This story should start by using one of the lines of the famous 1964 hit song by the Animals – “House of the rising sun”, as you’ll no doubt know the line is…”There is a house in New Orleans”, well in this case “There is a house in Los Cristianos”.
The house I’m talking about would have once been one of the most central focal points of Los Cristianos…Casa de Peña or Casa Tavio.
If you live in Los Cristianos or have ever come on holiday here, you are sure to know the house I am talking about, it’s on the Los Cristianos seafront and looks out to the harbour.
I have a client who has recently told me a story about the owners.
My client has lived in Tenerife for many years and when she was a child she and her family used to live in the north.
Her father used to build property and sell them on then move into something else to build and so on.
She said it was more of a hobby for her father, but nevertheless, ended up taking more of a central role in their lives.
Her father had promised the family that the property that he was building in La Laguna was going to be the last one and that they would live in it as a family.
Well, someone came along with an offer he couldn’t refuse which was some money for the property that he had just finished building and part of the deal was an apartment in Los Cristianos.
The deal was done and the apartment was theirs.
Still living in Santa Cruz, the family used the apartment in Los Cristianos for weekends and summer holidays.
This was back in the 60’s when the roads were nothing more than dirt tracks, she told me that it used to take them 6 hours to drive from Santa Cruz in their car to Los Cristianos, a journey that now takes approximately 45 minutes.
While holidaying here the family would often walk along the seafront of the Los Cristianos port and up to the old banana plantations towards Guaza mountain.
One day passing one of the larger houses, the one shown in the pictures, the father was asked by a man sitting on his front steps if he’d be interested in helping him out.
The man on the steps knew that her father spoke German and said that there were some Germans planning on building some properties up the hill in a place called Chayofa.
The father was asked by the villa owner to accompany him to Chayofa and discuss with the German developers, the plans and cost of the land, it turned out that the man from the villa owned the land…and I imagine, although there’s no proof, that the man on the steps was Sñr Jose Antonio Tavio Alfonso, a very important man in the development of the island from water canales for tomatoes and banana plantation to building property in Costa del Silencio (Tenbel) and Chayofa.
Not only did the villa owner own the land in Chayofa, but most of the land from the Adeje to the west and close to San Miguel to the east, all to the north of the main north-south road or TF1, as it is now.
Not only that, but his wife owned the same amount of land to the south of the main road from the west to the east.
In payment for his services, the father was offered any parcel of land of his choice in Chayofa to build his own villa.
This led to the father starting to build another property, but on this occasion it really was the last one, on completion of his own villa in Chayofa, the whole family moved into it and lived in it for years, which is where I met this lady who was selling the property in Chayofa.
The villa on the seafront in Los Cristianos, that was owned by the couple that owned the land is still standing, but is disappointingly in very poor shape and in fact has a very sad recent history that a lot of people will know.
I think it still has great character and if you look closely at some of the old black and white photographs of Los Cristianos, you can see the property in all its glory as it was in it’s hay day in the ’60’s…probably just as the song “House of the rising sun” was being written.
I’m sorry but I can’t cite the photographers of the images below, if you know who took them, please let me know and I’ll happily add their names to the photos.