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Fountain Lore Featured in Upcoming PPN Architectural Tour

PATRONATO

By Cheryl Young

Fanciful, intriguing, or just simple and utilitarian, there are at least 45 fountains or fuentes, scattered around the streets of San Miguel de Allende. At one time, these fuentes were the only water source for the households in each neighborhood, as evidenced by the grooves worn into the front. Imagine centuries of forearms, resting on the front of the fountain, waiting for buckets to be filled as their owners chatted away with each other. Most of these fountains are from the nineteenth and twentieth century, but a few remain from the mid-1700s. The piping for the early fountains was a gift to the city from the de la Canal family, whose vast estates extended all the way to San Luis de Potosí, almost 90 miles north.

The city fountains were much more than a source of household water. Many years ago, a contributor to Atención wrote of the fountains, “They are the heart and nerve center, the gossip center, the place where romance blossoms. At times, plots have been hatched around them.”

Fish, shells, saints, urns, towers, and a mermaid enhance various fuentes. Peggy Jones, tour coordinator and Architectural Tour guide, has a personal favorite: Fuente del Conde (The Count’s Fountain) on calle Sollano, just up from calle Correo. It is named after the Count of Loja, also known as Señor Francisco Jose de Landeta, whose home was across the street in the building that now houses the radio station.

The face of the Count, with a ruffled collar, spouts water through his pursed lips. The little metal door in the back of the fountain is said to have allowed access to the water for the nuns who once lived there, so they would not have to go out in public.

You can learn more about the fuentes by taking the special Patronato Pro Niños Architectural Tour on Thursday, July 19. The tour starts at 10:00am and runs for about 2.5 hours. Please assemble in front of the Parroquia at 9:45 am. No reservations are needed, but group size may need to be limited in high season. Donations are 350 pesos per person.

100 percent of the tour donations and well-appreciated tips go to support the important work of Patronato Pro Niños. For 48 years, this nonprofit organization has been providing necessary medical and dental services to children in San Miguel whose families cannot afford to provide it for them. In 2017, over 12,500 children benefited from PPN services: that is more than 1,000 per month!

Our knowledgeable volunteer guides also lead the highly rated (five stars on Trip Advisor) PPN Historical Walking Tours every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Same start time, same gathering place, and same duration. Again, no reservations required. Donations for this tour are 300 pesos per person, and all tours are given in English. Customized private tours can be arranged with five days’ notice by contacting Lily at patronaotoproninos.org or calling 152 7796.

 

Architectural Walking Tour

Patronato Pro Niños

Thu, Jul 19, 9:45am

Meet in the Jardín, across from the Parroquia

350 pesos donation

Historical Walking Tour

Every Mon, Wed, Fri, 9:45am

Meet in the Jardín, across from the Parroquia

300 pesos donation

Proceeds from all tours benefit Patronato Pro Niños

 

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