Friday, May 6, 2016
CAPILLA WITHOUT A DOOR
After four visits to Rancho Viejo, we decided to explore some of the other ranchos along Highway 51 between San Miguel de Allende and Dolores Hidalgo and there are many. Los Galvanes (population: 1402; dwellings: 256; 1900 meters; GPS 100° 48’ 2.96” W, 21° 3’ 57.42” N) was our first stop.
I had found a hand drawn map on the internet for the location of the one capilla antigua (c. 1915) in this community and, lucky for us, we had this map with us as this capilla is located in the middle of a corn field. It looked promising to paint, but as we walked around the abandoned building neither of us could find a door. On closer inspection we found the decorative keystone barely visible at ground level.
First, it appeared that the entire capilla, bell tower and all, had sunk about eight feet. We realized that wasn’t possible and, most likely, silt from a devastating flood had buried the capilla to the height of the keystone. The owner of the property confirmed that a flood from the nearby Rio Laja had buried the capilla. Difficult to determine the date of the flood but a resident of Los Galvanes thought it had occurred 40 or 45 years ago. The Ignacio Allende dam, constructed in 1967, regulates Rio Laja. There are devastating flood recorded for the area in 1926, 1955 and 1971.
There being no good vantage point from which to paint, we decide to explore other ranchos and, after a long and dusty drive with a few wrong turns, found the small rancho, Las Trojes de Belen (population: 128; dwellings: 25; 1940 meters; 100° 46’ 3.94” W, 21° 4’ 24.88” N). In the shade of some mesquite trees with many children for company, we painted the Capilla de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. According to the children, there are ruins of trojes (granaries) nearby that were once part of Hacienda La Petaca (c. 1760).