Greg has collected a lot of vintage photos, postcards, pamphlets and magazines of our adopted home. Today our friend Jorge happened to see one of the postcards, an aerial shot of El Centro when Playa Sur was still all beach, before land was reclaimed from the sea and houses built, and before Isla de Chivos was chopped off and its rock used to build the sea wall (is that what it’s called?) to protect the ship channel.
Well, he got to telling stories about his youth, which are always fun. About how Mazatlán used to be, when the area along the malecón in which we live was nothing but open space. He told a couple of stories that I had never heard before. Many of you may be familiar with them, so perhaps you can point me to a source to learn more?
The first was about the old cinema/theater downtown, where Parisina now stands. Evidently that building was roofless for years, abandoned and downtrodden. When they decided to rebuild it, to raise the building that is now the fabric store, the backhoe workers found buried treasure! According to Jorge, there was a huge pirate’s chest full of coins and jewelry. The workers started fighting amongst each other for the spoils, the police were called, the treasure chest and its bounty confiscated, apparently never to be seen again.
Which led him to a second story, about when they built the sea wall or entry to the shipping channel/port where the cruise ships now come in (or don’t, as the case may be). They evidently chopped off Isla de Chivos in two places, on the ocean side and on the inland side, to have rock to use for the sea wall. Jorge told us that the bulldozer was found still running, key in the ignition, with a few antique coins scattered around. Legend or story has it that the bulldozer driver found buried pirate treasure, and learning from the bad fortune of the Parisina workers, grabbed it and took off with it, never to be seen again.
Jorge tells us that there is still supposedly buried pirate treasure on the lighthouse rock, a story we have heard before. He also told us about the tunnels connecting so many of the houses and buildings downtown, including the cathedral. We know about those, and have seen a few. Cueva del Diablo, a tourist attraction along the malecón, supposedly went under the ocean and connected up with those tunnels. When several people went in and never came out, Jorge says the tunnel there was closed up.
Finally, Jorge told us about a now-deceased treasure hunter and historian, a man who hunted for pirate treasure and was a well-known historian here in town. He owned a business and had an antique chest on display that he’d found. He can’t remember the man’s name. Can you? Maybe that man wrote a book or some essays? Sure would be interesting reading!