San Miguel’s Secrets Revealed: History of Street Names, Unique Sites, and Zoo

By Kathleen Bennett

Lecture

San Miguel’s Secrets Revealed

History of San Miguel’s Street Names, Most Unique Sites, Zoo

Tue, Feb 18, 3–4pm

Sala Quetzal

La Biblioteca, Reloj 50A

200 pesos

Proceeds benefit San Miguel’s library

Oral histories of San Miguel de Allende’s early colonial families were presented on February 4 in the public library’s Sala Quetzal as part of “San Miguel’s Secrets Revealed.” Kathleen Bennett, facilitator of these programs, wishes to thank Jaime Fernandez Harris, Patricia Merrill, Javier Zavala, and Eduardo Sautto for sharing family photographs and anecdotes with a sold out audience. One important secret they revealed to us was that their ancestors often knew one another very well. Their generous sharing of these memories and their time with us will be long remembered.

San Miguel’s Secrets Revealed’s final lecture about the evolution of San Miguel from a small Franciscan mission to a UNESCO World Heritage city takes place in the library’s Sala Quetzal on Tuesday, February 18, 3–4pm. Surely the best has been saved for the last! This is a Virtual Tour of the city with absolutely no walking required.

All street names in San Miguel are related to historical events or persons important in Mexico’s past. For example, La Corregidora Street refers to a heroine of the Mexican War for Independence, Maria Josefa Ortiz Dominguez. Juárez Street refers to Mexico’s first indigenous president, elected in 1857, who passed the Reform Laws granting the Mexican federal government rights to expropriate properties owned by the Catholic Church. Learning these historical connections with San Miguel’s street names provides a good basis for understanding this city’s evolution.

Have you noticed truly odd and unusual features in San Miguel’s architecture? There are water spouts shaped like animal heads and arms without bodies. Where is San Miguel’s most narrow house? Is there a tavern with its name printed backwards on the outside wall? Exploring these unusual features adorning San Miguel’s buildings is fun and creates a new perspective when walking the city’s narrow lanes.

Finally, in San Miguel’s Zoo the animals may not be alive, but they exist abundantly in San Miguel’s architecture. A good place to start observing the diverse animals in San Miguel’s Zoo is Casa Cohen, or “Noah’s Ark” on Reloj Street. For many years, the Cohen family operated a successful hardware business at this address. The multiple animal images were designed by the owner himself, a successful merchant and member of San Miguel’s vibrant Jewish community.

Tickets can be purchased at the Public Library’s east reception desk for 200 pesos. All proceeds benefit library programs.

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