Cervantes’ house was identified in 1866, but it was not until 1872 that the first attempt was made to devote the house to cultural activities, when a group of young writers decided to set up an Atheneum in it, renting the house and meeting there to discuss literary questions. Their limited resources could not meet the economic demands of the society and it only lasted six months.
To commemorate the 275th anniversary of the publication of Don Quixote, on 23 April 1875, the pharmacist Don Mariano Pérez Mínguez, with the help of the owners of the house, decorated it “with antique furniture and objects , imbuing that historic precinct with all the possible period atmosphere”, and it was opened to the public. It was decided to set up a Casa de Cervantes Conservation Trust , and the “Casa de Cervantes “ Society was founded in 1875.
The house was enriched with paintings, antique arms and books, rare Spanish and foreign editions of Don Quixote and other objets of different uses and eras. A comfortable reading room was also inaugurated in the house with twelve periodicals on the sciences, arts, literature and news and some literary works.
The literary sessions were held from 1876 to 1881. The house continued to be used as an interesting museum until 1887, when the Society was disbanded and the Museum closed, with the house let to other tenants.
Cervantes scholar Mariano Pérez Mínguez also started a public subscription to erect a statue to Cervantes, which was made by the sculptor Nicolás Fernández de la Oliva and inaugurated on 29 September 1877 in what was at that time called the Campillo del Rastro, near to the house.Salto de línea