In 1899, the N.D. Thompson Publishing Company of St Louis, New York, Chicago and Atlanta, published a two-volume pictorial entitled "Our Islands and their People". This substantial and beautiful work contains many rare early photos of Cárdenas and has the following to say about our city:
The city of Cárdenas, situated thirty miles distant from Matanzas, is perhaps the one striking example of modern progressiveness to be found in all the island of Cuba. Founded but seventy years ago--a truly recent birth for a Cuban city--it to-day posesses a population of 21,000 souls and many of the most substantial and creditable buildings on the island. The city is built on the shores of an extensive bay, twelve miles in length by 18 in breadth. Unfortunately, however, shoreward this body of water is so shallow that vessels of more than average draught are compelled to anchor upwards of a mile from land. For the accomodation of traffic, however, there are some twenty piers from 300 to 1,000 feet in length extending into comparatively deep water. The city is equipped with a substantially built aqueduct, whence an excellent water supply is conducted from a subterrenean river about a mile distant from the city, the abounding of such streams being one of the peculiarities of this particular province.
In addition to its superior water system Cárdenas is far in
the lead of other cities of its size in Cuba, and numbers among
other enterprises extensive soap and cotton manufactories and
several large breweries and distilleries. Cárdenas also derives
much of its importance from its traffic in asphalt, vast deposits
of which abound at the bottom of its immense harbor...
Our Islands and their People, 1899, N.D. Thompson
How about an 1860 Travel Book Description?