DONA CAROLINA THE ABOLICIONIST WHO LENDS US THE NAME
At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, the farm that was called Fazenda Jaboticabal was an important coffee producer. Built in 1872 by Dona Carolina and her husband José Alves Cardoso, it assumed the owner’s name in 1919, after her death. The initials J.A.C. and the date – 1872 – can still be read on the front door of the main house. Dona Carolina, besides being the owner of the farm for many years, with the premature death of her husband soon after the construction, also had a significant political role in the region. In a country that, at the time, still lived under the monarchy regime, Dona Carolina was a republican and abolitionist. Even before the official Abolition, signed by Princess Isabel, she freed her slaves and even granted them a piece of land of about 100 “alqueires” (242 hectares) to guarantee their survival, in the place that is still known today as "Bairro dos Pretos".
To this day the property remains in the family, who, admiring the beauty of the farm and the region, has allowed, through an important investment, that the farm, which was no longer so productive in terms of coffee plantations, could be enjoyed by the public in the form of a Hotel.
In this enterprise, the centennial constructions are being restored. The suites and apartments are new and planned constructions, preserving the Brazilian colonial architecture with Paulista characteristics. Thus, open to the public, Fazenda Dona Carolina allows everyone to participate and enjoy its history.
AT THE TIME WHEN SÃO PAULO WAS A HUGE COFFEE PLANTATION
At the end of the 19th century, the beginning of the last century, we were living in the golden age of coffee. We were not industrialized, we only had agriculture and coffee was our main product, exported all over the world through the Santos port. Much of this coffee, which now populates history books, came from here, as Fazenda Dona Carolina was one of the largest producers in the entire state and, of course, in Brazil. From this time, there is still the coffee yard, at the main entrance, one of the few still in good condition. For this reason, it was even used as the setting for two films on the subject: "Chamas no Cafezal" and "Gaijin" by director Tizuka Yamasaki. The coffee, harvested by the slaves in the surrounding plantations, was brought to a tank above the terrace. There it was washed and, carried by water, came to the yard, where it was dried.
From the yard, it went to Tulha (today a modern Convention Center), the building below, to the left of those looking at the main house, where it was processed, peeled and bagged. From there it was shipped by donkey (that’s why it’s close to the Cavalariças) to Jundiaí, where it was loaded onto the railroad, destined for Santos. Coffee was so important in our economy that the Santos-Jundiaí road was built especially for its transportation. Curiosity: at the end of the apartment building, on the left side outside, there is a solitary coffee tree. The last reminder of this golden age.
GRADE 10 NATURE
In a study that Embratur ordered to be done, about fourteen years ago, about the climatic characteristics of the various Brazilian tourist centers, our macro-region (northwest of São Paulo + south of Minas Gerais) was awarded a grade of 10 with honors, as one of the best climates in Brazil and in the world, from a tourist point of view. We do not have accentuated variations in temperature. We don't have continuous rainfall. We don't have any big surprises. Summer is hot, it rains in the afternoon and cools down. Winter is dry, warm during the day, and cool at night. Of course, suddenly, we may be surprised by a frost, because after all, people are drilling holes in the ozone layer. But this will be nothing more than an exception.
If the region is already pleasant by itself, here at Hotel da Fazenda Dona Carolina we have tried to make our contribution to the ecological balance. The lake’s water all comes entirely from springs within the area, with no possibility of pollution. The capybaras can prove this: five years ago a couple came to live near the forest. The family grew, and, today there are about 60 of them, which can be seen in the late afternoon, grazing and swimming. The paturis (small wild ducks) and herons also appear frequently.
The howler monkeys are another attraction, when they come strolling over the fence after the lake. But they must be a little disorganized, as they don't have a day or time for presentations.
Speaking of forest, look at ours. It is natural, with huge trees, bromeliads, and exuberant vegetation. The little animals love it, believe me.
And you can admire all this from the shade of the century-old paine trees, next to the restaurant, or by the lake. Centennial, really? Well, in Bragança a 76-year-old lady tells us that as a child she used to play on a swing hanging from a branch of these trees. And notice that the paine trees in front of the suites are about 30 years old and the trunks are very thin compared to the others. A trunk, after a certain time, becomes stiff, grows less and less. It is like us...
XIX CENTURY CONSTRUCTIONS: IT IS THE LEGITIMATE BRAZILIAN COLONIAL
The main house of Fazenda Dona Carolina is still being restored internally, but from its exterior lines you can appreciate a rare example of a 19th century construction. On the main door there is a date: 1872. But some experts who visited believe this is the date of a renovation that consolidated the house. The type and shape of the materials show, according to them, that the construction had actually been carried out 30 or 40 years earlier.
The walls are made of mud, similar to the wall that can be seen near the reception area, between the suites and the apartments. A kind of wooden form was made, into which clay was thrown, trodden by the slaves until it became hard. Then the form was placed higher up and the operation was repeated. On the rammed earth wall, the overlapping layers are clearly visible.
The tiles were literally "made on the thighs". The group would kneel in front of the clay pit with one knee on the ground and each one mold the tile on the other leg. The tiles, of course, have the most varied sizes.
There are other buildings that are part of the colonial complex: the old Tulha, where coffee was processed and stored, today houses the Convention Center; the old administrator’s house - "Seo" Oscar - has been transformed into a restaurant. Both were built at the end of the century, when the large bricks that were made in the old days were already in use. Many of them can be seen on the floors of the hallways and the pool. A little newer, already from the beginning of this century, is the Salão das Cavalariças, where the horses were kept, which today is a charming restaurant.
The recently restored church of N.S. da Conceição, has a date above the main door: 1898.