Built in 1910 as a model town of the city, during the Ramon Barros Luco government, it was thought that Santiago needed a working population with good infrastructure to provide a better quality of life. Under that premise the Huemul neighborhood was born.
Located near Franklin subway station, its building process considered high quality standards never seen before for working population houses, like fine wooden beams, triangular nails and concrete blocks brought from England.
The work proceeded under guidance of the architect Ricardo Larraín Bravo, who planned a little “satellite city”, built with civic criteria. He focused on its main square, with palm trees brought from the Canary Islands, which greatly enhanced the surrounding buildings, the branch office of “Caja de Ahorros” (Saving Bank) and the Huemul Theater; this one looked like a little Municipal Opera House with a capacity for 200 people.
This newly revised community now contained a library, theater, conference room, a church, a school for women and another one for men. There was also a charity department, in charge of Crèche nuns, which had a maternity ward, children’s hospital and a haven for single mothers. In this neighborhood the Nemesio Antúnez School could also be found, and the house where the Nobel Prize winner, Gabriela Mistral, lived during 1922. Other highlights include Santa Lucrecia parish, with a beautiful architecture and a fountain.
In March 2016 it was promulgated the decree declaring a National Monument in the Typical Zone category to Barrio Huemul. It is a polygon of 7.73 hectares, which protection was requested from the National Monuments Council by the Committee for the Defense of Barrio Sur Matta in 2010.
This declaration recognizes the sector as “one of the first experiences of urban planning and modern architecture in Chile” and stresses that their developments “realize the historical continuity regarding how the state took over the demand for workers’ housing during the twentieth century”.
Along with the above, the statement of the Huemul Theatre was also enacted as a historical monument.
Bío Bío, 1377, Santiago.