These revisions and additions (April 2023) apply primarily to books purchased in Mexico. Books purchased more recently via Amazon are the latest printing at the time of purchase (check for any later revisions), and Kindle editions should automatically update whenever minor revisions are made.
Click here for a single printable pdf file with revised versions of the following pages: 128, 157, 161, 188, 192, 199. This pdf file includes all the revisions in RED below.
page 128: page has been rewritten to read:
“A Gringo”, an English traveler about whom very little is known, arrived in Mexico in 1883. “A Gringo” is believed to be the pen name of Charles Manwell St Hill, born in Trinidad in 1849, who died in Mexico between 1891 and 1901. In the preface, he states that “my object is simply to give a plain account of several years experience in the country, to show its recent progress and to enable the reader to judge the future.” He also writes that “prolonged periods of travel over the greater part of its territory, by rail, stagecoach and steamer, on horseback and in canoes have afforded me exceptional facilities for studying the country and all classes of the people.”
One reviewer described this as an “interesting little book descriptive of life and travel in Mexico from 1883 until a recent date”. He continued “We congratulate the author on the felicitous manner in which he has performed his task” in presenting the “Mexico of today” to us. “His work is a pleasantly written handbook, its only defect is the want of a map, and this is really unpardonable.”
“A. Gringo” was an observant and enthusiastic visitor. He even saw fit to remark on the ready availability of lottery tickets “at every corner” with prizes from one to 100,000 dollars”. His acceptance of lottery tickets is in sharp contrast to the stance that Terry later felt obliged to adopt in the first edition of his famous handbook, when he wrote that, “mention of lotteries has been omitted intentionally because of the circulation of the Handbook in the United States–where anything in the nature of an advertisement of these games of chance is forbidden”. (Terry, 1909, p iv)
“A. Gringo”’s visit to Chapala definitely took place prior to 1889, though he did not write about it until later.
Taking a carriage, which ran weekly between Guadalajara and Chapala, a town on the border of the lake of that name, I set forth one morning, and, after climbing a hill, from which a grand view of the city and surrounding countryside was obtained, I reached Chapala.
page 129, source credit should read “A. Gringo.” 1892 Through The Land of the Aztecs Or Life and Travel In Mexico.
page 154, paragraph 2, line 1: should read “advertised”
page 154, paragraph 6, line 1: should read “first novel in English”
page 157, box, paragraph 1, lines 3-5 has been rewritten to read: “Crowe (1842–1903) was born in Kåfjord, northern Norway, and became British vice consul in Oslo on his father’s retirement from that position in 1875.”
page 157, box, paragraph 2, lines 5-7 should read “He built his home where the Montecarlo hotel is today, and also built Casa Albión (aka Villa Josefina and Casa Schnaider) and Villa Bela.”
page 161, box has been rewritten to read:
“Prior to 1898, visitors to the small fishing village of Chapala stayed either with friends or in the one small guesthouse belonging to Doña Trini. After 1890 or so, many well-to-do Guadalajara families and some foreigners, such as Septimus Crowe, built villas on the lakeshore. The village’s fame as a place to vacation grew steadily, boosted by a brief visit from President Díaz in 1896. Díaz returned in January 1904 to visit his in-laws, which only served to further boost Chapala’s appeal.
In the mid-1890s, Ignacio Arzapalo Palacios, who had recognized the curative properties of Chapala’s waters, and fallen in love with the natural beauty and favorable climate, began to build the village’s first major hotel.
The Hotel Arzapalo opened in March 1898 with 36 rooms, and acquired its own diligences, to ensure daily service between Chapala and the Atequiza railway station. Rates at the hotel, including meals, were between $2.50 and $4.00 a day, depending on the room, more than twice the daily rate across the street at the Posada Doña Trini.
Arzapalo’s businesses did so well that in 1908 he opened a second hotel, designed by Guillermo de Alba. This was first called the Hotel Palmera, later the Niza, and then the Nido hotel, before being occupied by municipal offices. Arzapalo died in 1909, leaving all his Chapala property to his seven-year-old granddaughter.
Several years earlier, Doña Trini’s guesthouse had been upgraded by Victor Huber to become the Hotel Huber (later the Gran Hotel Chapala). Located immediately opposite the church, it was demolished in about 1950 when Avenida Madero, the wide boulevard leading directly to the pier, was created.
page 168, First line should read “Ethel Brilliana Harley (1862-1940)” [Harley was born 1 June 1862.]
page 188, box, first paragraph has been rewritten to read:
“Guillermo de Alba (1874-1935) was the architect of many of the finest buildings in Chapala. Originally from Guadalajara, de Alba graduated as an engineer-surveyor before undertaking a trip to Chicago. Soon after his return, he began to build houses in Chapala.
In 1906 he completed his family residence, Mi Pullman, and was then commissioned by Ignacio Arzapalo (owner of the eponymous hotel) to design a second major hotel, the Hotel Palmera. By this time, de Alba had become the favored architect of many wealthy families from Guadalajara and designed several more noteworthy homes, including Villa Niza (1919).
page 191, last paragraph, line 2: “¾ hr.” should read “3-4 hr.”
page 192, box, lines 1-6 have been rewritten to read:
“One of the most dedicated promoters of Chapala as a resort was Paul Christian Schjetnan (1870-1945). Schjetnan, from Kristiansund in Norway, had several business enterprises in Mexico City, including the Norwegian-Mexican Company in 1901, prior to moving to Chapala in about 1908. His home in the village was the Villa Aurora.
Schjetnan later formed the Compañia de Fomento de Chapala, a company to promote and develop the village.”
page 199, box, has been rewritten to read:
“Porfirio Díaz had been President of Mexico for more than fifteen years when he visited Chapala in December 1896. When he revisited Chapala in January 1904, he stayed with Eduard Collignon, while his wife stayed with Lorenzo Elizaga, her brother-in-law. By this time, Díaz was in the twilight of his military and political career. Since he had first taken office in 1877, economic boom times had returned and the national budget had been balanced. Agricultural production had risen.
Massive investments, many of them emanating from foreign countries, had been made in mining and infrastructure, particularly railways. Politically, though, the country was in the hands of a dictator. Elections were rigged and public opinion ignored. A restricted, select group of advisors—called the científicos, but actually a group of lawyers and economists—had assumed more and more power. Nepotism was rampant. Massive land concessions had been made to foreign speculators and personal friends.
After his 1904 visit, Porfirio Diaz returned to Chapala at Easter time in 1905, 1908 and 1909, always staying with his in-laws at El Manglar. By that time, in gratitude for being given the concession of recently drained land, Manuel Cuesta Gallardo was reportedly planning to make a gift of Villa Tlalocán (designed by George Edward King) as a residence for the President and his family. However, when Díaz visited Lake Chapala in 1910, he did not stay at the town of Chapala but in several haciendas at the east end of the lake. In 1911, Díaz went into exile in Paris, never to return.”