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The History of Our Main Garden

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The History of Our Main Garden

San Luis de la Paz, Gto. Sunday, April 29, 2012.  The Main Garden, located in the historic center, is the heart of San Luis de la Paz.  From Colonial times, the social, political, and religious life of the city has developed around it.  Currently, it is a beautiful place of rest, with leafy trees which provide a fresh shadow to walkers.  It is certainly the favorite gathering place of the Ludovicenses, from lovers to the inhabitants of the communities who come every Sunday.  Over the centuries, it has had a series of transformations that we will narrate here.

The Main Garden, also known as the Manuel Doblado Garden, the Plaza de la Paz or simply the Garden, has its origins in the Viceroyalty Era.  In their villages, the Spaniards built in the same area the parish, the government palace and a public square.  The oldest map of San Luis de la Paz, which dates back to 1635, shows that the parish already existed.  But by then it was in La Banda neighborhood, where the Jesuits originally installed.

It was until 1660 that the Jesuits moved from there to the current town center, and began to build the San Luis Rey Parish.  They did it on land donated by Isabel Velazquez, a rich Spanish widow, and a pair of indigenous people.  With the parish already established, the government palace (the predecessor of the City Hall) was built and the space for the public square (where the Garden was later formed) was selected.

On an 1818 map, it is noted that the place of the public square is respected, free of any construction.  It was probably a flat land area, because in the oldest picture of San Luis de la Paz from 1874, we observe that the plaza is very rustic, without floor, with just 2 or 3 trees, and two fences a meter high at the center, going from North to South.  It served as a market for the settlers, since there were posts of various products.

Photos of the first years of the 20th Century show the Garden with trees, benches, a kiosk and flooring.  We believe that all of them were installed around 1900, since there is a plaque in the kiosk which reads "City Assembly of 1906".  The trees and the grass were at ground level, and there were more corridors that today.  In addition, the statue of Polimnia was placed where the fountain is now.

The Garden has had several renovations since that time.  Two plates in the kiosk point out some dates: "Initiative of Union, Force and Morality 16-9-44" and "Rebuilt by Civil H.J.A. 1946".  Our mother says that in the 1960s the fountain had frog figures.  In the 1970s, the plant-holders were raised.  The most recent change was in 1994, when the traffic of vehicles was cancelled in the North and South ends, and became pedestrian zones.

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