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San Miguel: Photographs of a Sleepy Town In 1955

By Michael Olwyler

It is important for Mexicans and expatriates of San Miguel de Allende today to remember their history and their journey, to better negotiate the direction into their future. The thousands of photographs taken by Peter Olwyler present a guide for interested travelers.

These two images of the southern area of the city were taken by Peter Olwyler in 1955. Here, two test photographs are presented that he intended to merge in the darkroom. In one photo you see Zacateros and Ancha de San Antonio streets, and in the background on the right, the Parroquia de San Antonio de Padua surrounded by cultivated fields. Another photo features Dr. Hernández Macías Street, and in the background, the Cerro de las Tres Cruces, El Caracol (highway José Manuel Zavala) and cultivated fields spilling down the slopes toward town. In the center, spanning the two photos, lies the Instituto Allende where Peter was the Public Relations Manager, hired by Nell Fernández and Stirling Dickinson.

Recently, these images were found when Peter’s entire body of work was being archived and a new photo book of his work was being prepared.

The new photo book, San Miguel de Allende & Its People: Photographs from the Mexico Period 1955—1971 Peter Olwyler, presents a retrospective look at the history of San Miguel in the second half of the 20th century. It will be important for present generations to understand their parents’ and grandparents’ history and events that led the city to what it is today.

San Miguel de Allende & Its People is a slim book in both English and Spanish, packed with black and white photographs of the Mexican and expatriate people of the city and the geographic center of Mexico. A limited edition of the book will be available around the end of March 2018 in San Miguel. For more information on the book, contact Michael Olwyler at


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