jaimemontilla.com

Central Rufina
Guayanilla

 
Date Established: 1901
Date Ceased Operations: 1967
Annual Production Graph
Average Annnual Production: 23,161 Tons
Best Production Year: 1952/39,946 Tons
Family Ownership: Mercado
 
Rufina originated from the consolidation of Hacienda Faro, Hacienda Rufina acquired in 1896 by José Trujillo Pizá from Dionisio Torres and his wife Rufina, and Hacienda San Colombano which in the 1850's was started by Antonio Francisco Negroni, my 3rd great-grandfather on my mother's side.  The original owner of Central Rufina was the firm Trujillo & Mercado whose partners were José Trujillo Pizá and Mario Mercado Montalvo (1855-1937).  In 1916, Trujillo, who was aslo partner in the firm Trujillo, Subiña & Cia. which operated a harware store in Ponce called El Cometa, sold his interest to Mercado who then became sole owner.  

Mercado Montalvo had four children (Mario, Adrian, Margarita and Maria Luisa) who inherited Rufina after his death in 1937.  The administration of Rufina then rested in the hands of Mercado's son Mario Mercado Riera (1885-1973) who owned a majority interest in the sugar mill after acquiring Maria Luisa's participation.
 
In 1935 Mercado Riera (1887-1975) built a mansion at the top of a mountain overlooking the sugar mill, commonly referred to as "El Castillo de Mario Mercado" or the Mario Mercado Castle which picture you can see in the Other Architects Gallery in the Architecture Project page.  As a kid, with his grandson who was my friend and neighbor, we would often spend the day there playing around and going horseback riding on the grounds of Rufina.  
 
The land in the immediate vicinity of where the sugar mill was located is currently being used to grow fruits.  According to one of the farm workers there, the smoke stack was damaged by  Hurricane Georges  in 1998. 
 
In 1974 its machinery and equipment was sold to Palo Gordo Sugar Mill in Guatemala.
  1. Managing Director