The legend surrounding the 100-door house in Zacatecas is about the same.

Outside of Guadalupe in Zacatecas, there is a small community with a strange name, Tacos. No, the name has nothing to do with tacos. The name refers to the unit of milk, as it was once common for Hacienda owners to pay workers food rather than money.

By far the most attractive part of this dusty town is the so-called 100-door house. It is a quarter-hectare, two-story sun-dried brick building with volcanic tuff on the first floor and metal columns on the second floor. The church and grain storage facility on the square, simply called corn, were built around the same time.

This house is part of the Tacoaleche hacienda, which was formed in the late 19th century. In 1880 Antonio García inherited a small portion of the much larger land owned by Count Jalal for centuries. Immediately after his inheritance, Garcia not only began the operation, but also fell in love with the daughter of another Hacienda owner.

The legend begins here. Like most legends, there are variations.

The most common version states that the daughter accepted the proposal, but only on the condition that the marriage takes place after building the Hacienda house with 100 doors. In all versions, marriage never happens with different explanations about why. The two most common are to get the girl to refuse the promise.

An old Tacoaleche hacienda grain storage facility colloquially named The Cones. Vertex / Creative Commons

Some say the doors weren’t 100. In fact, he claims, the house has only 99 doors, the 100th hidden somewhere in a nearby hill. Others have stated that she did not intend to marry Garcia, and she thought he would never be able to complete her work, so she made the condition. Third, unfortunately, Garcia kidnapped her girl and locked her in it because she was fooling him while building her house.

The house certainly took a long time to build. It started in 1891, but stated that one claim ended in four years, and another was not until 1915.

Some blame the Mexican Revolution for Garcia’s failure to marry. This makes sense if it took 24 years to complete the house. Some say Francisco “Pancho” Villa kidnaps Garcia’s father and uncle for a ransom, while others say Villa plunders Hacienda.

In any case, it made the man go bankrupt.

Garcia eventually moved to Mexico City and died in 1921. His brother inherited the property, but the federal government eventually confiscated it as part of land reform.

In 1938 it became Taco Resh Ejido (The land is shared), owned by a former Hacienda worker. This was when the story about the origin of the property became popular locally.

The church and square have become the center of the Taco Resh community. Politically, it is part of the city of Guadalupe and has its seat in the city of the same name, just outside the capital of Zacatecas. However, only 15 minutes by car, Taco Resh is a world away from the city hall.

Center for folk crafts and handicrafts in Tacoaleche, Zacatecas
Recently, there is a research center in the building. We are working on the preservation and evolution of Zacatecas’s handicrafts and folk crafts. Subsecretaria de Desarrollo Artesanal de Zacatecas

Like many old Hacienda mansions, the 100-door house was abandoned after everything of value was removed, including the original wooden door that named it.

The other buildings maintained their original purpose, but this did not serve as a residence for the new co-owner. Before being completely abandoned by the end of the 20th century, it was used as a prison, hospital, school, cinema and party hall.

Garcia did not die there, but there are some rumors that his ghost was seen in the mansion.

This place symbolizes southern Zacatecas, which may be unrealistic for the locals. The Ejido The organization has begun to work with art groups to find out what the building will be used for and the funds to restore it.

Restoration work began in 2007 with over 10 million pesos of support from both the state and federal governments. In 2011, the state opened the Zacatecas Folk Art Research and Experiment Center.

The agency is committed to the preservation and evolution of state handicrafts and folk crafts. It serves not only to study traditional shapes and techniques, but also to develop new materials and products for state artisans. Founded in a permanent collection of about 200 pieces donated by the federal government, it has grown to more than 1,000 pieces from Zacatecas and other parts of Mexico. The center holds workshops, sales and academic events.

It has been in operation for 10 years and is very close to Zacatecas’s only metropolitan area, but the location of the folk art center is a bit strange and its long-term success is not guaranteed.

Tacoaleche is considered to be the second largest community in the city of Guadalupe, but only because of its official population. In reality, Taco Resh feels like a haunted town because much of the population has immigrated to the United States and many never return. Many of the families still there depend on remittances.

There are no hotels or formal restaurants nearby. For them you almost have to go to the city of Guadalupe or Zacatecas. So for those who attend events at the center, it’s a day trip to the town.

The House of 100 Doors is a good example of the conflicting needs of preserving historic buildings and the modern reality of where historic sites exist. Finding uses for buildings is noble, but only the government invests heavily in projects with poor local logistics. And at any time, the administrator can decide to unplug.

Leigh Thelmadatter arrived in Mexico 18 years ago and fell in love with the land and culture, especially its handicrafts and arts.She is the author of Mexican Cartoneria: Paper, Paste, Fiesta (Schiffer 2019).Her cultural column is displayed regularly Mexico News Daily.. The legend surrounding the 100-door house in Zacatecas is about the same.

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