‘El Portal’, A Home Steeped in History
Its rustic walls, stone pillars, wooden floors, old objects and photographs … are some of the aspects that make this house a passage through history. ‘The Portal’, considered that way because it was a store, is located diagonally to La Matriz Church. Its colonial, architectural aspect, with wooden balconies and hanging flowers of different colors, attracts tourists who arrives in Cotacachi.
The Ruiz family has owned this house since 1868, and it is an icon of Cotacachi. The unique facade of the traditional two-story building in which 10 round columns of stone stand out, is one of the most photographed landmarks.
There is no exact data on the year in which the adobe wall building with stone and tile-covered lime was erected. Manuel Ruiz, 84, says his paternal grandfather acquired this home after the earthquake of 1868; nevertheless, it indicates that according to conversations, the lodging has a colonial style, that is to say, “this house was built at the time of the colony, because of the location of the church. Those who conquered were priests and the ¨gamonales ¨(rich).
This property that is considered a heritage site, was rebuilt twice, the first by his grandfather after the earthquake in Ibarra and the second by Fernando Ruiz, father of Don Manuel Ruiz, who was a merchant. On two occasions it was tried to overthrow this good, but its owner prevented it. Today his son and nephews zealously take care of this house, considered a jewel of the city.
At the entrance, the house opens to a stone corridor and white walls and moves towards the patio
On the second floor there are rooms that reflect the history of Cotacachi. On the walls are photographs that recall the construction of the La Matriz church, as well as the first transport that arrived in the canton, which was brought from Guayaquil by Don Fernando Ruiz, father of Don Manuel, in 1920.
Old carpets of reddish colors, walls lined with wallpaper which is worn out over the years, old benches adorned with handmade fabrics, are part of the room. On the walls of this room, family photographs and historical figures of Ecuador are placed, one of them Eloy Alfaro, who also signed this photograph for Don Manuel’s great-grandfather. “My great-grandfather was very close to Alfaro, he says smiling.
Next to the room, a door leads to the studio that was used by Don Fernando Ruiz. In this small space, there are desks, chairs, benches from the past, as well as feathers and an old slate. There are also several archaeological pieces and instruments that were used to shave the beard. A typewriter, from the L.C Smith & Bros brand, marks the old look of the room.
Don Manuel’s mother used one of the rooms for sewing, as well as the grandmother’s religious images, and father’s cavalry instruments. “In this old house, each family member had their room for their chores.”
The large central courtyard, the wide corridors and the balcony, are decorated with planters full of geraniums, the typical plant of the region. In the back there is a family garden consisting of avocado, walnut, and Medlar trees.
Courtesy: La Hora https://lahora.com.ec/imbabura/noticia/1102309215/el-portal-una-casa-que-guarda-historia