2017 Anders in Álamos

It had been twenty-some years since Anders Tomlinson, cameras in hand, walked the
streets of Álamos, Sonora, México. Photos by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders Tomlinson taking a photo of Bishop Reyes Cathedral, Álamos, Sonora, México 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Time does not stand still but it remains in spirit. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

There have been changes in Álamos since Anders last visited. Influences and
multiple causations included a copper mine to the northwest and a silver mine to
the southeast opening up, 2008’s Hurricane Norbert, La Fuerza del Destino Mexican
telenova-soap opera filmed in Álamos and airing in 2011 and being designated a
Pueblo Magico by the Mexican Government and tourism industry in 2005.
Over the centuries Bishop Reyes Cathedral, the subject of the above Anders’ photo,
has stood tall. Álamos, like the world, has grown in population and cars.

Anders Tomlinson, 2017, putting gopro camera in place overlooking Álamos, Sonora, México. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Attaching a GoPro Camera overlooking Álamos. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

It is also true that Anders Tomlinson has changed in the two decades since his last
visit in the summer of 1996 to Álamos, Sonora, México. The biggest change is that
he is 21 years older and these are years when the changes in body and mind are
accelerating. In these years technology has changed influencing how and what he
uses to document. Anders, above, is attaching a GoPro camera around a tree
trunk with a wrap-able mini-tripod. Colonial Álamos lays before him in all its granduer.
This trip would help Anders understand how much his “eye as the beholder” has
changed. He still approaches projects with the same focus to document and
preserve data for the future to look back on. He stills marshals inclusiveness over
value judgements. Álamos continues on as it always had.

Anders Tomlinson and Tony Estrada at Reynas restaurant in Álamos, Sonora, México, march 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders with Museo director Tony Estrada. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

Somethings have changed little over the years. Tony Estrada is still the director of
the Museo Costumbrista de Sonora. He has been in this position for 33 years.
He is well-respected in this capacity and is also known as an artist-sculptor.
He and his wife Lupita, herself an artist, also manage Galeria Rincon de Arte
in centro Álamos one block south of the Plaza.

Walking through the large gardens of Hacienda de los Santos. Photo: Antonio Figueroa

A big change in Centro Álamos is the expansion of Hacienda de los Santos from one
Spanish Colonial mansion to three Colonial mansions and one sugar mill including footbridges
that cross the Arroyo Escondido and connect the expansive beautiful garden grounds,
restaurants, theater, and lodging. Anders spent his first two nights here and presented
clips to the Álamos History Association from Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, México
to a standing room crowd in the wonderful theater. Hacienda de los Santos provides its
guests with a map of the grounds. Anders found this helpful. The second night at the
Hacienda was one of the best sleeps Anders has had in decades.

Anders Tomlinson oon a hill in Álamos, Sonora, México, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

To the east are Sierra Madre rising foothills. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

Much had happened in Anders’ life since visiting Álamos in the summer of 1996.
He found himself in the Upper Klamath Basin during the 2001 Klamath Irrigation Project
water shutoff that impacted both Klamath Falls, Oregon and Tulelake, California
and made headlines around the world. This became a period of intensive film
production including a film featuring Jimi Yamaichi and the Tulelake Internment –
Segregation Center. This would bring an end to Anders’ traveling days and he
returned to San Diego in 2008 where he remained until the much anticipated
2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition

Anders Tomlinson takes Rigoberto Grajeda portrait at Casa Serena Vista, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders and Rigoberto Grajeda do the portrait dance. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

There were many questions in Anders’ mind when the 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition
crossed the border into Tijuana on February 21st and hopped on an overnight bus to Navojoa,
Sonora, México. The major issue would be how well would Anders travel. Since 2008 the
longest trip he had taken was 24 miles and had slept every night in his own bed.
His health required three hours of daily exercise and maintenance and a restrictive diet.
Folks in Álamos helped Anders including Rigo, seen above, who cooked several meals
at Casa Serena Vista that Anders shared and Rigo also drove him a couple of times
to film the streets and roads of Álamos. With help from Joan Gould Winderman,
Diane Carpenter, Antonio Figueroa, Luis Angel, Humberto Enríquez and others Anders
was able to accomplish many of 2017 Álamos Sonic Expeditions’ project goals.

Anders Tomlinson taking photos in Álamos, Sonora, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

The Mirador’s view is 360 degrees of living Álamos. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

The Mirador had changed greatly from Anders’ 1996 summer visit. It is now a
destination unto itself including a restaurant. A walking path, 360 steps, from
downtown brings one to a large modern observation platform. There is a sidewalk
along the road all the way to the platform. It is an example of the fine rock work
that has been accomplished across Álamos from the arroyos to El Mirador.

Anders Tomlinson taking a photo in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders looks at the world in terms of shot scale – macro to micro. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

Shooting stills or video for a narrative requires awareness of shot scale to move
the story forward in an entertaining manner. Most of the gear Anders used on
the 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition shoot was new, small and produced 5,354 photos,
783 videos and 202 audio recordings.

Anders climbing La Capilla in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico, 2017.  Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders knew this would be a many days hike. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

What was intended to be a seven day expedition turned into two weeks. Anders learned
that he still had the endurance that he had twenty years ago. The best purchase he
made for the trip was a pair of Vasquez Talus Pro GTX hiking boots designed for rock.
His feet were always comfortable no matter the conditions. Happy feet make a happy hiker.

Antonio Figueroa on his ranch in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico - 2017. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Antonio Figueroa spent three days with working with Anders.

It was a pleasure for Anders to be reunited with Antonio Figueroa and his family.
Antonio took photos, video, recorded audio and provided a car for many street-road
videos. Locations included his family ranch east of Álamos, the new barrios to
the north and west, Uvalama, La Capilla, La Aurora, Hacienda de los Santos and
the Plaza. As noted, all of the wonderful photos in this article were taken by Antonio.

To see more about Antonio in the Spring and Summer of 1996 visit
Easter Sunday with the Figueroas on their ranch.

2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition

Anders Tomlinson arrived in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico on February 22 and
departed on March 6, 2017. Antonio Figueroa, an Álamos photographer
and friend from previous Anders visits 21 years earlier, spent three days
with Anders and helped document life in Álamos with video, photos and
audio recordings. This video are photos by Antonio Figueroa edited by
Anders Tomlinson. Soundtrack by Denver Clay and SonicAtomics.

Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico

The 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition visited Álamos, Sonora, México between
February 23 and March 6, 2017. This scene includes time-lapse of receding shadows
across the Álamos valley as seen from the Mirador. Video and editing by Anders Tomlinson.
Music by SonicAtomics/Dig Brothers under the direction of Denver Clay.

To see more 2017 Álamos, Sonora, México videos

©2017 Anders Tomlinson and Antonio Figueroa, all rights reserved.

Hacienda de los Santos

Hacienda de los Santos, Álamos, Sonora, México - February 26, 2017 photo by Anders Tomlinson. layout of resort.

Hacienda de los Santos is a resort with a mission of excellence.

There is a special place in Álamos, Sonora, México and its name is
Hacienda de los Santos. It is a charming resort that can only be truly
appreciated by being there and in it’s moment. This cultural oasis has grown
over the years as owners Jim and Nancy Swickard developed three adjoining
colonial mansions and a sugar mill into a resort of taste, craftsmanship,
beauty and grandeur with multiple gardens, pools, two gourmet restaurants,
theater, museum, gym, spa, putting green and 34 guest rooms, suites and villas.
The luxurious resort’s compound covers approximately 3 acres with some
85,000 square feet of buildings under roof including the extensive portales.

Hacinda de los Santos walkways, Álamos, Sonora, México.  Photos by Anders Tomlinson, March 2017.

Enjoy walking, looking, listening, relaxing, sharing, reflecting, feeling…

Enjoy walking, looking, listening, relaxing, sharing, reflecting, feeling…

This is a story in two parts, three if you count the videos following Anders’
account of his 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition’s visit. Anders Tomlinson
first photographed the Hacienda when it was the Swickard’s home and
they had just finished a three year renovation after purcasing Calle Molina 8.
Anders and innkeeper Jim have had a long running email conversation with
Jim updating and sharing his Álamos thoughts and observations with Anders.
One of the foundations of this continuing relationship is that “every day is
history.” The following correspondence, June 4, 2017, answered a request
by Anders for historical background on what is now Hacienda de los Santos…

Hacienda de los Santos, Álamos, Sonora, México - February 26, 2017 photo by Anders Tomlinson. Carriage on display

The Hacienda’s architecture and furnishings are a museum unto themselves.

” It is believed that part of the lodging portion of Hacienda de los Santos dates
to the late 1700’s (remember that Álamos was incorporated in the 1680’s).  When Álamos
went into decline between 1900 and about 1950, Mr. Levant Alcorn was solely responsible
for revitalizing the village by selling mansions in ruin to Americans who for the most
part were wealthy with names such as Astor, Pabst, DuPont and others.  One family,
Mr. & Mrs. William Walsh (she was a New York socialite and he was a famous lawyer who
participated in the Nuremberg trials) purchased the home at Calle Molina 8 in 1950.

 

Casa de los Santos, Álamos Sonora Mexico, 1992. photos by Gary Ruble.

Christmas 1992 – back in time with an elegant beginning. Photos: Gary Ruble.

Jim and Nancy Swickard purchased Calle Molina 8 in 1989 and it would
become the cornerstone of Hacienda de los Santos ten years later. The resort
opened in 1999 after purchasing the first of five adjacent properties.

The Molina 8 property is 14,000 sq ft under roof ( the Swickards home for the
first eight years), the additional acquisition (property number 2 which was
subdivided in 1870 and a dividing wall built between the properties
which we opened up with large cast iron Peruvian gates) was 8,000 square feet
under roof, thus restoring the property as it was prior to 1870 at 22,000
square feet. Molina 8 is thought to be the second oldest oldest building
in the compound.  

Hacienda de los Santos, Álamos, Sonora, México - February 26, 2017 photo by Anders Tomlinson. courtyard with museum and theater

Next to the two restaurants and bars are a museum and theater.

The stone theater, although less than 20 years of age, is a copy of an Andalucian
18th century structure located in southern Spain.  The brick, boveda, ceiling consists
of more than 10,000 brick expertly laid by the hands of ‘albaniles’ from Guanajuato.
There is a ‘Cava’ underneath the theater where wine and liquor  are kept naturally cool
and also temperature controlled to 50 degrees for ideal conditions, especially for the wine.  

Hacienda de los Santos, Álamos, Sonora, México - February 26, 2017 photo by Anders Tomlinson. travel guide gives nighttime presentation

Dining outdoors under the stars during a musical presentation.

The main portion of the hotel (Molina 8) in the 1800’s was leased to the various
managers of the Mexican Mint.  It is believed that an underground tunnel existed
which connected the home to the Mint and the possible location was recently identified
by local ‘diviner’ Señor Figueroa, along with a second tunnel running the length of
the main portal.  When acquiring the property, the Swickards inherited a Witte one
cylinder generator which is believed to have been the only source of electricity in
the village in the 1950’s, as well as have been the source of electricity for the
German military when present during WWI, covertly operating a very tall radio
station/antenna for transmissions to Germany on eavesdropping of naval ships in
the San Diego area.  Photos of the German antenna exist in the local museum and
there are remnants of its construction on Guadalupe Hill in the center of the village.

Bridge connecting Hacienda de los Santos, Alamos, Sonora México. Photos by Anders Tomlinson, March 2017.

Spanning Arroyo Escondido and bridging Haciena de los Santos

The stone arched bridge which connects the two sides of Hacienda de los Santos
was built in 2000 and was designed by Mexican Architect Felipe Almada.  After the
‘Álamos Flood’ of 2008, the city requested permission from the Swickards to duplicate
the style for the village and five additional graceful bridges were built in the village.

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. Photo: Tomas Escalante

What is called the ‘Sugar Mill’ was an actual sugar mill which was built in the
late 1600’s by the Murillo family and it went bankrupt in 1710. The same Murillo
family, many generations later, still live on two adjacent properties to the former
mill. The Cafe Agave was built by the Swickards, utilizing much of the original foundation
of the mill. The present day large fountain is the actual ‘Mill’ where the sugar cane
was ground with two oxen pulling a large mill stone in a circular fashion. The original
well at the mill is still in use today, providing excellent water for the Hacienda.
The ‘Zapata’s Cantina’ dates also to the late 1600’s and was part of the sugar mill complex.

Hacienda de los Santos, Álamos, Sonora, México - February 26, 2017 photo by Anders Tomlinson. art in patio

Wherever you look there is something to see.

Hacienda de los Santos has received numerous awards including:
Alvaro Obregon Humanitarian Award to Jim & Nancy by Governor Eduardo Bours &
Janet Napolitano. 18 Consecutive Years the AAA Four Diamond Awards (5.9% receive
this award of 28,000 rated hotels worldwide). Historic Hotels Worldwide (Member of
this U.S. National Trust Washington, DC non-profit group). #1 Small Hotel in Mexico
by Trip Advisor. Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Mexico by Trip Advisor.
#1 Hotel in Northern Mexico by U.S. News & World Reports.

Map of Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos, Sonora, México - 2017.

A map is helpful navigating the sprawling grounds and beauty buildings.

 With concerns about our environment, the Swickard family continues to make the
resort more ‘Green’ by having converted more than 90% of the lighting to LED.  Also,
most of the hot water used by their state of the art commercial washing machines,
which require the least water possible for perfect cleaning, as well as the kitchens
and many of the rooms and suites are heated by solar collectors which are not
visible to those staying at the resort.  For irrigation purposes, there is roof
catchment to harvest rain water which is stored underground including
two “aljibe” or cisterns..

Details at Hacienda de los Santos, Álamos, ßonora, México. Photos by Anders Tomlinson, March 2017.

The past, present and future come together – the best of all worlds.

The Hacienda have been converting all air conditioners to heat pumps to conserve
on electricity and offers three types of bicycles to guests including electric.
The Hacienda is one of the very few, if any, Álamos hotels which have
a complete electrical back-up system for the kitchens, dining areas, water
supply and one fourth of our rooms.  This was done primarily
so if there was a power outage during a major event with hundreds of people,
the party would continue and there would not be any accidents or possible
hysteria in the dark.  Half the cost of the expensive project was the Caterpillar
generator, the balance was dealing with esthetics so it would not be heard or
seen by the guests… in other words a colonial structure was built
to conceal the unit.

.

Hacienda de los Santos airplane hanger in Álamos, Sonora, México.

The Hacienda’s elegant private secure airplane hanger. Photo: Peter Offerman

As a pilot, Jim Swickard, was instrumental in saving the local airport from closure
in 1999.    It is the only resort in Mexico which offers private, secure hangar space
for a dozen single and twin engine aircraft.  Also, the resort has 52 acres adjacent
to the runway which includes a two bedroom ranch house for guests that might want
to stay in Álamos for a month or even long term.  It is in a beautiful mesquite
setting, has all city services, an oversized one car garage, large laundry,
two baths, new kitchen, etc.  All of this is in a park-like setting with an
18th century Andalusian style gatehouse and is expected to be operation by
December 1, 2017.  The airport is rated for business jets.   The resort
boasts the largest private pilot’s club in Mexico with more than 500 pilot members
in ‘Club Pilotos of Mexico’.
… Jim Swickard, March 2017.

Anders Tomlinson at the Hacienda d los Santos grpahic.

Walking through the large gardens of Hacienda de los Santos. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

After months of planning, the Álamos Sonic Expedition 2017 was scheduled
to kick off February 23 with Anders Tomlinson arriving and spending his first
night in Álamos at the Hacienda de los Santos. The expedition’s goal was
to film an epilogue for Anders’ film project, Good Morning Álamos, Sonora,
México
, which began in 1983 with his first Alamos visit and concluded
in the summer of 1996. Anders was interested in what had changed over
the past 21 years since 1996. He emailed his Álamos contact list for
changes that they had seen. Everyone mentioned Hacienda de los
Santos’
expansion and the increased number of cars on the streets.

Reception room at the Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos, Sonora, México. photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The reception room is entered from Calle Molina. Friendly staff await your arrival.

Anders arrived in Álamos before noon by bus from Tijuana and Navajoa.
On the ride into Álamos he was struck by the new construction west of
the hospital. He walked from the bus station in the Alameda, up
“Kissing Alley” and across Plaza de los Armas to the Museo
Costumbrista de Sonora
where he found Tony Estrada,
the director, at his desk. Tony gave Anders a short car ride to
the Hacienda de los Santos. Humberto Enriquez was at
the front desk. Humberto had been in contact with Anders for
over a year and had contributed photos and notes to
alamos-sonora-mexico.com. Jamie (Swickard) Alcantar entered the
reception area, just as she had in 1992 as a teenager while Anders’
film crew was photographing the very same room which at that time
was the living room. She selected Room 3 – Bugambilla
for Anders’ stay. One of the gardening staff carried the big
backpack that had all the cameras and audio gear to the room.
Anders had returned to Álamos.

Flowers at Hacinda de los santos in Álamos, Sonora, México. Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

During Anders’ visit the Hacienda employed seven grounds keepers.

On the walk to the room Anders noticed that art and gardens were
everywhere. Room 3 – Bugambilla was well appointed and felt like a
guest room in a friend’s luxurious home that opened a window to another
era back when Alamos was one of the richest towns on earth. Modern
amenities in the bath suite made life comfortable for a traveler who
had spent 22 hours on buses. Anders was relieved to see no television
to connect him back to where he had just come from.

Teatro Almada , Hacienda de los Santos, Álamos, ßonora, Méxicoi. Photos by Errol Zimmerman

Teatro Alamada is a place to share in style and comfort.

Later that afternoon, Anders and Humberto ran through a soundcheck of the
presentation for the Álamos History Association the next morning.
The theater’s acoustic properties impressed Anders. A ceiling of three
brick semi-domes, walls of different materials and a variety of chairs
including sofas and large upholstered club chairs enhanced the sonically
enchanted Teatro Alamada. The seating capacity is 88.

A view of Mirador from Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos, Sonora, Méxicoi. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Mirador lookout can be seen atop the hill behind the Hacienda’s gym roof.

Anders went up to the Mirador before sunrise on February 24th to take
in Álamos 2017 – the big picture. All the mountains were where he last saw
them two decades ago and there were more lights going up into the foothills,
especially on the northern side of Arroyo Aduana. The village had grown as
time and events marched on like they had in his own life. He was thankful
to be back. To the east the Sierra Madre spoke of other eras and Anders
listened lost in memories. Anders heard a familiar voice singing and
turned around to see the distinctive profile of Chaco, who had taken
Anders on a magical walk up Tecolote Hill on Anders’ last day in
Álamos during his first visit in 1993. De ja vu.

View of Hacienda de los Santos from the Mirador in Álamos, Sonora, México. Photo by Anders Tomlinson - 2017

Looking back at the Hacienda from atop Mirador. Notice one of the bridges.

There was a cool biting wind as Mirador’s shadow retracted across
the valley floor with the rising sun. Anders could see Hacienda de
los Santos’
large footprint spanning Arroyo Escondido. In a
couple of hours he would be presenting video clips that
demonstrated his Álamos film project and supportive websites.

Pool at the Hacinda de los Santos in Álamos, Sonora, México. Photos by Anders Tomlinson

Arriving at the Hacienda one is welcomed by the pool patio in all its glory.

Anders walked down the Mirador rock stairs that had been built since
he last visited. He arrived at the Hacienda de los Santos a
half hour before showtime. There was no time to shower and change.
He had a bountiful fruit bowl in the Cafe Agave and a brief conversation
with Jim Swickard who informed him a large crowd was expected and
it might be good to delay the start to make sure everyone had
arrived. As Anders walked across the grounds a woman, also headed
to the theater, asked what was happening. Anders replied that there
were going to be Álamos videos presented by someone from out of town.
The theater did fill up. Once the show was ready to start a college
class from Álamos came in and lined up on both side walls and joined
Anders in standing through the show which started with a video of Álamos
circa March, 1983. When the show ended Anders thanked the crowd as they
left the theater and he went back to “Room 3 – Bugambilla” to take a
shower, rest and prepare for his first afternoon shoot exploring Alamos
2017: walking, listening and looking with camera/audio recorder ready.

Photos of Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos, ßonora, México by Antonio Figueroa.

A splendid March afternoon at the Hacienda.

Hacienda de los Santos provides guests with a map of the grounds which
Anders found helpful since he was getting lost amongst the buildings
and gardens. He spent a second night at the Hacienda and enjoyed one
of the best sleeps in decades.

Hacienda de los Santos at night time. Álamos, Sonora, México. Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

Every night is a holiday at the Hacienda de los Santos.

The next morning Rigo from Casa Serena Vista picked up Anders at the
Hacienda de los Santos and drove him over to Joan Winderman’s
Casa 6 Toluca where Anders would establish a base camp
for the expedition’s duration. It takes a village to make a film.

Anders would return, in passing, to the Hacienda and photograph,
while audio recording, its grounds at different parts of the day.
He also videotaped two evenings of musical entertainment. Twice he lost the
windscreen to his small audio recorder and both times the groundskeepers found
it. The uniformed full-time staff of 45, and as many as 65 for large events,
were professional and attentive to their guests and represented the best
that Álamos has to offer. Hacienda de los Santos Resort
is truly a place where time stands still – a place where comfort
and elegance reigns in Álamos, Sonora, México.

2017 videos at the Hacienda de los Santos graphic

Conga line at Hacienda de los Santos

Another Álamos moment from early March 2017: 100 seconds with the
Estudiantina de Álamos performing at the Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos,
Sonora, Mexico as a busload of tourists from Arizona join the conga line.
Estudiantina de Álamos is one of many cultural programs under the guidance
of the Museo Costumbrista de Sonora. Rafael de Jesus Figueroa Ju, the
fantastic accordion player, is the current Estudiantina director. On this
evening the group leaders delivered beautiful new acoustic guitars donated
to the Estudiantina by the Desert Museum in Tucson.
Live Music and togetherness! An evening under Sonoran stars.

Yoreme Al-Leiya in Álamos

Februrary 26, 2017 Yoreme Al-Leiya, which means “cheerful Indian,” traveled
from nearby Navajoa, Sonora to perform at the Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos,
Sonora, México. Anders Tomlinson had the privilege of documenting this colorful
evening of dance, music, costumes and theatrical lighting. A wonderful time
was had by all.

A special place in Álamos

Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos, Sonora, México is a special place
in a special town in a special landscape. It was originally built
for a wealthy silver baron in the 17th century. Photos and video
editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music is by Álamos’ own Los Hacendados
led by local Jose Ramón Alcántar Hurtado performing “Chan Chan”
by Compay Segundo.

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

©2017 Anders Tomlinson and Hacienda de los Santos, all rights reserved.
All content by Anders Tomlinson unless noted.

Galeria de Arte

Upon the wall art becomes windows to somewhere else …

View of Galeria de Arte from the Plaza, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Galeria de Arte was in the building to the left as seen from the plaza.

Beverly Krucek sent me several emails about the gallery she had on the Plaza Las Armas for many years. The following information is complied from her notes. The photo above was taken during the summer of 1996. Beverly was also a leading member of the Alamos Heritage-History Association, AHA, that meets at the Agave Cafe in the Hacienda de los Santos once a month in the summer and every Thursday morning during the rest of the year.

Galarie de Arte opened on the plaza in 1994 and was run by Bev Krucek for some ten years, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

At times Alamos itself seems a living work of art and history and futures.

Beverly Krucek opened the Galeria de Arte on the Plaza in 1994. On average 25 artists were shown in three rooms, portal and patio. Artists came from all over Mexico, some from Columbia, as well as Tucson, Phoenix, New Mexico and a couple from France. Some 10 year later, Bev decided to trade up to a gallery in an art mall being developed and promoted by the Franks in the Urrea house on Calle Obregon. Unexpected problems arose that stopped the art mall project from going forward. By that time, Bev had turned her rental lease over to B.K. Hamma for her use as book shop, gift shop, and a new art galley leased to Vickie Lockwood. Upon taking a further look at the situation, it appeared to Bev that the tourist trade, which was her main target for sales, had fallen off so she left the gallery scene.

Galarie de Arte opened on the plaza in 1994 and was run by Bev Krucek for some ten years, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Upon these walls, that have seen so much, art speaks of inside and outside.

Beverly wrote about the block that the Galeria was located in,

“The Galleria was on the plaza in the row between the Hotel Alamos and what at one time was the Bank. That strip is now occupied by a games emporium, the Tourist Bureau, (then the Galleria) and a home restoration by the Bours. The strip prior to that, was The Hotel Alamos, The Casino, and I think either a bank or more probably a small residence occupied by the Bours.  The Casino was a club like operation where the men gambled excessively and the women were welcomed on Wednesdays. Some reading offers the information that Alamos was a huge hub of gambling.  Makes sense since most of mining management was an absentee sort of operation there was lots of both time and money.  Cards were big as was cock fighting etc.”

View of plaza from El Mirador.  Location of Galeria de Arte is noted.  Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

View from Mirador of building where Galeria de Arte was located.

Years ago, when I was in Alamos, Hotel Alamos, also known by many of my friends as the old Miner’s Hotel, was in serious disrepair.

In her emails Beverly addressed the old hotel’s current condition,

“The building part that houses the former Hotel Alamos and to some extent the part that houses the Tourist Bureau is in very bad disrepair and held together in an attractive way by a nice paint job.  Adobe keeps crumbling.  Everyone grumbles about it but no one does anything.  It is owned by Anamaria Alcorn.  INAH in Hermosillo and the local government probably could step in and force the work to be done but who has the money and where does government restoration come in with private ownership?  The end part (corner of Guadalupe Victoria and Comercio) has been well, and I think properly, maintained and restored by the Bours family.”

Casa Nuzum, Calle Comercio 2, from church roof looking east, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Looking down from the church at Casa Nuzum, Calle Comercio 2.

Calle Comerico 2, Casa de Nuzum, recently became an art galley, La Casa del Arte, managed by Tony Estrada and his wife, Lupita. Tony is director of Museo Costumbrista de Sonora, on the Plaza, which features regularly scheduled art exhibitions. Tony is also a gifted sculptor who takes discards and turns them into assembled artistic statements. Beverly commented on La Casa del Arte’s opening night, May 20, 2011,

“Tony and Cammy Nuzum will oversee other areas in the house to be used by artisans for producing their work and selling it from there. It was fun to see Tony’s opening at the Nuzum house where he showed 4 or 5 of the artists I had represented some years ago. It was great to see that they had continued to develop new depths in  their work while still being identifiable in their own style.”

Calle Comercio 2 is across the street from the bank that was next to Galeria de Arte. When I was a guest of Casa Nuzum there were paintings on the walls and art books in the library. I always felt it would be a wonderful gallery space being next to the church and around the corner from the Plaza. Location, location, location… The concept of artists working and showing their work in this historic Casa is profound and hopefully productive. There is a recent history of artisans here, Elizabeth Nuzum hired local women to create her designer clothing line in a wonderful sewing studio in the back pool patio of the house.

Historic footnotes from Beverly that were included in one of the emails,

“There was a Hotel Minero across the Plaza from the Hotel Alamos.  It is the first building on Madero off the Plaza, sort of tucked in at the lower level of the Portales Hotel. It was owned by Palomares (a war hero from the French invasion) and is now called the Hotel Enrique owned by Blanca Quijada Navarro.”

“We still have to add a tiny bit to the Chinese use of the Mexican silver peso…. Alamos did not specifically produce for China… they used the coin that was minted here and identified by A or an underlined A. Kin Rynd who lived there at the time (the 20’s) said it was always referred to as the Mex… much as we would say a buck. It also added balast to the ships returning to China after the deliveries to Northern Mexico.”

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