Historic Santa Fe House


The historic house of 3 de Febrero and 9 de Julio, is an old building from the 18th century located in the city of Santa Fe, Argentine Republic.

The property was acquired in 1923 by José Bernardi (c.1870-1936), who had the current building built on the site of the house where Ricardo Foster (1808-1865) lived in 1862, and who after his death, his widow Ana Amalia Kagel (c.1809-c.1890) inherited, and then his children until the sale in 1888.

Currently the property belongs to the Bar Association of the Province of Santa Fe, and is conserved with consideration and dignity for the new administrative functions.

Origins & History

The first owner of the house and lot was Juan Francisco Tarragona (1769-1843), an Argentine politician, a supporter of the May Revolution and a member of the Junta Grande. Later it passed to his daughter by inheritance, who in 1827 sold the property that included a vegetable garden, to José Gregorio Echagüe.

When Echagüe died without issue, the house passed to his wife and heir, Fortunata Morcillo de Echagüe (1802-c.1880).

In 1862, Echagüe's widow sold the property to Ricardo Foster (1808-1865), a Portuguese colonizer and prominent landowner, founder of San Jerónimo Norte. After his death in 1865, the property passed to his widow Ana Amalia Kagel (c.1809-c.1890), and then to his children Enrique (1842-1916), Ana (c.1840-c.1935) and Isabel Foster (1835-1932).

In 1888, Foster's heirs sold the house to Waldino Maradona (1853-1941), a prominent Santa Fe public man.

In the sale made by Fortunata Morcillo de Echagüe (1802-c.1880) to Ricardo Foster (1808-1865) in 1862 there is talk of:

(..) The high-rise or two-roomed house, located on the streets of 3 de Febrero de 1852 and 9 de Julio de 1816 (..) and forms the corner of the aforementioned streets, all in two pieces with a plot of one block to the south, until it limits with Calle 31 de Mayo de 1852, also limiting in this direction with a farm that overlooks the aforementioned street 9 de Julio de Josefa Pujato, to the west of said street with a property owned by Josefa Abalos, and to the east with a room belonging to the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo, and land of Mrs. Galisteo.

In 1904, Maradona sold the property to Tránsito Soto de la Torre. However, in the succession of Enrique M. de la Torre, this property is awarded to Daniel de la Torre. The latter sold the property in 1923 to José Bernardi, who had the current building built on the historic corner of 3 de Julio and 9 de Julio.

After his death in 1936, it was inherited by his widow Clelia Pelitti de Bernardi and his daughter Romilda Rosa María Bernardi de Francia.

In 1952, Bernardi's widow sold the property to her daughter, Mrs. de Francia and in 1964, she sold the house to her children: María Delia Francia, Raquel Angela Francia, Noemí Josefina Francia, Félix José Francia, Estela Teodora Francia, Hersilia Romilda Francia, Clelia Rosa Francia e Hilda Lucía Francia.

Housing in the 19th century

In 1824, Marcos Sastre (1809-1887), an Argentine writer and educator, drew up a plan where he indicated the public and religious buildings and the houses of Santa Fe.

He marked the tile-roofed homes in red, the thatched-roof homes in yellow, and the flat-roofed or rooftop homes in black.

The house in the streets 3 de Febrero and 9 de Julio, appears forming an L, and a tile construction is indicated up to the middle of the block. It's clear that the two-story houses with a rooftop indicated a higher economic position.


In 2008, the Caja Forense of the First Judicial District of the Province of Santa Fe, acquired the property located on 3 de Febrero and 9 de Julio streets, in the southeast corner.

Although this house was not in ruins, it had a notable deterioration, especially in the interior, due to its lack of maintenance. For example, the great vitró that is in the central hall that distributes to the offices, was completely restored, and meant a notable contribution to the conservation of the property located in a historical site of the city.

The large plot maintains the building line in the old courtyard sector through a new plan that responds to current design trends and the formal complementarity of horizontal bars, achieving harmony with the Italian-style construction of tall windows with bars, metal shutters and stone-like mortar moldings.

On the ground floor a kitchen, bathrooms, stairs were built, and the old rooms were transformed into new and comfortable offices, transposing the double carved wooden door of the main entrance, a hall crowned by an exquisite colored glass partition, generates a distribution space to the old rooms, and maintaining it without project interferences of the essence of the old house allows a new functionality adapted to the requirements of a space that becomes a distribution of the public attending the facilities.

The conservation of the original floors and the interior and exterior openings is one more example of the care that has been taken to maintain the presence of the house's own history that dates back to the end of the 18th century.

Ricardo Foster / Founder of San Jerónimo Norte

Ricardo Foster Marcial (Funchal, Madeira, Portugal; October 5, 1808 - Rosario, Santa Fe province, Argentina; December 5, 1865) was a Portuguese colonizer, businessman, landowner, surveyor and politician.

Founder of San Jeronimo Norte and meritorious in the founding of the city of Esperanza in the Province of Santa Fe, Argentina.


Ricardo Foster was the son of Ricardo Foster Clerisseau (1750-1811), English consul in the Portuguese region of Funchal, and Ana Eufrosina Marcial (c. 1756-?), Portuguese of French descent who in turn was the daughter of Ana Joaquina Clerisseau, who possessed some noble titles and he had fled from Paris to Funchal escaping from the sans-culottes.

Ricardo Foster's parents were married on September 28, 1806 in Madeira, Portugal and together they had 2 children: Ricardo Foster (1808-1865) and Ana Foster (1807-?).

It should be noted that his father Ricardo Foster (1750-1811) secretly married Teresa Margarida Flora (1757-c.1806) about 4 years earlier, on October 31, 1802, in São Vicente, Madeira, Portugal but they had no children.

After the death of his wife in 1805, he married Ricardo's mother, Ana Eufrosina Marcial (c. 1782-?) on September 28, 1806.

In turn, Ricardo Foster's mother, Ana Eufrosina Marcial (c.1782-?) remarried after the death of her husband with Francisco Joao Moniz, on August 27, 1812 in Funchal, Madeira, and together they had 3 children: João Cyrillo Moniz (1819-1871), Ana Casemira Moniz (c.1824-1890) and José Ricardo Moniz.

Ricardo Foster (1808-1865) married in Lisbon with Ana Amalia Kagel (c.1819-?), Portuguese of German descent, around 1830 and together they had 3 children: Isabel Foster (1835-1932), Ana Adelina Foster (c.1840-?) and Enrique Foster (1842-1916).

For many years they lived in Madeira but as a consequence of the Liberal Wars (1828-1834), also known as the Portuguese Civil War, they emigrated to Rio de Janeiro where their three children were born. Later, due to the yellow fever epidemic (1849), the family moved to the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, where they stayed for a while but then settled in the Argentine Republic, precisely in the province of Santa Fe, formerly Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz.

One of the sons, Enrique Foster (1842-1916) had a natural child with Isabel Llames (1845-?), daughter of the Spanish attorney José Manuel Llames y Roldán (c.1815-?) and great-great-granddaughter of Melchor Maciel del Aguila (1583-1633), a rich landowner and merchant of Portuguese origin who during the dynastic union of his country with the Spanish crown was one of the first settlers of Buenos Aires. However, Enrique Foster (1842-1916) later married Adelaida Ponsati Vidal (1847-1916) and was a colonizer and surveyor, founder of Monte Oscuridad and co-founder of the city of Resistencia, Province of Chaco, Argentina.

Isabel Foster (1835-1932) married Máximo Fernando de Elía Álzaga (1811-1865), a landowner of a prominent family and cousin of Justo José de Urquiza (1801-1870), the first president of the Argentine Confederation from 1854 to 1860.

Ana Adelina Foster (c.1840-?) was single, or at least retained that status in 1888, the year in which the succession trial of her father Ricardo Foster (1808-1865) began in the province of Santa Fe, when she he was almost 50 years old.

As for Ana Amalia Kagel's father, he was João Henrique Kagel, a German merchant from Hamburg who had two children in Portugal, one of them Ana Amalia. Then he settled in Rio de Janeiro where he was a translator of many languages ​​and an intermediary for the German community and the Emperor of Brazil, Pedro I of Brazil and IV of Portugal (1798-1834).

On November 18, 1846, he arrived in the Brazilian municipality of Santa Helena in charge of Henry Alexander Dewar, gunner of the Kingfisher sailboat.

João Henrique Kagel was a sworn translator and interpreter for the Empire of Brazil, according to an account of the consul of the United States, Mr. Gorham Parks (1794-1877), written in Portuguese. By 1859, he was translating French, Portuguese, English, Spanish, German, and Dutch.

To understand how to locate the family nucleus of Ricardo Foster (1808-1865) with more certainty, rescuing their daily relationship, perhaps these data may be of interest: on July 26, 1860, Foster donated to Juana and Agueda Santuchos and Carolina Foster (c.1846-1884) a farm for them to live in, and rescued them as captives of the natives, educated and cared for them like his daughters.

Carolina Foster (c.1846-1884) married Clodomiro Balquín Sarmiento on June 4, 1886 and together they had 2 children: Ricarda Foster (1864-1887), who died at 22 years of Tisis and Pedro Ángel Foster (1883-1884) who died with almost 15 months of life of whooping cough in the Province of Santa Fe, Argentina.

Another document shows Ricardo Foster caring for two minors, children of a wasteful father.

It's an agreement with João Henrique Kagel on June 1, 1861, in which he intervenes on behalf of his son-in-law Máximo Fernando de Elía Álzaga (1811-1865). Said agreement stipulates that Foster, for Elía, will pay $ 3,555 in debts contracted by Kagel, on the condition that he renounces the properties he owned in the Colastiné establishment and whose rights belonged to the children of the aforementioned Kagel.

It was agreed that the parents were obliged to properly manage their interests and that the administration was subject to the inspection of Ricardo Foster (1808-1865), in whose field on the other side of the Salado River they could establish themselves and take there everything necessary for their subsistence, and that of minors, until they reach the necessary age to be administered directly.

It should be noted that the Foster family was definitively rooted in the Argentine Republic, where their descendants are currently found, especially in Buenos Aires and the Province of Santa Fe.


Ricardo Foster was born on October 5, 1808 on the Portuguese island of Madera, in Funchal, the center of it's capital city, and obtained British citizenship as his father was the consul of the United Kingdom. This island, which is the largest of an archipelago, is located about 870 kilometers southwest of Portugal, in the Atlantic Ocean and since before the discovery of America it was an obligatory stopover for sailors who dared to venture into the Atlantic Ocean.

It was discovered in the early 1420s. Some historians affirm that the father-in-law of the navigator Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) lived on this island, called Bartolomeu Perestrelo (1400-1457), at the time the owner of a supply store for sailors , and who presented his illustrious son-in-law to undertake the gigantic journey, since his permanent contact with the navigators made him inform of the existence of "other Indies".

According to traditions, Columbus himself lived for a time in Madeira.

Although Ricardo Foster also studied in England, the land of his parents, he later married Ana Amalia Kagel (c.1819-?) in Lisbon. The marriage settled in Funchal, although they emigrated quickly to Rio de Janeiro, due to the Liberal Wars (1828-1834), also known as the Portuguese Civil War.

Not satisfied with the endemic diseases of the time in the region, such as yellow fever, they settled first in Montevideo, then in the province of Corrientes, places where Foster owned real estate, to settle around 1848 in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina.

The English origin of his surname does not require further explanation and in Madeira many English people settled taking advantage of the historic alliance between the British and the Portuguese.

In the documents that have him as a protagonist in that Argentine province, there are wording twists that denote both his Portuguese culture and his English culture. However, he did not stop taking advantage of the benefit of living in that region at that time.

Thus, in a document dated 1861, in which he claims compensation for the damage suffered in his rural establishment by the troops of the National Army under the command of Juan Pablo López (1792-1886), Foster appears before a judge and declares to be "British subject, landowner and rancher".

It should be noted that Ricardo Foster (1808-1865) was a member of the Colonization Commission, a member of the Consulate Court and president of the Club del Orden, in the Province of Santa Fe, Argentina. 

In 1852, in partnership with Ángel de Arrarte, it acquired a vast extension of land belonging to the San Antonio chaplaincy, located north of Santo Tomé on the western fringe of the Salado River. In 1854 he bought the land from his partner. Realizing the revaluation of the land in Santa Fe, he acquired two ranches, and over time, he bought more land with livestock as the main activity.

Some time later he was Justice of the Peace and Deputy in the Province of Santa Fe, although the date is unknown. 

He was president of the Club del Orden from March 2, 1856 to August 27, 1857, where he actively participated.

In 1856 he was appointed by the government of the province of Buenos Aires, president of the commission that would guarantee the fulfillment of the colonization contract of the city of Esperanza in the province of Santa Fe. 

He was tasked with pinpointing the lands where colonization would take place; prepare and have the houses built in which the settlers would stay, receive them with their families upon arrival in the respective province, transfer them to the colony after crossing the fords of the Salado River, defending them from possible attacks by the natives, and then monitor during the first years the fulfillment of the conditions and obligations of the colonization contracts.

In those times, this is how the Justice of the Peace of the city of Esperanza spoke about Ricardo Foster (1808-1865): 

"The undersigned is aware that, being Ricardo Foster, president of the colonization commission, he has rendered in the formation of this colony and even later, notable services that highly recommend him to the considerations of His Excellency, and that also the colonists they have received and continue to receive from her, valuable aid of various kinds, finding in the field an establishment that has in the vicinity, great facilities to provide domesticated animals".

Some time later, it acquired the Las Tunas field, which stretched from the north of it's fields in Paso Santo Tomé, to El Sauce. Las Tunas and San Jerónimo Norte are there today.

In 1859 he had these lands delineated and there it was the first colony in Argentina to settle on privately owned lands, since the previous ones had been on ceded public lands. In fact, the San Jerónimo Norte land was founded on land donated to the inhabitants, without pursuing any lucrative purpose, as had happened in the previous ones mentioned. 

In 1862 he bought the Caja Forense de Santa Fe house from Fortunata Morcillo de Echagüe, which was later inherited by his wife and children.


Ricardo Foster died of dropsy on December 5, 1865, after being ill during his last months. He was buried in the Catholic cemetery of The All Saints Cathedral in La Capital, Santa Fe Province, Argentine Republic.

His dedication, effort and commitment will be remembered for generations.

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