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Construccion Bascula del Tren 1920. Photo courtesy of José de Jesús López García.

In the early days of the Ávalos plant, there was a little oasis in the desert within a rectangle of homes which was the Colony. I may be romanticizing life in Ávalos but it seems there was a heartfelt effort by the company, its employees and their families to maintain civility and sense of community amongst the huge smelter and mill that surrounded them. I see evidence of this throughout the years of the smelter’s existence and also in the two beautiful photos below of ladies attending a garden party in the Ávalos Colony around the late 1920’s-early 1930’s.

I’m also reminded of a paragraph from Isaac F. Marcosson’s book, Metal Magic: The Story of the American Smelting and Refining Company which was published in 1949. The paragraph is as follows, “The worker’s colony at Chihuahua is an example of how the Company has contributed to communal life. The 1,500 workers live in a neat and orderly compound with well-kept streets. Most of the houses have gardens which give a flash of color to the desert countryside. Clean domiciles inspire the people with the feeling of self-respect and pride in their environment. An industrial school affords both boys and men an opportunity to advance themselves in their work, while a kindergarten starts the children on the right track.”

I am a proud descendant of this life. My thanks to my Aunt Catina Wilson Shupe for sharing these photos.

Elegant Ladies of the Colonia

Garden Party