Ponce, Puerto Rico

Ponce, Puerto Rico

Pearl of the South

Las Delicias Plaza
Las Delicias Plaza

Ponce (PON-sai) is known as the “Pearl of the South,” the “Noble City,” “The Lions,” and the “Genip City”. The patroness of Ponce is Our Lady of Guadeloupe.

The municipality is located on the south coast of Puerto Rico. Is bordered on the north by Utuado and Jayuya, on the northwest by Adjuntas, on the south by the Caribbean Sea, on the east by Juana Díaz, and on the west by Peñuelas. The municipal territory reaches the central mountain range to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south.

Ponce is bordered on the north by Utuado and Jayuya, on the northwest by Adjuntas, on the south by the Caribbean Sea, on the east by Juana Díaz, and on the west by Peñuelas. The municipal territory reaches the central mountain range to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south.

Ponce is one of the most developed municipalities on the island, whose manufacturing sectors include electronic and electrical equipment, communications equipment, food processing, pharmaceuticals, concrete plants, and scientific instruments. Other industries include leather products, needlework, and fish flour. In the agricultural sector, the most import product is coffee, followed by plantains, bananas, oranges, and grapefruit, among others. Other economic activities include public and private services, finance, retail sales, and construction.

The city is also known for landmarks such as the Firehouse (1882); the Cathedral, the La Perla Theater (partially destroyed in the 1918 earthquake and rebuilt in 1941), the Art Museum, the Serrallés mansion, and the Vigía Cross. The Indigenous Ceremonial Park in Tibes Ward and the Caja de Muertos Lighthouse built in 1880 are also located in this municipality. Natural resources in Ponce include the Toro Negro forest, the El Tuque beach, Deadman’s Chest island, and Pelícano and Blanca beaches.

*Genip is one of the common names in English for Melicoccus bijugatus. The word used in Puerto Rico is quenepa. Other Spanish-speaking countries call the fruit mamoncillo.

Foundation:

Ponce’s historical importance goes back to the migratory period of the clans and pre-Columbian groups (archaic, ingeris, pre-Taíno and Taíno) . These settled in the southwestern region of the country (between Ponce and Cabo Rojo) and founded the chieftainship of Guainía. The chief of this territory was Agüeybaná that, according to the chroniclers of the era was the chief of greatest authority in the Island.

In 1493 the Genoese admiral Christopher Columbus arrives at our coasts, but it was not until 1508 when the conquest of the Island began. It was through the southern region of Puerto Rico where our first Spanish governor Juan Ponce de León arrived. The city was named in his honor.

In the first years of the colonization, along the riviera of the Jacaguas river, the first Spanish families populated the area that today occupies the Independent Municipality of Ponce. Soon, this group, in search of greater security, settled in the fertile plains on the flanks of the river that the Indians called Barayama (today, Portugués river). Later, in 1670, they erected a small hermitage under the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Around this same period the town was developed, officially recognized in 1692.

During the course of the eighteenth century and first half of the nineteenth century, Ponce experienced changes that were preparing it for the directive role that the population would take on from second half of the nineteenth century. From that time the population was growing, thus expanding its urban contour; progress that occurred in spite of the catastrophes (fires, storms, tremors and others) that to a certain extent prevented it. Another occurrence of significance at the time was the establishment of the first sugar cane mills in the region.

This factor was the base for the conversion of Ponce in an economic center of great importance in the southern region. This flourishing activity was in headed by a foreign landowner class, that by means of the slavery system converted the fertile grounds of Ponce into the main agricultural center of the country. Evidence of that economic development was always the well remembered Ponce Exhibition Fair of 1882, where the agricultural and industrial advances of Ponce and Puerto Rico were displayed. Today we have left from that period the Pavilion that today lodges the Fire House Museum.

In contrast to the living conditions that reigned in the island, Ponce emerged from town to villa (1848) and from villa to city (1877), until becoming what the historians of the country distinguished as the turn-of-the-century Alternative Capital of Puerto Rico.
During the second half of XIX century Ponce had become a progressive city-the economic, cultural and intellectual center of the south; some assert it was that center of the country. The main political figures of the country would congregate here to direct the changes that the colony demanded: assimilation, autonomy or separation. In the cultural scope, music, theater, opera, literary movements and journalism found in Ponce important means of expression.

At the end of XIX century, Ponce was a mosaic of diverse groups: Creoles, peninsulars, blacks, mulattos and other non-Hispanic European immigrants. On the other hand, its urban contour reflected the diversity of its citizens. It was the union of the human and physical element which gave Ponce its own profile that distinguished it from the rest of Puerto Rico; and which gave it its alternative character in contrast with the capital, San Juan. This factor was the base for the conversion of Ponce in an economic center of great importance in the southern region. This flourishing activity was in headed by a foreign landowner class, that by means of the slavery system converted the fertile grounds of Ponce into the main agricultural center of the country. Evidence of that economic development was always the well remembered Ponce Exhibition Fair of 1882, where the agricultural and industrial advances of Ponce and Puerto Rico were exposed; and we have still have left the Pavilion that today lodges the Fire House Museum.

As opposed to the conditions of life that reigned in the Island, Ponce emerged from town to villa (1848) and from villa to city (1877), until becoming which the historians of the country distinguished Ponce as the turn-of-the-century Alternating Capital of Puerto Rico.

During the second half of XIX century Ponce had become a progressive city and the economic, cultural and intellectual center of the south; and there are some who affirm that of the country. The main political figures of the country would congregated, to direct the changes that the colony demanded, be it assimilation, autonomy or separation. In the cultural scope, music, theater, opera, literary movements and the journalistic task found in the City important means of expression.

At the end of XIX century, Ponce was a mosaic of diverse groups: Creoles, peninsulars, blacks, mulattos and other non Hispanic European immigrants. On the other hand, its urban contour reflected the idiosyncrasy of its citizens. It was the union of the human and physical element which gave Ponce its own profile that distinguished it from the rest of the Island; and which gave simultaneously the alternating character in contrast with the capital, San Juan.

Location:

mapa ponceIt is bordered by: Peñuelas on the west; Adjuntas on the nortwest; Utuado and Jayuya on the north; and Juana Díaz on the east.

Area:

278.4 sq km / 116.0 sq mi

Population:

186,475 (census 2000)

Population Density:

669.8 per sq km / 1,607.5 per sq mi

People are known as:

Ponceños

Ponce is also known as:

La Perla del Sur (Pearl of the South)
Ciudad Señorial (Majestic City)

Wards: Ponce, Puerto Rico

barrios ponce

Census 2000:
Population by Wards – Ponce
Habitants
Anón 1,669
Bucaná 3,963
Canas 34,065
Canas Urbano 21,482
Capitanejo 1,404
Cerrillos 4,284
Coto Laurel 5,285
Cuarto 3,011
Guaraguao 1,017
Machuelo Abajo 13,302
Machuelo Arriba 13,727
Magueyes 6,134
Magueyes Urbano 1,332
Maragüez 754
Marueño 1,474
Monte Llano 462
Playa 16,926
Portugués 4,882
Portugués Urbano 5,886
Primero 3,550
Quebrada Limón 804
Quinto 724
Real 3,139
Sabanetas 6,420
San Antón 11,271
San Patricio 465
Segundo 11,321
Sexto 4,745
Tercero 773
Tibes 866
Vayas 1,338
Total 186,475

Source: Censo 2000

Patrón:

Nuestra Señora de la Guadalupe
Nuestra Señora de la Guadalupe Parish
Plaza de las Delicias
P.O. Box 32210
Ponce, P.R. 00732-2210
(787) 842-0134

ponce iglesia
Nuestra Señora de la Guadalupe Parish

Topografía:

Geographically classified among the municipalities that belong to the Southern Coastal Plain, towards the north runs the Central Mountain Range.

Hidrografía:

Several gorges and rivers flow through the zone; most of them are intermittent courses. Most important is the Portugués river that flows through the urban zone. In the past it caused floods but it has been canalsh ave been dug to control the flow. It drains in the Bucana river and flow together into the port. The Cañas river runs by the west side and takes water from the Pastillo. The Cerrillos river flows from the Central Mountain Range and is dammed forming the reservoir of the same name. Futher down is the Bronce dam. Both dams are used for agriculture and domestic irrigation. In its beach the salt water Cucharas Lagoon is located.

Clima:

Ponce’s climate is tropical semidesert. The annual precipitation average on the coast is 36 inches, in the interior 48 inches, and to the north close to the Central Mountain Range, 60 inches. Its temperature also varies within its ample geography. The coast has an annual average of 79°, the interior 76°, and in the mountains 72°.

Economy:

Commerce, tourism, manufacture (consumer products, clothing & cement) and customer services.

Average Salary:

$296.21 weekly (1998)

Flag:

ponce banderaAbove the traditional red and black colors of Ponce the shield of the city. The five tower gold crown indicates that Ponce is a city by royal decree. As an exterior frame to shield, we have interlaced, a sugar cane plant on the right and to the left a coffee tree branch. These products symbolize the principal economic means of the city in 1887, year that King Alfonso XII granted the right to become a city.

Coat Of Arms:

ponce escudoThe shield of Ponce is divided by a diagonal line that crosses straight from the superior end to the left inferior end. In this divided field is the color red, that covers the superior right portion, symbol of fire and strength and the black that covers the left inferior portion representing the night, repentance, prudence and modesty. On that black and red background is a yellow lion with black mane, walking towards the left of the shield, facing – looking – towards the right. The lion is on a bridge that is a representation of the rivers. The shield is bordered by a coffee plant branch and a sugar cane plant, crops that in their time were of great importance for the town.

Events:

  • Ponce Carnival – the week before Lent
  • Regional Crafts Fair – March
  • Ponce Playa Festival – May
  • Danza Week – May
  • Bomba Festival in San Antón Ward – July
  • Patron Saint’s Day Festival – December
  • Discovering our Indian Roots – November
  • Matins in Honor of Our Lady of Guadeloupe – December
  • Christmas Concert – December

Places To Visit:

La Guancha Boardwalk
La Guancha Boardwalk
  • Old customs house
  • Old Ponce Casino
  • Old infantry quarters
  • Toro Negro Forest
  • Miguel Pou Boulevard
  • 25 de Enereo Street
  • City Hall
  • Armstrong-Poventud residence
  • Wiechers-Villaronga residence
  • Serrallés Mansion
  • Our Lady of Guadeloupe Cathedral
  • Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center
  • Ponce traditional town center
  • Yacht Club
  • El Vigía Cross (Japanese Garden)
  • Buena Vista Plantation
  • Meliá Hotel
  • Monument to Women
  • Museo de Arte de Ponce
  • Casa Paoli Museum
  • Francisco “Pancho” Coimbre Museum
  • Ponce History Museum
  • Ponce Massacre Museum
  • Puerto Rican Music Museum
  • Román Baldorioty de Castro National Pantheon
  • Silkwood Tree Park
  • Firehouse
  • Enrique González Park
  • Monument to Pedro Albizu Campos and Park
  • Julio E. Monagas Recreational Park
  • Tercentennial Park
  • Dora Colón Clavell Urban Park
  • Antonio Arias Ventura promenade
  • Atocha promenade
  • La Guancha Boardwalk
  • Playa de Ponce Ward
  • El Tuque Beach
  • Las Delicias town square
  • Plaza del Caribe Mall
  • Juan Ponce de León Square
  • Isabel II Marketplace
  • Deadman’s Chest natural reserve
  • La Perla Theater
  • Farmers’ trails
  • Fishermen’s village

Distinguished Citizens:

  • Alfredo M. Aguayo – Educator and writer. Professor at the University of Havana in Cuba. A member of the Cuban Academy of History. Because of his outstanding career as an educator, the School of Education at the University of Havana bears his name.
  • Pedro Albizu-Campos – A leader of the Puerto Rican nationalist movement who left a profound mark in his country’s history. He presided the Nationalist Party and spent many years in prison for defending the independence struggle.
  • María Teresa Babín – Educator and essayist who has also written poetry and plays. Her best-known works include Panorama de la cultura puertorriqueña and several essays on Federico García Lorca.
  • Vicente Balbás-Capó – Journalist and political figure, a defender of the Spanish colonial regime. During the Spanish-American War Balbás-Capó organized a volunteer battalion and was imprisoned for his opposition to Puerto Ricans serving in the United States armed forces.
  • Héctor Campos-Parsi – One of the most important contemporary Puerto Rican composers. Author of two important essays on Puerto Rican music.
  • Carlos E. Chardón-Palacios – Scientist and essayist. Chardón held important public positions, notably in the financial sector; he promoted an economical proposal known as the Plan Chardón in 1935. Among other works, Chardón wrote an excellent essay on Simón Bolívar, for which he was decorated by the Venezuelan government with the Order of the Liberator.
  • Arístides Chavier-Arévalo – Musician and composer of the modernist period. Chavier wrote the Puerto Rico Overture and the essay “El arte musical puertorriqueño: su desarrollo y evolución hasta el presente”, in 1923.
  • Federico Degetau-González – A liberal political figure and writer; delegate to the Spanish Cortes and resident commissioner in Washington (1901 – 1905).
  • Ruth Fernández-Corrada – Signer of international renown. Senator and director of the Governor’s Cultural Affairs Office.
  • Luis A. Ferré-Aguayo – Engineer, pianist, founder of the New Progressive Party (1967); Ferré was a senator (1977 – 1985) president of the Senate (1977 – 1981), and governor of Puerto Rico (1968-1972). He also was a patron of the arts and founder of the Museo de Arte de Ponce (1959).
  • Félix Franco-Oppenheimer – Poet and writer. His works include Contornos, Imagen y visión edénica de Puerto Rico and Antología poética.
  • Julio J. Henna – Physician. Henna participated in the founding of the Puerto Rico Section of the Cuban Revolutionary Party in New York. He later supported the annexation of Puerto Rico to the United States.
  • Rafael Hernández-Colón – Attorney, secretary of justice (1964-1968), President of the Senate (1968-1972), and Governor of Puerto Rico (1972-1976, 1984-1988, 1988-1992).
  • Antonio S. Luchetti -Public servant, engineer. Under his initiative, the electric power system was established and developed in Puerto Rico under the Puerto Rico Water Resources Authority (PRWRA).
  • Washington Llorens – Linguist, poet, and essayist. His works include El español de Puerto Rico and El habla popular de Puerto Rico.
  • Juan Morel-Campos – A great composer and musician. Although Manuel G. Tavárez is recognized as “the Father of the Puerto Rican danza,” it was Morel Campos who perfected the danza, based on Tavarez’s habanera style. His compositions include: Sopapos, Alma sublime, Felices días, Laura y Georgina, Sueño de amor, and Vano empeño.
  • Antonio E. Paoli-Marcano – A singer of international renown, known as “The tenor of kings” and “The king of tenors.”
  • Olga Albizu – abstract painter
  • César Andreu-Iglesias – journalist, writer
  • Rosario Ferré-Ramírez de Arellano – writer, profesor and member of the Academia Puertorriqueña de la Lengua. Has written fiction, poetry, essays and was the director of the journal Zona de Carga y descarga in 1970.
  • Raúl Gándara-Cartagena -A fire chief; he wrote a book on the firemen’s service in 1951, which became a manual in several Latin American countries.
  • Elías López-Sobá – pianist, professor
  • Elisa Tavárez – daughter of the “Father of the danza” Manuel G. Tavárez, a pianist of international renown.
  • Mariano Villaronga-Toro – Commissioner of Public Education (1946).
  • Emilio J. Pasarell – Writer, journalist and poet. Pasarell wrote about the origins of the theater in Puerto Rico.
  • Miguel Pou-Becerra – Painter of countryside genre paintings, among them: Camino del pueblo, El bohío de yaguas, El flamboyán, Lavanderas del River Portugués, and Paisaje de montaña.

Ponce public schools.

Ponce District

Name Level Telephone Address
ANDRÉS GRILLASCA SALASElementary(787) 842-6414PO Box 119
ANSELMO RIVERA MATOSElementary(787) 843-7938PO Box 2000 Suite 18
CERRILLO HOYOSElementary(787) 848-8793PMB 025
DR. JOSÉ C. BARBOSAElementary(787) 842-8671PO Box 334586
HERMINIA GARCÍAElementary(787) 840-64559 Calle E
JOSÉ GAUTIER BENÍTEZElementary(787) 844-3035PO Box 7856
JOSÉ JULIÁN ACOSTAElementary(787) 842-5175PO Box 7856
JUAN MOREL CAMPOSElementary(787) 842-5343Calle León Final
JULIO COLLAZOElementary(787) 843-7939PO Box 2000 Suite 18
LA YUCAElementary(787) 843-4776PO Box 6805
LAS MONJITASElementary(787) 843-1212PO Box 662
LAS RAÍCESElementary(787) 842-4418Suite 295
LIZZIE GRAHAMElementary(787) 842-0255PO Box 10756
LLANOS DEL SURElementary(787) 848-1105PO Box 839
LUIS MUÑOZ RIVERA IElementary(787) 841-6008PO Box 2000 Suite 21
LUIS MUÑOZ RIVERA IIElementary(787) 843-1715G-6 Villa Esperanza
MONTE LLANOSElementary(787) 843-5910PO Box 2000 Suite 18
PARCELAS REALElementary(787) 842-3007Suite 295
PEDRO J. FOURNIERElementary(787) 842-8974Suite 295
RAMIRO COLÓN COLÓNElementary(787) 842-037610 Calle Lolita Tizol
RODULFO DEL VALLEElementary(787) 844-1265Drawer 459
ROMÁN BALDORIOTY DE CASTROElementary(787) 843-2235PO Box 336504
SANTA TERESITAElementary(787) 841-4949Calle 23 Esquina 24
SIMON MORET GALLARTElementary(787) 843-5154PO Box 7856
TOMÁS CARRIÓN MADUROElementary(787) 843-7280301C Drawer 477
ABRAHAM LINCOLNElementary(787) 842-011746 Campeche
ÁNGELA CORDERO BERNARDElementary(787) 844-4020PO Box 7496
ÁUREA E. RIVERA COLLAZOElementary(787) 841-0328PO Box 8643
CAPITANEJOElementary(787) 837-6302PO Box 566
CARMEN MEDINA ANAYAElementary(787) 841-1214PO Box 7393
CARMEN SOLÁ DE PEREIRAElementary(787) 841-6411PO Box 10685
DR. RAFAEL LÓPEZ NUSSAElementary(787) 842-7170PO Box 10577
DR. RAMÓN E. BETANCESElementary(787) 844-8651PMB 248 PO Box 7105
EUGENIO MARÍA DE HOSTOSElementary(787) 844-58842049 Eduardo Ruberte
FERNANDO L. MALAVÉ OLIVERASElementary(787) 843-2048PO Box 7851
FRANCISCO PARRA DUPERONElementary(787) 842-5257PO Box 7105
JAIME L. DREWElementary(787) 842-7343PO Box 7025
JOAQUÍN FERRANElementary(787) 842-0014PO Box 7105
JOSEFINA BOYA LEÓNElementary(787) 840-3770PO Box 464
JUAN CUEVAS ABOYElementary(787) 843-3895PO Box 7571
JULIA CORDERO NEGRÓNElementary(787) 843-8248PO Box 7855
JULIO ALVARADOElementary(787) 844-7048PO Box 10091
LIBRADO NETElementary(787) 842-6395Urb. San Antonio 50 Calle
LUCY GRILLASCAElementary(787) 842-40101615 Ave. Eduardo Ruberte
MERCEDES P SERRALLÉSElementary(787) 843-6170PO Box 566
OLIMPIO OTEROElementary(787) 842-5197440 Calle Villa Final
PARCELAS MAGUEYESElementary(787) 843-4403PO Box 7025
PARCELAS MARUEÑOElementary(787) 841-5332PO Box 7025
SEGUNDO RUIZ BELVISElementary(787) 840-3400PO Box 30268
ANTONIO PAOLIIntermediate(787) 844-0615PO Box 6960
DR. RAFAEL PUJALSIntermediate(787) 840-4600PO Box 330726
ERNESTO RAMOS ANTONINIIntermediate(787) 843-2336PO Box 7856
JARDINES DE PONCEIntermediate(787) 844-3400LA Rambla Suite 394
JUAN SERRALLÉS (INTERMEDIA)Intermediate(787) 848-2005PO Box 1073
MANUEL GONZÁLEZ PATOIntermediate(787) 841-7216301 C Suite 395
DR. PEDRO ALBIZU CAMPOSIntermediate(787) 841-2548PO Box 7393
EDUARDO NEUMANN GANDIAIntermedia(787) 840-0112PO Box 7025
EUGENIO LE COMPTEIntermediate(787) 844-4552PO Box 7091
HEMETERIO COLÓNIntermediate(787) 840-350021 Calle Concordia
ISMAEL MALDONADO LUGAROIntermediate(787) 843-2135PO Box 263
SANTIAGO GONZÁLEZIntermediate(787) 842-5028PO Box 7025
SOR ISÓLINA FERREIntermediate(787) 840-6075PO Box 30067
INSTITUTO TECN.PS – Institute(787) 843-0935PO Box 7284
FEDERICO DEGETAU Y GONZÁLEZSecondary(787) 842-6178PO Box 336217
ROSARIO LA TORRE MORALESSecondary(787) 843-5099PO Box 7226
JUAN SERRALLÉSSecondary(787) 848-5274PO Box 1136
JARDINES DE PONCEHigh School(787) 840-7785PO Box 780
THOMAS ARMSTRONG TOROHigh School(787) 844-3388PO Box 336921
BERNARDINO CORDERO BERNARDHigh School(787) 842-7091PO Box 10478
BETHZAIDA VELÁSQUEZHigh School(787) 284-1080PO Box 7636
DR. ALFREDO M. AGUAYOHigh School(787) 843-1305137 Avenida Hostos
DR. PILAHigh School(787) 840-4800PO Box 2238
PONCE HIGH SCHOOLHigh School(787) 842-4156PO Box 109
BELLAS ARTES DE PONCEAll Levels(787) 259-73720 Calle Tizol
CENTRO DE SERVICIOS EDUCATIVOSAll Levels(787) 844-0965PO Box 336837
JUAN MOREL CAMPOS (MÚSICA)All Levels(787) 842-3974PO Box 4087
RAMÓN MARÍNAll Levels(787) 842-1371PO Box 10788 Suite 188

Hymn:

Author Dr. Angel Luis Rodríguez Rosado

¡Oh, Ponce! En mi corazón
cuando oigo tu nombre
yo siento el rugido
de un fiero león.

Borinque nunca olvidará
que al son de la danza,
la bomba y la plena
la hiciste bailar.

Tu Parque de Bombas es ya
templo de una historia
que tu Vieja Ceiba
ha visto pasar…
¡Ponce! Siempre serás tú
joya que mirarte
habrá que llamarte
La Perla del Sur.

Tu rojo y negro pabellón
bandera es de gloria
que en toda victoria
es tu inspiración.

Tu Parque de la Abolición
recuerda la lucha
de tus bravos hijos
por la libertad.

En coche quiero disfrutar
las dulces quenepas
y ver tus encantos
Ciudad Señorial…

¡Ponce! Siempre serás tú
joya que al mirarte
habrá que llamarte
La Perla del Sur.

How to get to Ponce from San Juan.

direction ponce

 

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