Jose de Escandón, future governor of Nuevo Santander, founded Guerrero in 1750 on the Salado River near the Rio Grande. Religious, public, and residential structures, cobblestone streets, and markets provided distinctive flourishes to the expanding townscape as it developed over the following centuries. The buildings are decorated with carved classical detailing, as well as with plaster in various colors and textures. The construction of the Falcon Dam Reservoir in 1953 forced the 3,000 residents to evacuate the city, and the area was left abandoned for 50 years, often suffering from periodic flooding. Despite exposure to the elements, the high quality of the sandstone provided protection even in the face of limited maintenance. However, the structural stability of the remaining had been compromised and conservation attention was required.
How We Helped
In 2001, WMF contributed to the conservation of Antigua Ciudad Guerrero through the Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Conserve Our Heritage The project included the stabilization of the remains of the 18th-century church tower, the arches of the city market, the rehabilitation of two structures to serve as a guard station and a visitor center, the consolidation of unstable walls, and an archaeological investigation at the old church tower. Work was completed in 2004.
Why It Matters
The unique stone details and architectural legacy of Antigua Ciudad Guerrero were in danger due to neglect and harsh weather. The surviving structures of the city are important to the history of urban planning as well as to the history of colonial development. The work of WMF and others will prevent the city from being forgotten.