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Torre (neighbourhood, Recife)

The name Torre [tower] comes from the plantation’s old chapel, which has maintained its initial invocation of Our Lady of the Rosary, and later became the parish church

Torre (neighbourhood, Recife)

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Last update: 19/03/2020

By: Semira Adler Vainsencher - N/I

A Rua Real da Torre
Que mistérios ocultas
Nos chalés mal-assombrados
Que os fantasmas alugais?
Rua Real da Torre street
What hidden mysteries
In the haunted cottages
That the ghosts rent?

 O bairro da Torre, [The Torre Neighbourhood] Mauro Mota

Distributed by lots, the lands of the current neighbourhood of Torre were abandoned until the end of the 16th century, when they were acquired by a wealthy Portuguese settler named Marcos André, who founded a sugarcane factory powered by animals, which became known as Engenho de Marcos André.

In 1633, the Dutch took possession of the Marcos André’s plantation, on which they built a great fortress capable of attacking the artillery of Fort Real do Bom Jesus.

With the definitive defeat of the invaders in 1654, the then owner, Captain Antonio Borges Uchoa, a descendant of Marcos André, restored the sugarcane factory in 1655, and in order to improve communication with his land, he built a bridge over the Capibaribe River at the Parnamirim River mouth, connecting it to the place called Sítio Guardez, which after the construction of the bridge became known as Ponte d’Uchoa [Uchoa’s Bridge], a name that remains to this day.

The sugarcane factory remained the property of the descendants of Marcos André until 1715, when its owner Cristóvão de Holanda Cavalcanti, who was married to a Borges Uchoa, exchanged it for the Moreno Mill in Jaboatão, thus making it belong to the family Campelo, with whom it remained until its closure.

The name Torre [tower] comes from the plantation’s old chapel, which has maintained its initial invocation of Our Lady of the Rosary, and later became the parish church. It was rebuilt in 1781 and underwent a new and complete renovation in 1867. In 1912, the then proprietor Laura Barreto Campelo made a public donation of the chapel building and some nearby lands to the diocese of Olinda and Recife, with the condition that it be the suburb’s parish church, under the same invocation of Our Lady Of the Rosary.

However, the devotion to Santa Luzia, whose centennial image forms part of the patrimony of the Mother Church, has made it known today as the Church of Santa Luzia, absorbing its true invocation of Our Lady of the Rosary.

According to Pereira da Costa, in the first decades of the 20th century, the settlement was cut with long and wide streets that were very well aligned, with good houses in general, with elegant buildings and large farms, and not a small population. Industrial establishments such as fabric and match factories, sugarcane and alcohol distillation factories, mechanical pottery and others that still follow the old routine system. It is lit by gas, has good public thoroughfares, both on land and river, and an electric tramline.

In 1884, the Cotonificio da Torre [Torre Cotton Factory] was built in the area, causing a great impact on the neighbourhood with a large movement of workers and the whistle of the factory that was also heard in the adjacent quarters.

Around 1900, a burlap (sack) factory was installed in the neighbourhood by Francisco Sales Teixeira, who also built nearby a villa house for his residence and a working village. Aiming to give more movement and dynamism to the place, the Cine Teatro Modelo was built between the house and the village around 1910. The village, with its rammed-earth houses that had just one door and one window, was located on Vitoriano Palhares Street. The villa house no longer exists, but it was located at number 1472 Real da Torre Street. At the site of the old factory today is the supermarket Carrefour.

In the 1930s, Cine Torre was inaugurated on Visconde de Irajá Street, which was busy until the end of the 60s, when neighbourhood cinemas were being closed. Today on the site is a residential building called Edifício Cine Torre.

Next to the square Praça da Torre, nowadays named after Professor Barreto Campelo, one of the neighbourhood’s illustrious residents, there was the so-called Field of Art, a famous soccer field for suburban pick-up games, in the Arte Clube da Torre. Currently, the field’s area and its surroundings contain the village of Santa Luzia.

In December, the Santa Luzia party is held in the neighbourhood, an important popular event, with traditional foods, pastorils and the parish church’s novenas held in the current Professor Barreto Campelo Square. There was a time when Visconde de Irajá Street was all lit up to the Square.

In Regueira Costa Street, in the area where today is the Martins Junior State College, there was an open field where was a milk farm that supplied all the area with fresh milk.

Recife, 17 July 2003.
Translated by Peter Leamy, December 2016.

sources consulted

CAVALCANTI, Carlos Bezerra. O Recife e seus bairros. Recife: Câmara Municipal, 1998. p.90-93.

GUERRA, Flávio. Velhas igrejas e subúrbios históricos. Recife: Prefeitura Municipal. Departamento de Documentação e Cultura, 1960. p. 225-228.

PEREIRA DA COSTA, Francisco Augusto. Arredores do Recife. 2. Ed. autônoma. Recife: FJN. Ed. Massangana, 2001. p. 156-161.

how to quote this text

Source: VAINSENCHER, Semira Adler. Torre (bairro, Recife). Pesquisa Escolar Online, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Recife. Disponível em: <> . Acesso em: dia  mês ano. Ex: 6 ago. 2009.