Preserving Puerto Rico History
Their work has included a significant project involving restoration of the famous walls of Old San Juan that run adjacent to the La Perla neighborhood. Construction of the walls began in 1630 and continued for 150 years. They are as tall as 42 feet and as thick as 45 feet at the base and two feet at the top. The walls thwarted pirates and foreign invaders for decades.
ACE has been using the same mix of crushed red brick, lime and sand as the original wall composition to maintain the wall’s historic integrity and help retain its cultural significance. In addition, the ACE crew is comprised of local residents who receive a living allowance and gain new jobs skills while earning career-building certifications.
The crew members also work on Castillo San Felipe del Morro, one of two forts built by the Spanish to protect San Juan. The crews perform masonry work as well as trail maintenance and construction, and vegetation management to help preserve this local cultural treasure.
The crews’ participation in these projects help boost their future career opportunities and help bring a sense of pride in their historic neighborhoods.
Jose Guadalupe is a local community member and has been serving on an ACE crew for over a year.
”I am very proud of the work we do here and making our neighborhood look nice and clean again. La Perla was historically the most dangerous area in Puerto Rico, but now there’s even some restaurants and a bed and breakfast that have opened here. Fixing up the wall and giving the children of the neighborhood, including my daughter, something more beautiful to look at makes me happy,” Jose says.