Sunday, December 7, 2008

Letters from Cuba by a son to his mother Thomas Graham Grier

Havana , Feb 1906
Letter III
The Punta - The Prado - The Malecon - Hotels
and Theatres.

The wharves of the city lie on the harbor side,
on what you might call the Eastern and Southeast-
ern edge of the city , and are mainly along the shore
of the ancient wallet city of Havana.
The Church of San Francisco m in 1762 or 1763,
when the English occupied Havana, was used for
the troops , and after the evacuation was considered
desecrated and not suitable for its original purpose.
It is now a part of the Custom House. This is located
about for blocks South of the Plaza de Armas.
I took a few passing glimpses of the facade of
the " San Francisco de Paula" . aouth three-quar-
ters of mile South of the Cathedral . There were
other churches that we visited on excursions , with
guides , but by the time you have looke at the high
points in any one line, the rest sort of passes by you
like a moving picture; and I must get back to some
of the points outside of the ancient walled - in city.
There is a section of the wall left ; it is just about equal
to a good -sized brink pile. You look at it and say,
"oh , yes , perhaps sometime I will be sorry that I did
not picl up a rock or brick and bring it home ."
At the Northern extremity of Havana is the Punta
Castle, a square , low -lying fort , with things cut
in its sides , or arrow - like projectios on its cornners.
This little bunch of masonry is just across the harbor
entrace from Morro, and is called Punta because Punta
means " point" It has its share in making history and
now is an ornament.
If you should look on the map you would find the word
"Malecon" , as near as I can find out , is " Sea Wall" . From
the Punta and Malecon , West in a horse -shoe bend m
is a beautiful drive alng the Gulf coast for about half a
mile, and this leaves the coast and extends out toward the
Extending South from the Punta is the Prado;
it is very wide and for eight blocks stright, At the
point where it strikes Central Park it deflects slightly ,
passing alone Central Park , past the high priced well
known hotels, ending at Colon Park.
This is the street on which to do your dirving and walking,
when to see the styles , you get a chair and sit out on
the side- walk and gaze as the people pass by.
On the street , near the center of the city , are the
Telegrafo Hotel, Inglatera Hotel, Pasaje Hotel, The Young
Men`s Christian Association , " Mr Foster` s " office , the
American Club, the Spanish Club, The Pairet Theatre, the
National theatre, the Tacon Theatre, and near to this center
are other hotels, theatres , express companies and railroad
stations. Here is where you see the people , except on music
nights , then many gather on the Malecon. I will try to mention
a few other places visited in my next letter.
There is a beautiful white building near the Malecon on the Prado.
Is is known as he Mir Mar and is operated as high grade hotel, but
I was informed that it was originally built by prominent New York
gamblers for a " swell lay - out , " but the authorities would not
permit it.

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