Did you know that the legend of Zorro has a direct link to Scottsdale? Or do you know what Scottsdale has in common with the San Francisco Gold Rush?
Álamos, Sonora, Mexico is the probable birthplace of Joaquin Murrieta, also known as “El Patrio,” who was the inspiration for creating the character that we all know today as Zorro.
Although it’s difficult to track down the true facts and real origins, there is a baptism record on file in Álamos where a child by the name of Joaquin Murrieta was baptized in 1810. Scottsdale is a sister city with Álamos, Sonora, México.
On Thursday, February 16, the official historian of Álamos, Juan Carlos Holguín Balderrama, presented at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West about the relationship and influence that Álamos had in the Southwestern United States. The link with Zorro was one of the topics. The event was co-sponored by the museum and Scottsdale Sister Cities Association.
If you’re familiar with the De Anza trail in Pima County that crosses through Tucson, then you should also know that the namesake for that trail comes from Juan Bautista De Anza Becerra Nieto.
De Anza stopped in Álamos in 1775 on his way north, recruited a group of Spanish supporters and continued his expedition north, through what is now Tucson and Casa Grande and ended in northern California. He founded the mission of San Francisco de Asis in today’s San Francisco which locals know as “the bay area.”
In the year 1849, one year after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, when México lost a great part of its territory to the United States, the Gold Rush started and brought hopefuls to strike gold in northern California. Many of those hopefuls looking for riches were Alamenses that left Álamos and headed north to California. They returned later back to México with less than what they came with.
The first Americans came to Álamos in the mid-1800s because of the silver mines that were generating massive wealth. Large mansions of majestic Spanish architecture were built and local families enjoyed a time of abundance.
In the 1880s, Porfirio Diaz became the president of Mexico. During his regime of 30 years, the transcontinental railroad was built and spanned from Álamos to Tucson and beyond. During this time, wealthy families were sending their children to schools in California. As a consequence, the Mexican government built and opened schools across the state of Sonora.
After the “Porfiriatio” regime, the Mexican Revolution started and residents from Álamos began an exodus to the northern states of Arizona. Later, the mines began to play out and Álamos became a ghost town. The population was cut in half.
Fast forward to the 1950s when American tourists “rediscovered” Álamos and began restoring the old and large mansions into modern homes, some of which are now used as charming hotels and restaurants welcoming international travelers.
As a result of the massive restorations, the city has been designated a “Pueblo Magico” by the Mexican government. It’s now an international tourist destination but maintains it’s early Spanish character.
The presentation by Holguin Balderrama concluded with the showing of the official City of Alamos document designating Scottsdale as a sister city in 1969. Alamos was Scottsdale’s first sister city.
In 1968–69, Scottsdale City Council sent three of its members to visit three Mexican cities to explore mutual compatibility as sister cities. It was the history of Alamos and warm greetings of Alamos leaders that led the delegation to recommend this relationship be initiated.
In addition, the creation of this sister city connection was the first such relationship between any Arizona city and any city in Sonora, Mexico. This began a special bond between Arizona and it’s southern state, Sonora. It was about 10 years later that Phoenix and Hermosillo became sister cities. Now several Arizona cities have sister cities in Sonora.
For more information about the Scottsdale Museum of the West, go to https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=scottsdale+museum+of+the+west. For more information about Scottsdale’s sister cities, go to https://www.scottsdalesistercities.org/.