First Residents of San Juan Area

ow many residents are there in the San Juan Area" When was this area developed and by whom" Who lives there and what is the future of San Juan? Let us take a look at its history- a real picture, no politics, no propaganda, no interests.

The first area that government acquired was in the 1960's. This included all of San Pedro town core from the primary school to the cemetery. This land had belonged to Jim Blake, son of James Howell Blake also known as Papa Blake. Blake was paid for the land which up until then he used to lease to the villagers, and it was then sold to the villagers at 400 to 500 dollars per lot. Real estate had not really hit us hard yet.

By the early 1970's all the lots had been occupied and there was still need for more land. This time government went up north past Paradise Hotel all the way to the Boca del Rio and acquired from one Mr. Roger Reid, whom all the villagers referred to as "Estupido" due to his strong character. At first only the beach lots were taken by the villagers and the term "Boca del Rio" was used to refer to this area. Only residential houses were to be built there, but nobody followed the rules and the Lands Committee did nothing to prevent some of it from being used for hotels.

As the need for more land for housing arose, then the village council and Lands Committee turned to the rest of the land, the marsh or swampy land for development of a new area. Up until this time nobody had ever ventured to build on swampy land. A few people had been squatting even without title and had used some of the land for housing. Due to political interference, the land was not properly filled nor subdivided but to gain political votes it was just issued out as fast as possible. Overnight a rustic and shanty area popped up with shacks, no septic tanks, no water system, no proper roads, and a lot of water in the low lying areas.

It took several other town board committees to try to heal the wounds and to make San Juan a more respectable area that it is today. There are now finer houses, roads, electricity, telephone, and television in San Juan. However, for many years some teenagers refused to admit that they were from the San Juan Area because it was looked down to.

Hats off to the residents who are trying to improve conditions there and to the town leaders who have given consideration and attention to the area. NOW, who were the first residents of San Juan? George Eiley and his family as well as Mrs. Leonor Rosado and her family moved into that area when there was no electricity nor roads. It was a dark quiet spot in the middle of the bush where 25 years ago, nobody wished to live in.

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