Kids Playing Throughout Alamos History

41 … As one group after another came to conquer and plunder Álamos children played …

boy playing stick game, Alamos, Sonora, mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Ramon Ricardo Reyes Garcia and toy, a simple moment captured.

The year is 1687, a year earlier the first recorded date was entered in the parochial register, August 28, 1686. Father Kino visited Álamos in February 1687. He would use Álamos silver to help create a chain of missions running north into Arizona. This was also the year Tarahumare Indians revolted and the Spanish effort against them was headquartered in Álamos. Miners from around the world learned of the Aduana silver veins. Visitors, with assorted agendas, arrived from the south and west. 1687 would have been a rough year to be a child on a burgeoning frontier.

playing with legos, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

As the mining families prospered global goods and games were imported.

1737 through 1741 were years of Yaquis and Mayos attacking the Spanish. In 1740, Yaqui leader Calixto Muni burned Camoa and Baroyera taking Spanish women and children as hostage. Álamos miners held off 6,000 advancing Indians. Not an easy year for children to be playing, but what do children do but play and learn. 1741 was a bloody year amongst bloody years. 3,000 Yaquis and Mayos died at the hands of Spanish reinforcements at the “Hill of Bones”. And then the drought came lasting from 1741 to 1744. Staking out a fortune in Álamos came with a price.

Boy shopping for tortillas, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Part of being a child is running family errands, helping as needed.

Álamos was growing in a lawless new west. Don Jose Rodriques Gallard, Inspector General of the Interior, reported in 1748-49 that Alamos had no jail, municipal buildings, plazas, street grids… etc. It was time for Álamos to become a town with streets laid out by design, houses built conforming to plan, government buildings established and a jail erected. Civilization, regulation and taxation was gaining a foothold. 30 years later Álamos will have reached its zenith with as many as 30,000 inhabitants. Through all of this turmoil and growth children played and helped their families with chores and errands. Children needed to be careful, look in all directions, listen for trouble, chose their friends wisely and be aware of everything going on in their surroundings. At times children needed to be little people not kids, and then it would be time to play again.

six boys against blue wall, alamos, sonora, mexico.  1983.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Spring 1983, friends pause for moment and play for the camera.


Time marches on: events take place, the unexpected arrives, the expected depart, this parade of change marches against the backdrop of geologic time. This is one of the first photos I took during my first days in Álamos. These young men could now be grandfathers. How many are still in Álamos? For many the forces of nature, and politics, over centuries, continue to repeat “go north young men”.

kids gather for photo on old el camino real,  near the airport, alamos, sonora, mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

On the western end of town neighborhood kids play.


The old El Camino Real, running along the airport’s southern fence, is a playground for many groups of kids. This photo was taken in 1995. These young brothers, sisters, friends and neighbors could now be parents. Forces of nature, and politics, beckon all flora and fauna to move north away from the equator’s heat.

Playing soccer on a tree lined street, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Across town small groups of kids, boys and girls, play games kicking a ball.

The sounds of children at play bounces off of thick adobe walls lining narrow street. The kicking of balls, loud voices and laughter reverberates across Centro Álamos. It is a fine time, and place, to be young. And what can be better than being with friends?

An introduction to a Short History of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.
“Here is something Special”, Spanish explorer Vasquez de Coronado noted in 1540 as he headed north, passing by tall white rocks on Alamos de Sierra. This is the opening chapter to “A Short History of Álamos” written, filmed and edited by Anders Tomlinson. Narrated by Bruce Miles. Soundtrack by SonicAtomics and Estudiantina de Álamos.

Álamos shares a strong maternal bond, steeped in history, with all the Southwest.
Juan Batista de Anza arrived and departed from Álamos in the spring of 1775 with silver, and local families, to settle “Monterey and the Californias”, including San francisco. Another expedition, five years later, left Álamos to settle Los Angeles.

The conclusion to a Short History of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico embraces the Sierra Madre.
Here, Bishop Reyes’ Cathedral in the Plaza, a three-tiered belfry, shines gold in morning light. Here, looking east, one’s imagination is stirred by the forbidding beauty of the Sierra Madre Occidentals. Together, they shape the Álamos experience.

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