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pride, not in the raid, but in the U.S.'s inability to capture Pancho. The corrido song La
Persecución de Villa (The Pursuit) commemorates the chase.
Parral is a city of clustered hills, with a dozen bridges spanning the serpentine river that
snakes through the heart of Parral and made my hotel the center of a labyrinth. Each time
I left my hotel I got lost. Once I ended up in a cul-de-sac. When I thought I was taking a
walk around a block, I ended up on top of a hill looking over the city.
It surprised me that although Juan Rangel discovered silver here over 350 years ago, the
city showed few signs of colonial wealth. There were a few scattered buildings, perhaps
19th century, of notable beauty and architecture, but aside from the church, you would
think nothing occurred here before independence from Spain in 1821.
Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, the brownstone cathedral, had magnificent stained glass
windows in vibrant colors. Two major stories were pictured in the glass panels: the story
of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the New World and the story of Juan Diego, the
Indian who saw the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico. In
Mexico they say, “Even an atheist is a Guadalupano.”
The Christopher Columbus stained glass did surprise me because Columbus is generally
not praised or considered worthy of honor in Mexico. He is not a national hero. I once
taught a U.S. citizenship class, and many students were from Mexico and Latin America,
with one from Cuba. When I wrote historic dates on the blackboard, I expected everyone
to recognize 1492. But to my surprise, the class drew a blank. October 12th did resonate
since Mexico celebrates that date as Día de La Raza, the Day of the New Race, the mes-
tizo , the fusion of European and native peoples. A great deal of Mexican history has been
editorialized in murals, often portraying the negative aspects of the Spanish conquest. The
traveler can see these murals in virtually every town by visiting the Municipal, the City
I visited the Pedro Alvarado Museum, a mansion built in 1903 as the home of Pedro
Alvarado, a wealthy miner, and his family. The mansion's harmony of Classical, Roman,
and Byzantine elements has been completely restored and the interior furnished with peri-
od pieces. It remained the family home until 2000, when the heirs sold the property to the
state. There were amazing photos of the mansion's restoration, showing both the before
and after.
Pictures taken in 2000 showed extreme decay and neglect, yet a granddaughter lived there
on the lower floor. In places, pigeon excrement built up on the roof two feet thick, and
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