Many who came to visit the famous Buenos Aires city landmark, The Obelisk, on Av. 9 de Julio, probably have never noticed there’s another, as captivating, a historical landmark in front of it. If you look up and around, you’ll see a house on top of a building to the southwest of the Obelisk. For the record, that is not Dorothy’s house up on that building. No twister dropped that house up there and no Wicked Witches were killed there either. That is actually the dream of a man who was born at end of the 19th Century.
When he was 15 years old, Don Rafael Díaz worked all day at a craft store in Chacabuco street, where he used to spend the night. Very much surprised by his work ethics and determination, his boss once told him, “You are going to Heaven, Rafael, you definitely have a chalet waiting for you in Heaven”. Apparently, Díaz liked the idea and decided that would be his dream. Of course, he never knew that it would actually come true!
More than a decade later in 1927, the 10-storey building, which is now Sarmiento 1113, was built and Rafael Díaz had set up his furniture business there. At the time, he lived in Banfield which was 15km away from his work. Since it was too far away for him to go home to have lunch, he decided to build a second home on top of the building: the little chalet he had earned by himself in Heaven. He would eat there, take care of his little garden, maybe take a short nap and then get back to work. He very much enjoyed the view of the city, and on clear days he could even make out Uruguay’s shore. And it was from those windows that he saw the inauguration of the Av. 9 de Julio and the construction of the city’s most famous icon, the Obelisco.
Don Rafael passed away in 1968 and left all his properties to his children. The building is now an office building and nobody lives at the little chalet anymore. It is still there though, waiting for someone to notice it and say, “what’s that? Who in his right mind would have his house up there?” Now that you know the story behind this mysterious house, next time when you go by there with friends, you can tell them to look up and impress them with this interesting piece of Buenos Aires history that you know!