Condado began its process of urbanization in 1908 by two American industrialists, Hernan and Sosthenes, also known as the Behn Brothers. The quarter became a typical streetcar suburb to the traditional urban center of Old San Juan. Its growth and development was mostly shaped by a transportation influenced suburbanization developed on a grid plan.
The neighborhood experienced an economic boom in the first decades of the 20th century when some of the wealthiest families built their homes in the area. The Vanderbilts built a summer home in 1919 which today has been converted into the luxurious Condado Vanderbilt Hotel. The Behn Brothers also built their home in Condado and to their memory Two Brothers Bridge or Puente Dos Hermanos is named in their honor as founders of Puerto Rico Telephone and the new electric tramway line that linked the county to Old San Juan.
The 1950s-60s era saw another boom in Condado, with the rapid industrialization of Puerto Rico, this flamboyant locale was becoming a popular tourist destination. Large hotels like the Caribe Hilton Hotel and La Concha Resort were built as part of a government sponsorship program under the Operation Bootstrap brand.
A convention center was built to host activities while many families began to move in during the development of high-end and high-rise apartment buildings. In fact, Ashford Avenue was named after another well-known Condado resident Dr. Bailey Ashford. It runs through the district and leads toward the Puente Dos Hermanos.
The 21st Century
Condado looks quite different from what it did at the turn of the century. Some of the luxurious homes which still remain nestled between the high-rise condominiums have been converted into small inns, shops, museums or restaurants. Dr. Bailey Ashford's home has been remodeled and there are plans to turn it into a museum.
The neighborhood's success as a popular residential and tourist spot is taking a toll on the