Los Yoses walking tour promises a visit to the 1950s and 1960s

Photo via Alliance Française Church of Nuestra Señora de Fátima

Los Yoses east of San José is best known as the location of the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano where thousands of Ticos have learned English. The area also is known as the present site of a supermarket and the building called Subaru, although that car dealer has moved operations elsewhere.

There is a former coffee plantation divided by Avenida Central. The majority of the area is within the Municipalidad de Montes de Oca.

But there is plenty of history here, and Alliance Française is organizing one of its walking tours with architect Andrés Fernández to prove the point. The title of this trek is “La Modernidad Josefina: El Barrio Los Yoses.”

The French cultural organization and Fernández have covered San José neoclassical, barrios, the surprisingly historic Barrio México and the churches of the downtown.

The excursion into Los Yoses is June 9, starting at 9 a.m. from the Instituto Cultural Mexicano, which is 250 meters south of Subaru.

This is by no means a colonial area. Until about 1947 the land was the Los Yoses coffee farm that was the property of Francisco Montealegre. The name comes from the yos tree (Sapium glandulosum), which grew in the area. According to Alliance, it was not until after the 1942 death of Montealegre that his heirs began to develop the area, first along what is now Avenida Central, the four-lane main drag.

Photo via Alliance Française Photo of supermarket appears to be from the 1960s. The store still is in operation.

Young architect Jorge Borbón Zeller and some of his other foreign educated contemporaries found the area perfect for developing their modern style with straight lines and large windows. They designed many fine homes, and the area was an upscale neighborhood. Some sections, such as Barrio Dent, still are.

Los Yoses stretches to the south to the Río Ocloro and to the east to the Circunvalación highway. A major structure is the Mall San Pedro and the famous Fuente de Hispanidad at the mall traffic circle. Alliance says that the barrio contains the
biggest accumulation of international style architecture to be found in the Central Valley.

Other architectural points of interest include the church of Nuestra Señora de Fátima and a multi-story structure for the Institute Costarricense de Electricidad.

Alliance is soliciting reservations for the guided tour. The walk ends back at the Mexican institute for lunch and a discussion. Those interested can contact the organization at its three offices, Barrio Amón, La Sabana and Heredia.

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