City Organizer: Alejandra Martinez
Walk Leader: IMPLAN Torreon & Vision Metropoli
Text by: Jaime Allegre
Photographs by: Alejandra Ramirez
There is a common saying in our city that goes “we conquered the desert”, but that saying can only be understood until you spend a couple of hours under the sun, which is exactly what we did in the first ever Jane’s Walk in Torreon. Since this event was historic for the city, the theme for this walk was just about that…history.
At 6:30 pm, a group of 46 participants gathered in the corner of “Plaza Mayor” (Mayor Plaza) to begin the walk. Everyone seemed enthusiastic, people with bicycles, cameras, and even dogs were prepared to learn a little bit about their town. Not even a temperature of 37° C (98.6°F) was able to diminish the amount of participants that walked the entire 800 meters.
The route began with a brief explanation of the “Palacio Federal” (Federal Palace), which was built a couple of years after WWII. We were able to appreciate several sculptures and representations of soviet ideologies, such as industry, sports, and work. The building’s design had traces of soviet architecture, which was a surprise for most of us to learn that, being that we are so close to the border with Texas.
We continued the walk through the Morelos Avenue, which has a vehicular lane on one side, and a pedestrian lane on the other. Right in the middle of the entire avenue, a line of never-ending palm trees provides some shade and comfort to everyone who walks through the street. It was through those trees that we made our way during the event, stopping in a couple of places along the way to learn about the history of this iconic avenue.
La Morelos was one of the busiest and most important avenues in Torreon, and it still holds a special place in the city’s social and economic context. Even though there have been ups and downs, La Morelos is still a frequent gathering point for people in town. We learned that around 1907, the year Torreon was officially pronounced as a city, there was a considerable amount of cultural diversity in town because of migrants from all over the world, and the Methodist Temple of San Pablo is a clear example of it. Unlike other cities, Torreon was not predominantly catholic.
Throughout the walk, we made several stops in other iconic buildings, such as the Hotel Rio Nazas, which was considered as the most luxurious hotel of the city. Early in the 1920’s, it began as a municipal jail, but during the 1950’s, an architect named Carlos Gomez Palacio transformed the building into a beautiful and modern hotel. With a legendary logo, the lobby has murals that represent the economic foundations of our region. Cotton, wheat, and the might Nazas River, were represented in the murals allowing the group to imagine what life was like many years ago. We were all marveled by the old but fancy hotel, and with a big round of applause, we continued our walk.
Even though the sun started to set, the temperature was still quite high, and we kept walking past some other interesting buildings. It was hard to believe that just 40 to 50 years ago, young people would come to this avenue as a focal meeting point. Boys and girls would cruise in their brand new cars, and they would walk all around the Morelos hoping to meet that special someone. I don’t think anyone can calculate just how many marriages began in this place.
As we approached the end of the journey, we stopped in the Bank of Mexico building built in 1947. Back in that time, the economic activity was so strong in the region that the Federal government decided to place the offices of the national bank in Torreon. Out of all the cities in the north, Torreon and the region had the greatest economic growth and performance. Maybe someday we’ll get to be as important as we were back then.
Finally, we arrived at the Teatro Nazas, were there was one last reflection of our past. By working together for our region, we can make it thrive as if did in the past. We said goodbye by applauding those who spoke and taught us so much about this iconic avenue. It was a pleasant experience, and I’m sure everyone left eager to learn more their city and region.