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Margarita/Ballester
Lares

   
Hacienda Margarita also known at one time as Hacienda Ballester, was established in 1874 by Spanish immigrants from Mallorca, brothers Damián, Cristóbal and Nicolás Magraner Morell.  In 1874 Hacienda Margarita consisted of 293 acres and in 1884 of 500 acres which produced 120 quintals, making it one of the three larger coffee producers in Lares.  In 1894 records show that Margarita belonged solely to Damian Magraner Morell who by the end of the century Damian had returned to Mallorca where he retired.

Since ca. 1928 the hacienda belonged to Spanish immigrant from Sóller Juan Ballester Castañer (1879-1957) who grew it to 1,800 cuerdas by adding among others Hacienda Los Velez which remains today lie West of SR-4431.  At this time it came to be known as Hacienda Ballester. After the death of Juan Ballester in 1957, it was inherited by his grandson Juan Colón Ballester who sold Margarita to Joaquin Oronoz and Emiliano Ruiz who in turn lost the property in 1964. On or about 1966 when it consisted of about 1,300 cuerdas, it was acquired by its current owner Francisco Levy who own the nearby Hacienda Rio Prieto.  We have recently learned that in 2018 the hacienda was acquired by the Conservation Trust of PR.

The remote location of Hacienda Margarita makes it unique.  It is reached through a paved road that begins toward the North just west of the bridge over Quebrada Achiote at KM 6 of PR-431 and a 1¼ mile dirt trail some sections of which are quite steep.  The dirt road is very narrow due to the dense forest which made it impossible for us to reach the facilities. 

In the valley near the river just at the end of the paved road and part of Hacienda Margarita, there was a small sugar plantation and a sugar mill.  Of the mill, the only remain is an axle of the three mass crusher made by The Blymer Iron Works Co. in Cincinatti, OH.  According to a neighbor, the axle lies near where the chimney and the Jamaican Train were located until the 1990s but unfortunately now no longer there.  

​The aerial picture below is made available courtesy of Archeologist Dr. Luis Pumarada O'Neill.  The black and white pictures are part of a 1987 study by Dr. Pumarada, courtesy of the Puerto Rico State Historic Preservation Office.