Álamos Update: 6-7-15

an old mill site just a block from Casa de los Santos, alamos, sonora, mexico.  Horses take care of the mowing.  The photo was taken from the city street with the graceful 'Marrs (Candy family) mansion' in back of the photographer.  It was restored by them in the 50's, built by an 18th century silver baron and ironically, now owned again by the owner of the huge new silver mine which produces more than 100 million annually.   They are from B.C., Canada. photo by jim swickard.  

Just another old world day in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

The sounds of countryside and village blend into a leisurely symphony
The photo is of an old mill site just a block from the Hacienda. Horses take care of the mowing. The photo was taken from the city street with the graceful ‘Marrs (Candy family) mansion’ in back of the photographer. It was restored by them in the 50’s, built by an 18th century silver baron and ironically, now owned again by the owner of the huge new silver mine which produces more than 100 million dollars in silver annually. They are from B.C., Canada. Photo, possibly, by unknown Casa de los Santos guest.

casa de los santos, alamos, sonora mexico. The largest fountain which was originally the sugar mill's 'Mill'.  It had oxen and a stone wheel to crush the sugar cane.  The operation went into bankruptcy in 1710 and we are the second owner's of record.

Listen closely and one may hear the past come alive in their imaginations.

If you are in the moment this could be the center of the universe
This is the largest fountain which was originally the sugar mill’s ‘Mill’. It had oxen and a stone wheel to crush the sugar cane. The operation went into bankruptcy in 1710 and we are the second owner’s of record. Photo by local photographer Tomas Escalante.

Mt. Cacharamba (Mayo for 'hole in the ear' due to a hole in one part of the flat topped mountain).  All of the original Spanish mines are below it and slightly to the left.  Coronado was within 10 miles of it in about 1540, however it was not found until about 150 years later. photo by Jim Swickard, Casa de los Santos, Alamos, sonora, mexico

A landmark of another era and today and tomorrow.

Miners and merchants came from around the world in search of silver
I took this photo from my T206H airplane a few years ago and it’s a view of Mt. Cacharamba (Mayo for ‘hole in the ear’ due to a hole in one part of the flat topped mountain). All of the original Spanish mines are below it and slightly to the left. Coronado was within 10 miles of it in about 1540, however it was not found until about 150 years later. It’s visible from a hill top a block from the Hacienda. Photo by Jim Swickard.

Macohayui mission,  circa 1610, outside of alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by jim swickard.

Macoyahui mission, early 1600’s, built by Mayo Indians with master mason’s guidance.

Off the beaten path
I ventured up to the Macohayui mission two weeks ago for the first time.  I have flown over it more than a dozen times.  Visiting the mission was a real treat and visiting with a man gathering firewood added to the experience.  There’s a home very near the mission which impressed me greatly and I should have taken pictures.  According to the man it dates to the missions beginning which makes the home over 400 years. It’s in good condition, considering, however won’t be for long since the owner died last year and no subsequent generation to live there.  I plan to return.

As the crow flies the mission is only about 15 miles from Álamos.  Due to its location on the west bank of the Mayo River one has to drive about 40 miles to get to it. If the river is at its lowest of the year one can get there nearly direct but there are are dozens of turns on a goat trail and it’s really necessary to make one trip from the north to know where its located. Photo by Jim Swickard

Summer 2015 Casa de los Santos Update

The hurricane is missing us by more than two hundred miles, however we are hoping for some rain. It’s the pre-monsoon season here and a little overcast today which I prefer for walking Cholula our ‘Puggle’. Election day in Mexico, with the required ‘dry’ weekend, so the village is uncannily quiet, however they will make up for it next weekend. ( The PRI party won both the gubanatorial seat and locally the same. It’s beautiful here today since we had our first monsoonal rain last night, 6-7-15.  With any luck more rain this evening. )

The Hacienda goes back into a construction mode in July with some remodeling work on the sugar mill property to create a true, and long awaited, gift shop adjacent to the Cafe Agave. A new Spa will be ready to open in the Fall and the present spa. We hope to have three totally new Master Suites for next season, plus two inner connecting Hacienda Guest Rooms for families. Our total room and suite count will be 32 for next season. We will have some exciting news this summer about some international recognition for Hacienda de los Santos… Jim Swickard

To see it as it is today visit Hacienda de los Santos Resort and Spa.

To see the Hacienda in 1993

Álamos residents share Álamos Today in words and photos.

Bishop Reyes Cathedral

Bishop Reyes’ Cathedral takes up the entire southern side of the Plaza de las Armas in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. Its three tiered belfry towers above town and touches low passing clouds. Along with multiple daily services the church is also a religious classroom. Religion speaks of yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows. It speaks of better days and better places. Religious followers are asked to endure and conceptually, eventually, benefit from their days of survival and struggle on this small planet.
Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

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©2015 Jim Swickard, Casa de los Santos and Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Álamos History Directory

alamos, sonora, mexico seen from atop sierra de alamos.  spring 1996.  photo by anders tomlinson

Álamos and surroundings seen from the Sierra de Álamos, spring 1996.

Take a Walk Back in Time
Álamos, Sonora, Mexico was a stepping stone along the El Camino Real. Álamos played a significant role in the settling of the southwest, including San Francisco, Monterey, Los Angeles, southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.

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Here are pages related to Álamos events and occurrences through history:

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1500 – 1599 timeline

1600 – 1699 timeline

1700 – 1799 timeline

1800 – 1849 timeline

1850 – 1899 timeline

Geologic timeline

History videos

Álamos population history

Sonora Population history

La Aduana mining 1910

Conquistadors, silver and gold

Álamos and Horses

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This is a work in progress.

An introduction to a Short History of Alamos, 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 Alamos” written, filmed and edited by Anders Tomlinson. Narrated by Bruce Miles. Soundtrack by SonicAtomics and Estudiantina de Alamos.

Alamos shares a strong maternal bond, steeped in history, with all the Southwest.
Juan Batista de Anza arrived and departed from Alamos 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 Alamos to settle Los Angeles.

The conclusion to a Short History of Alamos, 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 Alamos experience.

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©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Álamos 1850 – 1899

The 1800’s were turbulent time for Mexico, Sonora and Álamos.
The faded heydays of Álamos silver and trading wealth were in the past.
Confrontation was at the forefront along the northern frontier.

Governor's mansion on Calle Comercio. alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

Time marches on as haciendas’ portals and the Cathedral’s belfry stand tall.

1850
Hermosilo connected to the port of Guaymas.

1850’s
Military colonies and settlements are encouraged on the northern border to help stop marauding Apaches. Free border land was offered to Mexicans and anyone else except for Americans and Indians. These plans were not successful. The government also was offering a bounty for Apache scalps.

1850 – 1880
Population estimates of 5,000.

1853
December – “Tratado (Treaty) de Mesilla”, the Gadsen purchase was signed between Mexico and the United States. Sonora was paid ten million dollars for land including having its northern boundary cut back to its present border. This allowed the United States to build a southern transcontinental route.

1854
The Gadsen purchase is ratified by Mexico and The United States.

1854
Charles D. Poston, was shipwrecked in the Gulf of california and visited Álamos. He would become known as the “Father of Arizona.” He recalled his visit in an account told to J. Ross Browne: “In about a week from the time of leaving the seacoast we reached the old city of Alamos, famous in Spanish times for its wealth and commercial enterprise. The cathedral is very fine, and yet bears the Royal Arms of Spain over the grand entrance. The merchants of Alamos used to import directly from China, and had a large trade with the smaller towns of Sinola and Sonora, but its principal source of wealth was the rich silver mines in the spur of the Sierra Madre, which were worked with great profit when cheap labor could be obtained from the native Indians under the system of peonage adopted and endorsed by the Spanish government.”
Álamos seemed like ” a quiet old town” to Mr. Poston.

1855
The Centralist’s reign came to an end with the fall of dictator Santa Anna. “Church against State” remains a political contention in Álamos.

1855
The school Seminario Angol-Español changed it name to Liceo de Sonora.

1855 – 1861
“The War of Reform” was a civil war against the “Ley (Law) Juarez” and other reform laws initiated by Benito Juarez and supported by Liberals, reform party members, that took land and power away from the church. The reforms were opposed by the Conservatives – church party members. War took place in across Sonora and into Sinaloa, Álamos was in the middle of many events.
The Conservatives were led by Don Jesus Gandara. The Liberals were led by general Ignacio Pesqueira and were attempting to uphold the new federal laws.

1857
August – General Pesqueria becomes Sonora’s Governor.

1857
Late in the year Gandara led an southern attack along with the Yaquis that was met by troops from Álamos. Gandara was defeated and retreated to the Yaqui river. From here he continued attacks in the north.

1858
Pesqueria stops in Álamos on his way south to help the Liberals in Sinola. Pesqueria gives Álamos special authority in case of emergencies. He also recruits men in Álamos and El Fuerte to join his cause.

1859
Apaches from the north reached the Álamos district. Haciendas and villages are left in ruin.

1859
Álamos mayor, Manuel Salazar, bargains a peace treaty with the Indians and there is an ensuing calm for a short period.

1860
Álamos floods.

1861
Professor Gregorio Almada leaves Liceo de Sonora for Mazatlan and the school is closed.

1861
August – Conservatives under the command of Don Antonio Esteves advance from El Fuerte on the El Camino Real and defeat National Guard troops and armed citizens from Álamos some of whom join the Conservatives. The conservatives march untested in a welcoming Álamos. Don Toribio Almada, the 21 year old son of Don Jose Maria joins up with Don Antonio Esteves, becomes second-in-command, and vow to defeat Ignacio Pesqueira.

1861
October 15 – Pesquiera defeats Esteves / Alamda in Hermosilo.
Pesquierq and General Placido Vega punish Álamos citizens supporting the Conservatives. Vincente Almada, a son of Don Jose Maria was put to death. Toribio Almada escapes to Chihuahua.

1861
Álamos is retaken by Liberal General Plácido Vega.
Governor Pesquiera returns to meet with Vega in Álamos. Pesquiera feel many Álamos citizens were major supporters of the Conservatives and he takes their property as punishment. He has a captured Toribio Almada returned to Álamos to be executed in the cemetery by firing squad.

1861 – 1862
December – January – French troops land on the coast of Vera Cruz. Mexico taxes the country to raise money to fight the French. Most of mexico was against the French invaders but some Conservatives became French allies. Governor Pesquiera prepares to defend Sonora from the French by building his National Guard. he also had to fight the Apaches who were now stronger because American troops in the southwest were now involved with the American Civil War.

1862
May – A club is formed in Álamos to raise money for the federalists to defeat the French. At the same time there are those with 1mperialistic leanings in support of the French. news from the south was of interest to all of Álamos.

1863
Apaches reach the edge of Álamos and kill people and ruin property.

1863
June – Mexico City falls to the French.

1864
Maximilian is made Emperor of Mexico.

1864
Another mint opens in Alamos which produced silver and gold coins and closed in 1895. (Note, a later statement contradicts the 1864 date and uses 1861.  1861 probably is correct since there was a failure of Alamos to report to Mexico City during the days of Maximillian by most of the mints in Mexico. (Information from ‘The Mexican Mints of Alamos and Hermosillo’, by A.F.’Pradeau, 1934)

1865
Early – French troops land in Guaymas.

1865
August 28 – French troops from Guaymas take over the plaza in Álamos. Colonel Jose Tranquilino Almada was put in command and had an additional 1500 Yaquis and Mayos join his forces. Álamos saw an increase in wealth as several mines were operating again and there was a business boom. But this would not last for long. During the French reign Sonora was divided
into three Imperial Departments with capitals in Altar, Urea and Álamos.

1865
September 22 – General Antonio Rosales, with less than 500 troops, leaves El Fuerte to recapture Álamos from the French Imperialists. Rosales forces met Colonel Almada’s larger forces
in a three hour battle on Guadalupe Hill. Rosales and many of his men, possibly a third, were killed. Rosales was buried in the Álamos cemetery. His body was later moved to Mexico City.

1865
Emperor Maximilian declares Álamos capital of the department of Álamos.

1866
January 7 – Álamos is attacked by General Angel Martinez. Colonel Jose Maria Tranquilino Almada leads the Imperialist and retreats to the plaza where he is defeated and escapes to the mayo River. Second-in-command Antonio Anselmo Alamda is one of many Imperialists to die in the battle. General Angel Martinez, a ruthless veteran of wars, plunders all the precious metals in the church and wreaks havoc on the town taking what he wanted and leaving little behind except for strong troops to hold the town.

1866
Don Jose Maria Almada dies. He was married twice and had at least 31 children.

1866
May 31 – Colonel Almada attacks Colonel Adolfo Palecio troops in Minas Nueva. Colonel Almada is defeated.

1866
August 28 – After holding Álamos for a couple of weeks Colonel Almada is forced to abandon city by Colonel Adolfo Palecio.

1866
September 14 -15 – The French garrison on Guaymas is abandoned after several defeats in central Sonora. Governor Ignacio Pesqueira, low on money, Indians and enemies on the attack and floods, now had to attempt to unify Sonora.

1866
September – Sonora returns to the republic of Mexico.

1867
February – French troops leave Mexico.

1867
June – Emperor Maximilian is executed.

1867
July – Mexico is again independent. President Juarez returns to mass celebrations in Mexico City.

1869
October – 50 people died and over 100 homes in the Alameda section were destroyed by floods at daybreak. All of southern Sonora were effected by the Yaqui, Mayo and El Fuerte rivers overflowing their banks. (There are other accounts that indicate the flood was in 1868.)

1870’s – 1880’s
Yaqui Cajeme, ( Jose Maria Leyva), leads Indian raids and highway robberies.

1871
“Plan de la Noria” proclaimers occupy Álamos. They were opposed to President Juarez and favored Porfirio Diaz. They collected $45,000 peso and recruited troops to join them as they headed north. They would lose.

1872
Early – Governor Pesqueira’s troops visit Álamos enroute to Sinoloa. As most advancing forces did, whether headed north or south, Pesqueira demanded, and received money to fund his campaign, in this case he withheld funds intended for Álamos.

1872
Ignacio Pesqueira is reelected Governor of Sonora. álamos, which for the most part did not like Ignacio Pesqueira stage civil unrest – “the Plan of the Promontorios”.

1872 – 1873
There are hostilities between Sonoran legislative and executive branches over the new state constitution. Álamos District has many citizens opposed to Governor Pesqueira.

1873
November – Carlos Conant, leading the “the Plan of the Promontorios”, with 400 men and opposed to Governor Pesqueira, takes over Álamos. He receives $36,000 pesos from local merchants. He creates problems for Sonora for couple of months.

1875
Álamos leads Independents in revolt against Pesqueira.

1875
Colonel Jose J. Pesqueira, nephew of Don Ignacio, was elected Governor of Sonora in a controversial election where ballots from districts that voted against Pesqueira were discarded by the legislature. Several areas of the state, along with Álamos, revolted and a civil war started.

1876
February 8 – Governor Jose Pesqueira occupies Álamos. He demands $72,000 pesos and creates harsh laws and demanded loans from wealthy citizens, loans he had no intention of repaying. Many citizens fled for safety in Sinaloa. Pesqueira jailed people who did not obey his wishes. Travel in and out of Álamos now required passports. People were upset and rebelled.

1876
March 1 – The Federal government had General Vicente Mariscal land troops in Guaymas to restore order. He arrived in Álamos to confer with Governor Jose Pesqueira in the Plaza de las Armas. Pesqueira left Álamos on March first and returns to Hermosillo.

1878
April – More controversy in the Sonora legislature: Governor Mariscal and Vice-Governor Francisco Serna are in opposition to each other. each has their own factions.

1879
February – Francisco Serna, in opposition to Mariscal, invades and controls Álamos. Serna, while in Álamos, is declared Governor by his faction in the legislature. Mariscal, deciding against more civil war in Sonora leaves Hermosillo before Serna returns.

1881
Primary education became compulsory where schools existed.

1882
Mayos are on the attack. They are joined by Yaquis. Navajo is deserted with many leaving for protection in Álamos. Navajo is now a military outpost. The National Guard arrived to fortify Navajoa.

1882
There was a major battle outside Navjoa at nearby Rancho Capetmaya. The battle was a stalement with the Indians retreating to the hills and rivers and the National Guard seeking protection in Álamos and surrounding towns.

1882
Railway connects Nogales with Guaymas. The State of Sonora is raising money to benefit public education.

1883
Álamos is preparing for Indian attacks. Álamos merchants ask that more federal troops be stationed in Navajoa for protection.

1884
13 mining firms are operating 15 mines which employ 750 workers.
Many old mines are shut down and others are in bad repair.

1885 – 1886
Cajeme leads 3,000 to 4,000 Yaquis and Mayo warriors.

1886
Telegraph is connected to Álamos. A new city jail is built on Loma de Guadalupe and the Plaza de las Armas is renovated.

1887
April – Cajeme is captured and executed.

1887
A hospital for the poor is donated to Álamos by Justina Almada de Urrea. It will continue to operate until 1946.

1888
Sonora is improving mining and agricultural districts roads. Estacion Baramotal near Guaymas is connected by stage line to Álamos and the old stage line from Álamos to El Fuerte.

1888
Vice- Governor Ramon Corral, born in the Álamos district, comes to Álamos for a monthand appoints a public education committee of 15 and provides provide state money for Álamos public education.

1895
December – Governor Ramon Corral attends the opening of the new Álamos water system. The city now has access to running water.

1897
Early May – A peace settlement between The Indians and non-Indians was negotiated and agreed to. The peace treaty signing was a festive event.

1899
The peace settlement between Indians and “Yoris”, whites, was broken by the Yaquis. Mexico’s President Diaz had federal troops push back at the Indians to allow the State of Sonora to function with more peaceful times. Yaguis villages were burned and the federal troops kept pressure on the Yaguis and drove many across the border into Arizona. less fortunate Yaguis were sent to Yucatan slave camps.

More to come…

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♦ Other Álamos, Sonora Mexico timelines:

1500 – 1599 timeline

1600 – 1699 timeline

1700 – 1799 timeline

1800 – 1849 timeline

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This is a work in progress.

If you have additional dates and events send a comment

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©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Álamos 1700 – 1799

An A stands for Alamada over a gate on Calle comercio, in alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

An “A” for Almada over a gate on Calle Comercio.

1700
Camino Real extended out of Culíacan through foothills, northward through El Fuerte and Álamos

1709
Quinterra mine opens up in La Aduana. There is also a reference to Almada but I do not understand the connection.

1732
March 14 – Álamos is no longer part of Nueva Viscaya and is now part of the Sinaloa and Sonora province.

1735
Don Pedro Gabriel de Aragon becomes Parish Priest – reconstructed old church, La Purisma Concepcion

1736
Inventory of sacred vessels and religious objects in church is done by visiting Bishop Martin de Elizacochea Dorre Echeverria.

1736
July 1736 – Juan Bautista de Anza was born, more likely at Cuquiarachi, Sonora, Mexico, to Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and Maria Rosa Bezerra Nieto of Fronteras, Sonora, Mexico. He was their youngest son and grandson of Antonio de Anza, a pharmacist, and Lucia de Sassoeta of Hernani, Guipuzcoa, Spain. He was also the grandson of Captain Antonio Bezerra Nieto and Gregoria Gómez de Silva of Janos, Chihuahua, Mexico. His father, Juan Bautista de Anza, senior, was killed by Apaches on May 9, 1740, when he was not quite three years of age.

1737
War between Spaniards and Yaquis and Mayos

1737
Fiesta of Nuestra Senora de Balvanere in La Aduana.
This celebration begins with Indians seeing a maiden on top of a tall cactus. The Indians rolled rocks to the foot of the cactus but the maiden had disappeared. They then noticed a silver outcropping where one of the rocks had been. The Indians believed this young beautiful maiden had shown them that there was silver here. A church was built on this site and cactus grew out of a wall ten to twelve feet above the ground.

The Bishop of Nueva Vizcaya, in 1737, changed the celebration date from September 8th to November 21 so pilgrims from Álamos could use the arroyos to go to La Aduana and avoid the summer floods.

1740
Calixto Muni, Yaqu leaders burned Camoa, Baroyeca. Took Spanish women and children as captives. 6,000 strong Indians advanced on Álamos. Miners hold them off.

1741
Spanish reinforcements arrive, 3,000 Yaquis and Mayos die on the Hill of Bones

1741 – 1744
Drought

1747-1750
Devastating three year drought.  People and indians reduced to eating roots and roasted maguey plants.

( It is possible these two references to drought could be actually describing the same event. History has a way of slipping one way and another. )

1748 – 1749
King Charles III of Spain responded to the disaster by sending Inspector General of the Interior Don Jose Rodriques Gallardo reports that Álamos has no jail, Municipal buildings or squares. Orders 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 Álamos.

( There is some confusion about these dates. Did Gallardo arrive in response to the plague in Álamos or before? )

1750
Jesuit Juan Jacobo Baegert wrote “in poplar trees I’ve seen women dressed in Golden Velvet”

1750
6,000 die in Álamos from a series of plagues.
Another account states a plague of smallpox and measles which caused the death of 8,000 Indians and Mestizos

1760
Bishop of Durango, Tamaron y Romeral, visits Álamos and observes that Álamos maybe more important than Culíacan in Nueva Viscaya.
He wrote, ” It is a parish with a clergyman and vicar… there are usually five or six priests in residence as aids to the rector. In this real there are many good silver mines, and their principle workings are two leagues distant, in a place called la aduana… it has 800 families and 3400 people.”

1761
Antonio Almada y Reyes is born in Leon Spain.

1765
Don Pedro de Aragon requested in writing, from Álamos, that a presido be built near the Yaqui to hinder the Apaches, Seris and Lower Pimas who were resisting the northward bound Spaniards.

1767
End of jesuit era after sustaining missions for a span of 150 years

1767
July- Jesuits, guarded by 50 soldiers, pass through Álamos on their way to the port of Guaymas.

1769
La Alameda, today’s business district, laid out. Old houses were torn down to make room for a poplar tree lined promenade.

1769
Royal Treasury is established in Álamos. Inspector Don Jose de Galvez remained in Álamos and managed the public finances, sooth relationships with disgruntled Indians, and remodeled missions. He would later become the Marquis of Sonora.

1770
A flood wiped out much of the newly constructed Alameda

1774
January 8, 1774 – Juan Bautista de Anza leaves Tubac Presidio, south of present-day Tucson, Arizona. His expedition had 3 padres, 20 soldiers, 11 servants, 35 mules, 65 cattle, and 140 horses.

1775
January – de Anza, in Mexico City, begins to organize his expedition to to colonize San Francisco.

1775
March – de Anza begins recruiting colonizers in Culíacan, Province of Sinaloa, Mexico.

1775
April 5 – de Anza is recorded as being in Culíacan

1775
March, April, May – de Anza continued recruiting in the villages of Sinaloa and El Fuerte in the Province of Sinaloa, and Álamos, in Sonora. 30 citizens from Álamos, more than any other community, had joined the expedition, now more than 250 soldiers and colonizers.

( Here is a comment from Joan Powell )

“From my research, I see that Anza was in Alamos for some period in May 1775, but it appears that the only Alamos citizens joining the 1775 expedition are Vicente Feliz, his wife and 6 children. A couple of other sources mention 1 or two other members who may be from Alamos, but I haven’t found any Calif. mission records or Alamos baptismal records to support those claims. Alamos was important as the place Anza got funds, supplies, and had to report his accounting of costs and expenses to.

The Rivera Expedition in 1781 had a much larger Alamos contingent. I haven’t added them up, but 30 seems like about the right number.

Also, FYI, apparently he referred to himself as “Anza”, not “de Anza” ( when the Anza Nat’l park guy was here in Alamos a couple of years ago he told us this bit of info. )”

1775
May 1 – de Anza is in El Fuerte.

1775
May 13 – de Anza, Espinosa and six presidial soldiers meet up with Moraga between Álamos and Horcasitas.

1775
June 22 – de Anza in San Miguel de Horcasitas

1775
July 22 – September 13 – diary notes indicate de Anza was in San Miguel de Horcasitas, Terrenate, Cocóspera, Mission San Ignacio… During this period of time the Apaches were restless.

1775
September 29 – de Anza’s expedition leaves Horcasitas, just north of Alamos. From Pedro Font’s diary notes.

1775
October 16 – de Anza arrives in Tubac from Horcasitas in mid-and continues preparations there

1775
October 23 – de Anza’s expedition left Tubac on with some 300 people and 1000 head of livestock. There were no wagons or carts. All supplies were loaded on pack mules every morning and unloaded every night. The expedition was headed to the SF Bay Area following reports of a great river flowing into the bay.
The goal was to establish a presido, mission and San Franciso settlement.

1776
March – de Anza arrived in Monterey, California.

1776
March 28 – Mexican Captain Juan Bautista de Anza, Lt. Jose Moraga, and Franciscan priest Pedro Font arrived at the tip of San Francisco. De Anza planted a cross at what is now Fort Point. They camped at Mountain Lake and searched inland for a more hospitable area and found a site they called Laguna de los Dolores or the Friday of Sorrows since the day was Friday before Palm Sunday.

1780
Álamos is at its peak in terms of population and wealth. The mid 1700s was an era of mansions being built and furnished with the world’s finest items. Philippine galleons brought rich silver and the best of the Orient. The silver mines were exporting silver bars and the wealthy business community was importing the best Europe had to offer. During this period Father Baegert wrote, ” even during times of fasting, and when they come to us in confession… such finery among the women as I scarcely ever saw in Mexico… For with astonishment and pity I have seen many a woman dressed in velvet cloth of gold.”

1780
Pope Pius V1- looking for info. (I believe it relates to the new Bishop) Also, in 1780 Pope Pius VI verbally and quietly approved of the Jesuits’ existence.

1781
King Carlos 111 orders a new Bishopric for Sonora, Sinaloa and the Californias. This order separated these provinces from the Nueva Viscaya provinces.

1781
February – Ramoñ Laso de la Vega comes to Álamos to recruit settlers for Los Angeles. He will leave with 11 settler and 17 soldier families. Several of the soldiers were married in Álamos. Ramoñ Laso de la Vega is under the command of Fernando de Rivera y Moncado who is leading a group of 42 soldiers.

1781
Fernando de Rivera followed the de Anza trail north through Sonora to Arizona and then west towards Los Angeles. He had kept 30 some men to stay with the livestock and the rest of the men went with him. He is killed on this day, along with his men, before reaching the San Gabriel Mission.

1781
September 4 – Ramoñ Laso de la Vega arrives in Los Angeles. His party had gone from Álamos to Quaymas and then sailed to Loreto, Baja California. From there they marched up the Peninsula. The official record states that 11 families of settlers from Sinaloa and Sonora along with four soldiers and their families founded Los angeles. Other accounts record 46 people from Álamos settling Los Angeles.

1783
Franciscan Antonio de los Reyes is the new Bishop and intends to live in Arispe

1783
Antonio Almada y Reyes arrives in Álamos, His uncle, Don Antonio de los Reyes is the Bishop of Sonora.

1786
Official records indicate Don Juan Ross was paid $11,250 pesos as the first contractor on the cathedral that stands today.

history medallion in high school walkway, alamos sonora mexico, photo by anders tomlinson.

A cathedral begins construction, today it still the town’s centerpiece.

1787
What is now La Casa de los Tesoros restaurant and hotel was built by Fr. Juan Nicolas Queiros. He lived here for 60 years.

1791
Jose Maria is born to Antonio Almada y Reyes.

1794
Frey de los Reyes starts to build a new church and the first public school in Sonora.

1794
Cemetery opens

1799
Royal Treasury is established in Álamos. It is the largest producer of silver bars in all of Spain

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♦ Other Álamos, Sonora Mexico timelines:

1500 – 1599 timeline

1600 – 1699 timeline

1800 – 1849 timeline

1850 – 1899 timeline

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This is a work in progress.
If you have additional dates and events send a comment

To see more Alamos Journal pages.

To return Home.

©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Álamos 1600 – 1699

sunset and cerra cacharamba, alamos sonora mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Cerra Cacharamba towers over a land rich with silver.

1608
Captain Diego Martinez de Hurtaide and his Spanish soldiers venture into Mayo lands. He and the Mayo agree to a military alliance against the Yaquis and any other waring Indians. The Mayos and Yaquis did not get along.

1610
Defeat of Yaqui, peace to all in Cáhita land.

1613 – 1614
Jesuits enter Mayo territory. 1614 – Padre Pedro Méndez leads a group of missionary priest into Mayo lands. It is thought that the Indians believed having the priests on their land would protect them from the diseases that were killing off the indigenous populations.

1613 – 1620
Missions are established around Álamos in southern Sonora.

1617
First Yaqui missions. The Yaqui were converted by Fathers Andrés Pérez de Ribas and Tomas Basilio. In spite of suffering from uprisings, revolts, torment and murder the conversion of Sonora was faster and more entrenched. For the seventeenth century the jesuits expanded and founded the mission of Yecora Maycoba and in the southwestern part of what were known as Chinipas.
(Father Andrés Pérez de Ribas wrote a book ” History of Our Holy Faith Amongst the Most Barbarous and Fierce Peoples of the World.”)

1621
Padre Miguel Godinez founded the missions of San Andrés of Cornicari and Asunción de Tepahui.

1678
Father Juan Ortiz Zapata with 30 Spaniards – Piedras Verde mining camp

1682 – 1821
Spanish Colonial period.

1683
La Aduana silver. Promotories “La Europa” – Almada. There was already mining in the region, Real de Minas de Nuestra Se´nora de Guadalupe, 15 miles northwest of Álamos on the Río Mayo between Conicarit and el Tabelo. Spanish troups protected the miners and the plan was for this to be the town for both the La Aduana and Conicarit mines. The reasoning was it would easier to protect one town than two. Miners would learn the La Aduana mines were richer so many moved to what would become present day Álamos and settled between the Arroyos Aduana and Escondida. These miners were fined by the Spanish givernment because they had disobeyed orders not to move to Álamos.

1684 history medallion, Escuela Paulito Verjan, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Alamos has become an official city as western colonization expands.


1684
Álamos begins to grow in size.

1685 – 1686
May 1985 to August, 1686 – Bachiller y Licenciado Pedro de Barcelon was acting curé. He would continue to serve as an assistant to the priest.
In those days a priest was responsible for both civil and religious administration.

1686
08-28-1686 – First recorded date and entry in the Parochial Register by Father Francisco de Carissa, the first Álamos parish priest, reads “Book in which are entered the Baptisms, Burials and Marriages started by me on the 28th of August, 1686.”

1686
10-22-1687 – Second recorded entry, Father Carissa writes that his headquarters have moved to Álamos of the declining population in Real Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

1687
February – Father Kino stops in Álamos for two days Alamos to raise money for new mission construction in Sonora and the Californias missions. He successfully established a chain of mission in northern Sonora and southern Arizona, no doubt with the help of Álamos silver. On his first visit he wrote, Wealthy gentlemen and merchants are building at the scene of the rush a real, or mining town, with casas reales, church and residents ranged around the plaza.”

1687
Tarahumare Indians revolt. Álamos becomes headquarters of Spanish operations against Indians.

1688
General Andrés de Rezábal with Spanish soldiers, Mayo and Zuaqui Indians end the Tarahumare uprising.

1689
General Andrés de Rezábal has a watchtower built on “Cerro de la Compana” – Bell Hill. If Álamos was threatened by Indians a bell would be rung to warn the town.

1690
Assay office established. Headquarters for long pack trains, as many as 1000 mules, hauling silver bars to Mexico city two to four times a year depending on weather.

1695
Real de Guadalupe is seat of all civil – military authority.

1695
First assayer was Spanish Juan Salvador Esquer.
( This is marginal information )

1697
Base for Military operations in the Tarahumara rebellion.

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♦ Other Álamos, Sonora Mexico timelines:

1500 -1599 timeline

1700 – 1799 timeline

1800 – 1849 timeline

1850 – 1899 timeline

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This is a work in progress.
If you have additional dates and events send a comment

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©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Aduana Mining 1910

This is taken from the Mining and Scientific Press – April 16, 1910 – page 553.
Photos of Aduana, Sonora, Mexico in 1995 by Anders Tomlinson.

Álamos – Promonitos District by T. P. Brinegar.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

In the windy hills of Aduana mining ghosts are there to be seen and felt.

The mines which constitute this group are on the mineral zone which crosses the Alamos Mountains about seven miles west of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. The heart of the zone lies within a rectangular surface 1.5 miles by 4 miles long, which commences at the Zambona mine, near Minas Nuevas, on the northeast, and extends southwest to include the Old Promontorio and San José mines. Precious metals were discovered in this region early in the eighteenth century, and the quantities yielded by this group alone have exceeded $100,000,000 in value. According to Camboa’s ‘Treatise on Mining” one remittance, in 1799 under charge to Alvarez, amounted to more than 1600 bars of silver. Humboldt noted in his records, 1808, that he “passed a train of over one thousand mules loaded with bars of solver from these mines on their way to the City of Mexico.” The production became so great that the Government was induced to establish a mint in Alamos for the special purpose of coining the metals produced at this point.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

Thousands of people have lived and mined here.

The geological formation is clearly revealed. The basel rock of the region is granite which has been disturbed by powerful deep-seated forces. From these earth-disturbances originated two well defined fissure-zones. The uplift of the earth-crust on the southwest formed the Alamos mountains, and its subsidence on the northwest resulted in many irregular folds, which were covered by extensive volcanic eruptives, chiefly of an andesite type. In turn this was covered by sediments, the larger part being limestone. The conditions were favorable for erosion, which reduced the elevation several thousand feet. The fissure-zones, under present surface conditions, are about 5,000 feet apart, striking in a northeast direction. Both have granite ‘floors’ or foot-walls, and dip toward each other. Between them is a ‘core’ of andesite porphyry which forms the hanging wall of each vien-zone. This core was the was the centre of subsequent dynamaic activity, shown by the evidence of upheavals and the rearranged condition of the strata. In it are found many igneous dikes. Constant movement between the walls of the fissure-zones served to keep them open to the free circulation of mineral-bearing solutions. Cerra Cacharamba, a volcanic ‘neck’ 3700 feet above sea-level, is the landmark of the district, and Humboldt during his visit to the camp in 1908, wrote figuratively that, “Cacharamba rests on a bed of silver”. It seems that the past hundred years of mining near its base has demonstrated that the great scientist was not far amiss in his rhetoric.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

To think here was once the world’s great silver mines .

The fissure-zones have been designated as east and west contacts. The east contact is the ‘mother-lode’ of the zone, and is generally known as the Promontoric – Quintera vein. The names of the productive mines situated on the several big ore-shoots of the vein are, Old Promontories, Quintera, Santo Domingo, and Zambona. The Púlipito on the north and the Nueva Promontorio on the south are new properties in course of development and which have mineralized veins that promise future productiveness. generally, mixed ores are extracted from mines on the east contact, which are found in the form of oxides near the surface and turn into rich sulphides in depth. Some of the ore-shoots are over 700 feet long, and in many places over 40 feet wide. Gray copper is the principal ore from this lode, and its fabulous quantities and high silver content are almost unparalleled in the annals of mining. These mines are owned by different companies, each of which has more ‘likely’ ground that it will explore in a score of years.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

How far away could the mining smoke be seen?

The west contact is best known as the san Jose – Claraboya vein. Through the past two centuries it has remained comparatively unexplored. The mineral de Santa Rosa ( Claraboya ) is said to be the oldest in the camp, and from the large drill-holes found in the old Tajos ( open cuts ). one can give credence to the tradition that ” it was the rich mine of the early fathers.” The San Jose – Claraboya is a well defined vein of creamy to reddish – brown quartz, as shown in the workings on the lower levels of the two mines of the same names. In the upper workings or shear zone, the vein branches into seven parts, all of which unite in depth forming a large body about 40 feet wide. The groups of mines which have been under process of development during the past year are: Claraboya, San-Jose, San Clemente, and Plata-Fina. El Ultimo, Parra, and Olividos are held as important prospects. The ores from the mines on the west contact yield native silver, oxides, and gold. They are very docile, and readily yield to simple economic treatment. The assay values range from 15 to 5000 oz. silver and up to $70.00 in gold. the old dumps of the Claraboya have been very profitable to the owner who has been reworking them during the past two years. His developing the mine which an “adit which is giving good results.“(?) The San Jose is regarded as the ‘mascot’ of the camp. it was bought by G.W. DuPes about a year ago, since which time he has been developing and shipping ore, and erecting machinery. The Plata-Fina is between the San Jose and Claraboya, and adjoining them. It is being developed by a shaft on the junction of several veins. The San Clemente is owned by Rafael Ibara, president of the town of Promontories. The ore extracted more than pays expenses, and the owner regards it as the best prospect he has ever owned. These new workings, along with the Pulpito and Nueva Pomomtorio on the east contact, go to show what great possibilities await the judicious investment of capital along these two great fissure-veins. Side by side with these great mines are many undeveloped prospects that, judge by surface indications, warrant exploration.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

life goes on as past, present and future coincide.

The district possesses favorable economic conditions for mine operations. The altitude averages about 2,000 feet above sea-level, and gives a climate, modified by the gulf-breezes, that is as healthy as any place on the Pacific Ocean. Water is abundant and of the best quality. The west part of the zone as access to the wooded hills to the southwest where such fuel is cheap. The transportation facilities are now good, as the recent completion of the Southern pacific Railroad of Mexico affords an outlet from Mínas Nuevas, and good wagon – roads lead to Masiacs, also on the railroad, and to the nearby seaport of Agiabampo. The cost of living and freighting is low.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

The land is resting. an La Aduana goes on and on.

 This was given to me by a man who had learned of my interest in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico history. He asked me to visit his home that evening on Calle Madero. He told me that he had once been the city manager of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico and took pleasure in sharing his history library. He gave me the above article. I will look in my Alamos notes for his name: He may have been Jose Fabian Villegas Puentes.

When T. P. Brinegar wrote this the Alamos mint had been closed for 15 years. Most of mines had closed by 1909 because of politics, revolution and expensive quicksilver making mining unprofitable. The railroad from Alamos to Navajoa started operations in 1907 and would stop in 1933. Mr. Brinegar seems to have been a mining industry promoter, ever the optimist, and saw things more with his heart than his mind. None-the-less, this article does give one a sense of the geology and scope of Aduana – Promotories mining… Anders Tomlinson.

©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Church Bells

64… Two churches, two bells, two men and two towns…

tino, caretaker of the church, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Tino and his beloved Bishop Reyes Cathedral face another sunset.

I knew this would be an interesting photograph. A man, who, in his face, had seen much of what life has to offer, a church bell framed by its belfry and a natural backdrop stretching from Mirador to Sierra Madres. All were lit by a low brillant sun whose golden rays were diffused by humid shimmering heat waves. We only had a moment to take this photo, as we were speaking he was summoned to fix a pressing property emergency, this is what maestro Tino did. I asked him to look towards the sun and pressed the shutter button. One click and done, another moment saved for the future, this is what Anders does.

Caretaker and bell at Aduana church, near Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Caretaker of Nuestra Senora de Balvanere Church in nearby Aduana.

La Aduana on a midweek day in late Spring is peaceful. Take away the sounds of birds, insects, burros, dogs and a handful of kids and it is really quiet. Few cars will be heard for hours.
This is a place where the past lingers on, mining sites and ruins litter hillsides, a lonely plaza’s dry fountain surrounded by buildings once busy including a store where customers’ shoes for hundreds of year have cut a groove into the floor. I visit the small church and met the caretaker who takes me on the roof so I can see the town from where the bells of Nuestra Senora de Balvanere are. The church has an interesting story involving a beautiful maiden, Indians and some rocks, but that is for a coming journal entry. It is hard to imagine what it is like when
thousands of pilgrims arrive in La Aduana, many walking along arroyos from Alamos, to honor the Virgin of Balvanere every November 21st. A breeze kicks up dust on an empty road, a crow calls, three boys in a dry creek bed laugh and the day moves on. Life in Aduana 1996 is much different than life in Aduana 1700, one can only wonder what it will be like in Aduana 2020.

two church bells at bishop reyes cathedral, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photos Gary Ruble and Anders Tomlinson.

A tale of two bells, one old, one new, and how they toll.

The bells of Bishop Reyes Cathedral are part of Alamos’ daily fabric, they are a prominent voice in a complex orchestral sonic landscape. Here are old and new: a cracked bell was replaced by a shinny bell. I was raised to believe if you don’t have something good to say about something don’t say anything. This is a good rule of thumb, especially in small rural communities. There are always exceptions: this new bell didn’t make me feel good. It wasn’t inviting me, its clang was more of a warning. It is possible that the bell vibrates discordantly only to me, but I find this hard to believe, I have a good ear. Maybe it was the bell ringer’s technique. 14 years have passed, maybe it has mellowed with age. I hope so. A town so culturally rich should have a bell that touches the heart and inspires the imagination. Maybe it does now.

This marker celebrates the birthplace of Dr. Alfonso Ortiz Tirado, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Dr. Ortiz Tirado is another Alamos native that touched the world.

Dr. Ortiz Tirado was born in Alamos and spent his early tears in Culican, Sinola before moving with his newly widowed mother and family to Mexico City. He became a successful doctor specializing in plastic surgery and was Frida Kahlo’s bedside doctor. He made vast contibutions to the medical world. And he could sing. His beautiful tenor entertained audiences across continents. Alamos hosts a grand music festival in his honor, The Festival International Dr. Arturo Ortiz Tirado, that includes dance, art and music with workshops, lectures and concerts. The festival entertainment, centered in Alamos, also performs across Sonora visiting venues in Nogales, Hermosillo, Ciudad Obregon, Hutabampo and Navojoa.
The ten day event is held each year in late January.

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©2012 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Alamos Short History

Back in the Old West When There Was No Old West

The Chuc

Looking west, explorer Coronado was struck by this mountain and landscape.

Tucked away in a picturesque valley in the foothills of the Sierra Madre is an enchanted Shangri-La that sings of other eras. Indians called this region Calimaya long before Spanish Explorer Vasquez de Coronado noted in 1540, ” here is something special…

The Spaniards called this land Real de los Frailes because of some tall white rocks resembling hooded monks overlooking a small Indian village shaded by cottonwoods.

These towering rocks speak loudly. They call for, and command, your attention.

In 1683, 143 years after Coronado, two abundant veins of silver were discovered seven miles to the west of present day Alamos. The mines of Aduana and Minas Nuevas, in a zone 4.5 by 1.5 miles, produced an estimated $100,000,000 in 1910 dollars.

Aduana is now a sleepy little village amid mine ruins.

Soon, Alamos was the richest and most important city on the El Camino Real. Juan de Anza arrived and departed Alamos sometime in the spring of 1775 with local families and freshly mined silver to settle San Francisco. Alamos money and citizens were also vital for expeditions that settled Monterey, Santa Barbara and five years later, Los Angeles. Father Kino used the Royal treasury to finance a chain of missions in northern Sonora and southern Arizona. The Bishop and Governor resided in Alamos, as did the first high school, printing press and newspaper and important trading center.

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♦  A timeline of De Anza in 1775

1775
January – de Anza, in Mexico City, begins to organize his expedition to to colonize San Francisco.

1775
March – de Anza begins recruiting colonizers in Culiacan, Province of Sinaloa, Mexico.

1775
April 5 – de Anza is recorded as being in Culiacan

1775
March, April, May – de Anza continued recruiting in the villages of Sinaloa and El Fuerte in the Province of Sinaloa, and Álamos, in Sonora. 30 citizens from Álamos, more than any other community, had joined the expedition, now more tHan 250 soldiers and colonizers.

1775
May 1 – de Anza is in El Fuerte.

1775
May 13 – de Anza, Espinosa and six presidial soldiers meet up with Moraga between Álamos and Horcasitas.

1775
June 22 – de Anza in San Miguel de Horcasitas

1775
July 22 – September 13 – diary notes indicate de Anza was in San Miguel de Horcasitas, Terrenate, Cocóspera, Mission San Ignacio… During this period of time the Apaches were restless.

1775
September 29 – de Anza’s expedition leaves Horcasitas, just north of Alamos. From Pedro Font’s diary notes.

1775
October 16 – de Anza arrives in Tubac from Horcasitas in mid-and continues preparations there

1775
October 23 – de Anza’s expedition left Tubac on with some 300 people and 1000 head of livestock. There were no wagons or carts. All supplies were loaded on pack mules every morning and unloaded every night. The expedition was headed to the SF Bay Area following reports of a great river flowing into the bay.
The goal was to establish a presido, mission and San Franciso settlement.

1776
March – de Anza arrived in Monterey, California.

1776
March 28 – Mexican Captain Juan Bautista de Anza, Lt. Jose Moraga, and Franciscan priest Pedro Font arrived at the tip of San Francisco. De Anza planted a cross at what is now Fort Point. They camped at Mountain Lake and searched inland for a more hospitable area and found a site they called Laguna de los Dolores or the Friday of Sorrows since the day was Friday before Palm Sunday.

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The plaza was the heartbeat of Alamos as it grew in power and prestige.

The lure of silver brought international miners from Europe and other continents. On the Sea of Cortez galleons from Asia, Phillipines and Europe called on the port of Huatabampo loaded with cargo, a week by burro from Alamos. They brought luxuries such as silk and satin and the world’s finest furniture. Opera Companies visited. China minted coins here. Merchants came from India and Japanese supervised a silk factory. The indigenous population included Mayos, Yaquis, and Tarahumaras. Hordes of miners and traders, who endured great hardships in their travels, overran Alamos.

As many as 30,000 people made Alamos their home during the peak of its glory in the 18th century. Here, new Spain was pomp and circumstance with a beautiful Church, grand haciendas built in the style of Andalusia, Spain, flower-filled patios, romantic serenades, elegant carriages, flourishing commerce, and mines that ranked amongst the most productive in the world.

The Past is Alive in the Structures and the Sparkle of an Eye.

For the past 300 years Alamos has been built and shaped by families of wealth and taste. Experienced builders and skilled craftsmen, through good times and bad, have gone about town building and restoring ruins. Today it is a National Colonial Monument, an ageless tribute to the men and women who entrusted their designs, possessions and dreams to the future.

The Plaza was the prize, conquer the Plaza and Alamos was yours.

The Sunday promenade in Plaza de Armas goes back to the 1680’s. In peaceful times families gathered here for conversation, worship and grand public celebrations. The church and prominent colonial mansions were built surrounding the plaza for protection against the Indians: Tarahumara, Yaquis, Mayos and Apaches. Later, the plaza afforded a prestigious address.

Looking down from the Church at a street sweeper on Calle Comercio.

The Alameda, the commercial center of Alamos, was laid out in 1769.

For Every Action There is An Equal and Opposite Reaction.

With prosperity came hardship. The poor could not afford the inflated prices of merchandise shipped by pack trains from Guadalajara and Mexico City, a hazardous trek that took four months. Indians were used as slaves or cheap labor. Sanitation and disease were a problem: in 1770 alone plague wiped out 6,000 people.

There are times when the Plaza is quiet and reflective and there are times when…

There were continual power struggles between Colonels, Governors, Admirals, Priests, Bishops, and an unending parade of Royal emissaries. The city was heavily taxed by the Crown and by those who controlled the local territory. Political instability raged, treaties and agreements were broken. Alamos had its ups and downs depending on the mood of the day, month and seasons.

Alamos endured two centuries of siege mentality and the prize was control of silver and politics. At one time or another the plaza was overrun by the Spanish, Mexican colonists, Federalists, Liberals, French, Apaches, Independents, Reformers, Pancho Villa, Renegade soldiers and bandits. Along with droughts, pestilence and floods Indians continued constant uprising. Apaches came south to plunder and the independent Tarahumara sought revenge for their forced slavery. By 1849 only 4,000 people remained in Alamos. The miners had left for California’s gold rush.

And Then They Were Gone.

Trade shifted from El Camino Real to coastline ports. Plazas, arches, ornate ironwork, hand carved wood, high ceilings and cobblestone streets fell upon hard times. Roofs caved in leaving two to five foot thick walls open to the sky. The once great patios filled with debris. Despite the wars, bad weather and impoverished neglect. old families stayed, as did some miners. Alamos continued on… the sun would rise another day in this land that remained in a forgotten age.

The streets of this National Colonial Monument echo history, here, one is never alone.

The Plaza is peaceful these days. Alamos streets are safe from intruders and invaders.
Town folks sleep well at night knowing tomorrow is another day, another song, another hug, another laugh, another challenge, another moment to be part of Alamos…

And Then Along Came A Man Named Levant.

Not until the 1950’s did a lone American, Levant Alcorn, come to the cobble stone streets, and see the potential for the future. He saw value in the plazas, arches, ornate iron-work, carved wood doors, high ceilings, five-foot thick walls and proximity to the United States International border.

Late in his life, a childlike Levant had a quick smile and a fading memory.

He began to acquire ruined mansions. Soon, he was selling property to independent Americans hoping to realize their dream standard of living. Restoration projects began and continue today. Now, Alamos has over 200 American families as part of its social fabric.

Roofs are always in need of repair. They are also another place to relax.

Each wall, every window and door is a story. Where did it come from, how and when did it get here? Was it made by an Alamos or imported craftsmen?

There is a prideful sense of ownership that comes with undertaking a restoration project that in reality will never end. And there is a humble realization that the casa is really owned by history and this is but a brief opportunity to be part of a continuum of gatekeepers and masters.

Restoration-maintenance is an industry, it is a way of life. Owners, maestros, workers
and house-help are a team that can last a lifetime.

Think of the coats of paint these columns have worn over the past 200 years.

An introduction to a Short History of Alamos, 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 Alamos” written, filmed and edited by Anders Tomlinson. Narrated by Bruce Miles. Soundtrack by SonicAtomics and Estudiantina de Alamos.

Alamos shares a strong maternal bond, steeped in history, with all the Southwest.
Juan Batista de Anza arrived and departed from Alamos 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 Alamos to settle Los Angeles.

The conclusion to a Short History of Alamos, 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 Alamos experience.

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