Villa La Angostura
Villa La Angostura: a future dreamt by pioneers.

Towards the end of the 20th century, the first inhabitants settled down. They lived on agriculture and cattle breeding in small scale. To communicate and get goods they had to make long trips to Chile by horse along the Peyehue passage, or to Bariloche, following the trace which surrounded the Nahuel Huapi Lake.
Once the issue about the frontier with Chile had been settled, all this area became under Argentinean sovereignty. To encourage the settlement of people and reinforce the national sovereignty, the Government created the Pastoril Nahuel Huapi Colony and the colonists received these lands under certain requirements.
Primo Capraro arrived in this area, a man of great vision and strength, who would become the chief developer of the regional development.
He devoted himself to working the land, built up a sawmill and the first tourist enterprising with a small hotel near the Correntoso River. Then, he extended his activity to Bariloche. The first group of tourists visited the area around 1924.

Little by little, the population grew and so did their needs. Hence, in 1928, the War Minister, General Agustin P. Justo, visited the region and hearing the inhabitants’ demands, issued a report to the National Executive Power to get the so desired telegraph line Bariloche-Puerto Blest. He also reported the need to supply the passage called “Correntoso” (as it was known in those days) with a telegraph line to mitigate the isolation that the inhabitants of that region were suffering.

The first school opened that year. On January 12th that year, and thanks to a group of neighbours, the Province Superior Government decreed the creation of a radiotelegraphic office in that passage stating that the functioning of the equipments, the house and the installations were afforded by the inhabitants of the region.

Immediately after that, the building of that equipment started, thanks to the contribution of the Post Office General Division and the neighbours Primo Capraro, Antonio M. Lynch Jr., Exequiel Bustillo, Manuel Uribelarrea and Carlos Pacheco Santamarina. It was finished and opened four months later in the place occupied nowadays by the Local Post Office. The fundamental stone and the Creation of Village Act, called “General Agustin Pedro Justo”, were placed in the same house of the Radiotelegraphic Station. The name of the village was chosen by an act issued by the inhabitants of the area.

When General Justo was told of such denomination, he kindly thanked for the honour but declined to accept that the village and the Radiotelegraphic Station were named after him, and so the latter was named “Correntoso” and the village was named “Villa La Angostura”, precisely because of its origin: it was born in the narrow pass or isthmus of the Quetrihue peninsula.

On May 15th that year, the Foundation Act of Villa La Angostura was signed at the time the Post Office was opened, the latter being the first public service for the neighbourhood. In those days, the crisis caused by the worldwide default had severe consequences over here.

Law 12.103 of the creation of National Parks was enacted. Since that moment and under Dr. Exequiel Bustillo’s Government, the institution worked out the details of an ambitious development plan which made this region grow. A lot of public works were done and private enterprises came out. Tourism was given priority and a mountain building style created by Architect Alejandro Bustillo was adopted. It was a prosperous time and feverish industrial activity.

Later, it was decreed by the National Executive Power to move the Department Capital of Neuquen Government Lakes from the Nahuel Huapi spot to Villa La Angostura.

A couple of years later, the first share out of lands was done in the spot called “El Cruce”, located precisely in the intersection of F route and the neighbouring path of “La Villa”, 3 kilometres away from the latter. For many urban and social reasons, the “Cruce” area began to grow at a much faster rate than La Villa itself, being nowadays the administrative and commercial centre of Villa La Angostura. “La Villa” became a housing estate and port area.

The first promotion commission was formed in 1974 and in 1955. As the old Neuquen territory was modified, the limits of the communal land were set.  

Villa La Angostura was always the destination of selected tourists because of its special features, its hotels, numerous summer residences and Cumelen, the prestigious country club located in the former property of meritorious Dr. Bustillo. The construction of the roadway to Chile across the Puyehue passage, expensive yearning of all the inhabitants, started in 1956 and took 10 years to be finished.

Towards the end of 1960s, Villa La Angostura had its own hospital. In 1973 the first secondary school was built and the access avenue to the port was paved.  After that came the telephone and television came the Bayo Hill ski resort started to be built.

The second historical period of growth began as a consequence of the paving of the route to Bariloche. A lot of people settled down then, reaching a population of over 6000 people. There was an investment on public works such as the new electric usina, the gas transmission network, and new houses in the neighbourhood. The building of cabins and constructions of all kinds were really important as well. As a consequence of this unexpected growth, several questions and worries arose about the preservation of the natural environment, the magnificent and feeble surroundings and the invaluable regional patrimony since it is one of its major attractions.

A suitable development planning is a major challenge for this region since it implies a definition of its profile and the direction of this town within an acceptable and feasible setting
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