by International Community Foundation
The Baja California peninsula has a unique cultural make-up and important history that is increasingly attracting tourism into the inner ‘ranchos’ and Sierra de la Laguna mountains. One of the new ‘happening’ towns is El Triunfo, located less than an hour from either La Paz or Todos Santos, it’s known for its iconic smokestack “La Ramona”, a bright yellow mission style church, and a handful of delicious cafés and restaurants.
“La Ramona” was completed in 1890 as part of the large gold and silver mining operations that operated in the Baja California Sur region until the early part of the 20th century. At that time, El Triunfo had a population of over 4,000 inhabitants and was one of the largest and most diverse settlements on the peninsula! Once the mining operations ceased, the town’s population was reduced to as low as 300 and the economy declined.
After over 100 years of abandonment, “La Ramona” was gravely damaged including large cracks and loose or missing brick. The possibility of partial or total collapse after an earthquake or hurricane was a major concern, as well as a constant risk for residents and visitors of El Triunfo.
Acknowledging the urgency of these threats and historical significance of the smokestack, in 2015 the International Community Foundation (ICF) negotiated a loan to restore the monument before the 2018 hurricane season. The project was managed by Corredor Histórico, CAREM, a Mexican nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting, restoring, and raising public awareness about the cultural heritage and history of the Baja California Peninsula. As a documented historical monument in Mexico, “La Ramona” is under the protection of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), who approved the historical restoration and the ongoing plans to manage the property.
Now, after years of planning and months of construction, “La Ramona” has been restored, providing safety and assurance to the community that this important landmark will remain intact. The hope is that in coming years the site around “La Ramona” functions as a space to understand and enjoy the history, culture, and natural beauty that abounds in El Triunfo. This historic site, along with the complement of good food, art and artisan attractions in the region, will continue to attract visitors for years to come!
The “La Ramona” community inauguration will take place on October 27th, 2018 and a new mining museum, scheduled to open in November, will round out an excellent way to spend a day in El Trifunfo!