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Puerto Plata's Victorian houses as small models
What distinguishes the "bride of the Atlantic", Puerto Plata, from most of the other, mostly hard-to-distinguish, faceless Dominican cities is their character, which shows in its Victorian houses.
Unfortunately, the ravages of time and the salty air of the nearby Atlantic have contributed to the decay of these architectural jewels, which were started to be built during the Restoration War, which ended in the Dominican Republic's final independence in 1865.
The style became fashionable in the 1870s and is originally from England, called "Victorian" after Queen Victoria. Puerto Plata flourished in those times when many European businessmen came to trade tobacco and sugar. Local families became wealthy and showed this, among other things, by the construction of Victorian wooden houses, which soon became a hallmark of the whole province.
But after the boom was over, the beautiful wooden houses began to decay. Lack of interest in their upkeep and the lack of awareness of the treasure by their owners made them fall into pieces and many of them were torn down.
And even after the beginning of the big tourism boom, when Puerto Plata became the most visited place in the country, the responsibles in charge did not realize that these pretty wooden buildings could be a major tourist attraction. And so they dilapidated more and more.
Only in recent years some people became aware and started to restore some of the still reasonably usable houses. Today, they are the unmistakable hallmarks of the city, such as at the Parque de la Independencia, where they became the jewels of the city after their restoration. But in some side streets nearby, there are still some dilapidated Victorian houses that probably are be beyond saving.
One who is aware of this treasure and tries to keep alive the memories of this glorious time in Puerto Plata is the artisan Eddy D'Orville, who was born in the city of Puerto Plata. He builds the Victorian houses, often known by the name of their owner family, as small wooden models.
The most famous Victorian house is probably Doña Carmen's blue house to the right of the Mariposa ice cream parlor, the former Hotel Madrid, at the Parque de la Independencia, also known as Parque Central, whose model can be seen on the first photo on this site. The Victorian Pavilion in the middle of the Parque Central is now the hallmark of Puerto Plata.
Eddy D'Orville builds them all as models and sells them in his studio near the Cestur at the Malecón of Puerto Plata.
The small works of art are suitable as an alternative souvenir or as an original present - in addition to the Larimar jewelry or cigars, popular with tourists. The prices for the models, which are mounted in a frame, already start at just over 1,500 pesos. The most expensive work costs only 3,000 pesos. Amazingly cheap for the work that is in each of these little gems.
Eddy D'Orville can be reached on facebook at his name or by calling 809-586-3523.