Photo: Catedrales e Iglesias/Cathedrals and Churches, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
The Asunción de María church serves as the current parish church of the important Colonia Industrial in Gustavo A. Madero. It is built on and around a former chapel of the ancient town of Tepalcatitlán. An interior door from one of the patios, may date from that early 1773 temple. It was also dedicated to Santa María.
Tepalcatitlán shares a history very similar to that of Coatlayauhcan, now called Magdalena de las Salinas. On the north shore of ancient Lake Texcoco, residents of both towns dedicated themselves mostly to harvesting salt. Dependent on ancient Tlatelolco, by the time their chapel was begun, they’d long been subject to the town of Villa de Guadalupe. This only became part of Mexico City in the 1920s.
At about that time, the little chapel was re-dedicated as a full parish. The church we see today dates from a 1936 rebuilding. The strong Neo-Colonial elements on the outside give way on the inside to a more ornate Art Deco style. This combination mirrors many of the homes in the surrounding streets where some California Style architecture can also be observed.
The neighborhood prospered as a fully middle class area replete with managers from the many surrounding factories. “Industrial” here refers to the idealist value of work, art, and commerce, rather than to a zone of small factories and manufacture. Prior to World War II, it was among the top neighborhoods in Mexico City. The neighborhood market is among the oldest in Mexico City.
As the 20th century rolled on, though, much of the old managerial class moved on. And obviously, industry itself left the neighborhood high and dry. Today, the old parish church stands as but one memory among many. As a walkable neighborhood, it’s a stand out. The residential architecture can be obscured by decades of add-ons and modifications. Like in so many places, the treasures and the delights are there among the chaff.
The church is about a 15-minute walk from Metro Potrero. The market stands just a few minutes round the corner.
Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, México – Coordinación Nacional de Monumentos Históricos. Ficha del Catálogo Nacional de Monumentos Históricos Inmuebles número I-09-01429 . -. Disponible en: http://catalogonacionalmhi.inah.gob.mx/consulta_publica/detalle/12902