Any Old Iron?
The Iron House, or “La Casa de Fierro” stands on the corner of Putumayo and Prospero, overlooking the Plaza de Armas. The Iron House started life being designed and built by Gustav Eiffel for the Paris exhibition of 1889, along with the more famous Tower and many other buildings.

One of the Rubber Barons, or “Caucheros” happened to be in Paris at the time and decided to buy it to erect as a “Grand House”. Julious H. Toots intended it to be taken to “Madre De Dios”, but low water on the Amazon forced him to rethink his plans, so he brought the building to Iquitos to re-sell it. It was purchased by a Brazilian by the name of Vaca Diez. He decided it was too large, so it was divided into two parts, one where it stands today, and the other part was erected on the corner of Putumayo and the Malecon, overlooking the Amazon River. This is where the Hotel Real now stands. This part soon fell into disrepair and it was dismantled. Some of the parts were used in the Central Market.

The current Iron House has changed hands many times. It was owned for a time by the businessman Francisco Borges. A Spanish Cauchero, Anselmo Del Aguila used it as his Mansion. It was around this time that the rubber boom started to collapse, and many people began to sell their pro¬perties. It was then bought by a Spanish citizen, Julio Queija, who turned it into a restaurant called “The Fan”. Once more it changed hands, this time being owned by a Chinese, Mentol Chu, who used it as a sweet factory called “Patita”, or “Little Duck”. After Chus’ death the building was sold to Juan Velasco Del Aguila who used it as a commercial center. It changed hands once more, being acquired by businessman Jose Fortes Da-Casa, who opened a grocery store called “Fortes House.” After his death, his son Jose Fortes Martin, inherited the house, which has since passed on to his widow, Judith Acosta De Fortes. The grocery store was closed, the ground floor was divided up and let as small business units. The upper floor became “Social Club Iquitos” until 1985 when it closed because of the state of the building.

In June 1998 the second floor was taken over by Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Duffy and became the Regal Restaurant. For some years the Regal Restaurant was considered one at the best restaurants in Iquitos. In 2003 trade started to drop off and the Regal ceased trading in April 2005.

For 2 years the 2nd floor was used as a wharehouse for a pharmaceutical company. In April 2007 the floor was restored to its former glory and is now the "Amazon Cafe" owned by Cleve and Paula Durden.



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