The origin of this neighborhood is related with deep national traditions and enhanced with the presence of the emblematic O’Higgins Park (1873) and Club Hípico (1869) (a horse race track).
It was originally a rural area, considered as the south access of the city and where aristocracy made business related with buying and selling animals. This site started to transform in the second half of XIXth century, with the construction of Cousiño Park, nowadays O’Higgins Park, where previously the Government of Manuel Bulnes enabled Campo de Marte, a large wasteland, for military exercises. Works for transforming Campo de Marte into a public park were funded by Luis Cousiño using his personal wealth.
It was inaugurated in 1873 with 70 thousand trees and had a cascade, lagoon, fountains, statues, bridges and a music pavilion. It also considered an esplanade, where every September 19th -due to the day of the Glories of the Army- is celebrated the Military Parade; the biggest parade of the Military and Order Forces of Chile. Originally, in this place also were done horse races, which generated a need to create a space exclusive for such activity. It was then that in 1870, next to the park, works started to built Club Hípico of Santiago, usual meeting point for the wealthier class.
These new works forced to open streets to connect the area with Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins av. which enhanced the urban development in the whole area and ushered avenues like República, Ejército and Dieciocho, where the wealthiest families in the city built their mansions.
The Parque O’Higgins-Club Hípico neighborhood also has buildings of important institutions, like the Army’s War Arsenal, the Military Museum; the Liceo Industrial (Industrial School) of Santiago – the first tech school in the city -, Club Hípico stables, the University of Chile Engineering Faculty and since 2006 the modern Justice Center of Santiago building.
And once you glance is possible to see the vestiges of the Circunvalación Trolley railways, a train that went to Franklin with passengers and came back with slaughtered animals. By the Blanco Encalada, República and Club Hípico route.
Is Santiago’s neighborhood that concentrate, since 200 years ago, the most important commemoration of the Independence Day, because it is in the O’Higgins Park, where millions of citizens meet around Fondas (a kind of criolle inn) and Ramadas (a shelter or covering made of branches), to enjoy the gastronomy, music and other traditions that remember the birth of the Republic, process started in September 1810 with the First Government Junta.