Today the Palace of the Counts of Heras-Soto is a pair of historical buildings at the corner of Republica de Chile and Donceles in the Centro Histórico. At two stories high, it’s not the biggest or grandest of the Palaces in and around the Centro Histórico but it does make for a curious stop. The descendants of the Counts of Heras-Soto lived within it until the beginning of the 19th century.
Both building share a single facade and a main courtyard. Built beginning in 1760, a silversmith from Seville, Adrián Ximénez de Almendral, was the original owner. The smaller building was added in 1769 for his daughter.
Soon after, the Counts of Heras-Soto settled in the city, then New Spain and they purchased the building, and inhabited it for two generations. In fact, one of the counts of Heras and Soto signed the Mexican Declaration of Independence in 1821.
By the second half of the 19th century, it was inhabited by the Pimenteles family. One Mariana Heras Soto, the only heiress, married one Tomas López Pimentel and their children bore the names “Pimentel Heras.”
Between 1865 and 1869, the smaller building was occupied by the renowned philologist and historian, Joaquín García Icazbalceta as a plaque on the building still notes. By the 20th century, though, it came to be occupied by the National Railways until it was finally purchased by the city in 1972. The city established the City Historical Archive in the larger building and the Historic Center Trust came to occupy the smaller building, as they still do.
The original head of the Angel of Independence, badly damaged in a 1957 earthquake, is housed in the archive. Likewise are documents from city administrations dating all the way back to 1524. Included are important documents rescued from the fire during a riot in 1692. The archive also includes extensive maps, an image center, posters, and illustrations as well as a library of volumes from 1696 to 2007.
The City Institute of Science and Technology also has its headquarters here, at No. 6 of Republica de Chile.