Formerly called Calle Juan de la Peña and Gaspar de la Barrera.
This street was known by the names of those who lived on it: Juan de la Peña and Gaspar de la Barrera. In 1743, it was renamed “Calle de la Moneda Real” (Street of the Royal Mint) when a businessman of the time set up a mint there. The factory operated successfully for 22 years until the Crown took over minting. The Palacio La Moneda (Royal Mint), which retained the machinery and the name, was erected two blocks to the south.
In 1758, Juan Nicolás de Aguirre, a man of great fortune and owner of the street block delimited by the present-day streets known as Huérfanos, Agustinas, San Martín and Manuel Rodríguez, moved by the number of newborn babies being abandoned, ordered the construction of a group of brick houses where children and their mothers would be sheltered. Over time, the institution became popular and, by the close of the century, people would talk about the “Calle de los Huérfanos” (Orphans’ Street).
Towards 1872, the street took on a financial turn with the appearance of banks and corporations.
Some remember the ladies’ fashion shop founded by Madame Chessé and Monsieur Pra: the Casa Para. Also at the turn of the century, there used to be the Echart antique shop; the Roxi bar, between Ahumada and Bandera, well-known for its whisky sours with lime; the Pereira Palace; and on the corner of Manuel Rodríguez, the Lyon Cousiño mansion, known in its day for children’s matinees.
In the early 20th century, theater halls such as Teatro La Comedia, on the corner with Morandé, and the Casanova nightclub, later changed into Cine Opera, between San Antonio and Estado, became famous.
The street was turned into a pedestrian walkway in the late 1970s and remodeled in 1999.