Toa Alta (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtoa ˈalta]) is a town and municipality of Puerto Rico located in the northern coast of the island, north of Naranjito; south of Dorado and Toa Baja; east of Vega Alta and Corozal; and west of Bayamón. Toa Alta is spread over eight barrios and Toa Alta Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo metropolitan statistical area.[2] There are nine barrios in Toa Alta and altogether in 2020 had a population of 66,852. Río de la Plata, is a large river that runs through Toa Alta. Toa Alta celebrates its patron saint festival in May.

Toa Alta
Municipio Autónomo de Toa Alta
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción y San Fernando
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción y San Fernando
Flag of Toa Alta
Coat of arms of Toa Alta
Nicknames: 
La Ciudad del Toa,
Cuna de Poetas,
Ciudad del Josco
Anthem: "Cuna de historia y de grandes poetas"
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Toa Alta Municipality
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Toa Alta Municipality
Coordinates: 18°23′18″N 66°14′54″W / 18.38833°N 66.24833°W / 18.38833; -66.24833
Sovereign state United States
Commonwealth Puerto Rico
Founded1751
Barrios
Government
 • MayorClemente "Chito" Agosto (PPD)
 • Senatorial dist.2 - Bayamón
 • Representative dist.11
Area
 • Total27.44 sq mi (71.08 km2)
 • Land27.37 sq mi (70.88 km2)
 • Water0.08 sq mi (0.20 km2)
Elevation
236 ft (72 m)
Population
 (2020)[1]
 • Total66,852
 • Rank11th in Puerto Rico
 • Density2,400/sq mi (940/km2)
DemonymToalteños
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
ZIP Codes
00953, 00954
Area code787/939
Major routes

History

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Toa Alta is located west of the capital city of San Juan and was founded in 1751, making it one of the oldest towns on the main island of Puerto Rico. The construction of the San Fernando Rey Church in the main town square began in 1752. It is popularly said that the name Toa Alta comes from the Taíno word for mother or fertility, Thoa. Most likely the word toa comes from the Taino word for valley or mountain; the region is also known as Valle del Toa (Toa Valley).[citation needed]

Over the years, agriculture became an important economic force in the area. At the peak of the agricultural economy, the town was also known as the "Granja de los Reyes Católicos" (the Farm of the Catholic Monarchs). The town is also called Ciudad del Josco. The town is commonly known by its nickname La Cuna de los Poetas, or "Cradle of Poets", due to the numerous Spanish-language poets born there, such as Abelardo Díaz Alfaro and the musician Tomás "Masso" Rivera.[3]

Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017 triggered numerous landslides in Toa Alta.[4][5] Many homes and roads in Toa Alta were destroyed by the hurricane.[6]

Flood control project

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In mid 2018, the United States Army Corps of Engineers announced it would be undertaking a major flood control project of a river that often causes flooding in Toa Alta, Río de la Plata.[7]

Geography

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Subdivisions of Toa Alta.

Toa Alta is located on the Northern Coastal Plain in the Northern Karst zone.[8]

Barrios

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Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Toa Alta is subdivided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a barrio referred to as "el pueblo".[9][10][11][12]

Sectors

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Barrios (which are, in contemporary times, roughly comparable to minor civil divisions)[13] are further subdivided into smaller areas called sectores (sectors in English). The types of sectores may vary, from normally sector to urbanización to reparto to barriada to residencial, among others.[14][15][16]

Special Communities

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Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico (Special Communities of Puerto Rico) are marginalized communities whose citizens are experiencing a certain amount of social exclusion. A map shows these communities occur in nearly every municipality of the commonwealth. Of the 742 places that were on the list in 2014, the following barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods were in Toa Alta: Comunidad Acerolas, Sector Cuba Libre, Sector La Prá, Villa del Río, Villa Josco, and Villa Juventud.[17][18]

Demographics

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Historical population
CensusPop.Note
19007,908
19109,12715.4%
192010,50515.1%
193011,69611.3%
194013,37114.3%
195014,1555.9%
196015,71111.0%
197018,96420.7%
198031,91068.3%
199044,10138.2%
200063,92945.0%
201074,06615.9%
202066,852−9.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[19]
1899 (shown as 1900)[20] 1910-1930[21]
1930-1950[22] 1960-2000[23] 2010[11] 2020[24]

Tourism

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Landmarks and places of interest

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  • Legendary tree Bala de Cañón
  • Tomás "Maso" Rivera Municipal Theatre
  • Tomás "Maso" Rivera Statue
  • Egozcué Square public plaza
  • San Fernando Rey Parish Church
  • Villa Tropical Recreation Center
  • Plaza Aquarium Mall
  • Valle El Toa

Economy

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Culture

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Festivals and events

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Toa Alta celebrates its patron saint festival in May. The Fiestas Patronales de San Fernando is a religious and cultural celebration that generally features parades, games, artisans, amusement rides, regional food, and live entertainment.[8][26]

Festival El Josco or the Festival of the Mechanical Bull is held in October.[27]

Other festivals and events celebrated in Toa Alta include La Chopa Marathon, held in March, and Folk Music Festival, held in November.

Government

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Like all municipalities in Puerto Rico, Toa Alta is administered by a mayor. The current mayor is Clemente Agosto, from the Popular Democratic Party (PPD). Agosto was elected at the 2012 general election.

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district II, which is represented by two senators. Migdalia Padilla and Carmelo Ríos Santiago have served as District Senators since 2005.[28]

Transportation

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There are 16 bridges in Toa Alta.[29] In January, 2019 the mayor of Toa Alta fought for the reopening of highway #861, which, he stated, was closed without warning by Puerto Rico Public Works.[30]

Symbols

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The municipio has an official flag and coat of arms.[31]

Flag

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Horizontally divided in three, the bottom and top red stripes are double the size of the center yellow stripe. In the upper left corner is a yellow, eight-point star. The original design was elaborated by professor Herman E. Perez and adopted by the City Council in 1983.[32]

Coat of arms

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The shield in gold, a red board with a silver sword topped with a gold crown of the same metal, to each side two small shields in red, the right-hand one with a tower in gold with a crescent moon on the top and the left-hand one with a gold eight point star, a five tower crown lined in black with red openings. The motto is Non Deserit Alta and Professor Herman E. Pérez included it in the coat of arms so that present and future generations will remember to “not abandon higher principles and values”.[32]

Education

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There are several public and private schools in Toa Alta and public education is handled by the Puerto Rico Department of Education.[33]

Elementary schools

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  • Alejandro Junior Cruz
  • Heraclio Rivera Colón
  • José de Diego
  • José María del Valle
  • Luis Muñoz Rivera
  • Manuel Velilla
  • María C. Osorio
  • Merced Marcano
  • Secundino Díaz
  • Violanta Jiménez
  • Virgilio Morales

Middle and junior high schools

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  • José Pablo Morales
  • Abelardo Díaz Alfaro
  • Felipe Díaz González

High schools

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  • Adela Rolón Fuentes
  • Nicolás Sevilla
  • Tomás "Maso" Rivera Morales

Private schools

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  • Academia Cristiana Yarah
  • Colegio Doriber

Notable natives and residents

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See also

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References

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  1. ^ Bureau, US Census. "PUERTO RICO: 2020 Census". The United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  2. ^ "Gobierno de Puerto Rico - Toa Alta, Puerto Rico". Archived from the original on June 18, 2009. Retrieved August 6, 2010.
  3. ^ "Plan Ordenamiento Territorial del Municipio de Toa Alta" (PDF). Gobierno de Puerto Rico Oficina del Gobernador Junta de Planificación. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 13, 2019. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  4. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico". USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS. Archived from the original on March 3, 2019. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  5. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico" (PDF). USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 3, 2019. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  6. ^ Caro González, Leysa (October 6, 2017). "Toa Alta establece itinerario para entregar suministros". Primera Hora (in Spanish). Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  7. ^ "USACE: $3.348 billion go toward reducing flood risk in Florida, Puerto Rico and USVI". Caribbean Business. July 6, 2018. Archived from the original on June 1, 2019. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Toa Alta Municipality". enciclopediapr.org. Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH).
  9. ^ Picó, Rafael; Buitrago de Santiago, Zayda; Berrios, Hector H. Nueva geografía de Puerto Rico: física, económica, y social, por Rafael Picó. Con la colaboración de Zayda Buitrago de Santiago y Héctor H. Berrios. San Juan Editorial Universitaria, Universidad de Puerto Rico,1969. Archived from the original on December 26, 2018. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  10. ^ Gwillim Law (May 20, 2015). Administrative Subdivisions of Countries: A Comprehensive World Reference, 1900 through 1998. McFarland. p. 300. ISBN 978-1-4766-0447-3. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Puerto Rico:2010:population and housing unit counts.pdf (PDF). U.S. Dept. of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration U.S. Census Bureau. 2010. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 20, 2017. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  12. ^ "Map of Toa Alta at the Wayback Machine" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 24, 2018. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "US Census Barrio-Pueblo definition". factfinder.com. US Census. Archived from the original on May 13, 2017. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  14. ^ "Agencia: Oficina del Coordinador General para el Financiamiento Socioeconómico y la Autogestión (Proposed 2016 Budget)". Puerto Rico Budgets (in Spanish). Archived from the original on June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  15. ^ Rivera Quintero, Marcia (2014), El vuelo de la esperanza: Proyecto de las Comunidades Especiales Puerto Rico, 1997-2004 (first ed.), San Juan, Puerto Rico Fundación Sila M. Calderón, ISBN 978-0-9820806-1-0
  16. ^ "Leyes del 2001". Lex Juris Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  17. ^ Rivera Quintero, Marcia (2014), El vuelo de la esperanza: Proyecto de las Comunidades Especiales Puerto Rico, 1997-2004 (First ed.), San Juan, Puerto Rico Fundación Sila M. Calderón, p. 273, ISBN 978-0-9820806-1-0
  18. ^ "Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). August 8, 2011. Archived from the original on June 24, 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  19. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  20. ^ "Report of the Census of Porto Rico 1899". War Department Office Director Census of Porto Rico. Archived from the original on July 16, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  21. ^ "Table 3-Population of Municipalities: 1930 1920 and 1910" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 17, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  22. ^ "Table 4-Area and Population of Municipalities Urban and Rural: 1930 to 1950" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 30, 2015. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  23. ^ "Table 2 Population and Housing Units: 1960 to 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 24, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  24. ^ Bureau, US Census. "PUERTO RICO: 2020 Census". The United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  25. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 27, 1996. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  26. ^ J.D. (May 2, 2006). "Toa Alta". Link To Puerto Rico.com (in Spanish). Archived from the original on October 29, 2014. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  27. ^ "Celebrarán en Toa Alta el Festival el Josco". Archived from the original on October 29, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  28. ^ Elecciones Generales 2008: Escrutinio General Archived 2011-11-20 at the Wayback Machine on CEEPUR
  29. ^ "Toa Alta Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Archived from the original on February 21, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  30. ^ Claudio, Ronald Ávila. "Alcalde de Toa Alta dice enfrentará al DTOP para evitar cierre de carretera". Metro. Archived from the original on January 13, 2019. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  31. ^ "Ley Núm. 70 de 2006 -Ley para disponer la oficialidad de la bandera y el escudo de los setenta y ocho (78) municipios". LexJuris de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  32. ^ a b "TOA ALTA". LexJuris (Leyes y Jurisprudencia) de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). February 19, 2020. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  33. ^ "Educación". toalta.tripod.com. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved August 6, 2010.

Further reading

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