Skeletons of the Revolution

While walking around a park next to the Monument to Mothers, just off Reforma/Insurgentes, I came across a guy selling old photos. Well, new photos of old photos, if you get my meaning. Fifteen pesos each. He wanted to sell me four for forty five pesos. I offered 40 pesos for the quartet, but I have pale skin and he had a ‘you’re a tourist, so pay up’  attitude.

He seemed sure I’d crack. I didn’t, and just bought the one I really liked. It sits below. The vendor sits on the street still, a little poorer for not being willing to do a fair deal. There’s a great mercado there selling some pretty tasty food, so I gave my saved pesos to them instead.

I’ve done a fair bit on the blog with old photos and videos, and this is just one more for the collection.  I’ve seen it before, in various prints, but now I have my own copy. I felt obliged to do some research, and have learned a few bits and bobs that I really should have learned already, especially given the number of visits I’ve paid to the Monument to the Revolution recently.

In the photo below you can see Reforma running from east to west (or west to east – take your pick) with a giant statue in the middle. That’ll be the Carlos IV statue, by Tolsa. It was moved around a bit after independence, but was sited here on Reforma until 1979 before being moved to its current location outside the National Art Museum, next to Bellas Artes. I knew this much, not least because I found a fabulous old postcard of the scene last summer. The statue is apparently the second largest bronze cast in the world and weighs 26 tonnes – must have taken quite some shifting.

Behind the statue is the clearly visible skeleton of the Monument to the Revolution. This helps us date the photo, although I can’t come up with an exact year to be honest. I’ve done a bit of research. The building was not originally going to be a monument at all, with Porfirio Diaz laying the foundation stone in 1910, the year the revolution broke out. It was going to become the Legislative Palace.

This explains a model of a fabulous building that I photographed in the museum under the monument recently. I had wondered what it was. Now I know. This was what the monument was meant to become. But the revolution came instead, and construction stopped. Building work resumed again in 1933, with more modest plans and the project was completed in 1938 and is what you can see today – the Monument to the Revolution.

So the date of the photo? Well after 1910, that’s for sure. And before 1938, of course. Probably sometime in the very late 20’s or early 30’s I would imagine. The scene looks busy and peaceful. Post revolution-esque, one might say. If anyone has a definitive date, then do please share.

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