The Mercado Paulino Navarro was renovated over a long period between 2018 and 2022. Work was interrupted by the COVID19 pandemic, but the results were outstanding. Although it’s long been a prominent heir to the old La Viga fish markets, by the end of the 20th century it was almost unrecognizable.
In fact, it’s long been a neighborhood market for both Col Paulino Navarro and for neighboring Colonia Vista Alegre. The two were once proudly isolated on the island of Tultenco at the very south of ancient Tenochtitlan. It was later integrated with Zoquiapan, the ancient city’s southeast. The name only survives in the neighborhood street and in the Santa Cruz Tultenco chapel. The Franciscans established an outpost here early in the Colonial Period. By the end of the 19th Century, the area was famous for the most important military uniform supplier, a French-owned factory called COVE.
By 1905, the Colonia La Paz was formalized by the Spanish millionaire, Iñigo Noriega. He divided and profited from the subdivision of the land. By the close of the Mexican Revolution, nearly all of his property was taken back by President Venustiano Carranza.
The neighborhood was renamed for the General Paulino Navarro during the administration of President Lázaro Cárdenas.
The name Paulino Navarro, came from the Autlense military man Paulino Navarro. The surprise lies in the fact that the work of Don Paulino was of eminently regional transcendence. This name was suggested by then President , who went to visit the farmhouse that was being built in 1920. The residents agreed to call it Paulino Navarro, who was a fierce fighter of the Revolution.
Although the San Francisco de Asis Tultenco Parish is outside the limits of the Paulino Navarro neighborhood, the neighbors consider this church as their own and celebrate the feast of their patron saint on San Francisco’s day (October 4th).
On the corner of Calzada de la Viga and Eje 3 Sur Chabacano there was a centennial palm tree which, surrounded by a small gazebo, served as a horse and wagon turnaround on the old Paseo de la Viga. In the eighties, when excavations began for the construction of Line 9 of the Metro, the palm was demolished and pre-Hispanic pieces were found, one of them in the shape of a fish was placed in that place as a representative sculpture of the ancient inhabitants. In the Paulino Navarro Colony, there was a market that eventually became one of the most important in the city, the Jamaica Market, but in 1957 it was moved to its new location near the town of Magdalena Mixiuhca. At the end of the 19th century, the French factory COVE was installed in what is today Avenida del Taller and the intersection with Clavijero Street, which manufactured uniforms and trimmings for the army as well as for the city’s police agencies, schools and private organizations.
During the conquest, the neighborhood of Zoquipa was destroyed and most of its inhabitants died, as well as the rest of the city.
Hernán Cortés decided to build the new city on the ruins of Tenochtitlán. In its layout he planned to leave the land closest to the center for the Spanish population in a square area, from which the roads and the four pre-Hispanic neighborhoods with Christian nicknames were preserved: San Juan Moyotlan, San Sebastián Atzacoalco, Santa María Cuepopan and San Pablo Zoquipan.
During the viceregal era, the neighborhood grew little, however, the presence of the official slaughterhouse of the city, favored the emergence and development of a productive-commercial activity related to the industry and a population that was known as the “rastreros”, which moved to the hospital of San Antonio Abad, The church of Santa Cruz Acatlán and the sentry box of San Antonio Abad, located to the south of the neighborhood of San Pablo and on the side of the old Iztapalapa road, which during that stage, changed several names, corresponding to this section, the road of San Antonio Abad.
At the same time, some of the pre-Hispanic settlements prevailed and others emerged, congregated in chapels such as Santa Crucita, San Francisco Tultenco, La Concepción Ixnahualtongo, La Resurrección, San Esteban, La Candelaria, the last two of which have now disappeared.
Also in the viceregal era, once the La Viga canal, which runs from south to north to the east of the area, was consolidated, a rural population settled on its banks, mostly dedicated to navigation due to the large influx of traffic that circulated through the canal, which was attached to a promenade in the late eighteenth century, which attracted a large number of visitors, from then until the early decades of the twentieth century.
In Independent Mexico, manufacturing activity increased in the area: in the old Hospital de San Antonio Abad, a spinning and weaving mill was installed, which became one of the most important factories in the city. Other similar workshops were added to the existing tanneries, which were joined by the C.O.V.E., a large cooperative of French origin that gathered a subsidiary population. In the 19th century, several factories of great production were also installed on the east bank of the La Viga canal, which marked the area as industrial, such as the alcohol factory “La Gran Unión”, the acid factory “La Viga-Baisk Felix y Cia.” and the cashmere factory “La Victoria, S.A.”.
From the middle of the 19th century, also dates the introduction of trains with two main routes in the neighborhood. The first was the train that left the zocalo and passed through San Antonio Abad on its way to Xochimilco and Tlapan. The second was the route that circulated along Topacio Street to San Rafael Atlixco and whose terminus was on Fray Servando Teresa de Mier. Subsequently, the tramway that went to Iztapalapa was made to run along the La Viga canal.
Despite the presence of factories and the railroad, in the first decades of the 20th century in most of the zone, the urban centers were isolated and reduced, it was necessary to wait until the middle of the century, in accordance with the internal migratory phenomena of the country after the Revolution, the increase of the national population and the gradual reconversion of the population from rural to mostly urban, to begin the progressive populating of the zone until reaching its total occupation around the sixth decade of the century; Several middle and popular class colonies were formed, from where some of its members became workers in small and medium industries that were added to the previous ones and whose names perpetuate part of the history of the place:
– Colonia Asturias and Nueva Asturias, after the soccer park that was on the Chabacano Causeway.
– Colonia Vista Alegre, for the bullfighting ring that was on San Antonio Abad Avenue and Taller Avenue.
– Colonia La Esperanza, for the steamboat that ran on the La Viga canal with that name.
The Tultenco neighborhood to the south of the old Zoquipa campan, brings together recent and old neighbors, both solidly rooted, forming a community with identity, belonging and a strong sense of neighborhood, inherited from yesteryear.
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