San Jose’s first suburb will be location for historic tour Saturday

Courtesy of Alliance Française
One of the Barrio Amón mansions that was home to the elite at the beginning of the 20th century

Barrio Amón is called the first San José suburb, and it is well known for the many early 20th century homes that are there.

Alliance Française plans another of its walks through history Saturday with a tour of the barrio, which is the north side of Avenida 7. This is a continuation of the tours that have taken participants through Barrio México, the downtown Catholic churches, Los Yoses and even the Mercado Central.

The headquarters of the French cultural organization happens to be in Barrio Amón in a restored period home complete with front porch.

The barrio was where the better-off citizens of the community began making their homes after Frenchman Amon Fasileau Duplantier began subdividing his property at the end of the 19th century. The barrio of Amon quickly became Barrio Amón.

The tour requires reservations, and walkers will leave the Alliance Française building at Avenida 7 and Calle 5 at 9 a.m. Saturday, the organization said. The group will return for brunch there and a discussion of the barrio.

Fasileau came to Costa Rica in 1885 to be in the coffee business. He would not be the last expat to be lured into the real estate business. He installed sidewalks and other infrastructure and began selling lots before the turn of the century.

The area had and still does have a view of the central mountains and volcanoes. Just like today, the developer had his political problems. There was a long-time public laundry facility at the Río Torres to the north, and the developer wanted to remove it for aesthetic reasons. No way, the municipality said, and it was years before the washing area and the lines full of clothing were eliminated.

Alliance Française also has published a list of such walks that will be offered during the year. They include a visit to Heredia April 20, another tour through Barrio México June 8, a visit to the Protestant churches of San José Aug. 10 and a trip to Barrio Escalante Oct. 19.

The tours are 15,000 colons per person including brunch. Reservations are accepted at 2222-2283.

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