Álamos 1800 – 1849

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.

Columns and window details, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

End of day’s sun illuminates a classical column of another time and land.

2000 silver bars serve as remittance to Mexico.
Population estimate 9,000.

Mexican colonists becoming dissatisfied with Spaniards.

In the early 1800’s mines in La Aduana were reaching the
depth of the water table.

Father Camilo Sanmartin, (San Martin?), finishes church.
He is paid 40,000 pesos for his efforts. Another account
states the church was finished in 1804 under the reign
of Charles the Fourth.

Yaquis resume plundering raids on the Spanish.
Opatas, Seris, Apaches and Pimas over the coming years
would also advance in the central and northern districts
as Spanish troops were moved to head off the
battle of Independence.

Famed German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt
visits the area of Álamos and La Aduana mines.

Population estimate is 7,900 inhabitants.

September 15 – Miguel Hildago y Castilla gives his nighttime
“Grito de Delores”, (Cry of Freedom), and the quest for Mexican
independence begins. Most of the Sonora, assuming this includes
Álamos, were in favor of Imperialists and Spain. During the next 11
years Sonorans, for the most part, stayed out of the war. During this
time they were fighting local Indians.

Heavy war tax on quicksilver, used in mining, increases from
80 – 90 to 240 pesos.

9-27-1821 – General Agustin de Iturbide, Spanish rule ends
and Mexico becomes an independent nation.

Sinaloa and Sonora remain together in the early years
of Mexico.

Sinaloa and Sonora are offically joined in the new
constitution of Estado Interno de Occidente.

Juan Banderas, (Juan Jusacamea), leads Mayo and Yaquis
revolt. Indian prisoners are put to death in Álamos.

population estimate of 5,000 – 7,000.

first printing press in sonora, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Civilization mature and expand with the introduction of printing presses.

Indians sue for peace. The Sonoran governor agreed to forgive and
forget. He had little choice fearing civil unrest and faced with
diminishing funds.

Álamos is declared capital of Estado del Occidente,
a newly created state.

history medallion for first publication in Sonora, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Being the first in Sonora meant being the first in the Californias.

Governor Jose Maria Gaxiola makes Álamos his official residence.

1828 – 1829
Don Jose Maria Almada, owner of Quinterra and Balbanera mines in La
Aduana, is off-and-on Provisional Vice – Governor. he and his brothers
also own many haciendas in Álamos which remains the wealthiest town
north of Guadalajara.

The first mint in Alamos was established by D. Leonardo Santoyo, with
a concession or grant, obtained from the federal government,
permitting him to coin only copper coins.  Coinage was produced
only in 1828 and 1829 since the copper coins were not accepted
by the people. (Information from ‘The Mexican Mints of Alamos
and Hermosillo’, by A.F.’Pradeau, 1934)

March 15 – A separation decree reconstitutes and Sonora
as separate states.

Álamos incorporated into Sonora. The citizens of Álamos voted in
favor of joining Sonora and the Federal Congress agreed.

Yaquis revolt again. Their goal is to drive the “Yori”, (whites), out.

Petty civil wars involve Jose Urrea – Federalist and governor of the
State: favored self government by the states. Manual Maria Gandara –
Centralist and Commandante General favored states become departments
of federal government. Centralists were the church’s party of choice.

General Urrea enters Álamos with 700 men and demands 50,000 pesos.

Capilla De Zapopan is built on Calle Hidalgo by Don Ignacio Almada
y Alvarado for Doña Juana Mallen.

1846 – 1848
Mexican – American war. It is a time of more taxes, disrupted
business and Álamos men called into the army.

Beisbol was introduced to Mexico in 1847 by American soldiers
during the Mexican War. Americans overseeing railroad construction
also encouraged Mexican workers laying track to play beisbol.

Álamos is selected as one of two places to have primary and
secondary education. Professor Gregorio Almada, European
educated, was the founder and director. The school was first
named Seminario Angol-Español.

January 15 – Disastrous battle. Álamos troops pursue Apaches.
Álamos, Ures, and Hermosilo are each taxed 7,000 pesos.

Population estimate 4,000 – 4,300. Trade has shifted from the
El Camino Real to the ocean ports.

1849 – 1851
Severe cholera outbreak. Hundreds die and hundreds leave town.

The 1800’s continue with the 1850 – 1899 timeline

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♦ Other Álamos, Sonora Mexico timelines:

1500 – 1599 timeline

1600 – 1699 timeline

1700 – 1799 timeline

1850 – 1899 timeline

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This is a work in progress.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

War between Spaniards and Yaquis and Mayos

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.

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.

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

1741 – 1744

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? )

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

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

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.”

Antonio Almada y Reyes is born in Leon Spain.

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.

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

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

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

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.

A flood wiped out much of the newly constructed Alameda

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.

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

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

April 5 – de Anza is recorded as being in Culíacan

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. )”

May 1 – de Anza is in El Fuerte.

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

June 22 – de Anza in San Miguel de Horcasitas

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.

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

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

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.

March – de Anza arrived in Monterey, California.

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.

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.”

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

Jose Maria is born to Antonio Almada y Reyes.

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

Cemetery opens

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.
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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.

La Aduana

The landscape of La Aduana has rebounded from the best and worst of man..

Street in La Aduana, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Downtown Aduana on a typical weekday morning. Remants of mining dot the hills.

Spanish conquistador Vasquez de Coronado camped here during the winter of 1540-41. He was searching for gold in what turned out to be mountains with veins of silver. The mines closed in 1906 after nearly 400 years of continuous mining. La Aduana was the “custom office”, it was all about taxes and royalties. Life was hard and short with the hazards of the mines and the chemicals used in the extraction process. The curse of quicksilver had a wide footprint.

Looking east at La Aduana, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Today, seven miles west of Alamos, Aduana is what it is.

Here seven miles west of Alamos, at 2,500 feet elevation with surrounding mountains as high as 4,700 feet, Aduana has less than 300 people where once there was 5,000. A church, country store, cemetery, a small restaurant-inn, a plaza with a dry fountain in its center surrounded by the past is Aduana today. And for some this is their home. And these are their hills with their months of desert and long summer of jungle.

Cooperativa Artesanos La Aduana, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The woman come out to show their wares when visitors arrive.

Located near the church is La Aduana Art & Crafts. This is a cooperative of local ladies, seen here, with their products. This photo was taken in 1997. I wonder what Aduana is like today. I know the dust is the same and radios and televisions sing and speak from isolated homes. But has the realities of 2011 arrived? While researching Aduana on the internet I was surprised to see alamos-sonora-mexico.com being quoted, some would say plagiarized, by others sites. Indeed, this is 2011. In the next wave of Alamos video editing – mid May, scenes from Aduana will be posted.

cactus in wall of la adauna church, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

A cactus grows out of a church wall and people come to pray.

This is not the London Bridge or the Grand Canyon but it is a quiet moment, in a now quiet town, that inspires those who believe.

burros drinking watr in la aduana, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Two generations gather for a drink at the local water hole - more puddle.

These burros could be descendants of working Aduana burros from the 1600’s. It was a hard life: grinding down ore in quicksilver or moving silver from the mines, to the Alamos treasury to Mexico City and back for another trip loaded with needed supplies.
Beasts of burden relax and calm La Aduana morning. Birds and insects fill the sky with sound. It is becoming warmer.
entrance to a mine in La Aduana, Sonora, Mexico.  photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Just think of all that took place deep within this silver mine. Think of the men. Think of how and why they are there. Think of their typical day. Think of where they laid down to sleep. Think of what they eat.

Here was Silver

Once this was a major silver mining town in all the world. Today, it is tucked away up in the hills with a quiet plaza and dry fountain. It is calm. Mining remnants dot the hillside. They are reminders of what was and what is.
Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.