Casa Popenoe, a colonial home dating to the second half of the eighteenth century, was built on an earlier structure from the mid-1600s. In 1930 it was restored by botanist and agronomist Wilson Popenoe.

Louis Adamic (1899–1951) describes the essence of Casa Popenoe in his 1937 book The House in Antigua:

“Here is man at his best: the builder, creator:the rebuilder, recreator, struggling not against

himself man, but against a greater more powerful adversary. Here Nature challenged him, tore down

his handiwork; he accepted the challenge and the house is up again, perhaps better than ever,

challenging the elements. Here we are face to face with that great, most dramatic riddle, Time, in

which Man is deeply and helplessly involved.”

Casa Popenoe is the tangible manifestation of the human spirit of enterprise, of great undertakings, of meeting challenges. Peter Drucker described an entrepreneurial society as one in which “individuals face a tremendous challenge, a challenge they need to exploit as an opportunity: the need for continuous learning and relearning.”

Wilson and Dorothy Popenoe created a cultural arena that has enhanced civilization. Their legacy challenges us with endless opportunities to learn and relearn.

Frederick Wilson Popenoe

  1. March 9, 1892 • Topeka, Kansas
  2. June 20, 1975 • Antigua, Guatemala

“For more than a dozen years he followed the trails up, down and through valleys, through heat and cold, almost always alone, seeking avocados, citrus and other fruits of value . . . He has left his initials carved deeply on our horticulture . . . But he has done more. Popenoe has been an American Ambassador of Good Will to Latin America. He always left a trail that others would follow more easily because he had been there. His imprint and inspiration in the lives of the many students fortunate to have known him will in the years ahead be his greatest contribution, for people—more than plants—count first.”

Knowles Ryerson in Frederic Rosengarten Jr., Wilson Popenoe: Agricultural Explorer, Educator, and Friend of Latin America


Dorothy Hughes Popenoe

  1. June 19, 1899 • Ashford, Middlesex, England
  2. December 30, 1932 • Tela, Honduras

“Her approach and attitude to the task of recreating the house out of the wreckage were essentially the same as those which had made her a successful botanist and archeologist, wife and mother, amateur meteorologist, writer and pen and ink artist. The mood she took to it was the mood she brought to nearly every other enterprise or problem. The idea was simple: to evoke order out of a mess. It appealed to her profoundly. She devised the method, a system a plan; then proceeded to carry it out, simply, directly, efficiently, patiently.”

Louis Adamic, The House in Antigua






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