San Diego Ocoyoacac is one of the least well-known of the original settlements of Miguel Hidalgo. Historically the town was the western edge of Tacuba, the ancient settlement of Tlacopan. The fame of ancient Tacuba lies mostly in its siding with the Mexica of Tenochtitlan to form the Triple Alliance. That Alliance finally defeated the Tepaneca of Azcapotzalco (just to the north), and led to the glory of Tenochtitlan in the 15th century.
The Nahuatl name means “in the nose of the ocoquahuitl or ococuahuitl,” referring to a type of pine tree. And so we can better translate the name as “Where the ocotes or pines begin.” This emphasizes the neighborhood’s position on the western edge of Tlacopan, with only forest still further west.
Today the neighborhood is lucky enough to include the giant Parque Bicentenario also to the north (see the map). And the park reveals much of neighborhood’s more recent history. The area became heavily industrialized by the end of the 19th century. The refinery, in today’s park, was surrounded by factories, and this neighborhood was known mostly for housing some of the many workers.
Today San Diego Ocoyoacac is still known for a few housing developments that replaced the old tenement housing. It’s probably better known still, for the “Torito” detention center where those convicted of driving under the influence are processed and detained. That facility replaced a good-sized meat processing center that was closed when the giant Rastro de Ferrería opened in 1955.
The remains of the older mid-century market are geared more to the neighborhood. But the Mercado Gascasónica is no small potatoes. It’s a giant neighborhood market and serves as a distribution point for much of this part of the City, and especially, for this end of the Calzada Mexico-Tacuba.