For 100 years Ponce competed with San Juan to be the richest town in the island.In 1898, Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States.after the U.S. defeated Spain in the Spanish-American War. This historical transition also marked a transition in architectural trends.

The Neoclassical styles so rampant in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern U.S. coast migrated to Ponce. Therefore, travelers and locals referred to Ponce as the Pearl of the South and the Majestic City.

The architecture is highly noticeable in the Colonial center, Plazas Las Delicias. Preservation of this area has been an utmost concern for Puerto Rico. Parque de Bombas acts a dividing line between the main downtown plazas. They are Plaza Degetau and Plaza Luis Munoz Rivera.

Casa Salazar is one of the several colonial mansions near the Plazas. It integrates Neoclassical details with Moorish and Caribbean decorative style. This cultural and stylistic encounter makes the mansion an appropriate place for the Ponce Museum of History.

The 17th Century "Our Lady of Guadalupe" cathedral, the art deco Fox Delicias Theater, and a string of additional, colonial mansions also define the Colonial center.

This kaleidoscopic area of town blends a variety of design characteristics. Moorish stripes do not conform to the usual red-white juxtaposition and Ionian columns are not always white. Walk and explore the colonial center for a  nostalgic look at architecture.