A Virtual Barrio Tour |

Casa Grande | Cumberland, RI

Casa Grande | 12 Meeting Street | Cumberland, RI 02860

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Photo above, Bernardo Chamorro (center) and Fidel Díaz (far right), with their families attend an event at Casa Grande. c.1978
In the years that followed the arrival of the three Colombians recruited by Guittari, business owners from other mills, such as Pontiac and Cadillac traveled to Medellín and Barranquilla to recruit more workers.

Most Colombians settled in Central Falls, but a few stayed in temporary housing in Cumberland, at 12 Meeting Street, in apartments that were managed by the owners of Pontiac and Cadillac Mills.

By the early 1970s the Colombian community had grown to such an extent that many felt a need to organize. And so they began meeting in the basement of 12 Meeting Street, in what they had begun to refer to as
Casa Grande.

The building soon became an important social site for recent Colombian immigrants and where they would celebrate important Colombian cultural events, like

Casa Grande became a place of weekly Sunday gatherings where they served Colombian food, danced to Colombian music, or hosted special events, such as baptisms, quiceañeras, and birthday celebrations.

In 1969, a group of six families got together to begin discussions about forming a cultural group and in 1972, the
Colombian-American Cultural Association charter was signed during a meeting in this building.
Below, you can listen to Bernardo Chamorro (2018) as Patricia Martínez interprets, talk about life in Central Falls in the 1970s, and about the founding of la Sociedad Cultural Colombiana de RI. And to the right below, watch a video (2017) of a conversation with Ceci Cano and several other Colombians, as they reminisce about Casa Grande.
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