A church, a bridge, and even a palace made entirely of iron … This is Gustave Eiffel’s legacy in Mexico
The whole world knows Gustave Eiffel by the famous Parisian tower that bears his name: yes, the Eiffel Tower. But you should know that this French civil engineer has left part of his work in several countries around the world, including Mexico.
When the Industrial Revolution began to change the world, all economic, social and technological transformation also influenced the architecture of the time. Thus, renowned engineers began to develop huge and very original constructions.
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel won renown in Europe for the design of bridges for the French railway network, but the Eiffel Tower became its flagship project.
Gustave Eiffel also left works in Mexico that few know, that’s why we swill how you the Mexican cities where this French engineer left his mark.
1. Puente de Fierro – Ecatepec, State of Mexico
Porfirio Díaz commissioned Gustave Eiffel this bridge, which would be part of the tracks on the grand canal. The French made all the pieces in his factory in Belgium and it took nine years to transfer them to Mexico. The bridge, built-in 1870 (before the Eiffel Tower) worked well for 80 years, but in the 20th century the train tracks fell into disuse and the bridge became part of the free Mexico-Pachuca highway. Sometime later a new road was built and the bridge was abandoned.
In 2000 he was rescued by the plastic artist José Manuel Bueno Herrera, who with the support of the Government turned it into a museum: the Cultural Center Puente del Arte. During 15 years and nine months of service, he exhibited the works of local artists from Ecatepec and the State of Mexico, but in 2016 he closed his doors for a supposed remodeling; however, it did not open again and today it is abandoned
2. Palacio de Hierro – Orizaba, Veracruz
This construction has become the greatest exponent of Art Nouveau in Mexico and is the only metallic palace in the wor
This great architectural work was designed by Gustave Eiffel in 1891. It was then-Mayor Julio M. Vélez who made the commission because he wanted the Municipal Palace to contrast with the traditional architecture of Orizaba (mostly brick and blocks); I wanted to demonstrate modernity and economic boom because, at that time, the city was the fifth most important in the country.
The pieces were built in Belgium in 1892 and had a total cost of 80 thousand pesos in gold. In order to move this discernable metal palace from Europe to Mexico, three steamboats had to be made from the port of Antwerp to the port of Veracruz.
The Iron Palace of Orizaba was inaugurated on September 16, 1894, and served as a government office for 97 years
3. Church of Santa Barbara – Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur
On the coast of the Sea of Cortez, there is Santa Rosalia, a small town that protects one of Gustave Eiffel’s architectural works
It was built in 1887, for the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1889, together with the Eiffel Tower. After the event, it was decommissioned and moved to Brussels, Belgium. Historians claim that originally the church had been acquired by a French company and would be moved to Congo, in Africa, which did not happen. Thus, years later he filled Santa Rosalia, in Baja California Sur.
All the pieces of the church arrived in Mexico in 1896, in the sailboat of San Juan, which followed the route of Cabo de Hornos to arrive from Europe. The church, already fully armed, was opened to parishioners in 1898.
However, in this case, there are several doubts, because although the design of the Santa Barbara church is attributed to Gustave Eiffel, there are some researchers who claim that it actually belongs to the Brazilian Biblano Duclos.
4. Kiosk of Jardín Juárez – Cuernavaca, Morelos
In the historic center of Cuernavaca is this kiosk, but what few know is that it was also designed by Gustave Eiffel and was brought from England in 1890, by mandate of the then Governor Jesus H. Preciado.
History indicates that the pieces were transported from some port (not specified) to the Morelense capital, on the backs of dozens of mules.
There are other versions that indicate that it is not from Eiffel and that when there is no data on the original author, it occurred to someone to say that it was from the French engineer and this was taken as an urban legend.
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