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Revista Brasileira de História

On-line version ISSN 1806-9347

Rev. Bras. Hist. vol.32 no.63 São Paulo  2012 



Hotels in São Paulo City in the first decade of the 20th century: diversity in size, location and services provided



Lucília Siqueira

Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Unifesp) – Campus Guarulhos. Estrada do Caminho Velho, 333, Pimenta. 07252-312 Guarulhos – SP – Brasil.




Through the analysis of three hotel establishments of different sizes in the first decade of the 20th century, this article aims to highlight the heterogeneity of hotels in São Paulo City at the time. Using the post-mortem inventories of hotel owners located in Largo São Bento, Rua Líbero Badaró and Avenida Rangel Pestana (the latter of which is in the district of Brás), the article displays the variety of the equipment and services made available at that time, as well as the diversity of people who owned such enterprises.

Keywords: urban history; history of São Paulo City; history of hotels.


Por meio da análise de três estabelecimentos de hospedagem de dimensões distintas na década de 1900, este texto ressalta a heterogeneidade dos hotéis da cidade de São Paulo no período. Seguindo os inventários post mortem de proprietários de hotéis localizados no largo São Bento, na rua Líbero Badaró e na avenida Rangel Pestana, esta última no bairro do Brás, o artigo possibilita apreender a variedade dos equipamentos e serviços existentes, bem como a diversidade dos grupos aos quais pertenciam os donos desses estabelecimentos.

Palavras-chave: história urbana; história da cidade de São Paulo; história dos hotéis.



In São Paulo city in 1890 the Italian Carlo Astone, who was the owner of Hotel Coroa d'Itália, located on number 1 Rua Senador Feijó, registered a complaint with the police against a customer of his hotel. The accusation was for "verbal defamation."1

According to Carlo Astone, on 17 August 1890, at around six in the afternoon, Felipe Marasca began to curse him in the hotel: "thief, pimp, bastard and son of a bitch!" Felipe Marasca was a 22 year old Italian coachman, single and illiterate. On that afternoon, Felipe had been in Café dos Estados Unidos with two others, both young Italians like him, whom he invited to go to Coroa d'Itália to drink some cognac. One of these was the tailor Miguel Bruno and the other the barber Francisco D'Urso. The two stated that when they reached the hotel, Felipe sat at the head of the table to eat, while they 'went to the secret,' in other words 'to the latrine,' from where they began to hear raised voices. Due to the shouting they returned to the dining room where they saw Astone shouting at Felipe Marasca telling him to leave. In the middle of the confusion narrated by the witnesses – one employee even came from the bedroom area with a knife in his hand –, we can see that in the hotel at that time there were around twenty people, some eating in the dining room, at tables at which eight people could fit, and others in a second room, where there were smaller tables and people were drinking in pairs. Among those present were two or three single Italian men, one of whom worked in São José Theater. In addition there was a doctor – Carlos Garcia – and a policeman born in Portugal, but already a naturalized Brazilian.

Little by little the fight scene is revealed in the records: some stated that they heard, before the beginning of the melee, "the coachman shouting at a prostitute who was also present, Felismina Maria de Jesus." The Portuguese born policeman let the secret out: he said that "some of those boarding at Coroa d'Itália were lost women and that this Felismina had refused to have libidinous relations with Felipe Marasca."

Months later, close to the condemnation of three months in prison which he would receive, Felipe Marasca asked an army captain for help. The latter brought a police chief to the hotel to try to convince Astone to withdraw the complaint – which he would only do a few years later. While the police chief and the hotel were talking in a closed area, the captain waited outside and "talked with a prostitute called Amélia, known as 'Flor do Chá.'" In this conversation the captain found out some of the details of the fights between the prostitute Felismina and the Italian Felipe; and we now understand that Hotel Coroa d'Itália – or Hotel da Roza in some documents –, was a place frequented by people of every type, from various social groups, and offered, in addition to meals, drinks and board, the service of the prostitutes who lived there, since they were described by all as 'boarders' of the hotel. The defendant's lawyer even argued that although Felipe was "an inexperienced single youth who had come to the hotel with libidinous intentions," he had committed a lesser crime than Carlo Astone who kept "this hotel functioning, a 'hotel of a low grade,' where he certainly 'exploited prostitution.'"2

In May 1893, after the fight mentioned above, the same Carlo Astone filed a complaint against an employee, Giuseppe Vandiglia, who had disappeared from the hotel with the keys to the establishment's drinks cabinet, taking with him some banknotes which were there for change and a much greater quantity of money which he had obtained from selling drinks without the authorization of his employer.3

A police investigation was opened and Giuseppe declared that he had worked for Astone for eight months and had been hired 'as a manager of the said Hotel,' for 30,000 réis per month; since the beginning he had not received his salary and everything he had sold had been with the authorization of the hotel owner. Giuseppe Vandiglia had not appeared in the hotel for ten days because he had gone to Santos to pick up his wife who had arrived from Europe. When he returned to the capital he went to live on Rua Vinte e Cinco de Março.

Over the weeks five Italians would testify: a cook who lived on Rua Santo Antônio and probably worked in Coroa d'Itália, a clerk who lived in the hotel, a 'travelling salesman' living on Rua Vinte e Cinco de Março, another salesman who lived on Rua Santa Ifigênia and a teacher who lived in Bexiga and was a client of the hotel. Many details of the life around the hotel are revealed: some were guests, other were there to drink, or were employees of the hotel, the establishment had different names – Coroa d'Itália in the almanac and da Roza in the judicial records. Statement after statement were taken, from which the following can be extracted by reading between the lines: Giuseppe, feeling slighted for not having been paid for months, before leaving for Santos to pick up his wife, went to meet customers of the hotel to receive what they owned him for the consumption of drinks. With this money, and now feeling paid, he abandoned his job in Coroa d'Itália. At the end of the case Giuseppe Vandiglia was condemned to pay around one conto to his former boss, but he was not found to be notified of the judicial decision; it appeared that he had disappeared and had left the city.

The two stories which took place in Coroa d'Itália in 1890 and 1893 show a city in which many different types of people frequented this medium size hotel located in the center of the city, providing services including food, board and sometimes prostitution. A decade before the period in question, people there sat around tables and the cabinet 'full of wines, liquors and fine drinks,' locked with a key, while some cigarettes 'of an inferior category' were also kept there. Those who usually frequented Coroa d'Itália –workers, small businessmen, travelling salesmen, the middling sort of person, and even one or other who was richer – little resembles those groupings which are described in the historiography in the confectionary shops and luxurious hotels on the streets of the so-called São Paulo triangle. At that time in the heart of the city there could be found the 'cosmopolitan' novelties which appeared in shop windows and on restaurant tables, many of which were in the biggest hotels.4

What this text intends, however, is not to look at a sample of people who frequented hotels, or who stayed or worked in them. Nor are we concerned with creating a taxonomy of hotel establishments. Rather we intend to present the diversity of the hotels existing in São Paulo at the beginning of the twentieth century, seeking to classify what was written about them in the period of the demographic explosion of the city, in the years when foreigners arrived in large numbers. Using three post mortem inventories of hotel owners in the city – from 1900, 1901 and 1908 –, we seek to compare the value and the dimension of these hotel establishments, as well as, when possible, what was contained inside them in terms of equipment and facilities. It is worth stating that understanding this heterogeneity is useful for more wide-ranging research we are carrying out on the city's hotels. While in this article hotels are seen as part of family property and as businesses, later, in a broader focus, they will be studied as places of new sociabilities and relations of work.5

In effect hotels can tell us more about the history of São Paulo that they have done until they moment. It has to be taken into account that due to the growth of the coffee economy in 1920 the capital of São Paulo state had almost ten times the number of inhabitants it had in 1890, in other words, it rose form a little over 60,000 inhabitants in 1890 to almost 600,000 in 1920. The influx of people to the capital created problems in the city, such as a lack of housing and employment, lack of foodstuffs, poor quality constructions, growth of violence, precarious water supply6 and even a considerable worsening in the conditions of health, with epidemics attacking principally in the areas of greatest population density. The authorities could not meet all the essential needs, but some measures were taken, including worker accommodation and the sanitation conditions in this type of accommodation. Discussing the 1893 Relatório da Comissão de exame e inspecção das habitações operarias e cortiços do districto de Sta. Ephigenia, (Report of the Commission of Examination and Inspection of Worker Housing and Tenements of the district of Sta. Ephigenia) Jaime Rodrigues states:

The debate about the public health of the city took form and involved aspects such as street layout, the regulation of new constructions, the control of epidemics and living conditions and the conditions of housing for the poor. In this debate, in which doctors, engineers, parliamentarians and residents were heard,  the resolution of the problems of collective housing appeared to assume fundamental importance. In its wake, it was sought to define the tenement and diagnose housing conditions, in order to propose public health measures.7

Next described is how the members of this Commission defined the various types of housing that there was in Santa Ifigênia. Among these was the 'tenement-hotel,' described as follows in Chapter III of the same report:

There is also the tenement-hotel, a type of restaurant where the working people meet at night to sleep, both in reserved rooms and in common dormitories. Almost always the rooms are tiny: 2.5m wide by 3m deep, occupied by workers without families. The occupation rate stated rarely exceeds normal, however the reality is much more diverse, and it is known that the amount of people in these places far exceeds reasonable limits.8

As a reading of criminal proceedings from that time shows, people did not stop arriving in the state capital and they had to live wherever they could find a place. Many came to join relatives or acquaintances, whether in hotels, boarding houses, in tenements, or in rented rooms or houses. Some were just passing through and thus slept rather uncomfortably where they ate; such as those who even slept on the floor of the vendas (grocery shops) and taverns where they paid for the food and needed the permission of the owners to stay. Among the middling sort, some of those who remained alone and who did not form families stayed in hotels for years. When a certain level of stability was reached, it was possible to buy or construct a house to live in.

Evidentially in this study we are dealing with establishments which provided accommodation services, though these were very diverse. We are interested in places where people paid to sleep and for other services associated with this sleeping space. At the minimum we believe that anyone who slept in a 'tenement-hotel' – as named in the 1893 report – would have the room where their bed was cleaned, whether it was an exclusive room or divided with other people. In the other model, in a tenement in the strict sense, or in a rented house, the resident was responsible for cleaning the accommodation; at the limit, that was his 'domicile' and thus he is not included within the scope of this study, also excluded from which is another form of boarding which was abundant in the swollen city from the 1880s onwards: the person who lived where he worked and did not pay for this; as we have seen among the records related to crimes this happened frequently in shops, workshops, groceries, bakeries, warehouses, etc., in the many establishments where employees worked during the day and arranged to sleep in any corner at night.

Later, in another phase of this research, we intend to examine the relations of work existing in hotel establishments. Then we will discuss in a more accurate manner the agreements and payments which permeated the lives of those living where they worked, both while slavery still existed and later. Similarly, it will be possible to discuss and analyze what we mean by 'resident,' 'boarder,' 'guest,' and 'tenant' when these terms appear in the designation of many 'customers' of hotels and boarding houses.

In this research we will deal with establishments where accommodation and another service was paid for: breakfast, the bed clothes which belonged to the owner of the establishment and the washing of which was his responsibility, messages left in the lobby, a 'living' space – such as a room for games, drinking, smoking and chatting. In addition, many other facilities were offered by the larger hotels: post, telephone, lighting everywhere, water in the bedrooms, sophisticated meals and other comforts. In any case we are less attentive to the denominations and to the possibility of categorizing hotel establishments; we rather want to classify them based on the equipment and services which we can describe based on the documentary sources.

In those times after the arrival of the train – the first line had opened at the end of the 1860s –, a large part of the people who had come to the capital to work, sell, buy, or carry out business with banks and other companies, stayed in hotels and boarding houses. More than just a place to sleep, there came to hotels for a few hours those looking for a meal, a few drinks, some hours with their girlfriends, or the company of prostitutes.

In the city which changed so much and so fast, hotels were a 'condensation point for the transitory,' a place where people who were passing through the state capital stayed for a day or two – when they were travelling to other destinations –, for a week or more when they came for business, to shop, or in search of medical treatment –, and also those who lived and worked in São Paulo, but resided in hotels because they were alone or did not have income to maintain a domicile. In a city which received many foreigners and migrants from other cities in the state and from other regions of Brazil, hotels were also a frontier between people with various origins.


In São Paulo in May 1908, at the age of 62 the Spaniard Francisco Calixto Meza, owner of Hotel D'Oeste, located on Largo São Bento, died.9 At the time of his death, Francisco's wife was living in Montevideo, where his two sons, both married, were also living. His estate which was worth more than 900 contos de réis included bank and railroad company shares, as well as more than ten rented houses spread out over three city regions. One of these houses was on Rua Vinte e Cinco de Março and was evaluated at 45 contos de réis; another on Rua Frei Caneca reached 35 contos.

Calixto Meza's greatest earnings came from the property where Hotel D'Oeste was located. Although these buildings were owned by São Bento monastery, the Spaniard had been responsible for them since 1873 – the date from which it had been necessary to prove that taxes had been paid –, and had a contract with the Benedictines for numbers 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 of Largo de São Bento until 1921. Before opening the hotel in 1878, Calixto Meza had a liquor store in the square, as well as owning Restaurante Paulistano (Barbuy, 2006, p.105).

When he died Calixto Meza was paying the monastery rent for the building in the square; however, the hotel paid him rent that was usually three times higher. For a period of almost four years, for example, the difference was between 28:600$000 and 8:500$000, 70:613$000 and 21:000$000 for the larger buildings, numbers 2 and 6 of Largo de São Bento. Furthermore, he rented the 'lower parts' of the hotel to other commercial establishments, something common in the city's hotels. Evidentially the arrangement in which he intermediated the rent between São Bento Monastery and Hotel D'Oeste was an accounting strategy which allowed Calixto Meza to withdraw large quantities as income from the hotel without having to render accounts about what he received in accommodation, bar and restaurant activities.10

Hotel D'Oeste can be found in many of nineteenth century photos of the São Paulo state capital. In general hotels are treated as large buildings in the urban scenario by those who have written the history of São Paulo. Hotel D'Oeste was founded at the end of the 1870s, the same year that the star of the city's nineteenth century hotels was born: the Grande Hotel, considered a landmark among the city's hotels because, in addition to the sophistication of the services offered then – which had previously never been seen outside the court –, it was the first hotel whose building was not adapted, in other words, it was constructed as a hotel.

To explain the emergence of hotels in São Paulo, Eudes Campos produces a periodization which seems accurate to us: according to him, hotels emerged as the custom of 'letters of recommendation' for hospitality in people's homes disappeared; in other words from the middle of the nineteenth century travelers who needed to stay in São Paulo city were offered services for which only payment was asked. Even if the new arrival did not known the place and had no indications from anyone he knew, he could find a room to sleep in the city: he received accommodation services and paid for them in turn. Campos notes that for many decades after the middle of the nineteenth century hotels and boarding houses coexisted with resting places at the city's entrances, where the people coming into São Paulo with the animal trains stayed.11

Documenting the cosmopolitanization which the so-called central triangle in São Paulo underwent between 1860 and 1914, Heloisa Barbuy divides the history of hotels in this period into three generations. She calls the 'first generation' those hotels born in the middle of the nineteenth century, which preceded the Grande Hotel and which were located in buildings that were originally residential, and built in taipa (rammed earth)– of which Hotel de França was the most representative. The Grande Hotel, built in 1877, on the corner of Rua São Bento with what is now Miguel Couto, was, as we have seen, the first building to be constructed in the capital to be a hotel, initiating a second generation of hotel establishments, represented by it, the Grande Hotel Paulista, Hotel Rebecchino and Hotel D'Oeste, with the latter three being in Largo São Bento. According to Barbuy, the third generation of hotels in the center of São Paulo commenced with the inauguration of Grand Hôtel de la Rôtisserie Sportsman on Rua São Bento in the final years of the nineteenth century, which signified the introduction of 'new hotel standards' in the city (Barbuy, 2006, p.92-111).

Among the little that we know about the functioning of hotels in the São Paulo state capital is something about the conditions of hotel facilities, above all because of the buildings they occupied. In the initial decades, until the 1880s for the large scale establishments, hotels constantly changed address, which reveals that the buildings through which they passed, old residencies, were not prepared to serve as hotels, and that the equipment was relatively easy to transport and install; in other words, they did not have stoves, counters and other utensils specially designed to meet large demands, produce large quantities of food and to wash large amounts of food, for example. Not to mention the rooms which served as dormitories for guests, where the simplicity of the fur niture and the precariousness of facilities such as windows and the supply of water and lighting also allowed addresses to be changed with relative ease.

While recommendation letters were no longer used – as highlighted by Eudes Campos –, and relations between persons were more 'objective,' in the sense that accommodation was given in exchange for payments in money, it was still very important to know who the owner of the hotel was. In the book A cidade-exposição, Heloisa Barbuy lists remnants of São Paulo hotels in which this was quite evident. We can take from this book two examples referring to Hotel D'Oeste. In the 1900 Revista Industrial there appeared an image of this hotel highlighting the name of the owner 'F. Calixto Meza' and the date of its foundation.12 In addition to this propaganda from 1900, Barbuy presents on the same page a receipt from Hotel D'Oeste in 1917 – after the death of Calixto Meza – where 'I. Zucchi & Irmão' appears as the owner.

On Sunday 12 March 1905, A Patria newspaper included among its advertisements two hotel establishments much smaller than Hotel D'Oeste, and located in less fancy parts of the city; in the two advertisements the owner was the important part. Hotel dos Viajantes, "in front of Estação do Norte and Brás," on 221 Avenida Rangel Pestana, "with a complete selection of national and foreign drinks" and "food at any time," presented José Soares das Neves as its owner. For Pensão Pinheiro, located on Rua Treze de Maio, in the Bela Vista neighborhood, the advertisement signed by the owner José Pinheiro stated: "The owner lives with his family in the establishment guaranteeing in this way seriousness in his house."13

Another type of change that meets our eyes in the history of São Paulo hotels are the successive owners of each establishment –perhaps for this reason it was important to explain who the owner was. Economic instability was certainly responsible for these transfers of property, but it is also worth noting the numerous construction works which the urban design of the capital underwent; the building of tram and train lines, the construction of wide avenues and squares, with the result that demolitions and new buildings did not stop occurring, especially from the beginning of the twentieth century onwards.

As the city changed, places offering accommodation to the arriving workers also changed, like the hotels which came to meet the growing needs of poor workers, whose facilities and services deteriorated, and were finally transformed into tenements, as was denounced in the first chapter of the 1893 Report on worker housing in Santa Ifigênia, which was discussed above:

The tenements or inns, the boarding houses, or buildings transformed into hostels, the liquor stores or taverns, almost all with rooms at the back for rent, the third or fourth class hotels, transformed into tenements, this is what you see openly in the neighborhood where the epidemic has spread fastest...14

All of this made the price of property and of rent vary enormously, with new centers of attraction of people and business constantly being opened in different parts of the city.

In 2001, under the supervision of Professor Paulo Garcez Marins, Raquel D'Alessandro Pires carried out a survey of São Paulo's hotels.15 Based on almanacs– from 1890 to 1916 – and on telephone directories – 1917 to 1971 –, Raquel Pires organized the chapters of her work by region, i.e., starting with the old city center, the so-called 'triangle,' it moved on to the environs of the railway stations, went to the new city center, near Praça da República and Avenida São João and finally reached the spike of Avenida Paulista, including Bela Vista and Consolação. In this masters' thesis the sequence of locations accompanies the chronology of the expansion and urban degradation of the capital. Thus, over eighty years hotels emerged in places where commerce was effervescent, in train stations, in the improvement of the urban infrastructure and equipment. On the other hand, hotel establishments were deteriorating with the evasion of wealth and the official abandonment which some regions of the city suffered from during these decades.

Looking through the studies of the history of hotel in the capital of São Paulo, we can see that the examples chosen for analysis are always the large establishments and those located in addresses which are undergoing phases of development, where the city was embellished and it received the wealthiest sectors. Hotels are thus taken as evidence of the growing Paulistano development. In our case we intend to understand the diversity which characterized the groups living in the city in the years of the growth of the coffee economy and the multiplicity of accommodation services offered in different regions of the city, where the urban reforms decorated and rationalized the urban fabric and also where the tenements, factories and more modest housing thickened around the train stations.

* * *

Let us now return to the three hotels in São Paulo which we now intend to examine at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Hotel D'Oeste, which we saw in the year of the death of its owner Calixto Meza in 1908, was founded in 1878 in Largo São Bento and according to Heloisa Barbuy, "it had a long trajectory that was very representative of the successive changes in architectural style that occurred in the city during that period" (Barbuy, 2006, p.105). During the 30 years that Calixto Meza ran Hotel D'Oeste we can see from photos of the square (largo) that the establishment expanded a number of times and its façade was altered. In the advertisement cited above, published in Revista Industrial in 1900, the hotel was said to have seventy rooms (ibidem, p.104). Moreover, even in the newspaper Hotel D'Oeste advertisements always mentioned the facility of having outside the establishment public and private transport– trams or carriages and Tilburies available for the train stations and all the regions of the city and surrounding areas.

It should be emphasized that the owner of one of the largest hotels in the city made more from property transactions – around the area in which the hotel was located which belonged to São Bento monastery and where the hotel business was based – than directly from the services offered by his hotel. Perhaps this explains the insistence of Francisco Calixto Meza to keep the Hotel D'Oeste at that address, even after the fire which struck it in 1901. In fact, when the Spaniard died in 1908, the monastery still owed him 44 contos de réis due to the reconstruction of the buildings after the fire. In 1912, then owned by I. Zucchi & Irmão, D'Oeste had already annexed the building of Grande Hotel Paulista facing it on Rua da Boa Vista.

At the turn of the century, less than five minutes walk from Hotel D'Oeste, around three blocks from Largo São Bento, in was what was called Travessa do Grande Hotel, Hotel da Europa was located, facing Rua Líbero Badaró.16 With 36 rooms Hotel da Europa was a much more simple establishment that the neighboring Grande Hotel, which was on the other side of the travessa, but turned away, facing Rua São Bento.

In the first half of 1900, in a trip to Rio Grande do Sul, the owner of Hotel da Europa, Roza Fasoli, died.17 She was married to José Fasoli, with whom she had three children; the oldest of whom was only 15. According to Roza's inventory, the Fasolis' estate was approximately 70 contos de réis. In addition to the hotel, the Fasolis' owned a sobrado (a large house) in which they lived on Rua dos Gusmões and the following properties which they rented: three small houses on Rua Rego Freitas, a house with a frontage of 5 meters, a plot of land in Brás and a warehouse with land on Rua Santa Isabel, which contained a coach-house and a "piece of zinc on which the furnaces of a factory have been constructed."18

Hotel da Europa, evaluated at a little over 18 contos de réis, amounted to almost one quarter of the Fasoli's wealth and was described in the inventory as containing 36 rooms, each with a gas sconce and specially evaluated fittings. From the 36 different values given for the room fittings, we can see that there was no homogeneity among the rooms, all of which had different fittings and equipment, though there were four types of room: the three cheapest rooms, whose fittings, basically consisting of a bed, were evaluated at 50,000 réis, which makes us suppose that they were used by the hotel workers; the other 17 rooms were evaluated at around 100,000 réis and were distributed among two floors; the third category of room consisted of nine rooms with fittings of around 200,000 réis; finally there were the three best rooms, which furniture worth 465,000 réis, 730,000 réis and one conto de réis.

Since the Fasoli did not live in the hotel, we can suppose that even if one of the best furnished rooms was occupied by the manager and his family, the establishment had a superior type of accommodation to be offered to those who could pay more. This variety in the offering of accommodation in the same establishment has been found in other hotels and boarding houses in the city which we are investigating, which warns us not to blindly accept the immense praise of contemporary reports and memorialists as proof of the magnitude and the luxury of the establishments in which they stayed. Certainly praise in specific cases shows that the person responsible for it stayed in the best equipped room in the middle of much more simple accommodation in the rest of the hotel.

Like in most of the rooms of Hotel da Europa, the fittings in the first floor and second floor corridors were also worth around 200,000 réis each, which makes us imagine the simplicity of what was there. In addition to the rooms and corridors, the hotel also contained a housekeeping room with a value of almost three contos, with the fittings of the lobby and the dining room also being listed. The fittings of the dining room were worth more than 6 contos, revealing the high point of the hotel's activities, where the tables served for eating and for receiving not just guests but passersby who wanted to use the bar or restaurant. The entire establishment was lit by sixty gas sconces.

In the Fasolis' property, the hotel with modest accommodation, despite being near the Grande Hotel, in the so-called central triangle, neither made up the largest part of what they owned, and nor did it last as a business after the early death of the mother who left her widowed husband with the small children. In 1904, four years after the death of Roza Fasoli, João Fasoli's son appears in court records in a dispute with his father, who was now living in Milan, to where he had brought the other two small children. In 1918, then aged 58, José Fasoli died in Italy. In his inventory, almost two decades after the death of his wife, there still appeared some of the property listed in Roza's inventory, but Hotel da Europa no longer belonged to the family.19

We now move to another region of the city, more to the east, to Avenida Rangel Pestana, which was the continuation of the Carmo ladeira (a steep road) crossing the Tamanduateí River and running alongside Brás, where in the final decades of the nineteenth century there emerged factories, worker houses, a new railway, train stations and many hotels and boarding houses. According to Raquel D'Alessandro Pires' research, between 1890 and 1897 there appeared 22 new hotels on Avenida Rangel Pestana; according to Almanach do Estado de São Paulo, one of these was Hotel Leão, located at number 20 of that avenue (Pires, 2001).

Hotel Leão belonged to the Portuguese couple Maria Rodrigues and Manoel Pinheiro Guimarães.20 He was Maria's second husband, who did not have children in either of her marriages. When she died in July 1901, the couple`s estate amounted to a mere five contos of réis.

In Rodrigues' inventory, Hotel Leão was not evaluated by rooms, but by the amount of furniture: it had 28 single beds and eight double beds, each had its mattress and its set of clothes. In addition to the bedroom furniture, ten clothes-stands, 16 sinks and a little more than 22 small tables were also listed. Taking into account that the owners lived in the hotel, and that one or two employees also lived there – as we have found in the hotels we have examined in related to criminal cases –, the hotel offered about forty beds, in other words places for forty people to sleep and not forty rooms.

For guests in some rooms there was a bed, a clothes rack, a small desk and a simple wash basin – we suppose just a jar and a basin. However, not all the rooms had these small pieces in addition to the bed. We suppose that there were rooms with many beds, where various people shared the same place to sleep. In the room where the owners of the hotel slept there was a better bed, a wardrobe, two large bags and two bedside tables.

The kitchen had a large iron stove 'for the hotel' and a smaller stove, pans and other utensils, a table for washing, dishes, glasses and cutlery.

In addition to the rooms and the kitchen, the establishment also had two other areas to receive those who were not staying in Hotel Leão: a dining room and a bar. The dining room had five tables and their chairs – '42 Austrian chairs' –, two cupboards and a desk. In the bar, in addition to half a dozen smaller tables – made from iron and covered in marble –, there was a wall mirror, three rattan armchairs, as well as a 'glass cabinet for samples,' a marble balcony and a cigar balcony with the relevant articles. In these places we can seen that meals were an important part of the services offered by Hotel Leão; in the dozens of seats guests ate, as well as the people who lived or worked nearby, in Brás. As the 1905 advertisement for the neighboring Hotel dos Viajantes, one or two blocks away, stated: "food at any time."21 In the bar there was also a 'glass cabinet' which contained the drinks: wine, spirits, vinegar, and other bottles.

The belongings of the hotel amounted to almost 3.5 contos, with the drinks being worth one third of what existed in Hotel Leão!

There is no record of who owned the building in which the hotel existed or of any payment of rent. However, the wealth of this Portuguese couple did not go beyond the hotel business and the belongings which were part of it: furniture, utensils and articles for sale – for drinking and smoking. After the goods had been listed and evaluated, the widower declared that he had a debt greater than the total estate, more than five contos, for the 'supply of food and drink.' In other words the valuable drinks we saw in the bar had not even been paid for!

* * *

From the inventories of Francisco Calixto Meza, Roza Fasoli and Maria Rodrigues we have seen three hotels from the São Paulo state capital in the first decade of the twentieth century. Each of these represented a type of hotel establishment: Hotel D'Oeste was among the biggest and most stable with seventy rooms, located in Largo São Bento, in the region which for a long time that been the most exclusive in the city; Hotel da Europa was also located in the city center, behind the Grande Hotel, but it was a mid-sized establishment and most of its rooms offered simple accommodation; Hotel Leão was located in Brás, where mainly immigrants stayed, near the railway, offered around forty bed, meals in the dining room with more than forty places and almost nothing more than this.

In this sequence from the largest to the smallest of the three hotel establishments – even ignoring the monetary variations that occurred over these eight years, focusing instead on the nature and volume of the goods that composed the estates of the owners of these hotels –, there is a decreasing line of wealth in which the estates of the owners fall to less than 10% of the previous amount. In reverse, Maria Rodrigues of Hotel Leão in Brás had an estate worth less than 10% of the worth of the estate of the Fasolis; the latter in turn had wealth that was worth less than 10% of the estate of Francisco Calixto Meza.

It was not only the amount that was significant, but the goods that composed it; as we have shown above the Spaniard Calixto Meza was a businessman of his time: he had shares in banks and railway companies, as well as valuable houses for rent. The Fasolis, from what they possessed – equipment to manufacture food and some small houses for rent – and from their past history, showed that that for many decades they had worked in the areas of alimentation and hospitality in the city, having lived from this and that and managed to accumulate some wealth. While the Portuguese from Hotel Leão only had the hotel where they lived and nothing else.

Accompanying these differences is the representativeness of each hotel in the total estate of their owners: starting with Hotel D'Oeste the hotel is inversely proportional to the wealth of the owner, in other words, the greater the estate, the lower the representativeness of the hotel among the goods listed in the inventory, the less the owner depended on hotel services for income and/or enrichment. We are thus dealing with different hotel establishments – regarding their location, dimension, and the type of equipment and services they offer to guests– but also in regard to hotel owners belonging to distinct groups of São Paulo society.

In the written history of the city of São Paulo in the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, hotels have been used to characterize urban development and expansion, the incorporation of 'bourgeoisified' habits and services. As we have stated, they are always the largest hotel establishments, because, in addition to denoting the enrichment of São Paulo, they serve to exemplify moments of the city's architectural history.22

The historiography of the city of São Paulo has already examined the palaces, the shop windows, the shops, the restaurants, the factories and the tenements. We have consolidated a dual memory of the São Paulo capital at the time of growth of the coffee economy: on the one hand, the cosmopolitan city which beautified itself; on the other the working class city where workers lived in bad conditions. In the hotels, in addition to mixing people with various origins and social groups, men and women could be seen who had very peculiar insertions in the coffee society: they did not live on the streets incurring the risk of being arrested for vagrancy, they were not in the badly-regarded tenements, nor in the banks, the large commercial houses or the palaces; in  other words in the hotel we can look at the lives of those who are not in the places most examined by historiography.

In this period of the great transformation of the city between the final decades of the nineteenth century and the first of the twentieth, the diversification of services grew, accompanying the growth of the coffee economy. In the field of alimentation and entertainment numerous bars, bakeries and confectionaries, restaurants, hotels, theaters, billiards and bowling halls, as well as bath houses, emerged at this time. Not to mention the variety which imports brought to grocers, liquor stores and markets. In relation to services such as alimentation, entertainment and accommodation, or clothes shops, we tend to think of São Paulo history progressively, emphasizing the growing cosmopolitanization of Paulistano customs, the increasingly Europeanized manners of dressing and going to cafés, confectionaries, and restaurants with French cuisine. In relation to hotels, enormous numbers of rich Brazilians and foreign travelers are mentioned who classify our establishments among the best of the world, hosting sophisticated festivities and meals.

We still need to document the diversity existing in the consumption and offer of services for different groups in São Paulo society and in the different regions of the city. At that time there were people in São Paulo such as the family of Manoel Monteiro Diniz Junqueira, who died in the last year of the nineteenth century, whose daughter studied in Germany, who traveled often to Europe and had a wooden Swiss chalet on Guarujá beach – very much in European style.23 But there were also the clients of Hotel Coroa d'Itália, who passed number 1 Rua Senador Feijó almost daily for a drink; not to mention people such as Giuseppe Vandiglia, recently arrived from Italy who worked in the hotel serving drink to others.

This expansion in the city which came with such intensive and rapid changes is in need of a more complex explanation. As noted by Raquel Glezer, after the 1870s the state capital was transformed preponderantly into a service city: "Only the transformation towards a service city can explain the jump in population between 1886 and 1900."24 The fortunes of certain groups followed an upward curve, however the middle sectors of São Paulo society, of which most hotel owners were part, experimented the instability of a scenario in which the oscillation of the price of coffee in the international market caused economic retractions.25

Hotels, bars, cafés, theaters, billiards halls, restaurants and other places emerged in São Paulo not only for those who came to imitate the way of living in the large European cities and acquired more 'bourgeoisified' habits These establishments were very varied and housed people of all types.

In the court records of criminal cases in which we continue to study São Paulo hotels – such as those in which we saw Hotel Coroa D'Itália and Carlo Astone – many individuals can be found who came from outside the country, from elsewhere in São Paulo state and other parts of Brazil. In this research we hope that the newspapers, court record and other sources will present a still great multiplicity than revealed by the inventories studied here, providing information about the facilities and accommodation services, about who paid for these services – guests, tenants, prostitutes and others –, about work relations and principally about the functioning of hotels – who washed the clothes, who looked after the meals, made the beds, etc.

What the post mortem inventories of hotel allowed us see was only the beginning of an investigation.



1 SÃO PAULO (Estado). Tribunal de Justiça do Estado de São Paulo, Capital. Appellação crime. Apelante: Felipe Marasca. Apelado: Carlo Astone, 1893. ATJSP. Assim como esse processo, os demais apontados neste texto encontram-se no Arquivo do Tribunal de Justiça de São Paulo – ATJSP. Optamos por não apresentar sua classificação porque, na altura em que foi realizada a pesquisa, o Arquivo reorganizava seu acervo, alterando os indicadores de localização dos processos.         [ Links ]

2 Sobre as pensões e hotéis onde se praticava prostituição, inclusive com menção à rua Senador Feijó: RAGO, Margareth. Os prazeres da noite: prostituição e códigos da sexualidade feminina em São Paulo (1890-1930). Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1991. p.81ss e p.120ss.         [ Links ]

3 SÃO PAULO (Estado). Juízo de Direito da 1ª Vara do Crime da Comarca da Capital, Cartório do 9º Ofício. Autos de queixa-crime. Autor: Carlo Astone. Réu: Giuseppe Vandiglia, 1893. ATJSP.         [ Links ]

4 BARBUY, Heloisa. A cidade-exposição: comércio e cosmopolitismo em São Paulo, 1860-1914. São Paulo: Edusp, 2006; DEAECTO, Marisa Midori. Comércio e vida urbana na cidade de São Paulo (1889-1930). São Paulo: Ed. Senac, 2002; e MONTELEONE, Joana. Sabores urbanos: sociabilidade, alimentação e consumo: São Paulo, 1822-1910. São Paulo: Alameda, [no prelo]         [ Links ].

5 O estudo dos hotéis na cidade de São Paulo entre as últimas décadas do século XIX e as primeiras do XX insere-se nos trabalhos de um grupo de pesquisadores que desde 2007 lida com processos-crime armazenados no Arquivo do Tribunal de Justiça do Estado de São Paulo. Sob a coordenação da profª Maria Odila Leite da Silva Dias, os pesquisadores eram em sua maioria da PUC-SP. Atualmente, permanecem no grupo: Lorena Féres, Maíra Rosin e Monique Borin, mestrandas da Universidade de São Paulo. No início desta investigação foram preciosas as indicações de Maria Luiza Ferreira de Oliveira que, generosamente, forneceu a localização de alguns processos de inventário post mortem de proprietários de hotel da cidade de São Paulo.         [ Links ]

6 SANT'ANNA, Denise Bernuzzi de. Cidade das águas: usos de rios, córregos, bicas e chafarizes em São Paulo (1822-1901). São Paulo: Ed. Senac, 2007.         [ Links ]

7 RODRIGUES, Jaime. Da "Chaga Oculta" aos dormitórios suburbanos: notas sobre higiene e habitação operária na São Paulo de fins do século XIX. In: CORDEIRO, Simone Lucena (Org.) Os cortiços de Santa Ifigênia: sanitarismo e urbanização (1893). São Paulo: Arquivo Público do Estado de São Paulo/Imprensa Oficial, 2010, p.82.         [ Links ]

8 Relatório da Comissão de exame e inspecção das habitações operárias e cortiços do districto de Sta. Ephigenia (1893). Edição fac-similar. In: CORDEIRO, 2010, p.101.         [ Links ]

9 SÃO PAULO (Estado). 1ª Vara do Juizado de Órfãos. Cartório do 3º Ofício. Inventário post mortem. Inventariante: Escolástica Rodrigues de Calixto. Inventariado: Francisco Calixto Meza, 1908. ATJSP.         [ Links ]

10 A propósito, vale dizer que o hotel, como tal, não foi arrolado e tampouco avaliado no inventário. Quando da partilha, os rendimentos do contrato com o Mosteiro foram estimados em 212 contos; portanto, pouco menos do que as ações – 238 contos –, do que havia nos bancos e com os devedores – 204 contos –, e do que havia em imóveis – 240 contos.         [ Links ]

11 CAMPOS, Eudes. Os primeiros hotéis da cidade de São Paulo – Século XIX: Império e República. Informativo Arquivo Histórico Municipal, São Paulo, ano 4, n.24, maio-jun. 2009. Disponível em:; Acesso em: 26 maio 2010.         [ Links ]

12 BARBUY, 2006, p.104. Conforme legenda da autora: "a Revista Industrial de 1900 foi elaborada por Jules Martin para representar o Estado de São Paulo na Exposição Universal de Paris naquele ano".         [ Links ]

13 A Patria: orgam da colonia portugueza no Brazil, São Paulo, ano IV, n.413, p.4, 12 mar. 1905.         [ Links ]

14 Relatório da Comissão de exame e inspecção das habitações operárias e cortiços do districto de Sta. Ephigenia (1893). Edição fac-similar. In: CORDEIRO, 2010, p.95.         [ Links ]

15 PIRES, Raquel D'Alessandro. Hotéis da cidade de São Paulo: história e trajetória (1889-1971). Dissertação (Mestrado em Turismo Ambiental e Cultural: Planejamento e Gestão) – Centro Universitário Ibero-Americano. São Paulo, 2001. Sem os estudos de Raquel D'Alessandro Pires, teria sido mais difícil iniciar a pesquisa que ora empreendemos. Por sua coleta, dispomos de dezenas de nomes de hotéis da última década do século XIX e do começo do XX e, principalmente, dos nomes de seus respectivos proprietários, cujos inventários post mortem queremos analisar.         [ Links ]

16 Provavelmente se trata do Hotel Europa da década de 1860, localizado então na rua do Rosário e agora migrado para a Travessa do Grande Hotel. Na década de 1860, o Hotel Europa foi referido pelo engenheiro militar Taunay e pelo capitão norte-americano John Codman, conforme mencionado nos artigos de Eudes Campos aqui citados.         [ Links ]

17 SÃO PAULO (Estado). 1ª Vara do Juizado de Órfãos. Cartório do 2º Ofício. Inventário post mortem. Inventariante: José Fasoli. Inventariada: D. Roza Amsoli Fasoli, 1900. ATJSP.         [ Links ]

18 José Fasoli, às vezes sob a rubrica "José Fasoli & Cia.", aparece nas fontes como proprietário de hotéis variados. Segundo Affonso Antonio de Freitas, desde 1862 é o dono do Hotel Europa, na rua da Imperatriz; no Almanach de 1885, conforme Ernani da Silva Bruno, menciona-se o Hotel Fasoli na rua Senador Feijó; depois, no Almanach de 1890, José Fasoli & Cia. tem a propriedade do Hotel Ítalo-Brasileiro, localizado na rua da Estação. Existiu também na cidade a Confeitaria Fasoli.         [ Links ]

19 SÃO PAULO (Estado). 2ª Vara de Família. Inventário post mortem. Inventariante: Achilles Martinelli. Inventariado: José Fasoli, 1918. ATJSP.         [ Links ]

20 SÃO PAULO (Estado). 1ª Vara de Família. Cartório do 2º Ofício. Inventário post mortem. Inventariante: Manoel Pinheiro Guimarães. Inventariada: D. Maria Rodrigues, 1901. ATJSP.         [ Links ]

21 A Patria: orgam da colonia portugueza no Brazil. São Paulo, ano IV, n.413, p.4, 12 mar. 1905.         [ Links ]

22 Lembremos que essa perspectiva arquitetônica de análise dos hotéis também viceja no exterior. Grande parte dos trabalhos existentes sobre a história da hotelaria examina os hotéis tomando-os principalmente como edificações – sobretudo quando se trata de período anterior aos meados do século XX. Ver, por exemplo: SANDOVAL-STRAUSZ, A. K. Hotel: an American History. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2007.         [ Links ]

23 SÃO PAULO (Estado). 2ª Vara de Família. Inventário post mortem. Inventariante: Maria Guilhermina de Lemos Monteiro. Inventariado: Manoel Monteiro Diniz Junqueira, 1899. ATJSP. Essa era uma família de cafeicultores que tinha fazendas na região de Ribeirão Preto, Jaboticabal e Cravinhos, e cujo patrimônio superava os 2.500 contos de réis.         [ Links ]

24 GLEZER, Raquel. As transformações da cidade de São Paulo na virada dos séculos XIX e XX. Cadernos de História de São Paulo, São Paulo: Museu Paulista/USP, n.3 e 4, out.-dez. 1994 e ago.-out. 1995, p.24.         [ Links ]

25 Para o século XIX: OLIVEIRA, Maria Luiza Ferreira de. Entre a casa e o armazém: relações sociais e experiência da urbanização, São Paulo, 1850-1900. São Paulo: Alameda, 2005;         [ Links ] SIRIANI, Silvia Cristina Lambert. Uma São Paulo alemã: vida quotidiana dos imigrantes germânicos na região da capital (1827-1889). São Paulo: Arquivo do Estado/Imprensa Oficial do Estado, 2003. Para as camadas mais pobres: PINTO, Maria Inez Machado Borges. Cotidiano e sobrevivência: a vida do trabalhador pobre na cidade de São Paulo (1890-1914). São Paulo: Edusp, 1994.         [ Links ]

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