San Francisco Xocotitla is one of the 25 original settlements in Azcapotzalco, today. Historically however, it was an island off the coast of Tlatelolco. The Nahuatl name refers to the small acidic fruit, the jocote, known in Nahuatl as the xocotl. So, the island name can be translated roughly as “among the jocotes.”
The Otomi god, Otontecuhtli Xocotl, is an aspect of the main god of the Tepeneca people in ancient Azcapotzalco. Some scholars speculate that there may have been a temple to the god here. A patron of gem cutters and goldsmiths, the island became mostly known as a producer of salt and tequesquite. But all of this complicated history probably best illuminates the fair complexity of the peoples of ancient Tlatelolco. It really was a mixing pot of cultures and peoples.
Today the Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís Xocotitla preserves part of its colonial period structure. It was constructed at the end of the 16th century and beginning of the next. This was undoubtedly carried out by Franciscans from Santiago Tlateloco. The atrial wall was rebuilt in 1931.
The chapel is north of its old colonial “town.” This can almost be witnessed in the nearly street-less block directly south of the church. But the island was doubtless conjoined with the growing Calzada de Tenayuca, and gradually the lake around it receded. Today the causeway is renamed the Calzada Vallejo. The island is all but forgotten. But it’s an important part of the broader history of the La Raza area.