Photos - Santa Rosalia, Baja California
|The Santa Barbara church, circa 1898.........................and now.
(from the internet)
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
|Santa Rosalia Harbor, 1910.
|Santa Rosalia Harbor, 2007.
|Click on any image to
|The Copper Smelting Plant
|Turn of the century French Hotel
|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
|A great local bakery in Sta Rosalia.
Happy wife-Happy life, I always say.
|move/remove the 'bolillos' in this