The Conde Dias Garcia Palace (known as the Palacete dos Condes) was owned by António Dias Garcia (1859-1940), a local benefactor who became rich in Brazil.
Having funded and sponsored numerous charities in Brazil and his homeland, São João da Madeira, he received several honorary titles, most notably the title of Count in 1928, granted by Pope Pius IX through Cardinal Arcoverde of Rio de Janeiro. He was also awarded the Degree of Commander of Order and Instruction and Beneficence by the Portuguese government and was even proposed as Minister of National Instruction.
The palace, built at the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century, is an architectural example of the “Brazilian style” or “architecture of Brazilians” combining various building and decorative styles. Noteworthy are the large facades, with numerous doors and windows of considerable height, and the roof with two towers and coloured tiles. It was also a symbol that showed the owners’ personal prestige and wealth.
Following the disappearance of António Dias Garcia in the 1940s, the palace functioned as a language institute, training centre for the footwear industry, secondary school and court until it was partially destroyed in a fire in 1990. In 2009, stabilization and façade restoration works were carried out.