The Comuna de Palmilla is located between the
Tinguiririca Riverbed and the chain of low hills, which separates
the valleys from the coastal mountain chains. The Tinguiririca
River extends across a broad and topographically even plain.
View of Tinguiririca river and old
The village of San José del Carmen de
El Huique is located at the center of the commune territory
on the eastside of the Tinguiririca River. The Huicano canal
cuts through its center, and the Crucero canal does
so on the northern boundary.
During the XIX Century agriculture was the
basis of Chilean economy and the "hacienda" was
the center of that eras social structure.
The architectural complex of houses formed
the nucleus of the Ex Hacienda San José del
Carmen de El Huique. The tenants houses, dairy barns,
school, workshops, storage quarters and cinema were built
around the "patronal" house. This self-sufficient
establishment housed hundreds of people forming an agricultural
and dairy production center.
|The property finds its origin
in the Hacienda Larmagüe lands, which in the XVIII
covered 30.000 ha. This farm was the property of Mrs.
María Paula Mercedes de Lecaros y Lecaros, married
to Mr. Pedro Gregorio de Echenique.
Stone used to gind grain
Larmagüe was divided for the first time in 1789
among Mr. Pedro Echeniques sons. El Huique went
to Mr. Miguel de Echenique and Lecaros, and Almagüe
went to his brother Antonio. Later in 1828 Mr. Miguel
divided the property among his three sons. Mr. Juan
José Echenique y Bascuñan started the
building of the actual "patronal" house in
The chapel was finished in 1852, years later the porch
and bell tower of 23 Mts high. were built and with written
authorization of the Vatican, this document can be seen
at the museum, entered into operation this same year.
|Mrs. Gertrudis Echenique y
Mujica, the only daughter of Mr. Juan José Echenique
inherited all of her fathers possessions. She married
Mr. Federico Errazuriz Echauren, an outstanding public
figure who became president of Chile between 1896 and
1901. His daughter Mrs. Elena Errazuriz Echenique inherited
the property in 1928 after her mothers death. Mrs.
Elena married the diplomat, Mr. Renato Sánchez
de Loria y García de la Huerta, with whom she had
four children: Gabriela, Renato, Federico and Teresa Sánchez
de Loria Errázuriz.
three pieces set, teapot
and sugar bowl with tray
Through the history the "hacienda"
developed its own identity. One example of this is the
"bonete huicano", a pointed hat with a wide brim,
made of sheeps wool, embroidered by hand with landscapes
and colored flower figures. The hat with the initials of Mr.
Juan José and photographs from the beginning of the
XX century bear witnesses to this type of hat.
San José del Carmen de El Huique hat, bonete
Mrs. Elena's Errázuriz Echenique bedroom
Upon her death in 1966 Mrs. Elena in
her will requests her children to preserve El Huique and its
traditions. Its last owners, the Sanchéz de Loria
Errázuriz family, respectful of their mothers
wishes and unable to preserve the hacienda in its totality
after its division as a consequence of the agricultural
reform in 1967, decided to donate the property inherited to
the Chilean Army in 1975.
The main house of the old hacienda, now
a museum, has a structure based on galleries and successive
yards and is built with a floor of solid bricks, clay
tiles on the roofs, wood and adobe. It is completely
embellished with furniture of the XIX and the beginning
of the XX Century.
Various earthquakes have affected
the central area along the years and the 1986 floods,
caused by Tinguiririca River, have damaged the old "patronal"
house considerably, especially because of the fact that
adobe is highly sensitive to humidity.
President's Federico Errázuriz
The conservation and restoration
process of the museum has mainly been directed towards recuperating
the "patronal" house where its architecture
is concerned, the rooms, yards and gardens, and the conservation
of its contents and collections bearing in mind a minimum
Chain pump at kitchen court