I wanted to do a series of posts about Valparaiso's architecture and how it used to look compared to today. So i found a load of old photos of buildings downtown and their addresses from 1925 and headed out. Now, one thing i hadn't foreseen was that although the street names are all the same, they changed all the numbers. I mean, they're not even close now. Another problem was the 1985 earthquake that demolished a lot of old buildings. Some buildings that survived simply had their top floors chopped off meaning they're unrecognisable from their former glories. Another problem is that a lot of old buildings were demolished in the name of 'progress'.
So out of 8 buildings i had in mind, i found 2 that were still there. The other might be around somewhere but i walked for a long time and didn't see them.
The former Banco Anglo is now a Banco Santander. The angle was impossible for this photo. I don't know where the guy took the original from but my guess is in the middle of the fountain behind and with a wide angle lens. The building looks pretty similar but is now missing one of its spire-y things on the roof. It's a really beautiful building-the interior is incredible Some day i'm going to ask if i can take some photos of the details inside but i doubt they'll let me. It is a bank, after all.
The former Banco de Londres is now a ServiPag-it's where you got to pay your bills because direct debits never work and you end up getting your gas and water cut off for the institutional incompetence of the Utility providers and banks. You'll notice that front porchy thing has gone as has a mini-floor in the middle of the building right at the top. Some of the decoration has been stripped off as well and the new windows are cheap aluminium. But at least it's still there.
So, with my plans thwarted, i decided to investigate a building i'd been told about. I can't, unfortunately, remember the story behind the building, just that it was privately owned but with the door open all day long. I went to sneak a peak...the outside of the place is quite nice but the inside is incredible but in pretty bad shape. Have a look at the ornate wood carvings and the sheer quantity of plaster molds around the walls and in the skylight part. Some of the pictures in the molds are really cool. The building is on Serrano 543, between Plaza Sotomayor and where the gas explosion occurred in February. Definitely worth a nosey if you're in town.