Casa Hamilton Pumping Station Gave A Remarkable Contribution To Tenerife’s Banana Plantations

Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa. There are eight mesmerizing islands in total, with Tenerife being the largest of them all. What Tenerife is most known for is its active volcano, Mount Teide. This volcano is even considered as the third largest and most dangerous in the world.

The island has endless, beautiful spots all over the area. Los Realejos is one of them as it’s completely silent with abandoned ruins and it offers a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean.

The abandoned structure at this place is differently known as Elevador de Aguas de Gordejuela, Levator Gordejuela, or simply Casa Hamilton. Casa Hamilton was a pumping station that was responsible for transporting abundant waters of the Gordejuela to hills and banana plantations nearby.

The Gordejuela was first created in the 20th century as the area suffered a lack of water which then became a problem for the banana plantations that needed a lot of water. When the locals saw that things were getting a bit out of hand, they joined their forces and created the Gordejuela water company.

They had two goals in mind at the time: to find other sources of water and find out how to supply gardens and plantations with that water. This meant a lot of hard work for the locals. They even investigated underground mines as possible sources.

Author: Anders Plassgard | Flickr @plassgard

In 1898, several shares in the water company were acquired by the British company Hamilton House (or Casa Hamilton). Then, in 1902, they decided to acquire all of the shares as they saw in that area the potential for further investment.

After acquiring all of the shares, they immediately started to build a water pump which would be located in the northern part of the island; exactly on the coast of Los Realejos at the mouth of the Barranco de Palo Blanco gorge.

At the time, it was rare to find a five-story building at the foot of a vertical cliff. It was simply believed that the construction of such a structure would be absolutely impossible. However, Casa Hamilton proved the people wrong.

From 1903 and on, a pump station at the site of the old mill was present and serving the locals by pumping water from Gordejuela springs to rural plantations in the Orotava Valley using several hydraulic pumps. Don Jose Galvan Callagher was the military engineer responsible for the unique design.

This project was totally one of a kind at the time. The building also was something that people had never quite seen before. All of the local were thankful and awestruck at the same time.

Author: Anders Plassgard | Flickr @plassgard

With a cost of 1 million Spanish pesetas, this station was at the same time the site of the first steam engine in Tenerife. Thank to this engine, the water could be pumped from the springs at the bottom to the top, which was approximately 200 meters or 219 yards above sea level.

After it was pumped to the top, the water then was transported to the banana plantations around 12 kilometers or 7.5 miles away.

There were two buildings that made the pumping station. There was a station at the top of the cliff and another one at the bottom. These two were connected to each other by a spiral set of steps winding up the cliff.

Unfortunately, as the station became abandoned, the 43-meter high chimney that housed the steam engines, was destroyed.

Author: Anders Plassgard | Flickr @plassgard

Casa Hamilton pumping station served the locals for over fifteen years. During these years, it supplied water to nearby plantations non-stop. However, as the electricity prices rose, so did the costs of the station. As a result, the company became unprofitable.

Author: Anders Plassgard | Flickr @plassgard

In 1919, the company had to give the locals the bad news that the station had to close down. It was making lots of losses that they couldn’t afford. For this reason, they sold the complex to Fyffes, which tried to start an irrigation project. Unfortunately, that one prove to be very expensive too.

After a while, everything fell in silence at the area. It was completely abandoned. Now, only the walls remain from this building; even the roofs, doors, and windows have all gone.

In 2000, it was thought to restore this meaningful building, but sadly, nobody took action. Meanwhile, in 2019, the pumping station was added to the Red List. Not the Casa Hamilton Pumping Station is officially an abandoned and destroyed structure.

However, many tourists and local people are intrigued by this structure and want to know more about it. In fact, there is a path leading to the station from the nearby San Pedro Lookout, and many walking and running trails pass close by. So, it’s no surprise if you see any person holding a camera in his/her hands and roaming around the structure in order to see everything more carefully. The only thing you have to keep in mind if you happen to visit this station is that you have to be careful when viewing the site and respect the historic building for its great contribution to the locals.

Author: Anders Plassgard | Flickr @plassgard
Author: Anders Plassgard | Flickr @plassgard
Author: Anders Plassgard | Flickr @plassgard
Author: Anders Plassgard | Flickr @plassgard
Author: Anders Plassgard | Flickr @plassgard
Author: Anders Plassgard | Flickr @plassgard
Author: Anders Plassgard | Flickr @plassgard
Author: Anders Plassgard | Flickr @plassgard

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Written by Catherine

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