Casa Blanca

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Built in 1521, Casa Blanca (White House) served as the first fortification of the San Juan islet. It was the residence for Juan Ponce de León (First Governor of Puerto Rico) and his family, and also his cousins, although de León died in an expedition to Florida without ever getting to occupy the structure. It was used as the residence of his descendants, until the mid-18th century.

As a fortification it served mostly as a refuge in times of attack from Taino rebels.[1] for the short rebellion that ended peacefully after a comisison of Caciques(Chieftains) negotiated peace. The house was built in wood but was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in stone and masonry.

Casa Blanca, it was the first governor’s residence in Puerto Rico when the capital was moved to the Islet of San Juan in 1521. Refurbished along 500 years it was the governors’ residence until the mid 1700s when the Castle-Fortress of St. Catherine (better known as La Fortaleza) was modernized and became an actual residence-Palace. After that, it was increasingly in disuse until after World War II. It was rescued by the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture. The surrounding gardens were planted by Gen. Brooks the first American Military governor of the island in the 20th century. In 1967, the complex was transferred to the government of Puerto Rico and declared a historical monument. In 1981, it was recorded in the Historic American Buildings Survey. Today, the house is a museum of 16th and 17th century artifacts managed by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.

Address: San Sebastián Street #1, Old San Juan, PR
Hours: Open Tuesday – Sunday from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm & 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Phones: 787-725-1454 / 787-724-0700
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