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Central Fajardo
Fajardo

 
Date Established: 1905
Date Ceased Operations: 1977
Annual Production Graph
Average Annual Production: 44,244 Tons
Best Production Year: 1934/86,398 Tons
Family Ownership: Armstrong, Bird
Corporate Ownership: Fajardo Sugar Company, Fajardo Sugar Comany of PR, Fajardo Eastern Sugar Association, C. Brewer, PR, Inc.
 
The Fajardo Sugar Company was incorporated in New York City in March 1905 by Lorenzo D. Armstrong, James Bliss Coombs, Henry Couger and Jorge Bird Arias.  Bliss Combs who acted as President, was an attorney with the New York City firm Armstrong & Keith, he was also treasurer of West India Finance Corporation (see  Central Carmen ) and an officer at L. W. & P. Armstrong, a New York sugar brokerage firm.  Fajardo was not Lorenzo D. Armstrong's first investment in a sugar mill in Puerto Rico, his first investment in Puerto Rico was Central Progreso in Carolina together with Frederick Barnes.  Armstrong, also an attorney at Armstrong & Keith, was Director at the Cuban American Sugar Co. where Henry Havenmeyer of the American Sugar Refining Co. was also a director.
 
In 1919 the Fajardo Sugar Company of Porto Rico was incorporated to take over all the assets and liabilities of the Fajardo Sugar Company.  It had controlling interest over the Fajardo Sugar Grower's Association and the Fajardo Development Company.  It owned 15,000 acres of land outright and an additional 12,000 under long term lease.  Its officers were James Bliss Combs - President, Albert Bunker, Loring N. Farnum, Lorenzo D. Armstong - Vicepresidents, Frederick S. Armstrong - Secretary-Treasurer and John B. Warnuck - Asst Sec-Treas.  In addition to all the officers, additional members of the Board of Directors were; James H. Post, George R. Bunker, Thomas H. Howell, Thomas A. Howell , Edwin Packard, Jorge Bird Arias and Joaquin Casanovas.  In 1933, John Bass, an officer at L. W. & P. Armstrong was elected President of the Fajardo Sugar Co. as per this 1938 report by Proudfoot's Commercial Agency
 
Fajardo was a clone of the Chaparra mill in Cuba and was built by the same Engineer; Samuel Vickess.  Both Chaparra and Fajardo were controlled by B. H. Howell & Co. and the National Sugar Refining Co. of NJ.  James Howell Post, who was a Director of the National City Bank and Thomas B. Howell were directors of Fajardo as well as of Aguirre .
 
The Fajardo Sugar Company was the third sugar mill established with US capital after the Guanica Centrale and Central Aguirre and the first with combined US-Puerto Rican participation in capital and management, the other 2 being Central Rochelaise in Mayaguez and Central Juncos .  The Puerto Rican participation increased over the years as can be seen in the 1950 Annual Report to Stcockholders .  Throughout the years, four US corporations owned or controlled multiple sugar mills; Fajardo Sugar Corporation, Aguirre Sugar Company , South Porto Rico Sugar Company  and United Porto Rican Sugar Company.  The Fajardo Sugar Corporation owned  Central Canovanas  in the nearby  town of Loiza.  It was one of the largest sugar mills on the island.

In 1957 Fajardo Sugar Co. of PR merged with Eastern Sugar Associates creating the Fajardo Eastern Sugar Association.  In 1961 Fajardo Eastern Sugar Association was aquired by C. Brewer PR. Inc. a subsidiary of C. Brewer & Co. of Hawaii which venture was not successfull and lasted only 6 years.  C. Brewer PR, Inc. and its five remaing sugar mills Fajardo, Canovanas, Juncos, Santa Juana and Cayey  (Pasto Viejo and Defensa had shut down in 1959 and 1939 respectively) were acquired in 1967 by the Government of Puerto Rico.   
  
The sugar mill built a number of houses for its workers or " batey ".  Today, these comprise the area knownas "Barrio Jerusalén" adjacent to the sugar mill remains.  Most of the original houses have been remodeled and improved and are currently occupied.  One of the pictures below is the structure of an abandoned house which, as stated by a neighbor, is the never altered original design.
 
The sugar mill's location is now right in the middle of town, adjacent to the Superior Courthouse Building.  The sugar mill was dismantled in 1995 and in 2011 its machinery and equipment was sold in Honduras, whatever remained was sold as scrap.