Photos - Santa Rosalia, Baja California
|The Santa Barbara church, circa 1898.........................and now.
The French arrived in 1885 to mine the high grade copper here. The new company El Boleo negotiated a 99 year lease
with the Mexican government, the first 50 years tax free. Soon they built an ore smelter along with the infrastructure to
support it. Unfortunately the French created what amounted to a slave labor force using the local Mexicans. The
mistreated workers organized labor strikes which were often put down with force. In 1903 two-thousand Japanese and
three-thousand Chinese were brought in to work the mines. Many died. During the peak year of 1910 ore extraction
reached 366,000 tons with 13,000 tons in copper ingots being produced. A harbor was formed with two breakwalls
made of slag from the smelting plant. After fifty years of mining the high grade ore ran out and the French left. The
Mexicans continued mining until 1985 extracting the lower grade ore that was left using the now 100 year old French
equipment. The remains of the huge smelting plant and adjoining buildings can be explored at your own risk.
Often called the 'City of Wood' the town was mostly built with wood imported from Oregon and Canada giving it a unique
character. Among the interesting buildings is the Santa Barbara church that was reportedly designed by Gustave Eiffel
(Eiffel tower fame) and is actually made of metal sheeting. The original El Boleo mining headquarters on the hill has been
converted to a museum.
Today Santa Rosalia has replaced it's colonial past with fishing and tourism.
|El Boleo mining headquarters, 1910......................today it's a museum..
|Santa Rosalia Harbor, 1910.
|Santa Rosalia Harbor, 2007.
|Click on any image to enlarge
|The Copper Smelting Plant
|Turn of the century French Hotel Frances.
|What all the fuss was about.
20 × 2 × 6 inch "blister copper" ingot
|El Boleo steam locomotive.
|Hey, is this the hot, dusty road to bakery
|A great local bakery in Sta Rosalia.
Happy wife-Happy life, I always say.
|This guy used two 15' paddles to
move/remove the 'bolillos' in this 15ft
diameter wood fired oven.
|Some of piping hot (and delicious)
'bolillos' that came out from a single batch.
Mexican Bakery - Panaderia Bachicha