The arrival of the railroad to Alcázar de San Juan took place in 1854, continuing afterwards until completing the railway line to Alicante in 1858.
Around 1860 there was only one building for passenger transit located a few meters in the direction of Madrid from the current one. With the opening of a new train line to Manzanares in 1861 and the increase in the flow of trains and travelers, the first expansion of the original building was made to accommodate the new service of the inn.
It is from this moment when we will have the first documentary reference about the existence of this catering space inside the station of Alcázar de San Juan that would be destined to the sale of food and drinks to the travelers who passed through the station of Alcazar de San Juan. The opening of inns in railway stations can be considered as one of the first effects of the generation of new businesses around this means of transport; moreover, it would be one of the activities that railway companies outsourced from the beginning.Show more content
After passing through several dealerships, work began on a new Fonda building in 1870. The new building was designed on two levels: the lower floor would house the main hall of the inn in its central area, the end of the building (towards Madrid) would be reserved for the establishment of a rest room and two reserved rooms, and the opposite side would house the canteen, the kitchen and the pantry.
In 1920 the tilework was installed, which has been declared an asset of heritage interest since 2016 and can still be contemplated today. The almost 3,000 tiles that decorate the inn and the current waiting room of the station come from the workshop of Mensaque Rodríguez, located in the Triana neighborhood of Seville. This unique tilework reproduces 398 quixotic images of 21 chapters belonging to the first part of Cervantes’ novel taken from the illustrations made by José Jiménez de Aranda for an edition of the book in 1905 on the occasion of the third centenary of its publication.
During its long existence, the inn became a meeting point for travelers, some of them illustrious (Isabel II, Alfonso XII, Azorín, Benito Pérez Galdós, Miguel Hernández, Hans Christian Andersen, among others), and also for the neighborhood, since numerous social events were held in its hall. From there, the famous Tortas de Alcázar were spread, which became world famous thanks to the fact that it was one of the most sold products to all those who stopped at the Alcazar station.
The emblematic Fonda de la Estación has now been converted into the new Interpretation and Visitor Reception Center, as well as a tourist information point and alternative cultural hall, in which to organize exhibitions, presentations or any other type of event related to the heritage and cultural activity of the town.