39 … Workers on the roofs, a common sight for those looking down …
1750 was a hard year for Alamos with 6,000 people dying from the plague. King Charles III of Spain responded to the disaster by sending Inspector General of the Interior Don Jose Rodriques Gallardo who reported that Alamos has no jail, Municipal buildings or squares. Orders were given to layout streets, align houses and build a jail. A new Alamos street-grid was designed with houses that had adjoining walls to keep squatters out of Centro Alamos. The result is what exists today, Andalucian architecture built by imported maestros from Southern Spain. The mansions’ floor plans, patterned after Roman homes, were either square, U or L shaped surrounding walled courtyards. Then is now.
To have a roof one needs walls. Alamos walls started with four feet of rock and rubble. On top of the “foundation” adobe bricks stacked up to reach fifteen feet high and were two to three feet in thickness. Much of the hard labor was done by Mayo Indians. The wide walls would insulate the interiors and help support the coming roof along with plaster covered columns made of stone or fired brick.
In an coming journal entry we will look at how roofs were made by examining ruins and restorations. Flat roofs do not work that well in Southern Sonora when heavy rains that can not be removed fast enough. It becomes a ever-present vigil to spot leaks before they cause damage to the permanent structure. It is a dance brought on by squalls and summer torrential downpours. It is also wise to watch where one is walking on old roofs, since footsteps can create new leaks. And so it is…
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