San José

Hacienda San José was established ca. 1825 in Barrio Cañabón by Spanish immigrant Manuel Ríos Gimenez who by 1834 was one of the main taxpayers in Caguas.  The hacienda produced oranges, plantains, rice, bananas, coffee, and other crops but later on sugarcane became its principal product.  After the death of José, his son Manuel Ríos inherited the hacienda and introduced steam powered machinery and more efficient sugar production techniques.
Until 1863, when the leadership passed on to Hacienda Santa Catalina , Hacienda San José was known as the major producer of sugar, rum and molasses in Caguas.  After the US occupation in 1898, sugar production methods in Puerto Rico were modernized and a number of new Central sugar factories were established.  The trapiches could not compete and ended up being sugar cane suppliers to the big Centrales.  This was the case of San José which in 1912 also ended up a sugar cane supplier of Central Santa Juana .
In 1920, Fernando Guarch Ríos, the great grandson of José Rios who had inherited the hacienda, resisted becoming a simple sugar cane supplier and formed Central Defensa, which in 1926 was one of the 5 Centrales acquired by the United Puerto Rican Sugar Co.  By 1928, Hacienda San José, strangled by economic pressure, once again became a sugar cane supplier for nearby  Central Santa Juana .  In 1972, Hacienda San José officially stopped cultivating sugar cane. 
Today, 53 cuerdas of what used to be this hacienda form part of the 113 cuerdas Caguas Botanical Gardens owned and maintained by the Caguas Municipal Government.  The remains have been very well kept as can be seen by the pictures below.  In them you can see how technology changed from a Spanish Train where kettles were heated individually, to the Jamaican Train where kettles were heated in series by only one heat source.  You can also see the different types of mills; from a wooden blood driven mill, to a blood driven mill with steel covered rollers, to a steam driven mill.  In one of the pictures you can see the kettles in the order they were heated in the Jamaican Train with the larger one closest to the heat source and the smallest one the farthest away.  You can also see the slave headquarters or "Barracón".