The Port of La Plata is located about 55 kilometers southeast of Buenos Aires, Argentina. La Plata is the capital of Buenos Aires Province. The Port of La Plata is nine kilometers inland on the Rio de la Plata. Its deepwater facilities are located at Ensenada. For a brief time in the 1950s, it was called “Eva Peron” in honor of President Juan Peron’s recently-deceased wife. When the President was overthrown, La Plata retook its original name. In 2001, almost 566 thousand people called La Plata home.
Governor Dardo Rocha selected the site for the Port of La Plata in 1882 as the provinces new capital after Buenos Aires was made a federal district and capital of the country in 1880. Modeled on the plan laid out for Washington, D.C., the original plans for the Port of La Plata included a government buildings as well as a municipal library, observatory, cathedral (the largest in Argentina), and city museum. Today, the museum contains one of South America’s most important anthropological and paleontological collections, and the city has won a reputation as a cultural center.
The Port of La Plata’s layout, characterized by a grid overlaid with diagonal avenues, lends La Plata the nickname of “The City of Diagonals.” Public squares placed every seven blocks give the city cleaner air and abundant recreation opportunities.
Both the Port of La Plata and its buildings reflect strong Freemason influence, apparently due to the governor and the city’s architect being Freemasons. Government building designs were selected through international competition, so the Governor’s Palace was designed by Italians and the City Hall by Germans. Thus, the government buildings evidence a number of different architectural styles. The 1884 electric street lighting was the first of its kind in all of Latin America.