Almadas and Alamos History

79… Almada women return to visit Alamos…

Former Ida Franklin house across the street from the Cemetery, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Formally an Amada house, during my visits it belonged to Ida Franklin.

Ida Louise Franklin’s formal driveway is directly across the street from the Panteon-Cemetery entrance. She arrived in Alamos during the 1950’s and began renovating this colonial ruin, Las Delicias. She was known for her dinners and entertaining as well as her writings: Alamos de Sonora – 1964, Bride for a Siver King – a novel set in Alamos, 1980, Ghosts of Alamos – folk tales of Alamos, 1973, Cadillacs and Cobblestones and Las Delicias; Restoration of a Colonial Ruin. Ida Louise Franklin lived to be 100 and is buried across the street along with her son Walter. It is a short walk for her spirit, if it ever left, to return to Las Delicias.

Almada women visit their former house on a guided tour of Alamos.

Almada woman revisits her former house on a Museo guided tour of Alamos

The woman, second from the right, remembers the night her father told her because rebels were approaching town they were going to leave Alamos and that they would never return to Las Delicias. The stately two story columns speak of great wealth from another era and also spoke in 1996 of expensive restoration and maintenance. I was struck by the effort, courage and determination that Ida Franklin demonstrated in bringing back the once Almada elegance to this large property outside of town. Museo director Tony Estrada asked me to give these Almada women a morning slide show in the Museo’s auditorium before they began their tour of all things Almada in Alamos. I learned their day’s schedule and met up with them again after lunch at Las Delicias for a photo session. A couple of Museo staff were always at the ladies sides swatting away any summer flies that rudely ventured close to an Almada. I was surprised the women didn’t travel by silver-trimmed horse drawn carriage across town.

Almada women take in the Estudiantina de Alamos at la Posada, Almos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Almada women attend an evening Estudiatina concert at La Posada hotel.

I remember little about these women other than: left to right, she lived in Los Angeles and had a flirtatious air, the redhead was part of the last Almada family to live in Las Delicias, the third women was an interior decorator from Connecticut and the youngest was married to a political big wig in Mexico City. All the women had friendly smiles, easy laughs, moments of bitter and sweet remembrance and multiple changes of clothes for an enjoyable day and evening in Alamos courtesy of a dedicated Museo staff. In Alamos, once an Almada always an Almada.

Almada family staes an annual Alamos reunion, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Almada family members staged an annual reunion in Alamos.

Almadas came from near and far to celebrate an annual family weekend reunion in Alamos. They wore matching t-shirts celebrating the event. On this day, an Almada squadron of red all-terrain four-runners continuously circled the Plaza and Alameda for hours. Much of the town watched with amusement and a touch of envy. There are many descendants of the Alamos silver kings around the world. As example here are two Almadas: Don Jose Maria Almada had 21 children with his first wife of 27 years and 5 more born out of wedlock with his mistress that became his second wife. These were children he acknowledged as his own, there could have been more, many more. Rafael Almada, born in 1861, married his cousin, Rafaela in 1897, and two years later moved south 90 kilometers to the El Fuerte in Sinaloa. He and Rafaela, she rode to church in an elegant carriage, spent five years and 100,000 gold pesos building their El Fuerte Almada mansion that is now the Posada Hildago Hotel. He died two years after completion of the mansion. He served as Mayor of El Fuerte and was instrumental in building the town’s grand Palacio Municipal from 1903 to 1907. Almadas left Alamos and went on to distinguish themselves in other places and other walks of life and their large families begat large families and their bloodlines flowed like water across continents.

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