One of my greatest sorrows is witnessing how historically significant structures in Mexico are blatantly destroyed. I long ago visited an old church, “Nuestro Padre Jesus”, in Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico. Its entranced graced with charming original aged doors. Inside there were equally old worn benches. Then, much to my sorrow, the next time I was there all of the old charm was gone! In their place were insignificant new doors and trivial pine benches! Gone is the history and charm of yesteryear.
An even greater destruction has taken place at the “Hacienda Tabalaopa”, located further south. That is where I found my earliest Lujan ancestor – circa 1759! And, I discovered my La Junta pioneer, Great-Great-Great Grandfather had married in 1785!
When I first uncovered these documents I inquired as to where Tabalaopa was. No one seemed to know. Finally, I found a short reference in Peter Gebhart’s “La Nueva Vizcaya”. The Hacienda Tabalaopa became a titled Hacienda at the end of the 1700s. It was then occupied by Jesuit Priests. In 1761 it was sold to Don Bernardo Revilla, in accordance with the nationalization of clerical properties. I don’t know who occupies it today.
One of my greatest joys is having had the opportunity of seeing Tabalaopa, even if only from outside its locked gates. However, I did get to wander among old adobes that once housed the Hacienda’s Labor force. Ever the “incurable romantic”, I wandered about, trying to conjure pictures of what was going on there over three hundred years ago. I heard the chatter of women, the laughter of children at play, and I could fairly smell smoke and the scent of tortillas cooking! Then, to my amusement,
I spotted evidence of modernity in an electricity Meter that had been installed onto an old adobe.
I learned from General Toribio Ortega’s son that the area had been inhabited as late as 1915. He told of having stopped by there when his mother went to say goodbye to Pancho Villa and his wife before leaving for the United States. According to Don Galacion, his mother knew everyone at Tabalaopa. Later, I discovered that this applied to my own grandparents as well
To my sorrow I have since received a phone call: “The entire site has been razed in the interest of Progress!”