The area today known as Fraccionamiento Campestre has its origins in the 1940s, but its development didn’t begin in earnest until the 1950s.
The purpose of the then-out-of-town community is hinted at in its name “Campestre,” which translates as countryside or rural.
The area was originally envisioned for the city’s elite as an escape from the hustle and bustle of Mérida.
A big part of Fraccionamiento Campestre’s image was connected with the establishment of the Campestre Country Club in the 1950s.
Aside from its baseball field, tennis courts, and other sports facilities, the Club Campestre became known for holding exclusive social events like Carnaval celebrations and debutante balls.
As more and more affluent families decided to either move out to Fraccionamiento Campestre or build weekend chateaus, the architecture of the area really began to come into its own.
Because many of these were second homes, the area also developed a bit of a reputation for being the kind of place wealthy men would set up their “casa chica.” This term literally means small house — which is a traditional way to refer to one’s second or illegitimate household.
But as the neighborhood continued to grow in popularity during the 1960s, larger and more elaborate homes began to pop up.
One of the most iconic homes from this era is the Moorish-influenced casona on the corner of Avenida Campestre and Calle 5.
Moorish architecture became quite fashionable in Yucatán during the 19th and 20th centuries, and several other examples of this style can be seen around town. The most famous example is the aptly named Casa Morisca, in Mérida’s Centro on the corner of Calle 51 and 53.
But as Mérida continued to grow, by the 1980s, Fraccionamiento Campestre had lost its rural charm and had been engulfed by Mérida’s growing urban sprawl.
As a consequence, many families decided to move out and sell their homes, many of which today are businesses.
The main public square in Fraccionamiento Campestre is the San Juanistas Park, which also houses a Catholic church that also dates to the foundation of the neighborhood.
Though most of the homes and businesses in the Campestre are in relatively good shape, it is not unusual to come across old homes for sale which have obviously been abandoned for a good deal of time.
But it’s not like Campestre has suddenly become an undesirable place to live. On the contrary, its location in Mérida’s north (or now more like north-ish) and easy connectivity with Prolongacion Paseo de Montejo and Calle 60 means that getting from Campestre to most of Mérida’s hotspots is quite easy indeed.
The area is also home to several cafés, bakeries, liquor stores, restaurants, and pizza joints, all within walking distance.