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Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional, Dominican Republic
 

The Academy of Sciences Building of the Dominican Republic

 
 
The Academy of Sciences Building of the Dominican Republic Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, March 10, 2018
1. The Academy of Sciences Building of the Dominican Republic Marker
Inscription.  
Historia de la Casa de la Academia de Ciencias de la República Dominicana
La casa que aloja la Academia de Ciencias, situada en la calle Las Damas esquina del Conde, según el historiador Luis Alemar era la residencia de la familia Infante y sucesores, que posteriormente fue comprada por el Mayorazgo de Bastidas.

Un aspecto de importancia que tenía esta edificación lo constituyó su privilegiada ubicación, en la que fue la primera calle de América, construida durante el gobierno de Nicolás de Ovando. Esta se extendía desde la Fortaleza Ozama, llamada también Torre del Homenaje o Torre de la Vigía, hasta las cercanías del Alcázar.

Como requisito para la construcción de las primeras casas de la Villa de Santo Domingo, desde 1512 se emitió una serie de disposiciones y regulaciones que los residentes debían cumplir para poder construir sus viviendas. Se recomendaba que usaran piedras y ladrillos con la finalidad de protegerse de los constantes ataques de los corsarios. Ya para el año 1518 esta ciudad tenía más o menos cuatrocientas casas.

Durante el gobierno del Segundo Almirante y virrey Don
The Academy of Sciences Building of the Dominican Republic and Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, March 10, 2018
2. The Academy of Sciences Building of the Dominican Republic and Marker
The marker is to the left of the main entrance to the building. To the right of the entrance are two informational markers about the Academy of Sciences.
Diego Colón y María de Toledo, sobrina-nieta del Rey Fernando el Católico; este mandato contó con miembros importantes de la sociedad y la jerarquía de España, y damas importantes de la época que tomaron como lugar de residencia la Calle de la Fortaleza. Esta angosta vía se convirtió en el espacio para las caminatas y paseos de las damas de la nobleza española, razón por la cual tomó su nombre de calle Las Damas.

Esta histórica vía ha tenido varios nombres. Primero fue bautizada calle de la Fortaleza; luego Las Damas, nombre que conservó hasta el 21 de marzo de 1859, cuando el Ayuntamiento de la común de Santo Domingo decidió lamarla Calle Colón. También fue conocida como de la Capitanía General, del Gobierno, del Palacio, y del Convento de Los Jesuitas, y finalmente recobró su nombre emblemático: Las Damas.

La casa que alberga esta Academia de Ciencias, originalmente tenía una sola planta, con un área de construcción de 700 metros cuadrados, fabricada con piedra caliza, ladrillos, tapias, cal y tejas. En el interior tenía tres arcos de medio punto, enmarcados dentro de un alfiz en ladrillo y columna de piedra, que daba al patio interior y además tenía una serie de nichos.

En los trabajos de restauración se encontraron puertas y ventanas que daban al exterior, así como algunas puertas interiores que habían sido tapiadas y cambiadas de sitios y otras
The Academy of Sciences Building of the Dominican Republic and Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, March 10, 2018
3. The Academy of Sciences Building of the Dominican Republic and Marker
This view is towards the north along Las Damas, with the Academy of Sciences building to the left.
que comunicaban con el lado sur.

Esta casa fue abandonada por largo tiempo, sufriendo un proceso de deterioro considerable, y se le hicieron varias intervenciones, las más importantes fueron las siguientes: se abrieron grandes puertas y ventanas, se bajó el nivel del piso y se construyó una segunda planta con escalera interior. En los tiempos recientes, cada nuevo inquilino la ha modificado de acuerdo a sus intereses y necesidades. Fue utilizada para la instalación de diferentes tipos de negocios desde un taller de ebanistería, un local para la venta de automóviles y para depósito de provisiones.

Para el año 1978 se iniciaron los trabajos de recuperación de este inmueble bajo la responsabilidad del arquitecto restaurador Esteban Prieto Vicioso y con la supervisión del arquitecto Eugenio Pérez Montás. Para la realización de dichos trabajos se conformó un equipo multidisciplinario correspondiendo la investigación histórica al Dr. Manuel Mañón Arredondo, el estudio de los materiales coloniales a María Nieves Sincart. Las primeras excavaciones arqueológicas estuvieron a cargo de Manuel Garcia Arévalo y la segunda a los arqueólogos Elpidio Ortega y Gabriel Atiles.

Tanto en las primeras excavaciones arqueológicas de 1978 como en la segunda jornada del 1999, se determinó la presencia de material arqueológico prehispánico, estableciendo algún enclave aborigen la zona y el posterior contacto, entre ambas culturas. Además, en el patio interior dejaron al descubierto un pozo de agua, un aljibe, los canales que dirigían el agua lluvia desde el techo y un pozo para basura.

También, se descubrieron numerosos objetos como: clavos de construcción del siglo XVI, diferentes fragmentos de plato mayólica, de lebrillos para agua, botijuela y cazuela con vidriado, entre muchos otros. Estos hallazgos confirman la temprana época de la construcción (siglo XVl). La abundancia de restos de alimentos fortalece la idea de la prestancia y el buen comer de sus ocupantes. Estos materiales arqueológicos están expuestos en la Sala Arqueológica Elpidio Ortega de esta institución.

El Senado de la República entregó este edificio para albergar la Academia de Ciencias de la República Dominicana, mediante el decreto del Poder Ejecutivo No. 1097 de fecha 8 de junio de 1975, un año después de ser fundada esta corporación científica; el 20 de enero de 2011 la Jurisdicción Inmobiliaria del Poder Judicial de la República Dominicana, le otorgó el certificado de título que acredita a la ACRD propietaria de este inmueble.


English translation:
History of the Academy of Sciences Building of the Dominican Republic
This building house the Academy of Sciences and is located at the corner of Las Damas and Conde Streets. According to the historian Luis Alemar it was the residence of the Infante family and their successors, which was later bought by the Mayorazgo de Bastidas.

This building’s importance is partly derived from its privileged location, here on the very first street in America, built during the government of Nicolás de Ovando. This street extended from the Ozama Fortress, also called Tower of Tribute or the Tower of Vigilance, to the outskirts of the Alcázar.

As a requisite for the construction of the first houses in the Villa de Santo Domingo, since 1512 there were issued a series of provisions and regulations that residents had to meet to build their homes. It was recommended that they use stones and bricks in order to protect themselves from the constant attacks of corsairs. By the year 1518 this city was made up of more or less four hundred houses.

During the government of the Second Admiral and Viceroy Diego Colón and María de Toledo, niece-granddaughter of King Ferdinand the Catholic, this mandate included important members of society and the hierarchy of Spain, and important ladies of the time who lived on the Calle de la Fortaleza (Fort Street). This narrow road became the recreational space of the ladies of the Spanish nobility, which is why it has come to be known as Las Damas.

This historic road has had several names over the years. It was first named Calle de la Fortaleza; then Las Damas, a name that was kept until March 21, 1859, when the City Council of Santo Domingo decided to call it Calle Colón (Columbus Street). It was also known as the street of the Captaincy General, the Government, the Palace, and the Convent of the Jesuits, finally regaining its emblematic name: Las Damas.

The building that now houses the Academy of Sciences originally had a single floor, with a construction area of 700 square meters made of walls of limestone, bricks, lime and tiles. In the interior it had three semicircular arches, framed with brick and stone columns, that led out to the inner patio. In addition it had a series of niches.

During the restoration work doors and windows facing the outside were discovered, as well as some interior doors that had been bricked up and changed over time, as well as others that communicated with the south side of the building.

This house was abandoned for a long time, suffering considerable deterioration in that time. Many interventions were made during that time, but the most important were the following: large doors and windows were opened, the floor level was lowered and a second floor with a staircase was built inside. In recent times, each new tenant has modified it according to their interests and needs. It was used for the installation of different types of businesses, including a carpentry shop, a shop for the sale of cars and for the storage of provisions.

In 1978 work began on the recovery of this property under the responsibility of the restoration architect Esteban Prieto Vicioso under the supervision of the architect Eugenio Pérez Montás. For the realization of these works, a multidisciplinary team was formed: Dr. Manuel Mañón Arredondo in charge of historical research and María Nieves Sincart supervising the use of colonial building materials. The first archaeological excavations were in charge of Manuel Garcia Arévalo. The second archaeological excavations were led by Elpidio Ortega and Gabriel Atiles.

Both in the first archaeological excavations of 1978 and the second of 1999, the presence of pre-Hispanic archaeological material was determined, establishing that an aboriginal enclave existed in the area and also confirming subsequent contact between both cultures. In addition, in the inner courtyard a water well, a cistern, channels that directed the rain water from the roof and a well for garbage were discovered and restored.

Also, numerous objects were discovered, such as: 16th century nails used in construction, different fragments of ceramic plates, water basins and other examples of glazed pottery. These findings confirm the early construction period (16th century). The abundance of food remains strengthens the idea that the inhabitants of the residence ate a varied and rich diet. These archaeological materials are all displayed in the Elpidio Ortega Archaeological Hall of this institution.

The Senate of the Republic delivered this building to the Academy of Sciences of the Dominican Republic, by decree of Executive Power No. 1097 dated June 8, 1975, one year after this scientific corporation was founded; On January 20, 2011 the Real Estate Commission of the Judicial Powers of the Dominican Republic granted the certificate of title that accredits the ACRD as the owner of this property.
 
Erected 2012.
 
Location. 18° 28.434′ N, 69° 52.965′ W. Marker is in Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional. Marker is on Calle Las Damas just north of Calle Padre Billini, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional 10210, Dominican Republic.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. House of the Lions (a few steps from this marker); History of the Dominican Society of the Bibliophiles’ House (within shouting distance of this marker); The House of the Rectory (within shouting distance of this marker); The Bastidas House (within shouting distance of this marker); The French Embassy (within shouting distance of this marker); Christopher Columbus' Last Residence (within shouting distance of this marker); Calle de las Damas (within shouting distance of this marker); The Fortress of Santo Domingo (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Santo Domingo.
 
Categories. ArchitectureColonial EraMan-Made FeaturesPolitics
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 30, 2018. This page originally submitted on March 30, 2018, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. This page has been viewed 78 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 30, 2018, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.
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