Bandstand in Plaza de las Armas

76… Quiet days in Plaza de Las Armas as stewardship continues on…

Kiosk- band stand with green roof, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

1984, It is a quiet day in the well-maintained Plaza de Las Armas.

All sight lines lead one to the Kiosk, the visual centerpiece of the Plaza de Las Armas. In days of old, traveling dance bands would donate an hour public performance in the Kiosk to avoid paying a municipal tax and also help promote their evening concert. The elevated bandstand Kiosk offers a wonderful vantage point of Plaza activities and surroundings. Bishop Reyes Cathedral and Sierra de Álamos as a backdrop,especially with magic sunrise-sunset light, is a stunning vista from the Kiosk. Here, curious imaginations can sense the past.

Summer day in the Plaza de Las Armas, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

1996, large rose bushes filled up the park surrounding the Kiosk.

Twelve years have passed from the first photo to the second. Much is the same and some has changed. The landscaping is different: roses cover much of the bare ground have replace small trees and scattered bushes. A decorative backdrop for a drinking fountain has been added to the northwest corner of the park. And the kiosk’s canopy is now painted red. Many of my North American friends in Álamos were displeased with the change, they felt it was a cheap move to make the plaza more touristy. Ah, the hands of change move in synchronized concert with the hands of time as man restores, rebuilds and remodels.

restoration work on the Kiosk in Plaza de Las Armas, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Restorers begin work on the inside panels of the Kiosk canopy.

The cloth painted mural panels in the Kiosk were badly deteriorated and pigeons nests were inside the torn fabric and the canopy ceiling. Museo Costumbrista de Sonora’s director Antonio Estrada was in charge of the restoration project.

alamos sonora mexico kiosk torn fabric panel, 1996, photo by anders tomlinson

Music is part of the fabric that is daily life in Álamos.

Antonio, a fine-art sculptor in his own right, has strived to maintain the colonial integrity of Centro Álamos. As I write this post I realize I have images in one of my Álamos books of un-scanned slides of the panels just before these men started to remove them.

torn kiosk fabric panel, 1996, alamos sonora mexico. photo by anders tomlinson

There is wear and tare as days, becomes months, become years.

Earlier today I scanned the slides and added them to my digital Álamos image database. I saw on the beautiful tourism site Álamos, Pueblo Magico that the panels were restored, and maintained, to their original magnificence. Stewardship in the face of advancing time and the hands of unrelenting gravity is never done until there is no more to steward.

Plaza de Las Armas seen from Mirador, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A bird-eyes view of Plaza de Las Armas as seen from Mirador.

Even from a great distance the Kiosk draws the eye as one takes in the Plaza from up high on Mirador to the east. The colonial charm of Álamos, and the interaction of its citizens, is evident in this photo. On November 23, 2000, President Zedillo declared 188 Álamos, Sonora, Mexico structures as National Historic Monuments. The buildings seen here were built in the last half of the 18th century on older existing sites. I am certain that a photo taken today from the same place with the same lens will be much the same. Plants and paint may be different but the historic structures will be the structures that have been here for over 200 years.

Estudiantina de Alamos performs before a packed Plaza as a film crew captures the event.
It is a big day in the Plaza. A TV crew has come to town and is filming a music concert. Estudiantina de Álamos, a crowd favorite, is performing. They will also back up several other acts. The bandstand is surrounded by adolescent girls and an scattered smiling mothers.

Spring Day in the Plaza – Part Two: Getting Ready for another Day.
In the cool of the morning folks go about hand sweeping and cleaning the streets and sidewalks of Álamos, Sonora, Mexiso. Residents take pride in the town’s appearance. Enjoy a 360 degree pan of the plaza from the gazebo-bandstand in its center. We end with the garbage men making their rounds.

This is a Blessed Season for a Multitude of Reasons.
In mid-afternoon the air pressure begins to drop and a stiff wind sweeps the valley from the west, a storm is coming. Night falls and showers start. We go from the Plaza to the Alameda and back. The following day the sun comes out and then is covered by clouds. Kids play and men work gathering sand in the arroyos. A summer day can be complex in its textures and atmospheres.

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