Álamos Bandstand – Kiosk

76… Quiet days in Plaza de Las Armas as stewardship continues on…

Kiosk- band stand with green roof, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

1984, It is a quiet day in the well-maintained Plaza de Las Armas.

All sight lines lead one to the Kiosk, the visual centerpiece of the
Plaza de Las Armas. In days of old, traveling dance bands would
donate an hour public performance in the Kiosk to avoid paying a
municipal tax and also help promote their evening concert. The
elevated bandstand Kiosk offers a wonderful vantage point of Plaza
activities and surroundings.

Looking down at the Plaza in the Spring of 1982. Photo: Kit Nuzum.

Bishop Reyes Cathedral and Sierra de Álamos as a backdrop, especially
with magic sunrise-sunset light, is a stunning vista from the Kiosk.
Here, curious imaginations can sense the past. The kiosk, which was
built in Mazatlán, Sinoloa and moved in sections and pieces to
Álamos, was dedicated on September 15, 1904.
And the music continues on.

Summer day in the Plaza de Las Armas, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

1996, large rose bushes filled up the park surrounding the Kiosk.

Twelve years have passed from the first photo to the second. Much is
the same and some has changed. The landscaping is different: roses
cover much of the bare ground have replace small trees and scattered
bushes. A decorative backdrop for a drinking fountain has been added
to the northwest corner of the park. And the kiosk’s canopy is now
painted red. Many of my North American friends in Álamos were
displeased with the change, they felt it was a cheap move to make the
plaza more touristy. Ah, the hands of change move in synchronized
concert with the hands of time as man restores, rebuilds and remodels.

restoration work on the Kiosk in Plaza de Las Armas, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Restorers begin work on the inside panels of the Kiosk canopy.

The cloth painted mural panels in the Kiosk were badly deteriorated
and pigeons nests were inside the torn fabric and the canopy
ceiling. Museo Costumbrista de Sonora’s director Tony Estrada
was in charge of the restoration project. Osvaldo Contreras Cantu,
the man in red, did the reproductions of the quiosco paintings in
1996. Another restoration took place in 2008 and there will be
more in the future – just another day in the life and upkeep
in a Colonial town.

alamos sonora mexico kiosk torn fabric panel, 1996, photo by anders tomlinson

Music is part of the fabric that is daily life in Álamos.

Antonio, a fine-art sculptor in his own right, has strived to maintain
the colonial integrity of Centro Álamos. As I write this post I
realize I have images in one of my Álamos books of un-scanned slides
of the panels just before these men started to remove them.

torn kiosk fabric panel, 1996, alamos sonora mexico. photo by anders tomlinson

There is wear and tare as days, becomes months, become years.

Earlier today I scanned the slides and added them to my digital Álamos
image database. I saw on the beautiful tourism site Álamos, Pueblo Magico
that the panels were restored, and maintained, to their original
magnificence. Stewardship in the face of advancing time and the hands
of unrelenting gravity is never done until there is no more to steward.

Plaza de Las Armas seen from Mirador, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A bird-eyes view of Plaza de Las Armas as seen from Mirador.

Even from a great distance the Kiosk draws the eye as one takes in the
Plaza from up high on Mirador to the east. The colonial charm of
Álamos, and the interaction of its citizens, is evident in this photo.
On November 23, 2000, President Zedillo declared 188 Álamos, Sonora,
Mexico structures as National Historic Monuments. The buildings seen
here were built in the last half of the 18th century on older existing
sites. I am certain that a photo taken today from the same place with
the same lens will be much the same. Plants and paint may be
different but the historic structures will be the structures that have
been here for over 200 years.

The Kiosk-Bandstand in Plaza de las Armas, Álamos, Sonora, México from Guadalupe hill in the Summer of 1996.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Kiosk scenes and details from 1996.

The Kiosk can be a place to be seen and a place to look out and see.
At times it is a place to roost or talk or play or take photos or
embrace life.

Kiosk/Bandstand in Plaza de las Armas, Álamos, Sonora, México.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson, late February 2017.

Carnival come to the Plaza in late February 2017.

It is another year and another day in the Plaza. The kiosk/bandstand
remains. There have been changes to it and much has remained the
same, this is true for much of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Detail of the Kiosk in Plaza de las Armas, Álamos, Sonora, mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson, late february 2017.

The beauty is in the detail for all to see and appreciate.

I believe the restoration project in 2008 accounts for the kiosk’s
present color schemes. The surrounding bushes and trees have gotten
larger. The last time I visited, the kiosk was surrounded by rose
bushes, several palm trees and mucho bare ground. Often the first
person I saw in the morning was the gardener tending roses at

Nighttime is coming to the kiosk andPlaza de las Armas, Álamos, Sonora, mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson, late february 2017.

Nighttime is a special time in the Plaza, most weekends there is an event.

There are magical moment awaiting the kiosk as the sun is going down
and stars will come out and move slowly across the Sonoran sky. One
of the biggest changes I saw since visiting in 1996 was the amount of
decorative municipal lighting in Centro Álamos including the staircase
leading to the top of Mirador. It is beginning to cooldown. Food
aromas, music and conversation fill the Plaza. The kiosk is here
for another night as it has been since 1904.

Estudiantina de Álamos performs before a packed Plaza
as a film crew captures the event.

It is a big day in the Plaza. A TV crew has come to town and is filming
a music concert. Estudiantina de Álamos, a crowd favorite, is
performing. They will also back up several other acts. The bandstand
is surrounded by adolescent girls and an scattered smiling mothers.

Spring Day in the Plaza – Part Two: Getting Ready for another Day.
In the cool of the morning folks go about hand sweeping and cleaning
the streets and sidewalks of Álamos, Sonora, Mexiso. Residents take
pride in the town’s appearance. Enjoy a 360 degree pan of the plaza
from the gazebo-bandstand in its center. We end with the garbage men
making their rounds.

This is a Blessed Season for a Multitude of Reasons.
In mid-afternoon the air pressure begins to drop and a stiff wind
sweeps the valley from the west, a storm is coming. Night falls and
showers start. We go from the Plaza to the Alameda and back. The
following day the sun comes out and then is covered by clouds. Kids
play and men work gathering sand in the arroyos. A summer day can be
complex in its textures and atmospheres.

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All photos by Anders Tomlinson unless noted.
©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.