Las Tunas, Cuba.- The houses tell the messages of men in this world. Their tastes, longings...; their tracks, their pardons... Everything fits between the cracks of the walls and the ceilings that give shelter and reasons to the lineage that inhabits them. The story is not different in the house number 73, in 24 de Febrero Street, near Martí Park, in the city of Puerto Padre.
Francisco Ramón Álvarez Suárez, its current owner, was born more than seven decades ago there; he is also well-known as Francisquito. But the large house has a history preceded by times. And some people even come to swear that these days it celebrate its 131 years standing, despite the fact that the files of the Land Registry settle its construction in 1905.
The house retains its old majesty. And whoever doubts it, its roofs of French tiles and high strut shine, the small wooden boards of its walls, the support of precious wood; the interior patio, with its ancient system to collect water and the cistern; and even the floors, which change designs and colors according to the place you are walking on as accomplices.
It has had many owners such as Mercedes Tornet Villareal, famous inhabitant from Bayamo, an a very outstanding mambisa, wife of Francisco Varona González, the major general of the Liberator Army, recognized defender of Cuba in the three wars of independence, and mother of his five children.
Then, Pablo Casanova Socarrás and Gervasio Álvarez Artime were the following owners, until Francisquito's father, Ramón Álvarez Artime, bought the house, for a price of one thousand pesos in the official currency of the time, back in 1942.
Those have been the known owners, according to official documents. There could be more. Not in vain the front wall of the dwelling has an inscription in ceramic tiles that reads: Villa Matilde and Ramón since 1902.
The truth is that, at present, this beautiful building, with its Miami-style windows, which holds 10 objects inventoried by the Register of Cultural Assets, is the pride of those who bet here for the defense and conservation of heritage; which is how to say, the passage of man and his works in this region of Cuba.
Hopefully, this good result will mark a clear difference and is a prelude to an intense and united work on issues of conservation and patrimonial restoration. Being so, maybe one day we can tell our children how much we have done and grown for a long time, through the knockers, porcelain, furniture and swings scattered through these places.