CAMAGÜEY. - Although today the environment finds quite damaged, in its good times the Square of the Whereabouts, turned into a small park hoisted opposite to the ancient train station, it was a very populous and attractive area. In its beginnings it was the Square of the Steam, since there were meeting the passengers of the train Port-au-Prince - Nuevitas, inlet in which they would take the steams in the direction of Havana, Santiago de Cuba or any other destination, including Spain.

But already from 1928 the Square began to adopt the physiognomy that today we know. At the corner of Avellaneda and Van Horne the Plaza Hotel was built, the biggest and the most modern of the city, center differed from personages and personalities of all kinds like presidents, artists, generals and doctors with the saga of banquets, interviews and conferences. Even in one of its rooms, a room of permanent press was installed.

To the center of the Square, that for the epoch named Van Horne, there was a circular drinking trough of scarcely two feet high for the horses that were pulling the trailers that over there were circulating.

From the center of this pool, an iron pipe was getting up with a crook at the end of which it was hanging an incandescent bulb. The whole Square was of ground, although then the paving stone and the line of the tramcar that was turning for this corner in the direction of the street Republic meant a progress step.

For those years one day it was designed to raise in this place a statue of the Avellaneda, project that did not go on from the will see stage, but that changed the name to the Square into that of the distinguished poetess.

Famous turned out to be the two small accommodations placed one opposite to other in the corners of Avellaneda and Francisquito: Bristol and New York. In the same sidewalk of the New York, it was installed the terminal of the Hood Bus, which offered trip from Camagüey to Bayamo, and more above, in the opposite sidewalk, the Hotel Quisisana, where two interprovincial bus terminals existed with trips to Havana and Santiago de Cuba, The Allied Forces and the Golden Arrow.

Near there were, for Avellaneda, the Hotel Seville and the drugstore Yuesma, as well as multitude of snack bars and small inns. For Van Horne three establishments were famous, The Red Apple, the candy store The Phoenix, one of the best of the province, and the restaurant Big Ranch; of another side, doing it forms a corner with Republic, the famous restaurant Capitolio, which demolition to construct the Mario Aróstegui park nobody can still explained.

From there the Republic street numerous commerce were opening, such as The Fashion, the House Kinfol, the Black Cat, Lazy, and to another end of Francisquito numerous small restaurants and fried stalls like The Orensana, The Galician, Three Kilos and Fried with Sauce.

Then was coming immediately the area of tolerance of the Progress and Owen streets, bordering on the massive oblong building of the Provincial Jail and also, very close, there was the immense and tough tenement Three Flags and The Gardener.

The whole scenery that the life changed … to any steam.

Translated by Linet Acuña Quilez

Published in the newspaper Forward on October 31, 2009.