Old Cuban Consulate, Villa Paula in Little Haiti

The United States and Cuba are moving toward normalization of relations for the first time in more than fifty years. They are re-opening their diplomatic ties, and their embassies have reopened on Monday, July 20, for the first time in 54 years. Miami was once a hotbed of diplomacy with Havana, even today, Miami-Dade County is home to almost a million Cubans, the largest concentration in the country and second only to Havana in the world. Now that Cuba has an embassy again in Washington, D.C., consulates would be coming to serve its people, most of whom live in Florida. But don't expect an old lovely building known as 'Villa Paula', a vintage platform in the Cuba-U.S relation, will have any role in it. It is unlikely ever to return to its use as a Cuban consulate.


Villa Paula was built with all-Cuban materials and labor in 1925 and was named after the wife of then Cuban Consul Domingo Millord. The house was executed in the elaborate style of a luxurious Cuban villa with 10 rooms, two baths, 18 foot high ceilings, Tuscan columns, tall cedar windows, chandeliers, hand-painted floor tiles, statuary, etc. Six year after the happy Millord couple moved in, Paula died from complications of a leg amputation. It was long rumored that she was buried in the backyard. After Millord, the villa became a home of one woman named Muriel Reardon, a cat hater who bought the house during the depression from the Cuban government and lived there for thirty years. The house saw a variety of owners during the 1960s and early 1970s until it became senior citizens' housing and then it became a haven for drifters. That is when Cliff Ensor bought it from the department of Housing and Urban Development. Ensor once said that because of the resident ghost 'Paula' the residents in the neighborhood refused to walk on the sidewalk in front of the house. The subsequent residents have noticed plenty of unseen companies, some of which were: (a) Bedroom door slam shut by itself, (b) Three pet cats were killed deliberately by a slamming iron gate, possibly by some cat or pet hater with invisible presence , (c) Steady knocking on the front door intermittently, with no plausible explanation; (d) Clumping of high heels on the stone path in the Villa's back yard; (e) Apparition of two women, one of them, a Cuban woman with only one leg, swishing down the hall happily in a full-length gown within an instant, melted into the air. (f) Noise of throwing dishes and silverware in the kitchen; and (g) Strong aroma of Cuban coffee coming from the kitchen.

The historic villa has now been restored by its owners who are using it as an art gallery.

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