By Domingo Medina.| In front of the ruins of the old temple of San Agustín, destroyed by a fire in 1964, one of the most central and longest streets in the town of La Laguna begins, and ends in the Plaza de Los Molinos. It is named after the historian, genealogist and Lagunero chronicler Juan Núñez de la Peña.
In order to better understand, we have divided this street into two. In its first part, this long artery intersects with Alonso Suárez Melián, Bishop Rey Redondo (La Carrera), Herradores and Manuel de Ossuna streets, which is the part closest to the historic center. It was always a very popular place for young Laguneros who, before entering the Instituto de Canarias Cabrera Pinto, visited the recreational rooms installed by the parents of the Morales brothers (Luis and Tomás) to play a game of table football or billiards, They rented a bicycle from Don Pablo’s workshop or went to the next plaza of the Supreme Board. The tobacco shop, located at the beginning of this street, owned by the same family, was also very visited, where, among other items, you could rent novels by Corín Tellado or the American Western genre by Marcial Lafuente Estefanía.
This street always had an important commercial activity, which is maintained, because there was the bookstore of Professor Melquiades Álvarez, the Acentejo restaurant, the Brasilia cafeteria, the Renedo pharmacy, the El Candado hardware store, the Narciso Perera tavern, other stores and small carpentry workshops, bicycle rentals, shoe shops, etc.
The Hotel Tenerife Laguna (Canary Islands) was installed in a large building that was built at the end of the 19th century, from Alcalde Alonso Suárez Melián Street (Bencomo) to La Carrera.
This hotel was advertised in international tourist guides, sometimes together with the Aguere hotel, which is still open. It was owned by the Rodríguez y Jahnel company, Mr. Agustín Rodríguez, one of the owners, was well known in the sector for having been director of the Gran Hotel Orotava. These lagoon hotel facilities had running water, both hot and cold, newspaper services in English and German, a telephone connection to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a garden, and the employees spoke English, German, and French. In addition, they offered horse cart excursions around the Island.
Another attraction was the proximity to the roulette casino, installed between the Plaza de la Catedral and Calle de La Carrera. Also the connection of the electric tram between La Laguna, Santa Cruz and Tacoronte.
At the end of the 19th century, English doctors recommended the climate of La Laguna to cure certain ailments, which is why different businessmen embarked on the adventure of hotel operations in our city, including this one that was installed on Núñez de la Peña Street. , the Aguere hotel on La Carrera street and the Battenberg hotel on Anchieta street.
In 1968, the business selling “hot dogs” was installed for the first time in a location at the end of Santo Domingo Street, near San Cristóbal Square, which later moved to San Agustín Street and finally to this one from Núñez de la Peña. Coming from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the Danish Jorge Peter Larsen introduced the well-known Casa Peter in La Laguna, currently marketed by his former manager Eric Nostrom.
Entering to define the second part of the road, and once we cross Seis de Diciembre street (old Cha Marta ravine), the city enters the oldest neighborhood of Aguere, such as the popular one of San Juan, which has always It smells like gofio. To the right of the street we find the San Honorato urbanization, which began construction on October 18, 1960, a group of single-family homes on an extension of land that, popularly, was known as “the farm of “la marquise”, in reference to the owner of the land; For this purpose, a bakers’ cooperative was established, which is why this urbanization is named after the patron saint of that guild, San Honorato.
Next, and always on the right side, we find La Retama and Manuel Hernández Martín streets, the latter named after who was director of the choir and rondalla of the award-winning Orfeón La Paz until his death.
On the left bank, and since 1866, the La Estrella de Oro gofio windmill has been installed, by Don Isidoro Ortega, heir to the old windmills that gave its name to this area of the San Juan neighborhood since the 18th century.
Also on the left side, the buildings of a group of houses stand out, five in total, colonial type known as the little hotels.
The street ends in the Plaza de Los Molinos, leaving on its left the streets Baltasar Núñez, El Peso and the Calle de La Rosa, in memory of what was called the Llano de Los Molinos de Viento, where there were up to eighteen .
The English writer, diplomat and scientist Richard Burton, on one of his visits to our Island, on the occasion of his honeymoon, in March 1863, described a part of this street, the closest to the cemetery, as “…leaving On the left a regiment of mills placed in rows, awaiting the arrival of Don Quixote.”
On September 12, 1830, Juan el Gordo and Antonio Bico were shot in the Llano de Los Molinos before the authorities and with the assistance of many people. Accused of robbery and murder, in the person of María Carrera.
On May 14, 1823, a long process began, prior to the investigation of the case, which ended with the death sentence of these two defendants and the exile to Ceuta, to serve prison for 10 years, of Ildefonso Martín, the third defendant, for complicity in the case.
WHO WAS JUAN NÚÑEZ DE LA PEÑA?
He was born on May 31, 1641 and died on February 3, 1721 in San Cristóbal de La Laguna. He was the son of Don Juan Núñez de la Peña, a native of Tenerife, and Doña María de Solís, a native of Córdoba. He was baptized in the parish of Los Remedios. He studied Latin and Humanities at the College of the Order of Saint Augustine in his hometown, continued his ecclesiastical studies and received minor orders in 1659. From a very young age he traveled to Toledo, where he worked as a notary.
He returned to the islands in the entourage of the bishop of Canaria, Don Bartolomé Jiménez. Upon his return, he began to compile the data and documents that would help him write the Conquest and Antiquities of the Island of Gran Canaria, one of his most important works.
The investigation of municipal, notarial and ecclesiastical documents begins, when it arrives assigned to the La Laguna City Council (Administration of the entire Island of Tenerife). He made the municipal ordinances, thereby managing to save documents of great importance for interpreting the history of the Canary Islands up to that date. As a genealogist, he studied the surnames of our Archipelago.
Due to his career and knowledge, in 1701, he was appointed General Chronicler of the Kingdoms of Castile and León.
In the last years of his life he became blind due to the difficulties of consulting so much old documentation for years, but, despite the illness, he continued to prepare reports verbally.