colonial towns. Through pairs of past and present photographs, readers can experience Puerto Rico’s landmarks, city walls, fortifications, cobblestone streets, hanging balconies, and plazas: “Tour La Fortaleza, which once housed Puerto Rico’s stores of gold and silver. Over the years, it survived an attack by Sir Francis Drake, earthquakes, tsunamis, and many hurricanes. Today, La Fortaleza is the governor’s mansion—the world’s oldest such residence in continuous use. Visit Casa Blanca, the ancestral home of Juan Ponce de Leon, Puerto Rico’s first governor. The Ponce de Leon family lived here for more than 250 years; today its patio and gardens are highlights of the Casa Blanca museum. Revisit the beloved Castillo Valdéz, built by the founders of Cervecería India—one of Puerto Rico’s favorite breweries. Legend has it that Señor Valdéz passed out cold beers to locals when the Castillo was demolished to make way for a modern Hilton hotel.”

Jorge Rigau (1953) was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. A graduate of Cornell University, he was the director of Colegio de Arquitectos de Puerto Rico from 1980 until 1986. He founded The New School of Architecture-Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico in 1995 where he has taught and was the first dean. He is the author of Puerto Rico 1900: Turn-of-the-Century Architecture in the Hispanic Caribbean 1890-1930 and co-author (with Nancy Stout) of Havana/La Habana.

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