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Central Monserrate
Manatí

 
Date Established: 1894
Date Ceased Operations: 1972
Annual Production Graph
Average Annual Production: 17,046 Tons
Best Production Year: 1942/41,120 Tons
Family Ownership: Calaf
 
Salvador Calaf Serra (1925-1903), a Catalonian immigrant from Barcelona who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1841, started with a mercantile establishment in Manati dedicated to the purchase and sale of cattle, slaves, agricultural products, machinery and equipment and crop financing. 
 
The beginnings of Monserrate date back to 1845 when Salvador acquired the 50 acre Hacienda Francés which had an ox driven "trapiche".  
Additional lands were soon acquired and added to the Hacienda Francés among which were the 172 acre Hacienda Carmen and Hacienda Rincón Grande. 
 
The most important acquisition though, was Hacienda El Tamarindo in 1857.  Bernarda Gonzalez ( -1854) was a Venezuelan immigrant who arrived in Puerto Rico shortly after the Royal Decree of Graces of 1815 and by 1818 was already owner of the 35 acre Hacienda Tamarindo.  She married Jose Maria Vega ( -1854) who added his 15 acre Hacienda Rincón to Tamarindo.   They had one daughter by the name Petrona Vega Gonzalez (1822-1899) who together with Bernarda's daughter Antonia Gonzalez, born of unknown father prior to her marriage with Jose Maria, were sole heirs of Bernarda.  Petrona was the only heir of Jose Maria who included in his Last Will and Testament assets not of his own which his brother had left him to administer for the benefit of his minor children.
 
All lands inherited by Petrona, some in rather dubious ways as stated above, were sold in 1857 to her then consensual partner and later husband, Salvador Calaf.  These included the Hacienda Tamarindo, Hacienda Rincón and additional land owned by Jose Maria's brother.  In 1863, Salvador consolidates all of them into the Hacienda Monserrate and sells Monserrate to José Lucas Aranzamendi, thus detaching himself from any wrongdoing in the way Petrona had acquired her inheritance.
 
After selling Monserrate, Salvador acquired several farms with which he established the Hacienda Victoria.  In 1867 Salvador files a foreclosure suit against Aranzamendi for non-payment of the deferred balance of the purchase price and in 1869 received title to the then 347 acre Hacienda Monserrate as a result of the foreclosure proceedings.  After all was said and done, Hacienda Monserratet consisted of 1,845 acres product of the consolidation of a dozen or so haciendas and several farms. 
 
In 1873 a steam mill was installed.  Starting with the 1883 season, the Hacienda was run by Federico Calaf Rivera (1845-1924), only son of Salvador; in 1887 he leased it from his father.  It was during Federico's tenure that Monserrate was modernized with machinery acquired from the London firm P. Isaacson, started distilling rum and finally became a Central sugar factory in 1894 with machinery acquired from Cail & Co. of Paris.  It was later run by Federico's sons Jaime and Federico Calaf Collazo until its closure.
 
Monserrate is approximately 3 1/4 miles from Central Plazuela  and shares the same valley pictured in the Central Los Caños  page.  Its remains are now in a fenced in location within the facilities used by Safety Kleen, a firm that engages in the handling and disposal of hazardous materials.  Due to this, we could only take a picture from a distance.  In any event, we understand its only remain is the smoke stack, of which only a few feet remain because it had to be cut due to its bad state and the risk of crumbling down.

The old Calaf family residence near the smoke stack is still standing but abandoned and deteriorated.  Our effors to gain access to it have not been successful to date but as soon as we can pictures of same will be included herein.
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