Vintage: Everyday Life of Mexico City (1900s)

Vintage: Everyday Life of Mexico City (1900s)


Under the rule of Porfirio Díaz, Mexico City experienced a massive transformation. Díaz’s goal was to create a city which could rival the great European cities. He and his government came to the conclusion that they would use Paris as a model, while still containing remnants of Amerindian and Hispanic elements. This style of Mexican-French fusion architecture became colloquially known as Porfirian Architecture. Porfirian architecture became very influenced by Paris’ Haussmannization.

During this era of Porfirian rule, the city underwent an extensive modernization. Many Spanish Colonial style buildings were destroyed, replaced by new much larger Porfirian institutions and many outlying rural zones were transformed into urban or industrialized districts with most having electrical, gas and sewage utilities by 1908. While the initial focus was on developing modern hospitals, schools, factories and massive public works, perhaps the most long-lasting effects of the Porfirian modernization were creation of the Colonia Roma area and the development of Reforma Avenue. Many of Mexico City’s major attractions and landmarks were built during this era in this style.

Diaz’s plans called for the entire city to eventually be modernized or rebuilt in the Porfirian/French style of the Colonia Roma; but the Mexican Revolution began soon afterward and the plans never came to fruition, with many projects being left half-completed. One of the best examples of this is the Monument to the Mexican Revolution. Originally the monument was to be the main dome of Diaz’s new senate hall, but when the revolution erupted only the dome of the senate hall and its supporting pillars were completed, this was subsequently seen as a symbol by many Mexicans that the Porfirian era was over once and for all and as such, it was turned into a monument to victory over Diaz.

A temporary shelter, 1908

A temporary shelter, 1908

From the Cafe to Chapultepec, 1904

From the Cafe to Chapultepec, 1904

Girl playing harp, 1905

Girl playing harp, 1905

Men on horses with mountain in background, Mexico, ca. 1900s

Men on horses with mountain in background, Mexico, ca. 1900s

Paseo de la Reforma para Chapultepec, Mexico City, 1904

Paseo de la Reforma para Chapultepec, Mexico City, 1904

Plaza de Toros, La Condesa, Mexico City, 1907

Plaza de Toros, La Condesa, Mexico City, 1907

The flower market near Cathedral, Mexico City, 1904

The flower market near Cathedral, Mexico City, 1904

The Zocalo, City of Mexico, 1904

The Zocalo, City of Mexico, 1904

Tortilla maker, 1905

Tortilla maker, 1905

Train of pack burros in Mexico, 1904

Train of pack burros in Mexico, 1904

Wholesale loads of Mexican baskets, 1904

Wholesale loads of Mexican baskets, 1904

Banana tree in Alameda, City of Mexico, 1904

Banana tree in Alameda, City of Mexico, 1904

Booths in Calle Cinco de Mayo, Mexico City, 1904

Booths in Calle Cinco de Mayo, Mexico City, 1904

Bull fight, City of Mexico, 1904

Bull fight, City of Mexico, 1904

Calla del Cinco de Mayo, City of Mexico, 1904

Calla del Cinco de Mayo, City of Mexico, 1904

Chapultepec or Maxmile House taken from the Paseo, 1905

Chapultepec or Maxmile House taken from the Paseo, 1905

Cigarette Factory In Mexico City, 1903

Cigarette Factory In Mexico City, 1903

El Correo Mayor, City of Mexico, 1908

El Correo Mayor, City of Mexico, 1908


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