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  Azorean House Café Sport Tugboats Peter's Origins Adventurers New Facilities José Henrique Azevedo
 

"Ernesto Lourenço S. Azevedo (20-4-1859 - 24-3-1931), a merchant that was already settled in Faial, owned a handicrafts store on the Infante Square (the "Bazar of Fayal manufactures & products") that traded in local products. He sold embroidery, lace, straw hats and baskets, feather flowers, cutwork and many other items made by local craftsmen. He participated in the 1888 Lisbon Industrial Exhibition with these products, receiving the event’s gold medal and diploma for the quality and diversity of his products."

"The turn of the century led Ernesto Azevedo to the Tenente Valadim Street, acquiring one of the buildings which today is part of the space known as Peter's. Calling it "Azorean House" and continuing to sell handicrafts but also drinks, this new establishment provided the owner with the enormous advantage of being closer to the port and, therefore, to all the activity it generated as the only place through which people and goods could leave and enter the island. Even then, the establishment had one fundamental feature; it was a family business that provided an occupation to the father, Ernesto Azevedo, and to two of his sons, Ernesto Lourenço Ávila Azevedo and Henrique Lourenço Ávila Azevedo (16-6-1895 - 05/03/1975 ), who would eventually continue the family tradition and be the heir of the Azorean House."

Ernesto Lourenço S. Azevedo

20-4-1859 - 24-3-1931

However, in 1918, as the sole proprietor, Henrique Azevedo transfered the Azorean House to the next-door building located to the north, keeping the same business but changing its name to "Café Sport", thus naming the coffee house after his passion for sports, as he usually practiced soccer, rowing and billiards.

Henrique Azevedo pioneered some of the great features that are still typical of Peter's today: the choice of furniture (the same type of furniture is still used), an eagle as the symbol and gin and tonic as the much appreciated beverage.

The bald eagle carved out of wood and displayed today inside the coffee house was originally outside above the entrance door, and it symbolized the café itself. The eagle was bought by Henrique Azevedo and came from the stern of an American whaling ship that was caught by a storm, ran aground and was destroyed in Faial.

Gin and tonic was neither known nor usual in this city. It was mainly the influence of the Englishmen who worked for the underwater cable companies in Horta that brought about the sale of this drink, its dissemination and its increasing popularity. In addition to being regular customers of the café, taking part in lively chats and gatherings and closely contested games of checkers and dominoes, the Englishmen frequently ordered drinks for home consumption, and Henrique Azevedo’s son, José Azevedo, still a boy, often carried them to the foreigners’ homes in wicker baskets.

 

The twenties added an important new element to the development and consolidation of the Café Sport; from 1921, Dutch tugboats were stationed at the port of Horta. The difficulties of navigation in the North Atlantic in winter, the poor technical condition of ships and the lack of a more accurate and early weather forecast made navigation dangerous, and there were frequent requests for assistance from vessels caught by bad weather. Horta was one of the harbors where Dutch tugs were positioned, providing support and assistance to ships in difficulties. Stationed in Faial in the winter during the so-called "low season," a time when movement at the Café Sport tended to decrease, the crews of the Dutch tugs were an important part of the coffee house’s business, as they preferred it and became regular and good customers.

Henrique Azevedo and the crews developed strong ties of friendship and a bond that was to last until after the Second World War. A sign of this strong link was the offer of blue and black paint to Henrique Azevedo, which was used to paint the outside walls of the Café Sport (it still is today an identifying and distinctive element of the building). That paint was used in the painting and maintenance of the tugs while they were in Horta. On the other hand, for Henrique Azevedo, sending a Christmas card to captains and some crew members with whom he had developed a stronger friendship was a matter of honor. Today the owners of the Café Sport still keep the photographs of tugboats that were offered to Henrique Azevedo, on which not only he recorded the dates when they moored in the port of Horta but also the name of the captain.

See Peter's Historical Archives

   

José Azevedo lived his childhood and relatively peaceful teenage years during the early years of the thirties, helping his father at the Café in the tasks that he was assigned. But at 15, the war led him to work for the British. He started performing different tasks, including the transportation of ammunition to ships (from a depot in S. Lourenço) and working at a canteen that provided food to passing ships, until he was appointed chief of the painters (a group of six people) that maintained ships docked in Horta. His command of English was instrumental in obtaining this position, since it was José Azevedo who received the service orders from senior British officials and conveyed them to the painters for execution.

At the beginning of the war, HMS Lusitania II of the Royal Navy traveled to Horta. It had lost the stern due to the premature explosion of a depth bomb. The ship moored in the port during the whole World War and was used as the base for the distribution of communications to ships that performed military missions in the North Atlantic. Peter’s name was born in Lusitania II. A senior officer who worked there and who was the head of the ammunition service and was in charge of the ship’s maintenance became friends with José Azevedo. Thinking that he resembled an absent son, the Englishman began to call him by his son's name, Peter, arguing that by doing so he would think that his son was close to him. From the Englishmen to the Portuguese, the name Peter started to be used as fast as indelibly, supplanting the baptismal name of José Azevedo.

       

The sixties brought to Faial and to its port a new type of visitor: the crewmen of pleasure craft that, for defying the dangers of the seas on boats that were sometimes tiny, received the nickname of "adventurers" in Faial. The increasing demand of Horta by these crewmen resulted from a combination of multiple factors, ranging from its strategic location in the Atlantic and the natural conditions and attractiveness of its bay to the unusual ability of its people to welcome and to be helpful and hospitable, creating and strengthening bonds with foreign visitors. But crucially the dissemination among the international yachting community of the excellence and attractiveness of the port of Horta benefited from the numerous written testimonials that several generations of adventurers recorded in books. However, the extension of the popularity of yachting to the middle class (that could now buy boats), the proliferation of competitions and ocean regattas (some of them starting, finishing or passing by Horta), and the development of nautical tourism (in owned or leased boats) led to a large growth of the sport. And the number of yachts that arrived at Horta increased every year, registering their visit to this port with a painting on the breakwater’s wall and, from 1986, at the marina itself which was built to meet this growing demand of yachtsmen for Horta.

 

Together with Othon Silveira, João Carlos Fraga, Augusto Medeiros, Alberto Peixoto, João Faria and António Dutra, José Azevedo was one of the hosts in Faial that most contributed for the port of Horta to became a mandatory stop for yachts. During the first days of yachting, when an “adventurer” occasionally arrived, José Azevedo approached incoming vessels on his rowing boat, welcomed them and took care of the paperwork for them (medical and Maritime Police reports), facilitating and speeding up their arrival. And when the crew came to land for the first time, it was José Azevedo who showed them where the public baths, the local shops that repaired masts and sails, the market, and other places were.

Over time, the Café Sport added to these initial services and became increasingly known as Peter’s. It also provides the exchange of foreign currency and reception of mail addressed to yachtsmen. These simple but effective services and this way of unselfishly receiving and helping granted Peter’s the fame that it still enjoys among yachtsmen, with its name being spread by word of mouth and by being recorded in books written by yachtsmen. The proof of this strong friendship is in the albums which the Azevedo family has kept as precious items and in which yachtsmen left a photograph of the boat or of them, with a drawing, a dedication or an autograph.

 

Perhaps as a thank you for the services provided to yachtsmen, the Ocean Cruising Club, through its president and founder Humphrey Barton (emeritus sailor who completed more than twenty transatlantic voyages), invited José Azevedo to become a member in 1967, which was an exception given that the club is reserved only for sailors who have completed at least 1,000 nautical miles. In 1981, José Azevedo was elected honorary member. In addition, José Azevedo is also Port Officer of the Cruising Association (founded in 1908), a position that puts him in charge of providing all necessary support in Horta to yachts that belong to that Association.

Meanwhile, in 1975, the Café Sport moved to an annex building to the north, under a commercial agreement with a regional company. It was in these new and larger facilities that some aspects of the coffee house were changed; the eagle that was outside as a symbol was moved inside and placed in a high position above the counter.

A whale carved from sperm whale bone is now outside symbolizing the Café; it was a gift by craftsman M. D. Fagundes, who supplied the establishment with those artifacts. It was also in these facilities that the flags which José Azevedo received as a gift started to be exhibited and hanged on the walls (symbols of the yachts or clubs to which they belong). The move to new facilities came to an end in 1983. With the acquisition of the building where the Café had started its operations, Peter’s moved to its current facilities with the look that it currently features.

Meanwhile, José Azevedo kept the family tradition and aspect of the business and associated his son José Henrique Gonçalves Azevedo to the management of the establishment. José Henrique had already devoted his holidays to work at the coffee house since 1967, receiving his grandfather and father's heritage and mystique, along with the friendly and personal way of welcoming guests that is typical of Peter’s Café Sport.

But it was not until 1978 that he devoted himself full time to the company, and it was largely due to his commitment that Peter’s Museum came to life in 1986 after the adaptation of the top floor. It is a real gem visited by thousands of tourists and it is the apple of the eye of its owners. Simultaneously, coinciding with the decrease in the manufacture of handicrafts from ivory and whale bone, a new line of souvenirs was launched, advertising Peter’s and disseminating its new image: the whale.

This new set of products also includes a poster reproduced from a picture taken by José Henrique during a storm that lashed Faial on February 15, 1986 in which the breaking of waves along the Monte da Guia drew the profile Neptune’s face. On the other hand, since the early nineties, José Henrique is also a Port Officer for the Little Ship Club, a position that puts him in charge of providing all necessary support and of facilitating things for the yachts of that club that arrive at Horta. When some years ago Newsweek ranked Peter’s as one of the best bars in the world, it cemented its position as a space that, above its business side, is a pretext for meetings, conversations and friendships for life. As the Correio da Manhã wisely wrote in 1982, "from foreign exchange office to general delivery, from yacht club to news agency, from weather station to charitable institution, from tourist attraction to welcoming house for international visitors, Peter's is not simply a coffee house but a world-renowned institution."

Bazar do Faial - "Azorean House"

A história do Peters - Bazar do Faial -

19th century
Ernesto Azevedo
Lisbon Industrial Exhibition

A história do Peters - Lisbon Industrial Exhibition

1888
Ernesto Azevedo exhibited local handicrafts in Lisbon: embroidery, lace, straw hats and baskets, feather flowers, cutwork, etc. He was awarded a gold medal and diploma.
Azorean House

A história do Peters - Azorean House

1901
New facilities
Opening of the Café Sport

A história do Peters - Opening of the Café Sport

1918
Store was relocated to the next-door building and Henrique Azevedo opened the Café Sport.
Dutch Tugboats

A história do Peters - Dutch Tugboats

1921
Dutch tugboats moored in the port of Horta, contributing to the development and consolidation of the Café Sport.
World War II
1939-1945
The name “Peter” appeared. This was the time when José Azevedo…
Ocean Cruising Club
1967
José Azevedo was invited to become a member of the Ocean Cruising Club (club reserved only for sailors who have completed at least 1,000 nautical miles) by its president as a thank you for the services provided to yachtsmen.
José Henrique Azevedo started working at the café during the holidays.

A história do Peters - José Henrique Azevedo started working at the café during the holidays.

1966

New Facilities and Symbol of the Café Sport

A história do Peters - New Facilities and Symbol of the Café Sport

1975
Café Sport relocated to the building on the north side, where it has remained to this day. The eagle that used to be a symbol on the outside of the coffee house was moved inside. Outside there is now a whale carved from sperm whale bone, which has become the new symbol of the café.
Full integration of José Henrique Azevedo into the company
1978

José Azevedo elected honorary member of the Ocean Cruising Club

A história do Peters - José Azevedo elected honorary member of the Ocean Cruising Club

1981

Cruising Association Port Officer
1982
José Azevedo became responsible for providing all necessary support in Horta to yachts that belong to that Association.
Buildings where the Café started business were bought

A história do Peters - Buildings where the Café started business were bought

1983

Opening of Peter’s Scrimshaw Museum

A história do Peters - Opening of Peter’s Scrimshaw Museum

1986
Top floor of the Café Sport.
Opening of Peter’s Store in Horta
1986
Simultaneously there was the launch of a line of souvenirs to project the Peter brand.
Photo of Neptune in Horta
1986
(see Word doc.)
Little Ship Club Port Officer

A história do Peters - Little Ship Club Port Officer

1990
José Henrique Azevedo was appointed Port Officer of the Little Ship Club and became responsible for providing all necessary support in Horta to yachts that belong to that club.
Crystal Açor

A história do Peters - Crystal Açor

1994
During the Atlantic Television Exhibition, José Azevedo received this award which rewards all those who have made a worthy contribution to the prestige of television or to the protection of the sea and the environment.
1997 Person of the Year

A história do Peters - 1997 Person of the Year

1997
Awarded to José Azevedo by the magazine Gentes e Viagens.
Expo 98

A história do Peters - Expo 98

1998
The café took part at this world fair whose theme was the Oceans, occupying a prominent place next to the Parque das Nações Marina.
Official Local Dive - Aqua Magazine

A história do Peters - Official Local Dive - Aqua Magazine

1998
Festival held in Brest, France. It is the biggest festival of its kind in the world. The Olympic spirit prevails during the festival which takes place every 4 years.
International Festival of the Sea and Sailors

A história do Peters - International Festival of the Sea and Sailors

2000
Festival held in Brest, France. It is the biggest
Honorary Member

A história do Peters - Honorary Member

May 2003
Awarded by the Hispanic Society of Cartography
Officer of the Order of Merit

A história do Peters - Officer of the Order of Merit

June 2003
Awarded by the President of Portugal, His Excellency Jorge Sampaio
Regional Commendation

A história do Peters - Regional Commendation

July 2003
Awarded by the National Scout Association
Apostolic Blessing

A história do Peters - Apostolic Blessing

August 2003
Awarded by His Holiness Pope John Paul II
Certificate of Merit in Tourism

A história do Peters - Certificate of Merit in Tourism

September 2003
Awarded by the Secretary of State for Tourism of Portugal
Golden Mail

A história do Peters - Golden Mail

April 2004
Tribute by the CTT – Portuguese Postal Service for the Universal Postal Service provided in the North Atlantic.
Certificate of Merit for Contributing to Tourism and Commerce

A história do Peters - Certificate of Merit for Contributing to Tourism and Commerce

May 2004
Awarded by the Parish of Angústias, Faial
New Heroes of the Sea

A história do Peters - New Heroes of the Sea

2004
Nautical astrolabe from the 17th century awarded by the Minister of National Defense and Sea Affairs - Paulo Portas
Visit by the Kings of Spain and by the President of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio, and his wife, Maria José Rita

A história do Peters - Visit by the Kings of Spain and by the President of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio, and his wife, Maria José Rita

2005

Honored as an “Azorean Businessman” for his “entrepreneurship, innovation and business dedication”
2005
Millennium BCP Group
Considered the best bar for yachtsmen in the world

A história do Peters - Considered the best bar for yachtsmen in the world

2009
Peter's Café Sport was voted the best bar in the world for yachtsmen in a competition that aims to create a network of reference points for sailors during their trips around the world.

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