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Tales from Old San Miguel

Calle Baeza



By Jesús Aguado

How does one gauge the changes in a city over time? One might say in its architecture and people, or in its traditions and folklore.

A new book, Estelas de un Tiempo, documents the changes that took place in San Miguel de Allende from 1860 to 1960 through more than 150 period photographs found in private collections and in the public domain.

The book was the brainchild of Sanmiguelense Maruja González, who in 2014 thought of creating a book of photographs of collective memories of the city that are quickly  disappearing—in some cases memories that remain in the minds of a precious few. She wanted to recover the memories of both public and private spaces in town, of the people, of their traditions, and of their costumes.

After an introductory meeting in 2015 with the San Miguel branch of the Seminar of Mexican Culture, the book was published this year with more than 2,000 old photographs.

The book is a journey to the past, where lovers of photography and the city can go back in time to when the Parroquia’s neo-Gothic façade did not yet exist, when the railroad tracks for the trolley between the train station and calle Pepe Llanos were under construction, when water was still carried in buckets from the public fountains to homes, and when a milkman strolled the streets carrying a container on his back and distributing milk in the Historic Center. The book shows architecture in the city that is now gone. It also highlights the people who lived then and passed down San Miguel’s heritage to subsequent generations.

In the book, Matilde González Rullán writes, “As you read this book, you will find answers to questions like: When did San Miguel become important? Why is the name Allende attached to it? What was life like in these old homes? Who walked these streets? How did they dress? What was it like to walk day after day though these gardens, squares, and parks?

The book, sponsored by Intercam, is available at the Casa de Allende Museum. The cost, a 500-peso donation, goes to the Amigos del Museo organization.


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