The history of Soller is fascinating to me and the archive material now becoming available changes the face of the story of Soller as I understood it. The tales of dependence on the orange and olives and how their failure over a couple of years led to the mass migration of young people from the area is a well told tale. This developed trade and marriage links with France and South America and created the cosmopolitan, French influenced Soller that still exists today. Meanwhile back at the ranch in the middle of the golden bowl of the Valley that is Soller many other things were happening.
The industrial Soller with its 20 factories created the money and social development to value books, art and culture in this place well ahead of other areas of the island. There were problems as the patriarchal system did not value the contribution of women enough. Maria Mayol Colum soon put a stop to that and women’s education was developed and a library created, by her, for them. In those days the library – above La Caixa Bank was only for men. The Museum of Soller is dedicated to Maria Mayol Colum and she is my historical heroine. Her portrait hangs in the Town Hall and after being exiled to France for being too revolutionary her memory is now given the respect it deserves in this place.
Local historian Quetglas Antoni Cifre – tells the story of the Ice Factories in Soller. I always knew of the ice houses in the mountains that were developed in the Moorish times. Indeed mountain walks still come across the remnants of the ice house mounds. Collected and stored in these places without the use of electricity they supplied the Soller Valley with ice which before refrigeration was not used for gin and tonic but the preserving of food.
At the beginning of the 1900’s many developments took place here in Soller. Factories manufacturing textiles, cotton, silk, soap, shoes, leather goods all had their time. Three Ice Factories were created and the key to this was the electricity created in this place. The Ice Houses are a story all of their own but when you are in Placa America have a look at the fountain in the middle of the roundabout square. This was created as a gift to Soller by the businessmen in Calle Cetre who had a huge ice factory there using municipal water. In exchange for the water the company agreed with the City council to create the public fountain.
The ice and soft drink production were business in Soller until the mid 1950’s and all these tales are the story of a City well ahead of its time in what it produced and how it enjoyed its progress. The train and the tram alongside

moving the goods and the ice along showed this as a golden age for the Soller Valley. The recovery from the years where migration out of the Valley was the only answer for many families was embraced. Many thousands of émigrés returned and today many new people join them annually to have their own Soller moment in time.

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