Iquique begins to develop in the first half of the nineteenth century through the exploitation of the salt is shipped to the port. The year 1830 marked the date of the first shipment of saltpeter to Europe and the beginning of Iquique, then Peruvian status as urban. Iquique built in 1883 is definitely to the Republic of Chile until 1920 and lives the glorious era of nitrate. It was the "capital of the salt" and the first port of Chile in 1900, raising more than 4.10 times Valparaiso to the treasury. Also had a municipal budget of 2.38 times per capita higher than that of Santiago.
Prosperity linked to salitrero boom favors the development of social activities that translates into the construction of social clubs, usually foreign colonies, and headquarters of trade union groups, which compete through their buildings to show their importance and power.
Social movements begin in the second half of the nineteenth century with the aim of regulating industrial relations. It is in this context that in 1891 a group of iquiqueños founded the Society for the Protection of Employees Tarapacá. With the growth of its activities is decided to build the headquarters of the company began construction in 1911 and completed in 1913, all under the direction of Don Miguel Retornano. Is a union of the first buildings of Chile.
For the construction of the building is selected the most prominent of the city beside the Plaza Prat del Teatro Municipal, which form a unified package for the height and style of its classical facades. The building of the Society for the Protection of Employees Tarapacá is the only building of brick masonry as architectural iquiqueño.
It is a rectangular building of two levels of classical façade with symmetrical and harmonious. Acapiteladas pillars supporting the upper cornisamento and are halfway up a ledge that supports the second floor balconies. In the main facade is a stone and a note antetecho that Copon molded crown adorned with pilasters that structure. The roof frame is of Oregon pine, which is covered with galvanized iron tejuelas stamped. The skirts of four steep mansard roof housed the lighting by windows wide circular frames neorenacentista recalling the style of French fin de siècle. Worth noting in the rich interior paneling of the halls first floor and the fine decoration of the rooms of the second level.
The building is in good general condition and houses today the center of the Society for the Protection of Employees Tarapaca