Juan de León y Castillo was born to a wealthy family in Telde in 1834. From 1850 to 1857 he studied engineering in Madrid. When he returned to the Canary Islands he was involved in several major projects that were crucial for the development of transport in Gran Canaria, including La Luz Wharf (Las Palmas) and several roads from the capital city to the boroughs of Telde, Agüimes, Arucas and Teror. In addition to Maspalomas Lighthouse, his work included the Tenoya tunnel, the Gando lazaret (quarantine hospital), and the plans for the wharves in Sardina del Norte and Agaete.
Juan de León y Castillo
EJuan de León y Castillo had extensive knowledge of popular architecture. In the plans for the San Lorenzo (Martinón) dam in 1902, he wrote about the magnificent hydraulic properties of the lime made in traditional kilns, and the virtues of “mortero real”, a mixture of local lime, ravine sand and clay. This mortar set quickly and was very useful in the construction of water tanks, irrigation channels and dams. It was used in Telde for the aqueduct (Acueducto de Los Ríos) running across the ravine of Barranco Real, which was built from blocks of white stone and carried water from one side of the ravine to the other. The Cuevas Blancas dam, in Rincón de Tenteniguada (borough of Valsequillo), is another example of the quality of the projects that Juan de León y Castillo worked on.