Mar del Plata

General Info

History
General Pueyrredon District: Historical Background


Introduction

The area where the city of Mar del Plata currently lies was known as Costa Galana, Lobería Chica, Vulcán Region, Punta de los Lobos, etc.

The natives, called Pampas or Serranos by the Spanish, dominated the region before the arrival of the Europeans and therefore boast the title of first settlers.

The arrival of white men to this area of Buenos Aires province took place in 1581, with the exploration expedition led by Juan de Garay.
Nuestra Señora del Pilar
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In 1746, at the request of the Spanish king, the Reducción de Nuestra Señora del Pilar (settlement for indigenous people converted to Christian faith) organized by the Jesuit order was founded by Las Cabrillas Lake (nowadays Laguna de los Padres). It was led by the missionaries José Cardiel, Tomás Falkner and P. Balda, and the indigenous population there reached as many as 1,200 members. This encouraged the priests to request the place be considered a town, but despite the acceptance of such request, life in this settlement was ephemeral, as it succumbed under indigenous people’s attacks. The missionaries finally abandoned the site on September 1, 1751.

Coelho de Meyrelles

The idea of fostering a more active exchange current with Brazil induced a Portuguese consortium to found a salted meat factory in this area, for being geographically suitable. José Coelho de Meyrelles, who arrived in this area by the late 1856, was the man in charge of this establishment as well as of other undertakings.

Later, he moved to the outlet of San Ignacio stream, Las Chacras stream by that time (nowadays cased and crossing downtown).
El Saladero
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There, he ordered a new salted meat factory to be erected on the current Luro Ave. between Santiago del Estero and Santa Fe streets as well as an iron pier opposite what nowadays is Punta Iglesia. In the lands comprised between San Luis St., San Martin St., Santiago del Estero St. and Alberdi Diagonal, a great “palo a pique” pen (vertical log construction) was built. The settlement next to the salted meat factory came to be known as Puerto de la Laguna de los Padres.

The economic loss and health problems affecting José Coelho de Meyrelles made him finally sell his property to Patricio Peralta Ramos.
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Patricio Peralta Ramos: The Founder

Patricio Peralta Ramos was born in Buenos Aires on July 17, 1814. He was a methodical man of adventurous spirit who devoted himself completely to rural life. The extensive deserted fields in Rojas district were populated under his command, and several important establishments were founded thereafter. In 1860, he acquired a 32-league field from Coelho de Meyrelles, which comprised the cattle ranches in Laguna de los Padres, San Julián de Vivoratá and La Armonía de Cobo.
Aware of the great future ahead of this area, Mr. Peralta Ramos used his best efforts and imparted a vigorous impulse to associate and exploit the salted meat factory founded by Mr. Meyrelles. In 1873, he decided to build Santa Cecilia Chapel, named after Don Patricio's wife, Mrs. Cecilia Robles.
La Villa Turística
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In November of that same year, he started negotiations with Mariano Acosta, governor of Buenos Aires province, for the recognition of Puerto Laguna de los Padres foundation. Such lands were his own property and belonged to Balcarce district. He also stressed that the name they should bear should be Mar del Plata. Finally, the Ordinance dated February 10, 1874 signed by the governor of Buenos Aires province provided for the town foundation. This date would later become the foundation day of Mar del Plata city.

Pedro Luro: The Promoter

A decisive event in the development of Mar del Plata city took form with the arrival of an active salted meat factory man from Tuyú.
In 1877, Mr. Pedro Luro took charge of the factory, giving a vertiginous rhythm to population development.

Concurrently, he undertook several projects, ordered the construction of a new pier, had a barrack built, promoted agriculture by opening a flour mill, encouraged housing development, the opening of shops, etc.
Mar del Plata
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María Luro de Chevalier, Mr. Pedro Luro´s daughter, favored the construction of San Pedro Church, today Santos Pedro y Cecilia Cathedral. José Luro, on his part, inaugurated the Bristol Hotel and Dr. Pedro Olegario Luro launched the construction of Mar del Plata port. Pedro Luro, together with his children, played a decisive role in this emerging Mar del Pata, and led a persistent way towards the progress of this town.