Corrugated City

Wednesday 30 April 2008

Hotel Colon

I've been posting slightly manically for the past couple of weeks so as tomorrow is May 1st, I'm going to take a short break until after the weekend. If you haven't checked in for a while, take a look back over the last 2 or 3 pages by clicking on 'older posts' at the bottom of the page.

So today's post is about the Hotel Colon. The hotel was built in 1846 by the US architect William Jenkins. It was Valparaiso's finest and most beautiful hotel of its day. In 1886, French actress Sarah Bernhardt stayed there. And that's your lot. There's pretty much no more information about the building available online. I really am going to have to go to the library and search through the archives some day.

The ex-hotel today is in an appalling state inside. It has been left to rot and chopped up into copy shops and tiny little offices. No maintenance whatsoever has been undertaken to keep this emblematic building in even half decent shape.

The ground floor Kodak locale is probably the best maintained of the entire building.

The marble entrance staircase is poor shape, cracked and broken.

What I assume would have been the reception area is now a little photo studio. My photo is glued to the display cabinet.

The main staircase, along with all the wood in the building, is in very bad condition although it wouldn't take a great deal of work to get it looking beautiful again.

The original skylight has been replaced with cheap corrugated plastic.

The ceiling on the first floor is suffering from water damage.

As are many of the rooms. The next two photos are from the second floor, which is used as some kind of carpentry workshop. I couldn't get to the third floor as the staircase was completely blocked up with wood. I could just about see up though-it's used as storage.

Here's a view of one of Harrington's.

The back of the building has sea views...

...which would have been especially pretty back in the 1800s-before Calle Blanco became a motorway- from one of the balconies.

Another piece of Valparaiso's architectural heritage in practical ruin.


Allison Azersky said...

Wait.... WAIT. You mentioned libraries.... have you had any luck with them?!? I'm in library withdrawal...

Matt said...

No, never been in. But I have an extensive english language book collection that can be hired for a handsome fee. Also, there's an english language bookshop run by a canadian guy just down by plaza anibal pinto. But you have to buy his books.

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