Parque España (Spain Park) is one of those places in San Jose, not only for its nature, its design and its surroundings, but also for the interesting stories that keeps and has been one of the most visited places in San Jose, for different reasons.
Here we have some of those curiosities.
Since 1862 this piece of land was linked to FANAL (National Liquor Factory) and became a place for siesta of oxcarts drivers, who brought sugar cane and other materials for the factory activities.
It was also used for bullfights and the new year’s eve holidays were celebrated there.
In 1917, it became Parque La Concordia and in 1920 was renamed as “Spain Park”, a name that remains to this day.
In the 1940s Mario González Feo, Administrator of the Liquor Factory, prompted a number of improvements in this park, such as the installation of benches, plants and building a kiosk decorated with mosaics and tile roof.
The kiosk creator is Jose Maria Barrantes, the same architect who designed the airport of La Sabana.
Its 7 monuments
In the park there are 3 bronze busts, works by sculptor Juan Ramon Bonilla, inaugurated the same year, 1918:
Presbítero Cecilio Umaña (1794-1871)
This priest took oath on November 6, 1824 deputies of the first Constituent Congress of the Free State of Costa Rica. He served as Chaplain of Costa Rica’s Army, during the National Campaign 1856-1857. When he dies he donated his fortune to charity, including: the San Juan de Dios Hospital and the construction of public laundries located in Barrio Amon.
Rafael Barroeta Baca (1813-1880)
Born in Cartago and held various public positions: Minister of State in 1870, Minister during the regime of Tomás Guardia and Acting President of the Republic in 1874. Considered a social benefactor. The bronze sculpture is a replica of the one found in the cemetery.
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)
t was an American philanthropist and industrialist who used some of his vast fortune to charitable and scientific research foundations. He decided to pay for the building of the Central American Court of Justice, initially in Cartago (destroyed by the earthquake of 1910) and in this situation, helped again with the condition it has to be built in San Jose as today we know, the Yellow House.
Monument to Tomás Soley Güel (1875-1943)
Codirector of the newspaper El Imparcial, Member of Congress from 1920 to 1922 and Secretary of State for Finance and Trade from 1923 to 1928. It was one of the creators of the National Insurance Institute. In 1974, on the fiftieth anniversary of this institution, an effigy in bronze by sculptor Olger Villegas Cruz was placed.
Monument to Juan Vázquez de Coronado (1523-1565)
Spanish conquistador, founder of the city of Cartago.
The bronze statue of three meters high was sculpted by the Spanish José Antonio Márquez and donated by the Institute of Hispanic Culture of Madrid. Was inaugurated on October 12, 1977.
Monument to Isabella the Catholic (1451-1504)
This bronze bust, dedicated to the driver behind the voyages of Columbus, was sculpted by Joseph Plañez and was also a grant from the Institute of Hispanic Culture of Madrid.
This monument has a plaque commemorating the fifth anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to America.
Although we might think that this is what gives the park its name, it was not until 1994, during one of latest remodeling that this monument was placed in its current location.
Monument to Ricardo Jiménez Oreamuno (1859-1945)
He was three times president of Costa Rica and is considered one of the designers and implementers of the National Insurance Institute. This bronze bust is the latest placement, to mark the 75th anniversary of the INS in 1999.
Fernández Morales, Roberto. Un paseo por San José: la Casa Amarilla y sus alrededores Explore Costa Rica.