03 August 2008

Silao Train Station

This morning my wife Gina said to me, "Vamos a pasar por mi Mamá y dar una vuelta" or in other words, "Let's pick up my Mom and go for a ride". This usually means picking up my mother-in-law Carmelita and heading off into the surrounding territory to see what we can scrounge up. Today we headed up to Romita on the way to Silao. Carmelita is from Silao and she likes to buy a special cheese that they make there. We also picked up some sweet corn and other things at little nooks and crannies along the way. When we entered Silao we went past the old train station and I stopped to take some pictures. This old train station is a very interesting place as far as historical sites go.

Silao is located in the geographical center of Mexico at the foot of a mountain called "El Cerro de Cubilete". In Spanish, the word "cubilete" means "tumbler" in the sense of the little cup that people use to throw dice. El Cerro del Cubilete (literally "Tumbler Mountain") is a 2,700m (8,860 feet) tall "hill" atop of which is a temple to Cristo Rey (Christ the King), and a 23m (75 ft) tall statue of Christ the King with outstretched arms. Silao is also the "jumping off point" for the City of Guanajuato. Anyone who wanted to go to Guanajuato by train needed to go to Silao first and change to another train called "La Mula" or "The Mule". This change took place at the station pictured below which was built in the late 1800's. During the time that Porfirio Diaz was in power anybody who was anybody in Mexico would have changed trains at this station including the president himself. It was even used during the Mexican Revolution by revolutionaries like Pancho Villa.

Many of the people who wrote about Mexico during this era mention changing trains at Silao including Francis Hopkinson Smith whom I wrote about in a recent blog entry entitled "White Umbrella". Near the station there are three old hotels that catered to the travelers. They are no longer used as hotels and the most flamboyant, the Hotel Central, is mostly just an abandoned wreck. I took some pictures that you can see below. I only wish that I had the guest registry for this hotel. It would contain the names of just about every important person who visited Mexico from 1888 until about 1925. If only the walls could talk!






4 comments:

Lonely Paul said...

Hello

Rachel said...

Loved this post. Silao and war? Silao and new Puerto Interior? Back to its former glory?

glorv1 said...

This was very informative and the pictures were great. Thank you.

Bob Mrotek said...

Lonely Paul,
Hello

Rachel,
I would love to buy that old hotel and restore it. Do you know anyone who would float me a loan? Hint, hint! :)

Glorv1,
I really appreciate comments like yours. It keeps me going...

Mexico Bob

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.