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      HISTORY

The first proprietors of the “estancia” were the Barclay brothers, an English man and two women, who bought the 10.000 ha. from the provincial government in 1864. They built the original manor house between the woodland and the plain, a different setting of the current one.

Image It was a hard time in Argentina because of the constant indian attacks and the lack of a national authority that could guarantee the inhabitants´ security. This situation forced the Barclays to fence in the woodland and the house with a ditch. As a result of the attacks three natives were killed and buried here. Some native trees and remains of the moat bear witness of that time.

In 1896, John Benitz bought the property from Georgina Barclay and settled there with his family. He decided to build a new manor house not so close to the woodland and that is the one we can enjoy nowadays. The Indian attacks had already ceased owing to the fact that the national armed forces had returned from the Triple Alianza war and were able to restore peace in the region. 

Image John Benitz was born in California in 1861, when this state was still a Mexican territory and later he became an American citizen.  He was the ninth son of a family of ten born to a German couple formed by William Otto Benitz and his wife Josephine Kolmer. The family moved to Argentina in 1875 and settled down in Santa Fe Province in the place called La California now, where John spent his adolescence. He became a young man of adventurous spirit according to the time and place where he had lived and soon he committed to community matters and took over the administration of his  family´s property. In 1892 he married Marjorie Mc Intosh and they had five children: Elsie, Josephine, Marjorie, John 2nd.y Alfred. In 1896 he settled down with his family in the old house that the Barclays had built in Los Algarrobos and some time later the building of the new chalet began.

By 1904 they were already  in their new house, distant 300 meters from the original one. For many years this place was the silent witness of family events, polo and tennis games which the members of the family were extremely fond of. Friends from many parts  of the country and abroad attended these social events. 

Los Algarrobos, as well as most of the estancias at that time was a self sufficient unit made up of the chalet and its outbuildings. A tour through the facilities makes it clear that all the family and workers´ needs for their subsistance   were produced within the property boundaries. Image

The chalet has more than  twenty rooms, including the service areas. It  is a testimony of the typical architecture of the late 19th  and the early 20th century. It is also a living document of the pioneering spirit that encouraged foreigners´ settlement on Argentine territory.

 

In its history Los Algarrobos holds a landmark in the organization of agricultural exploitations in Argentina, since the first perimeter fence in a field in  Córdoba province was built here. This also accounts for its founder´s   progressive ideas and pioneering attitude.

John Benitz died in an accident in Cruz Grande in 1916. He had a fertile life full of achievements and contributions to the communities he was part of. Around 1930 his heirs divided the field into three ones:  La Gloria, El Venado and Los Algarrobos. John Benitz 2nd took over Los Algarrobos until 1953 when he sold the property to a family named Gorostiza, who lived in Buenos Aires. He emigrated to England, where he died some years later. The Gorostiza family projected the chalet restoration but it wasn´t carried  out. Instead they sold it ten years later. 

In 1963 the property is bought by the firm Oscar J. Peretti and others - Establecimiento Los Algarrobos SH, constituted by several partners. In 1982 the firm redistributed properties and it assigned Los Algarrobos to its current proprietors, the members of Establecimiento Los Algarrobos SA. In 2007 they started the exploitation of the manor house as corporative service through L.A. SRL.

 
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