Álamos Yesterday – Today

now and then photos of alamos sonora mexico

This is a new section that compares scenes from 2014 to those from 1983 to 1996.
We can see that the trees have grown, the church has painted domes, and new homes can be seen in the background. New and old – past and present, together, is the story
of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

The Alameda Gas Station Now

2014 - Looking northwest from Guadaloupe Hill. Photo: Huberto Enríquez. alamos sonora mexico.

2014 – Looking northwest from Guadaloupe Hill. Photo: Huberto Enríquez

The Alameda Gas Station Then

1995 - Looking northwest from Guadalope Hill. Photo: Anders Tomlinson. alamos sonora mexico

1995 – Looking northwest from Guadalope Hill. Photo: Anders Tomlinson.

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The Plaza Now

2014, looking west from El Mirador at Plaza, alamos sonora mexico. photo by Humberto Enríquez

2014 – looking west from El Mirador. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

The Plaza Then

1993 Looking west from El Mirador at the church and plaza in alamos, sonora, mexico

1993 – looking west from El Mirador. Photo: Anders Tomlinson.

The shooting angles are close. But at this distance a few feet here and there will back a big difference along with the type of lens used. One goal of Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico film project is to replicate scenes that have changed from the same vantage point using the same lens, if possible. Big shout-out to Humberto Enríquez our man of the moment in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. Looking at these photos one can also see the difference between 35 mm slide and digital images. But that is another story.

To see more Álamos Journal pages.

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©2014 Alamos-Sonora-Mexico.com and the respective photographers, all rights reserved.

Álamos 1900 – 1949

This page is under construction

The 1900’s started out with revolution and assassinations.
Álamos was in the middle of it all. The railroad came in 1908 and left in 1931.

portales in Álamos, Sonora, mexico plaza.  photo by anders tomlinson

The early 1900’s would be troubled times in the Plaza.

The Sud Pacifico de Mexico plans to extend its rail line south of Guaymas.

1905 – 06
The Richardson Construction Company invest in 650,000 acres south of the ¥aqui river for agricultural and irrigation development.

1905 -06
John Hays Hammond, associated with the Richardson Company and Boer war hero, is given permission from President Dias dictatorial government for developing and reopening Aduana mines in the Álamos District. He operates the Promontorio and Minas Nuevas mines. He built a smelter near Navajoa and invested heavily in mining equipment. The wealthy have reached a peak of prosperity.

Worker unrest escalates with a strike at the consolidated Copper mines at Cananea.

May, railroad reaches Navajoa.

Railroad from Navajoa reaches Álamos.

Area population estimates included Álamos 3,000 plus, Aduana 1,000 plus, Navajoa 1,000 plus, Promontorios 1,000, Minas Nuevas 1,000 and Camoa 1,000.

Humboldt noted in his records that he “passed a train of over one thousand mules loaded with bars of silver from the Aduana mines on their way to the City of Mexico.”

Report on the Alamos – Promonitos District mines in the Mining and Scientific Press.

One of the Aduana mines reaches a depth of 1500 feet.

January, Francisco Madero,leader of the Reform Movement, arrives in Álamos. Benjamin Hill is a leader in the Reform Movement. The Aduana mines shut down because of the Madero revolution. The rise in quick silvers prices, used in the reduction process, also made mining unprofitable. Álamos Perfecto Francisco A. Salido denied Madero the ability to speak in a public area. Don Miquel Urres invites Madero into his home to meet with powerful Álamos residents.

Minas Nuevas mines are taken over by Amos J. Yaeger. Later, he would shut the mine down and sell mine machinery and smelter for scrap.

Northern and central towns are under attack by Maderistas. Benjamin Hill captures Navajoa. He begins to move on Álamos but is ordered to stop and repair telegraph and railway lines damaged in battle.

November, Madero becomes Mexico’s president.

Early, Pascual Orozco, in Chihuahua turns against Madero, is former ally. Soon Orozco, and an army of 1400 soldiers, crosses into Sonora.

August 21, an Orozquistas column reaches Álamos which is defended by 650 federal and national guard troops. Álamos defenders attacked the Orozquistas outside of town at La Aurora.

August 22, 10 a.m., the Orozquistas retreat from La Aurora. Fighting continues through the day and the Orozquistas leave supplies and over 100 dead men on the ground. The Orozquistas had stopped earlier at Hacienda de Cedros and Rancho de la Uvalama where they had indulged in aguardiente – tequila?, which they had taken with them as they approached Álamos.

President Madero is assassinated. General Victoriano Huerta becomes President. Sonora revolts against Huerta led by Alvaro Obregon, Plutarco Elias Calles, Adolfo de la Huerta and Venustiano Carranza. All four of these men, three from Sonora and Carranza from Coahuila, would become Mexican presidents. Álamos sides with Huerta. Sonora, Chihuahua and Coahuila states take up arms against Huerta.

April, Benjamin Hill occupies Álamos as the Huertistas surrender. He takes money from wealthy Álamos citizens and captured Huertistas to support his troops in Sinaloa and repair damaged rail lines.
he forced the poor to take down the sandbag barricades in Álamos and return the sand to the surrounding arroyos.

August, Carranza becomes head of government.

General Pancho Villa, and thousands of his troops, fought against Carranza in southern Mexico. Carranza’s troops won several battles and Villa headed north into Sonora. Villa forces lived off the land and terrorized all who they came across. Mines and ranchos were abandoned.

April 8, Maria de los Angeles Felix Guerrean, the famous actress, was born in Álamos. These were 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.

1914 – 15
Wars between Sonoran Governor Maytorena and his military leaders. Well armed and trained Yaquis and Mayos Indians join Obregon and Villa’s armies who sided with Maytorena.

Pancho Villa is entrenched in southern Sonora.

May 12, 500 Pancho Villaistas attack Álamos. Major Felix Mendoza has 30 troops and 50 citizens to defend Álamos against Villa’s troops. The five hour battle is waged in the plaza and on Loma de Guadalupe. 25% of Mendoza’s troops are dead or wounded. He orders the survivors to surrender and he himself commits suicide.

April, General Angel Flores’ Expeditionary Force of Sinaloa regains Álamos in a month.

September, the Constitutionalists control southern Sonora. Villa returns to Chihuahua.

Indian uprisings create ghost towns in Sonora. Álamos old families remain in ancestral homes.

The United States sends the American Punitive Expedition into Mexico after Pancho Villa and his troops had entered New Mexico.

Yaguis and Mayos felt they had not be given benefits that had been promised them go on the rampage throughout Sonora. Farmers, ranchers, towns and villages were attacked. Baroyeca becomes a ghost town.

September, Obregon becomes Mexico’s president. Recovery from wars begins. Renegade soldiers, bandits, Yaquis and Mayos continue raiding, plundering and killings.

1920 – 30’s
Sonora re-establishes schools, roads and farming.
Life in Álamos stabilizes. It is now a small mexican town forgotten by many and home to old families. Mansions, neglected by war and neglect, turn to ruins. But Álamos does not become a ghost town.

Maria de los Angeles Felix Guerrean’s family lived in Álamos until they left for Guadalajara. Soon Maria Felix’s beauty would be nationally recognized.

Last Yaqui uprising ends in total defeat for the Yaquis, they have lived in peace with the “Yoris” since then.

One train a week from Navajoa to Álamos.

Planning begins on the Mexican link of the International Highway.
Some thought the highway may follow the old El Camino Real through Álamos to El Fuerte and south. Eventually it is routed through Navajoa and south bypassing Álamos, which is to the east.

Railroad from Navajoa to Álamos disbanded. Traffic to Álamos was on an old narrow dirt road

amos j. yaeger grave in minas nuevas, sonora mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

Amos J. Yaeger grave in Minas Nuevas.

Amos J. Yaeger dies at the age of 59.

Álamos city has an estimated population of 1,000.

500,000 hectares of public lands, “ejidos” are allotted to the Yaquis.

The Álamos region had a population of 5,369 men and 4,848 women older than six years.

ruin of the house where actress maria felix was born in 1914.  alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

Ruins, like this birhtplace of Maria Felix, are bought and sold.

William Levant Alcorn, a Pennsylvania dairy farmer, arrives in Álamos and bought the Almada mansion on Plaza de Armas and restored it as the Hotel Los Portales. Alcorn helped publicize Álamos and had a successful real estate business buying and selling ruins and property.

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♦ Other Álamos, Sonora Mexico timelines:

1500 – 1599 timeline

1600 – 1699 timeline

1800 – 1849 timeline

1850 – 1899 timeline

1900 – 1949 timeline

Geologic timeline

History videos

Álamos population history

La Aduana mining 1910

Conquistadors, silver and gold

Álamos and Horses

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©2015 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Álamos Palacio

06… Friends, and morning sun, converge outside the Palacio Municipal…

The Federal, State and Municipal government offices are all here.

This busy building has a large open courtyard and stage that are used for public political
and cultural events. Theater presentations, dances and concerts are common.
The Palacio was built of brick and stone around 1899 in the style of medieval Spanish
fortresses. A semicircular arch is a central axis gateway opening into a large
courtyard surrounded by offices on three sides.

The opposition party leader walks to his seat on stage during the State of the City address.

Dr. M. Alfonso Valenzuela Salido addresses a half full Palacio with what his administration
has done, is doing and plans to do. Meanwhile, around town people go about their business
making Álamos what Álamos is. Here is a list of Presidentes from 1937 to the present:

2012-2015… Ing. José Benjamín Anaya Rosas
2009-2012… Dr. Joaquín Navarro Quijada
2006-2009… Lic. Ruth Acuña Rascón
2003-2006… Ing. David Corral Valenzuela
2000-2003… Prof. José de Jesús Carballo Mendívil
Dr. Humberto Arana Murillo
1994-1997… Dr. Alfonso Valenzuela Salido
1991-1994… Dr. Baldomero Corral Valenzuela
1988-1991… Prof. Enrique Ibarra Álvarez 
1985-1988… Sr. Manuel Ruiz Arzaga
1982-1985… Sr. Humberto Franco Terán
1979-1982… Prof. Darío Villarreal Valenzuela
1976-1979… Prof. José Jesús Gil Vega
1973-1976… Sr. José Reyes Amarillas
1970-1973… Sr. Rosendo Venegas Reyes
1967-1970… Sr. Baldomero Corral Álvarez
1964-1967… Sr. Diódoro Valenzuela Piña
1961-1964… Sr. Lauro Franco Franco
1958-1961… Sr. Marcelino Valenzuela Bustillos
1955-1958… Sr. Maximiliano Couvillier Atondo
1952-1955… Sr. Raymundo M. Robles
1949-1952… Sr. Martín B. Salido
1946-1949… Sr. Marcelino Valenzuela
1943-1946… Sr. Juan de Dios Urrea
1941-1943… Sr. Leopoldo Acosta
1939-1941… Sr. Carlos G. García
1937-1939… Sr. José María Palomares

president addresses public in the palacio, alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

El Presidente presents his state of Álamos speech.

Dr. Joaquin Navarro Quijada is the man walking across the stage. He lost a bitterly contested election in 1994 with Dr. M. Alfonso Valenzuela Salido. The Palacio was shut down for weeks by protesters. Eventually, Joaquin was given his own office in the Palacio and municipal life went on as normal. In 2009 he was elected Presidente Muncipal. Perseverance is a virtue.
To see more of what the local government is doing visit Municipio de Alamos, Sonora

palacio municipal of alamos, sonora, mexico is decked out in bunting celebrating independance day.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Patriotic bunting adorns the Palacio for Independence day celebrations.

September 16 is Mexico’s Day of Independence. Government officials will speak from the Palacio’s balcony at night as fireworks go off around town in celebration. The long day begins with a parade through Centro Álamos that ends with a large public gathering in the Plaza. The bunting’s green symbolizes Independence, the white symbolizes religion and the red symbolizes union.
To see more visit Day of Independence Parade

A Magical moment in a Magical Pueblo.  Photo:Joel Gasteum

A magical moment in a Pueblo Magical. photo-Joel Gastélum

The photo above is from the closing ceremony at the Palacio.  The theme of the festival was “100 years of Maria Felix” and Miguel Castillo is singing “Maria Bonita” with Maria Felix’s eyes projected onto the screen behind him.  After he finished singing we played the movie “Yerba Mala” which was filmed in Alamos two years ago.  There were 700 seats filled in the Palacio for the closing ceremony.

palacio, alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

Keeping the Palacio clean is a job for many.

People come and go throughout the day conducting business and dealing with all issues a local government faces. And the Palacio is a community center for events throughout the year. This is the official Álamos heartbeat that is kept alive by all people that are Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

The prime venue for the Álamos Film Festival is the Palacio.

In the hearts of many, Alamos is the center of the universe.
Independence day starts early in the morning with a municipal parade through the town’s colonial center. Alamos school kids, the first high school in the Californias started here, and the entire city government take part. In 2010 the students added their own uniformed marching band to the parade. From children to government, Alamos continues.

Alamos shares a strong maternal bond, steeped in history, with all the Southwest.
Juan Batista de Anza departed Alamos in September 1775 with silver, and local families, to settle “Monterey and the Californias”, including San francisco, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles.

To see more Alamos Journal pages.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

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.”

Visit one of Bev’s many loves Alamos History Association

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Peeling Paint

12… History is in the detail, humanness is in the design…

Wall texture, peeling paint in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Micro views have as much information as watching a stunning sunset.

This peeling paint is on a west facing wall, built in 1828 at the end of Calle Comercio. Álamos had become the capital of a combined Sinoloa and Sonora – the state of Occidente. The new Governor Jose Maria Gaxiola lived inside this wall. It is a scene repeated throughout Álamos, Sonora, México. In recent times, recent being relative, Rip Torn and Geraldine Page once found sanctuary behind this edifice. Think of the romantic full moons and the sweet smells of the night air. In the distance a young man serenades his girl.

paints peeling on alamos, sonora,, mexico wall. photo by anders tomlinson

Stains of age bleed through layers of paint peeling back time.

Struggles personified: scribed, scratched, torn, eroded, defaced, washed, painted by natural elements and human events. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

an interesting wall with words and dark triangle. alamos sonora mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

Many times art comes from taking advantage of opportunity.

Graffiti, like tattoos, has taken on different significants in society. There is mean graffiti, cruel graffiti, criminal graffiti, obnoxious graffiti. And then there are a quiet moments when man etches himself into the wall. these moments come and go as does the days, months, years and centuries.

wall color and texture, peeling paint, alamos sonora mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

A calm moment in the relentless march of change for change’s sake.

Soothing pastels worn smooth, shine in the morning sun on an eastern facing wall. There are no images or words but there is feeling – much like minimalism modern art. Look long enough and there is movement.

paint throw onto an alamos, sonora, mexico wall. photo by anders tomlinson

It is all about gesture and action. What do we see? What do we feel?

Speaking of modern art. What was behind these two large action marks? Was it a planned act or an accident? This is a concrete wall – modern in Alamos time. Was a painter cleaning is bucket? Was it a statement from one person about another? These are the questions, and tales, that the walls of Álamos, Sonora, México present to willing imaginations.

wall painting of young couple near airport. alamos sonora mexico. photo by anders tomlinson.

A young couple on a wall near the airport. Old and new together.

This painting was off the Old Camino Real as it turns to north west past the airport. Today the rod leads to nearby copper mines. It is probably much more traveled. there is little chance that is image remains – it is almost twenty years since the photo was taken.
Maybe the wall no longer exists, or…

wall detail of peeling paint, alamos sonora mexico.

Up close and within the details of passing time.

As one comes closer to the wall, or some would say ruins, one can see the marks take on greater significance as the design by natural elements and human events grow in intensity. There is form in the happenstance. Not all art is beautiful. Not all art is ugly. But all art is art.

This is an interior wall that is facing renovation. alamos sonora mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

This is an interior wall that is facing renovation.

There are moments of discovery, questions, appreciation and realization. This house probably has been in place a couple hundred years. Think of the get-togethers it has witnessed. The joys and sorrows. This wall knows life – good and bad.

old for sale sign, disappearing on an alamos, sonora mexico ruin wall.  photo by anders tomlinson.

The sign of time fades a sign of hope.

In a matter of years this sign has faded. Does this mean the property was sold and there was no more need for a sign so let time to its thing? Or does it indicate there were no buyers and the seller gave up the effort? Either way this wall is texture in a town of textures, Álamos, Sonora, México.

for sale sign on ruin, alamos. sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

Advertising helps economies roll and money exchanges hands.

The message is bold, hard to miss and to the point. “This is for sale!” Is it art? Ask Andy Warhol what he thinks. Is it a statement? Certainly. And a marketing campaign begins again just like a sunrise.

Fast paced music video that is more than its parts, much like Álamos itself..
This is an experimental clip that weds close-ups textures shot out a moving car’s window and 120 blended stills images of Alamos life. High speed video at its best. Álamos, Sonora, México has never looked like this. Video…

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Cat & Goat

19 … All of Alamos is a little bit country, a little bit old world…

Cat and bananas, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Mid-morning at a Barrio La Compana store. Parrots can be heard.

Minutes from the central Plaza and Alameda life slows. Here, almost everyone is walking or on a bike. Clothes are being hand-washed and hung out to air dry in the Sonoran sun. Smells of wood- fire cooking dance on a light cooling breeze. This is the life rarely seen on Mexican TV. These are the rural suburbs surrounding southern Spain’s Andalusian design influenced downtown.

Here we are - a ten minute walk from the Colonial Plaza.  A lone sheep within the grass, alamos sonora mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

Here we are – a ten minute walk from the Colonial Plaza.

This is near the top of the hill on the road leading southeast out of town. Walk a couple of hundred more yards and one can turn left and hike up to the top of El Mirador road. It is a summer morning. Looking at the hillside one can spot a local resident out for their own breakfast.

shwwp in grass, alamos sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

We have been seen and we see. A peaceful rural tradeoff.

The cool air refreshes the spirit, today’s heat has yet to arrive – it will be here soon. The cloud cover will burn off and the rising sun will begin to cook the earth’s crust. This is a wonderful time to be out and about. During late spring and through the summer it is best to travel when the sun is low.

Goat, and wild flowers, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  photo by Anders Tomlinson.

So you think you can out stare a sheep do you? Give it a try.

All is well on a walk from the Plaza to take in the Mirador’s rewarding 360 degree view. In my mind’s eye the best way to see Alamos is go walking in any direction for an hour. One will always be rewarded. And, one will always find their way back to where they started. Look, or listen, for the Cathedral, it is a compass. Animals wander freely around Alamos. They know where they are. And they know where home is.

The cook's dog rests in their drive way just to the west of the airport runway.  alamos sonora mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

A dog at rest near the western edge of the airport runway.

At the other end of town, maybe a twenty minute walk from the plaza, the Cook’s dog rests in their driveway. She recently had four pups who are now struggling to survive. This is her time. This is Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.

goats at the western edge of the alamos airport runway, alamos sonora mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Watch-guard goats patrol land surrounding their house

These are goats who do what they do when they want to do it. They patrol and protect. They weed, strip and fertilize. They, like the resting dog, are part of the Cook’s property. All for one, one for all.

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. Video…

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Alamos Windows

20 … Looking at windows from the outside is different than looking outside from within…

little house in alamos, sonora,mexico that is painted with natural vegatation.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Can you find the little house that can be hard to see?

Walking down the dirt roads, off the nearby plaza, are ventures into another land – another time in space. It is a land of people close to the land. It is a place where the little things are of greater substance and meaning. Here nature is loud – listen to crowing roosters next door, decipher neighboring dog barks and admire native birds singing in concert with days of old and now. This is Alamos, Sonora, Mexico

house covered with plants. Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

This little house caught my eye as it lived and breathed.

This was a wonderful casa in Barrio El Barranco. Going green has been a concept as far back as the planet’s beginning. Most poor people of the earth are off the grid. And the use of plant materials for shelter is common across the continents. This house has it all, a tribute to its surroundings.

Remodeled home on Las Auroras.  Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A wonderful example of a ruin restored to modern splendor.

I first met this ruin on Calle Las Auroras while heading out to the airport 1983. It was still a ruin when I revisited in 1993. Work seemed to be underway to clean the property. I was told some Hollywood folks were in the process of bringing it back to life. Three years later it was a sparkling gem along a dusty road. Future posts will look at the resurrection of this home.

triangle windows on Calle Las Auroras.  Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Another window treatment on Calle Las Auroras.

This window seems to come from an earlier time and a different civilization. Stark triangles in a thick wall of adobe. It seemed there were children playing outside it’s door every time I passed by on my way to the airport and countryside.

Window bars cast dancing shadows against an alamos, sonora, mexico white washed wall.  photo by anders tomlinson.

iron shadows dance across a white washed wall.

Alamos is known for its craftsmanship. Here, there are artists amongst the trades. This ornamental, and functional, iron window bar, in the colonial centro, creates a show of strength and poetic movement as its shadows follow the passing sun. Elegance.

window bar treatment in centro alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Home security begins with window bars of many colors and designs.

Function. There is no doubt the intention is to protect. This bar design seem more suited for a commercial establishment along a busy street. It is all about intention.

Warmth Radiates off of Adobe Walls as Another Winter Day Begins.
Kite flying is popular in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Drinking beer outside the pickup with friends is popular. Fun and work go on side by side as we visit a wood shop. Video …

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Alamos Gas Stations

alamos sonora mexico gas station photos by humberto enriquez

The Old Gas Station

 The traditional gas station is on the western edge of the busy Alameda, Alamos, sonora, Mexico. Photo by Humberto Enríquez

The busy station on the western edge of the Alameda – Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

In Alamos the gas station of Jesus Salido in the center of the town is the traditional gas station that has been serving for many years Alamos residents, tourists and anybody who have a car, motorcycle, truck or bus. One person said if you watch the peoples coming and going at the gas station you learns much about what makes Alamos go, that is true and the Alamos activities, over the years don’t change much – Humberto

A Bird’s Eye View

The Salido gas station on the Alameda seen from Guadalupe Hill. alamos, sonora, mexico .  photo by Humberto Enríquez

The Alameda gas station seen from Guadalupe Hill. Photo: Humberto Enríquez

Many things change, different people, different stores, different cars, different trees but our necessities of gas for our cars, or air for our bicycles, or tires are the same until we find energy other than fossil fuels for our cars and motorcycles – Humberto

A Wider Bird’ Eyes View of the Alameda Gas Station

2014 - Looking northwest from Guadaloupe Hill. Photo: Huberto Enríquez. alamos sonora mexico.

2014 – Looking northwest from Guadaloupe Hill. Photo: Huberto Enríquez

Eco Gas Station

New natural gas station is the eco station.  alamos, sonora, mexico.Photo:  Humberto Enríquez.

There is a natural gas station in Alamos. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

This station is one 1 km west of Alamos on the highway to Navajoa.

Modern Times Drive On Into the Future

Welcome to the 21st Century ala Pemex. another new gas station in alamos sonora mexico. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

Welcome to the 21st Century ala Pemex. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

Since the year 2000 Alamos has had many changes. Alamos went back to its beginnings years with the opening of two mines and that started an avalanche of companies who serve to the mines. These past years the Municipal Government, State Government and Federal Government promoted the town as an international tourist destination. Alamos was introduced in the program of Pueblos Magicos de Mexico. Several promotional videos of the region and the town which were shown in different countries around the world to attract tourists. This produced increased – excessive flow of vehicles and the opening of more gas stations – Humberto

Where There is a Need…

A modern gas station fills the auto needs of Alamos. Photo: Humberto Enríquez. alamos sonora mexico

A modern gas station fills the auto needs of Alamos. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

Today we have 3 gas and one natural gas station in Alamos. The oldest one is owned by “Jesus (Chuy) Salido” in the center of the town. The other gas stations are all on the road to Navajoa. “La Carretera” is located near the Alamos hospital. “El Datil” located 3 KM from Alamos. The natural gas station is located 1 km from Alamos – Humberto

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©2014 Alamos-Sonora-Mexico.com and Humberto Enríquez, 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.

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.

Maria Felix

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 Alamos 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 Alamos.

Buckle-up as we take a super fast-rock n’ roll car ride through Alamos on a grey winter day.
Driving Across Alamos 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…

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Alamos Photo Portfolios

Chasing the moment and capturing that which allows itself to be captured.

Photographing Alamos, Sonora, Mexico was a great pleasure, and challenge, for Anders Tomlinson. His portfolio of 1,200 selected scans from 35mm film – Fuji Velvia 50, Provia 100, Provia 400 and Fujichrome Tungsten 64 – is divided into 17 subjects.

Anders shooting with a 35mm Canon body before the digital dawn.
photo- Jim Morgan

Presented below are one image representing each of the subjects with the number of images in that collection. There is a DVD of all the slide-scans that is available upon request.

Aduana Time… 25 images

This donkey could have been related to animals used to grind mercury in the 17th century, The satellite dish brings a rural Aduana school in touch with all of modern Planet Earth. photo- Anders Tomlinson

Alameda Action… 87 images

Only in the afternoon heat of a summer day is the Alameda this quiet.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Barrio Life… 222 images

Near the northern edge of town it is a simple life, not easy, but simple.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Church Days… 52 images

Our three-tiered belfry glows gold in spring morning light.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Flood Stage… 23 images

End of August, this is not the day to take a bicycle trip to the east side.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Garden Graces… 74 images

Serenity and the touch of tropical sun upon bare shoulders,
it is Alamos time... photo-Anders Tomlinson

Cemetery… 45 images

Alamos families, and friends, are here in the Cemetery-Pantheon.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Inside Walls…15 images

Art, artists and music are part of the Alamos lifestyle.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Mirador… 24 images

A summer kite festival at the Mirador ovelooking Alamos.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Views from High Ground…30 images

Alamos in the summertime from Red Cross Hill.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Nature Notes… 47 images

Looking south towards Sinola from atop Sierra de Alamos.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Night Music…90 images

Cat and dog rest near a house filled with bird cages.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Palacio… 26 images

The Palacio is the cultural and governmental center of Alamos.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Portraits… 96 images

Not all roads lead to Navojoa, but this one does.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Plaza Promenade… 109 images

Later that evening a tropical storm would tear through the Plaza.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Colonial Center… 156 images

These kids continue a long history of public education in Alamos.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Ruins…66 images

Time to restore and build a new roof, and drink beer.
photo-Anders Tomlinson

Anders is looking for partners to publish a book that Anders would design using these photos.
These images will also be used in high-definition multi-media Alamos presentations.
Later this year more slides will be scanned with an emphasis on details of daily life in Alamos.

To see more Anders Alamos photos visit the Daily Journal or enjoy Alamos Slideshows
as well as Night Magic photos.

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©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Alamos Slideshows

A Way of Life

Behold a Cornucopia of Color, Shapes, Textures and Scents.The flora of Alamos is the many splendors of Sinaloan tropical forest and Sonoran desert living together in unexpected harmony. Many properties have gardeners watering, pruning, consulting, planting, cutting, raking, commiserating, trimming and… year round. Flowers and vegetables are planted in November for winter blooms and crops that last until May or June’s heat… Mangos, papayas, bananas, palms, amapas, orchidias and other trees provide food and shelter for native and migrating birds. Cascades of colors come from flowering vines: blue veracruzana, orange trumpet, red, magenta and orange bougainvilla and… And the smells and scents that envelope one’s senses… Formal, informal… it all contributes to this symphony and riot that is the passing seasons in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.
Photos, editing and produced by Anders Tomlinson. Music is “Jardin de Colores”, written and performed by Samuel Delatorre Dorame, from his 2013 CD “Memorias de Alamos, Sonora.”

View from Above

Mt. Alamos is some 6,500 feet above sea level. It towers 5,000 feet above the town of Alamos. It is another world, wild parrots, dry tropical forest, granite and… Up and down is a day’s effort, it is well worth it. To reach the top it is recommended to start hiking early while it is still dark and cool.
Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

Here was Silver

Here, seven miles west of Alamos, at 2,500 feet elevation with surrounding mountains as high as 4,700 feet, Aduana has a few hundred 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 are surrounded by the past. 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.
Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.


It is another day in the graveyard. Not just another day… but another day. It has been this way since 1794 when this plot of land was deemed the municipal cemetery. Graveyards are a special place: they are public art, they are public history and they are markers of their own civilization. And another day begins… and somewhere out there someone is dying and somewhere near here someone is being born. In the end it is all about this precious balance we call life.
Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

Bishop Reyes Cathedral

Bishop Reyes’ Cathedral takes up the entire southern side of the Plaza de las Armas. 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.

And Then the Storm Came

The summer rains are here, the sweet night air cools warm bodies bringing relief and contemplation. The purity and hope of laughing young couples, alone with each other, drenched to the bone, clinging wet clothes, make their way home late at night splashing and dancing in cobblestone puddles. Above, the heavens explode, a cannonade of thunder rumbles across silhouetted mountain ridges backlit by fantastic lightening. It is time to go to asleep under one sheet in the cool of a warm night. And then the big storm, remnants of a tropical typhoon, arrived. In an instant the sky turned angry dark, the air became colder and a deafening wind shrieked through the trees. It rained and continuously howled from late afternoon until just before dawn. In the morning, stunned town folk came out and watched from a safe distance the fast running rivers that are normally dry arroyos. Over the coming days waters receded, children played in cool shallow pools and rock men filled their trucks with fresh sand. Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson.
Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

The Commercial center of Alamos

The commercial center of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico, the Alameda, was laid out in 1769 and it has been busy ever since, some decades more than others. Today, it is bustling with activity. The bus station is the transportation hub for surrounding towns and ranches. he Alameda, center of activity, transportation hub, bars, offices, shops, gas station and markets … This is Mexico working, traveling and playing. Boom boxes serenade food carts and shoe shines.
Photos, editing and produced by Anders Tomlinson. Music is “Vientos Sonorenses”, (Antonio Saavedradorame and Samuel Delatorre Dorame) Antonio and Samuel both added to this beautiful melody titled “the Winds of Sonora”, It was arranged for the classical guitar by Samuel for his 2013 CD – “Memorias de Alamos, Sonora.”

These images were shot in 1996. The Alameda is different now. Hurricane Norbert, on October 12, 2008, flooded the Alameda and took out the giant cottonwood shade trees. It remains the commercial center.

The Place to Be and Be Seen

It is a wonderful feeling to sit with a friend in the plaza on a pleasant evening. Here, one can watch people come, be and go. This is the a place to be seen and see. When all have come and gone it becomes a romantic refuge for a young couple. 
Imagine horse drawn carriages, burro pack trains, and cars that have come into Alamos along these streets. Imagine the families that have been here for centuries. Imagine the change of government, some peaceful some violent. It is all here in the shadows of night. Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson.
Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

It is In The Night That the Past Dances Down Narrow Streets

Oh little town of Alamos. Lights sparkle in the evening darkness. Pungent smells float with the shifting breeze. Music, live and recorded, rises up from the homes and neighborhoods. Birds sing under star filled skies. Dogs bark and cars pass by. Footsteps on cobblestone and smoke from fireplaces create mystic moments. Children of all ages play late into the night on the quiet streets. Night time is not threatening, it is a celebration of another day both coming and going. Night time is magical. The town seems smaller. The world becomes all you can see looking down a street. It is easy to focus on the smallest thing. And behind the walls there are other worlds: private legacies, conversations., comforts, learnings, entertainments, deliberations, dreams.
 Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

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