Casa Salud DeBayle – A Fascinating Attraction
The scenic city of León in Nicaragua has a long and interesting history. With the university being established way back in 1813, the city has gained the reputation of being the intellectual center of Nicaragua. There are many places of interest to visit in León, making it a popular tourist destination. The Casa Salud DeBayle is one of the attractions in León that visitors can explore.
The Casa Salud DeBayle is a large colonial style house that has recently been beautifully restored and is now open to the public. This picturesque double-story building was originally the clinic and house Dr. Luis Henry De Bayle, a well-known doctor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Dr. DeBayle was a true humanitarian who attended to the medical needs of poor people in the area at no charge. This highly respected physician was a close friend of Ruben Dario, a famous Nicaraguan poet. They were such close friends that Dr. DeBayle’s daughter, Margarita, was the subject of one of Dario’s poems. Ruben Dario (1867-1916) was considered to be a revolutionary poet who was instrumental in changing the course of Spanish poetry.
Luis DeBayle’s second daughter, Salvadorita DeBayle, married a man that her family considered to be beneath their aristocratic station. Her husband, Anastasio Somoza Garcia, went on to become the first of the line of Somoza Dictators in Nicaragua, ruling from 1936 until he was assassinated on 29 September 1956. Their sons – Dr. Luis DeBayle’s grandsons – Luis Somoza DeBayle and Anastasio Somoza DeBayle, continued to be politically influential after their father’s death.
A section of the Casa Salud DeBayle is devoted to an exhibition of pre-Columbian art with pieces that date back to approximately 500 years B.C. There is also a showroom for contemporary paintings and two other large rooms which are exclusively used for cultural events and activities. Apart from being a tourist attraction, the Casa Salud DeBayle serves as an extension of the university, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua (UNAN), as well as a centre for Spanish language classes.
The extent of the appreciation that people had for Dr. Luis Henry DeBayle’s humanitarian efforts is reflected by a statue that stands in a park in Miami, Florida, U.S.A., which was donated by the Nicaraguan government and has an inscription honoring his worth as a scientist, benefactor and humanitarian to the benefit of inter-American solidarity.