House to be earthquake museum
THE LAST remaining house in Almoradí which was designed by the architect José Agustín de Larramendi after the 1829 earthquake has been acquired by the town hall to turn into a museum about the disaster.
The property on Calle La Reina was given to a family whose own home was destroyed, and was one of 132 that were handed over those who had been similarly affected, explained councillor for heritage and historian José Antonio Latorre.
All the others, including ones in other municipalities, have been restored or pulled down to make way for new buildings, which means this could stake a claim to be the first social home in Spain.
The earthquake also devastated Guardamar, Torrevieja and Benejúzar, but Almoradí was hit worst, with 192 of the total of 386 lives lost.
A Royal Decree was issued in 1830 to rebuild these municipalities and rehouse those left homeless.
It was the first time that the Spanish monarchy had paid for homes for victims of a natural disaster.
Municipal architect Víctor Rodríguez said these houses were ‘an early trial of what would be the strategy of building public housing in Spain’.
This simple 140-square metre, one-storey dwelling with two rooms is being bought by the town hall for €46,000 from two siblings who inherited it, José Andrés and Isabel Herrero, who will also hand over the original lock and key.
It still has its original earthen floor, cane roofing, and pine beams and doors, although the rest is a ruin and will require extensive restoration.
“We wanted this house because it is the only original one by Larramendi left standing and we feared it could deteriorate more so the intention is to repurpose it during the next legislature as a place to remember the earthquake that flattened the Vega Baja, as there is still nothing in the area to chart this important event in its history,” explained Sr Latorre.
A replica of the double front doors will be made for the entrance, which is now about 50cm below the pavement after being repeatedly resurfaced over 187 years.
The last of the homes