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The Plaza de San Juan is sometimes called the Buen Tono plaza. In today’s form, it can be largely attributed to the French tobacconist and business man, Ernesto Pugibet. He, along with Miguel Angel de Quevedo, was responsible for the Buen Tono church which dominates the western side of the plaza even to this day.
But the fact is, already by Pugibet’s time, at the end of the 19th century, the plaza had been a designated tianguis-marketplace since the 16th century. It’s also difficult to imagine that, even if not an official atrium, it certainly served as the plaza outside of the Basilica de San Jose just to the north of the plaza. The current monument to Pugibet (visible above) faces this other very old church. Completed in 1792, it actually replaced a much older 16th-century structure on the same plot of land.
Today, the center is dominated by busts of personalities from the nearby, and somewhat historical Televisa TV studios.
The site had been outside the convent of San Juan de la Penitencia, and a major hospital, supported by a theater, had stood here for years. 19th-century photos clearly depict the massive Buen Tono tobacco works which came to be the San Juan Market, and even the other markets in the neighborhood.