PRESIDIO ISLAND IN LAKE CHAPALA
April 2, 2011
We had long promised to take the boys out to Presidio Island in Lake Chapala. The Chapala Review where I write
The Love in Action Monthly Column asked
that submissions for April be connected to the Lake since it would be the paper's annual Lake Edition. I prepared a
History of Presidio Island: Spanish.
[Also available en English History of Presidio Island] We then
asked the four boys were were taking to read it beforehand so they would be prepared for what they were to see.
The island figured prominently in the Mexican Revolution of 1810 and the old ruins of the fortifications where insurgents held out
until 1816 against the Spanish remain a local historic site.
We picked up Dany, Bryan, Chuy and
Javier at the Center, drove to the small town of Mezcala about 18 kms east of Chapala, hired a launch and headed out to the island.
After about a 20 minute ride, we approached the island with its massive fortifications high up on the top. A number of other launches had arrived before us with fellow tourists.
We were soon climbing up the steep stone pathways past amazing tree formations and wonderful views back down to the Lake.
Restoration is progressing slowly on the site and four massive stone monuments have been built to comemorate the local heroes of the four years during which the Mexicans
held out against a formidable Spanish army. Heros included Padre Marcos Castellanos, Jose Encarnación Rosas and José Santa Ana.
The old church is now being restored with a new roof and repairs to walls. Dany and Bryan climbed all the way up to the roof.
Then it was on to the main building within the old fortification walls. This massive fort served as a Jail after the insurgents were pardoned in 1816.
The boys posed at the front gate before entering the huge Patio in the center of the four walls of the fort.
The boys raced into the dark rooms to explore what little was left. Some were kitchens, others sleeping quarters for soldiers and perhaps prisoners. A few had been
fitted with new windows and doors as part of the restoration process.
Then it was up to the open rooftop with its magnificent views of the moat below, the grounds and the lake beyond
While the boys explored old walls and ruins, Jim walked a little further south and found the restored Prison Torture House.
Like most young boys the four wanted to climb to the top of all the crumbly ruin walls. Luckily we made it through without any injuries.
Then it was back down the hill to the shore where we first had a small picnic and then boarded the launch for our return to Mezcala.
On the way back they young cousin of our "Captain" helped to steer during "in flight" refueling. In no time we were back to the old town of Mezcala for our drive back to Chapala.