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Silvia Patricia Paredes Hernndez Karina Luna Flores

BRIEF HISTORY OF REAL DE CATORCE


The Dolores mine also gave another abundant silver bonanza called Los Alpes (The Alps). At that time, the land division was composed of political parties, which nowadays is the equivalent of judicial districts. Real de Catorce was precisely the administrative center of the party with its name, so here were the main authorities, as were the sub-prefect, the town hall, the mining representation and subsequently, the district court. In the year of 1779 Don Silvestre Alonso Lopez Portillo was appointed by the superior government of Mexico, through the general mining court of the kingdom, to take over the entire government, politically and economically, that would lead to the establishment, development and benefit of this township. In those years Mr. Ramon de Ureche who exercised his authority in Charcas, was also appointed, and ordered to transfer to this place to assist as authority in the foundation of this town. At first, there was a temporary chapel attended by Franciscans, but on February 14 of the year of 1783, the first stone was laid of what is now the parish of the Purisima Concepcion. The dedication ceremony took place on December 7, 1817, but the abundance of ornaments caused a fire that damaged the building so it was until 1820 or 1821 that it was used for worship. There is a sculpture of St. Francis of Assisi in the parish that for many years has earned fame as a miraculous saint, people go on a daily basis to pay mandas or solemn promises, more so in the secular-religious festivity which is celebrated starting on the second half of September and lasting until the end of October, in which many devotees and merchants arrive in Real. The importance of Real de Catorce was so that it had its own mint house of which the building remains, but it only operated for a very short time, because this happened in the 1860decade, in which Mexico had the Maximilian Empire and the concern over the government of Benito Jurez. So Emperor Maximilian ordered its closure. Coins of 2, 4 and 8 reales were minted In this house. Previously, in 1811, coins of 8 reales were minted, which was an extremely rare coinage, but they must have been minted in ore reduction plants or in private homes. In 1808, there was another 8 reales coin that historically was of a special coinage that miners of this place had made as a contribution to the construction of the shrine of Guadalajara. Real de Catorce had its bullring where Ponciano Diaz (Torero Charro), Saturnino Frutos (Ojitos) and the Maestro of Kalifa de Leon, Rodolfo Gaona perReal de Catorece

Real de Catorce at 1893

San Agustn Mine at 1900

formed. There was the Lavin Theater where zarzuela plays were presented. There was a cocks palenque, which was restored, and is now one of the tourist attractions. Another tourist attraction is the Ogarrio tunnel, 2,300 meters in length, which is the main access route into town. The inauguration of the last great construction of Catorce, because the downfall came next, was on April 2, 1901. It was built by the House of Don Gregorio de la Maza y Gomez de la Puente, to connect the city of Catorce with the major subdivision of Refugio, where the rich mine of Santa Ana is located, owned by the same house. Don Roberto Irizar executed the plan. The work is admired by its own people and by strangers and it was named Ogarrio because the de la Maza family originally came from the town of Ogarrio, in Spain. In the year of 1834, Jose Tomas de Orozco built a 1.200 flutes tubular organ, which is in the parish. There were some modest local newspapers, amongst others: El Eco de Catorce (The Echo of Catorce) and El Eco de la Montaa (The Echo of the Mountain.) To have an idea of the importance of this town, Porfirio Daz came in 1895 as President of the Republic, to inaugurate machinery made in San Francisco, California for the Santa Ana mine. When coming to Santa Ana, he also visited Real de Catorce. The presidential entourage had to move by horse through the mountains, because the Ogarrio Tunnel did not exist. In recent years Real de Catorce has also been visited by presidents Luis Echeverria, Jos Lopez Portillo and Carlos Salinas de Gortari. Unfortunately mines are now inactive, so now tourism is the source of living, both domestic and foreign tourists daily visit this place, some out of devotion, others wishing to rest and others wanting to see the vestiges and traces of a true colonial city, which is the image of what it was in times of vast trade and wealth. One important fact worth noting is that several writers have written about this town, among others: The Explorer, Baron Alexander Von Humboldt in his book Political Essay on New Spain; Don Trinidad Garcia in his book The Mexican Miners, Guillermo Prieto, minister of Don Benito Jurez in his book Journey to the United States, and the contemporary writer and historian Octaviano Cabrera Ipia in his book El Real de Catorce and historian Rafael Montejano and Aguiaga, in his book Real de Catorce.

Dolores Trompeta mine bonanza June 1903

Real de Catorece

TOURIST INFORMATION
There are two main activities which the tourist can enjoy in Real de Catorce; the first takes place inside the town and the other in the surrounding mountains. Before going any further, it should be noted that this is a very peaceful place and that there is no night-life. It is an ideal place to relax and unwind from the stress of city life. In fact, it could be considered a healing environment. For this reason, walking is without a doubt the most important activity. The landscapes are marvelous and in about an hour you can walk to a hill known as El Quemado, a sacred Huichol site of enchanting beauty. From here one can enjoy a marvelous view of the mountains and the desert below, which is an abundant reward for the effort. This is only one of the numerous trips which can be enjoyed. Another interesting one is a visit to the Ghost Town, high above the Ogarrio Tunnel and past the old Concepcins Mine. Here you will find the ruins of the old mine works, including mills and warehouses, always enjoying the unforgettable and uplifting panoramas. It is also possible to rent horses, saving yourself some of the effort but still enjoying the mountains of Real. Inside the town one can visit historic sites and meander through its cobblestone streets enjoying the magical atmosphere of the place. These are some of the sites to visit: THE PARISH CHURCH OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION When the citys plan was sketched in 1780, a site was considered for the construction of a large church. At first, a chapel was built, located at the current vestry. The first stone of the Parish was laid on February 14, 1793. In the first five years, construction proceeded rapidly, due to the riches of the mines and the generous contributions from parishioners. In August 1797, the temple was already in use and mass could be celebrated. By 1798 the boom had declined and the work slowly went on. On September 7, 1800, when the first two tranches of the sanctuary were already completed, the dome caved in, and a woman was buried in the rubble. In 1807 the French architect John Crouset, which built the cathedral in Monterrey, took over the work. He abandoned it in 1814 when the church was nearing completion, with only a few details to be finished. The dedication ceremony took place on December 7, 1817, but the large amount of ornaments and wax caused a fire that damaged the building and some altars so the use of the temple became effective until Real de Catorece

1820 or 1821. During the 1910 Revolution, worship at the church was suspended and the church was confiscated. In 1939, Father Albino Enriquez, after long and difficult efforts, managed to rescue the church. He restored and redecorated the Parish thanks to contributions made by pilgrims and he built the tower where they placed the clock that Porfirio Daz donated as a gift to the mine of Santa Ana in his visit in 1895. The blessing of the improvements took place on July 12, of 1942. The first image venerated in the chapel was an 1.10 wide and 1.70 meters high oil painting of the Limpia Concepcion, portrayed as the original from Real de Sierra de Pinos. The dedication ceremony took place in 1781 and the godparents were the founder of Real de Catorce, Silvestre Lopez Portillo and the first diocesan priest, bachellor Don Ignacio Aguilar. By 1795, this first image had already been replaced with one 1.60 meters tall, donated by Don Francisco de Aguirre and Miguel dedicated to the Purisima Concepcion, which was placed on the High Altar in a wooden gilded niche with glass. The facade of the parish is of neoclassical style with Doric elements. The inside measurements of the church are: 53 meters long, 13 meters wide, the vaults height is 17 meters and the dome is 32 meters high. The floor is made of large pine boards that thanks to the climate are in good condition. The large 1,200 flutes tubular organ, built in 1834 by Jose Tomas Tello de Orozco was ineptly mutilated. Among the Parish altars, San Jose stands out, it is neoclassical style, with its original stucco, a high-quality marble imitation, excellent design and proportions. The High Altar is also of neoclassical style and was repainted white. At the center is a stand with the Purisima Concepcion in its glass. In the left transept you can appreciate an oil painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe made by Jose de Alcbar in 1784. The canvas, 1 meter wide and 1.80 high, is in a beautiful frame that is made of ten white and gold silver leafs that cover the wood in the front and sides. The bottom is exposed as the respective ornament was stolen. The framework was the work of Jose Mariano Avila, renowned silversmith of Mexico City. The painting of the entire church was restored around 1980. The image that is most worshipped is that of the miraculous St. Francis of Assisi, also known as Panchito or El Charrito. The altar is neo-

Real de Catorece

Gothic style and was built at the beginning of the twentieth century. The image is located in the central part of the altar, it is a wooden sculpture, jointed in arms and legs and even made to stand. His Feast Day is on October 4, date in which thousands of pilgrims arrive, especially from the north of the Republic. After the Revolution, catorceos emigrants started to return year after year, to their old home and pay homage to the miraculous saint, fueling a tradition exclusively out of the popular faith that became larger every year, until it reached the huge proportions it has today. The rear walls of the temple are decorated with many retablos (votive offerings or hand painted metal plaques) that pilgrims leave to thank the saint for blessings received. It is an expression of popular art that stirs your emotions, because of the paintings and prayers simplicity and naivety.

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MINT HOUSE The catorceos of yesteryear always had the dream of building their own mint house. A place to mint coins so the precious silver could avoid the long and dangerous trip through unsafe roads, full of bandits on the lookout of the precious metal, to other houses where they would be converted into money, and then have them returned to their place of origin. Carrying out this project would end the constant need of coins in Real, mostly of small coins as were the cuartillas de cobre (Copper quarters), of little value, but necessary to pay the workers at the mines. Long before the existence of the mint house, the catorceos were already coining, sometimes legally, but not always. The first coins appeared in 1808 and served as collaboration for the construction of the sanctuary of the Cathedral of Guadalajara. Wealthy people from Catorce corresponded with generosity and minted the coins in Real to support the cause. The second coin of year of 1811, is now a valuable and rare piece of 8 silver reales, sent to be coined by the insurgent Mariano Jimenez, on the last days of the year 1810, in his passing through the town to raise funds. Copper quarters were legally minted in 1815 by Captain Teodoro Parrodi; it was a local currency with no value outside the Real. The exchange became difficult because it had been produced in excess, as well as the ease with which one could forge it. Copper quarters called Public Funds were legally coined in 1822, as currency and as a necessary coin. Pieces of 2,4 and 8 reales were also minted in private houses. The same year when Don Santos de la Maza purchased land in front of the parish church, then called Plaza del Carbn (Coal Square), with the purpose of building the mint house, promising to give the building a beautiful facade. The house began its work in January 1865, but had a very brief life, it was active only 14 months, and it was shut down by orders of Emperor Maximilian, who was afraid that it would fall into the hands of Juarezs forces. In its short life, 1.5 million pesos were minted.

Real de Catorece

EL PALENQUE (COCK FIGHTING RING) A block from the Plaza Hidalgo to the north. It is an arena for cockfighting built in the style of a Roman amphitheatre. The site provides us with excellent acoustics and is very suggestive, so often there are cultural, musical or political events. The building is not the original, since the first, made of consumable material, was built in 1789. Years later, in 1805 Mr. Ward, ambassador to England, tells that when he was hosted in the town of Venado, route to Catorce, the sound of cocks being trained there to fight in the Christmas Holidays in Catorce did not let him sleep. By 1863, the entrepreneur Diego Gonzalez Lavn, in times of splendor, built a new stone palenque except for the stands that were made of wood. In 1977, the city council ordered some arrangements. The arena was rebuilt and the stands were made of stone.

THE PLAZA HIDALGO In the towns original plan there were two large public spaces: one in front of the parish, and the Trade Square, currently Plaza Hidalgo. At first, this square followed the inclination of the street and had a fountain in the center. By 1885, there were several urban reforms: drinking water was supplied to the fountain, the Square was leveled to use it as a garden and they placed fifty two benches, some arranged in an efficient and peculiar way: benches and barred areas alternate, forming part of the squares perimeter. In 1888, forged arches that serve as verandas, were added. In 1928, a kiosk replaced the old fountain. In its surroundings, the main businesses were established. The square operated as Real de Catorces social and economic center.

Real de Catorece

THE BULLFIGHT RING The first bullfight ring was built so that bullfights could be enjoyed as part of the celebrations, which lasted from the 13 th to the 20 th of February of 1791, organized to celebrate Charles IV arrival to the throne. The funder of the expensive work was Jorge Parrodi, of Italian origin, who arrived as a young man to New Spain, where he married and became rich with the mining business. He arrived at Real when it was founded and was owner of the mine of Nuestra Seora de los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows). Due to the large gap in the site that was chosen for the bullring, a part was debased, and the other was leveled for which a stone wall 43 meters long, 4 meters high and with a width of 1 meter and a half for firmness was built. The bullfight ring was formed like a polygon eight sides figure, leaving the tablados on the four larger sides and leaving four doors in the opposite intermediates, , one of them used as a place for keeping the bulls that were to be presented. The Plaza was painted blue and white, and on the side facing south, a large ephemeral facade was placed, constructed and painted in stone cardboard, 16 meters long, six meters wide and 11 meters tall, designed by Nicolas Zapata. It represented the perspective of a colonnade with five large arches on two floors. Symbolic figures like the portraits of the kings and major authorities of Real were to be found. The entrepreuneur Diego Gonzalez Lavn renewed the bullfight ring in 1863, as he was in possession of a contract for organizing bullfights. The original octagonal coliseum was replaced by the current arena.

Real de Catorece

THE CEMETERY The cemetery is one of the oldest buildings of Real. It consists of two sections, one dedicated to San Francisco and another to the Virgin of Guadalupe. In the first, the Franciscans built a chapel in 1775, when the place was called Los Alamos and the rich veins of ore had not yet been discovered nor did it have many dwellers. In that old part is the old vaulted chapel of El Descanso (the Rest), that maybe belonged to that old chapel. Now it has a neoclassical facade, built perhaps by the same architect who did the himafronte of the parish church, since it has the same stylistic guidelines: classical portico columns, entablature and triangular pediment with a niche at the center. On the wall of the cemetery near the remate (end), you can see the painted strip decoration. The entries, while similar, are different: the one for the old part has an image of Saint Francis, moreover, it is decorated with burial motifs and has dark stone around its entrance arch. This arch undoubtedly comes from a treaty in architecture. It has nine sides and implies a great knowledge on the art of cutting stone. The other facade bears the Virgin de Guadalupe; has white stone, while the other is black. Despite the century that separates the construction of both facades, they harmonize because the second took into account the constructive elements of the first and reinterpreted them with the plastic vocabulary of the last third of the nineteenth century. The two gate bars are made with high quality wrought iron work, similar to what was then done in Zacatecas. The church is dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. They say it was sponsored by Padre (Father) Flores, a rich miner and priest. The large construction was reinforced by two pairs of buttresses, the south side flanks the lateral portico, and the ones on the north side are hidden by a later construction. The faade is extremely simple, strongly contrasting with the interior. The presbytery and crossing are covered by vaults and wooden roof. The dome rests on a octagonal drum and scallops in which four of the famous women of the Old Testament are represented: Esther, Deborah, Judith and Abigail. The interior surprises because of its abundant painting decorations. In the simulated painted altars architectural elements, hangings and characters are notorious. The main image, a sculpture, was added to the false altar. In the presbytery, the high altar, rich in colors, consists of a classical temple in false perspective, with a canvas of the Guadalupana in the center. It is flanked by two archangels. On the side walls, only the golden frames that once hosted the Guadalupana appearances remain, they were Real de Catorece

transferred to the sacristy of the parish. On the crossing of the Gospel some large murals of good quality painting that represent scenes from the Passion of Christ: Prayer in the Garden, The Column of the Christ, The Ecce Homo and The Holy Women with the Crucifixion in the center are kept in poor condition; the Christ, that was in the painted cross, is missing. On the other side of the crossing are painted curtains, and according to what they say, the miraculous Saint Francis, who now sits in the parish, was standing up. The Five Lords and the Souls in Purgatory, signed by Francisco Borja in 1828, were donated to this temple in 1982 by Jose Cerrillo Chowel, owner of the Padre Flores mine and of the Casa de Cantera (Quarry House). That same year a waterproof seal was applied to the deck of the church, which stopped deterioration of the paintings and murals, and the beams were also restored. In the churchs pavement and atrium are the tombs of several of the most important characters of the era, famous dwellers who brought the vanguard of technological development to Real de Catorce and who sponsored the mining of the vast quantity of silver from its ore veins.

Real de Catorece

OGARRIO TUNNEL Paradoxically, just before the last golden era of Catorce ended, the Ogarrio Tunnel was inaugurated, it considerably shortened the distance between the Real and the east side of the mountain where many mine shafts can be found, as Santa Ana, El Refugio, Boqueiro and Ave Mara. It facilitated the transportation of minerals to the estates of Potrero, Cedral and Matehuala, located in the eastern plains where it was refined. Ogarrio, is the name of the de la Maza family hometown, located near Santander in northern Spain, it was Mr. Irizar, the familys property administrator, who named the tunnel. He and his son Roberto designed and built it; they used the Dolores mineshaft and re routed it towards Real de Catorce In the inside a double tram pulled by mules carrying ore from the vein of St. Augustine and the Catorce passengers was installed. The inauguration was very stylish, There was a homage for don Vicente Irizar, sponsor of all the mining innovations carried out during those fifty years in the St. Augustine and Santa Ana mines, and crowned with the Ogarrio Tunnel. In January of 1982 the current floor and lighting was placed thanks to the state governor Carlos Jonguitud Barrios.

Real de Catorece

THE MUSEUM The Parish Museum is located on Lanzagorta Street, in front of the Parish Church; it was born on the decade of the eighties thanks to the will and effort of one of the most beloved parishioners of Real: father Jose Robledo Landeros. In those days, because of poverty and ignorance, the catorceos were selling antiques, which were part of the history of the place, at any price and without realizing the value they had. Father Robledo put an end to this situation. He told the villagers to sell the antiques to him, with the intention of founding a small museum, which would be one of the main attractions of Real. Although austere, it has an interesting collection of tools used in mines, as well as samples of different minerals. It displays objects of everyday use, musical instruments and bands that Catorce had, remnants of a tramcar of the Ogarrio Tunnel and other curiosities. It also has a good selection of old photographs.

Real de Catorece