The San José farm had a strategic location, which was why it was chosen by Agulló. Close to the port and in an elevated sector, it allowed its inhabitants unhindered surveillance to anticipate any attacks by Indians and outlaws. The proximity to the Fort brought an additional security advantage of royal troops’ patrol. The convergence of the waterways carved a natural corral for the farm “De los Desamparados”, where the cattle gathered intuitively, almost effortlessly. In other words, an unbeatable place to carry out the final steps of production on this large farm. Agulló was not only a cultivator of souls, which led him to gain the trust of hundreds of Native “Tapes” people, who chose to be under his protection and work at his side. He was also a creative genius and a successful entrepreneur.
What follows is just a glimpse of some of his many endeavors from the five years he was here. He founded the first Jesuit school in Montevideo, built a lighthouse on the “Cerro” Hill —at the request of the Council, which was alarmed by the number of shipwrecks— and built a flour mill in Paso del Molino, also the first in the developing city. He also taught production and work practices in various areas. Don Cosme spread agricultural practices, fundamentally oriented to the cultivation of wheat, corn and other grains, to ensure continuous supply to his mill. He also applied an advanced method for the production of mineral lime —which he used in the “de los Desamparados” Farm— and disseminated techniques for the manufacture of square tiles and bricks, used in the colonial houses. As if that were not enough, for several years and at a costly price, he supplied meat to the people of Montevideo and the troops who went on patrols to maintain order. However, there is still an important missing piece – his work at the San José farm.
In 1979, the Juanicó winery took root in the central farmhouse. Years later, a complex of notoriously aged buildings were incorporated into the operation of the establishment. The buildings were strong, resistant and efficient. The questions were obvious: by who, when, and why had they been built? Deicas slowly pieced together the puzzle until one day it became clear. His son Fernando, the head of the Establishment for several decades, captured an undeniable image from his drone. Right before his eyes the great work of Agulló was revealed.
30 kilometers from Montevideo and La Calera, the priest founded what today could be defined as a logistics-productive hub, a business center for the Jesuit work in the Eastern Bank, unmatched in the entire territory where the Society had settled. All operations went through there. Meat, headed to the Fort and hides and fat, exported through the port, would exit the farm. Inversely, the first station received carriages and herds of oxen and horses. A defense outpost —with well-armed natives— functioned as a safe deposit for the Society’s imports and exports.