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Nuestra Señora de la Consolación is one of those churches that easily dominates its side of the street. Turning the corner can be almost a shock.
In the Álamos neighborhood which is, (or should be), beloved for its 1920s and 1930s residential architecture, Consolación takes it own stab at middle class respectability. While the most fascinating older homes here will show a melding of quaint Arts and Crafts with a little Art Deco, and some superficial California-style ornamentation, Consolación seems to go for the jugular for its supremacy.
A stark Neo-Baroque façade with tezontle cladding hides a church structure actually begun as a factory. In the wake of the Cristero War, (1926-1929), permits for new churches were hard to come by. Even as late as 1937, with all of the Church requirements met, the church didn’t get started until October of that year. But construction had already begun, on something. Lacking the permits for a church, parishioners began it as an industrial space. The neighborhood, taking up former lakebed next to the Calzada de Tlalpan, usually traces its history to about 1926. This is an early church for the area, still selling new houses as “ten minutes from the Centro Histórico.”
Two small bell towers flanks the sides of the already ornate façade. This is centered around a seemingly soft, carved stone medallion. But inside, floors and walls are clad in marble. Stained glass artfully depicts scenes from the lives of the Saints of the Augustinian Order. It’s among the most dramatic church interiors, on this size and scale, that you’re likely to find anywhere in the City. Somehow, the memory of that factory makes it feel all the more welcoming and warm.
Nuestra Señora de la Consolación is roughly equi-distant between Metros Viaducto or Xola, and the Mercado Álamos. The other real center of the neighborhood is the Jardín Santiago Felipe Xicoténcatl. A big neighborhood park, the park bears the name of a hero of the US Invasion of 1847 who died during the defense of Chapultepec.
Colonia Álamos has a rightful place as a good walkable neighborhood. Sidewalk cafes and eateries are not at all uncommon. The church is but one highlight among many in the area.