Behind Dave you can see a field of henequen plants. These plants made the elite classes of the Yucatan very wealthy at the turn of the century.
We did a tour of a plantation that grew henequen, a plant from the cactus family used to make rope and twine. The heyday for the henequen industry in the Yucatan was between 1880 and 1930 when henequen fibre was exported around the world to be turned into a sturdy twine that could be used to bind crops together into bundles or bales.
One of the restored homes of the wealthy plantation owners in the city of Merida
The thriving henequen industry made the elite class of the Yucatan incredibly rich. Here in the Merida area where we are staying these wealthy people all had mansions in the city. You can still see many of them because they have been restored. However they also built beautiful homes or haciendas on their henequen plantations near Merida.
Frog fountain in the hacienda front yard
The plantation owner might come to the hacienda more regularly to attend to business but his family would join him on the weekends.
Standing on the porch of the hacienda with our guide Juan
We toured one of these haciendas on a plantation that was called Sotutua de Peon. It was established by a man named Don Peón in the late 1800s near the village of Tecoh and was one of thirteen plantations owned by the Peón family.
This beautiful tile pattern adorned the lower half of the entire balcony.
The hacienda fell into a state of disrepair after the henequen industry crashed due to the invention of plastic twine.
The large hacienda has been restored beautifully. My sister and I are posing to show how the rooms open one into the other no doubt to make it easy for a breeze to blow through the house and keep it cool. Look at the beautiful chandeliers .
Some fifteen years ago the plantation was purchased by a German man Adolfo Lubke who restored many of the buildings, built others and turned the plantation into a hotel and tour destination for visitors to the Yucatan.
My brother-in-law who is an accountant was interested in these old business machines in the room that served as the Don Peron’s office.
As a writer I was interested in this old typewriter. Check out the ornate desk!
Our tour guide Juan didn’t spend nearly enough time in the hacienda or plantation house as I would have liked.
The hacienda diningroom
I wanted to know more about the family that originally lived there as well as more about the period furniture, dishes and linens.
There were at least four different sitting rooms in the house. See the woman in traditional Mexican dress on the wall? Note the simple wooden frame around the door and two other unique light fixtures in the adjoining rooms. Also see the pattern hand painted on the wall separating the two different colors.
In this sitting room look at the heavy wooden doors, and the beautiful floor tiles.
Still is was quite something to see the luxury in which the family lived and I wondered if the haciendas on the other dozen plantations they owned were equally elegant.
This bed didn’t look comfortable but see the lovely edging on the bedspread as well as the madonna in the case on the stand by the bed. There was a picture of Jesus over the bed looking down on the people sleeping as you can see in the next photo.
This treadle sewing machine reminded me of one my grandmother had. Check out the tile pattern on the floor.
My sister and I had to take a picture by this antique Studebaker in the hacienda stable since our grandfather once owned a Studebaker.
We spent the day on the plantation and I will do future posts about the making of henequen twine, the Mayan employees/slaves who worked on the plantations, our rides from place to place on mule pulled wagons and the beautiful cenote on the site where we went swimming.
The Symphony Mexican Style
To Market To Market
Cooking Up a Storm in the Yucatan