Maria Felix and Galeana #41

23 … The view out this window has changed over the past century…

Old adobe ruin at Galeana 41, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

There was a day that this was the edge of town looking west towards wilderness.

1914 was in the middle of turbulent times for the region. Yaquis and Mayos were joining forces with Obregon and Villa’s armies. Venustiano Carranza became the third Mexican President in two years. One of them, Francisco Madero, was assassinated. Hard times were here. Maria de los Angeles Felix Guerrean was born April 8, 1914. This window looked out from her birth place. She had eleven sisters and brothers. They lived here until 1929 when they left for Guadalajara. Soon her beauty would be nationally recognized.

Galeana 41, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Gary Ruble.

An Alamos beauty walks down Calle Galeana in 1993. Photo by Gary Ruble.

This is where Maria Felix was born and raised, riding horseback in a land that was losing its mines. Her father was of Yaqui Indian blood and her Spanish blood mother was raised in a Pico Heights, California convent. Much of the beauty that is seen in the faces of Álamos is a product of interlocking bloodlines that span the globe. There are European, Asian, eastern Indian, Philippine and indigenous Indian features across town. Maria described herself as ” a woman with a man’s heart.” She was a commanding presence, a beautiful liberator, a woman beyond her times. She made 47 films in Mexico and France. She became internationally recognized. She published a bestselling autobiography in 1993, All My Wars. And this is where her life’s journey began..

Galeana 41, 1996, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Step forward in time, it is now September 1996, late afternoon.

Hurricane Fausto was the storm that leveled the walls. The window is gone. Galeana #41 is now a mother of all ruins. A passing carriage takes tourists around town. Tomorrow would be another day. In 1999, Lynda Barondes bought Galeana #41. She was to learn later that this was the birthplace of Maria Felix. In 2002, part of Lynda’s restoration efforts, a Museum opened here with three rooms dedicated to the spirit Maria Felix embodied. The Museum closed in 2012 as Lynda sold the property and moved to the nearby southern foothills overlooking Álamos. Lynda has opened a new Maria Felix Museum on her new property in the foothills overlooking town. The 2014 Alamos International Film Festival, Festival Internacional de Cine Álamos Mágico -FICAM, celebrated Maria’s 100th birthday.

Buckle-up as we take a super fast-rock n’ roll car ride through Alamos on a grey winter day.
Driving Across Álamos on an overcast December day starts at La Puerta Roja Inn. We head east and circle the Plaza de Las Armas before heading to the Panteon – Cemetery. We head back to La Puerta Roja exploring different routes. The best way to travel is walking. Video…

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

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

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

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