This French train station is located in a town renamed after the famed writer Marcel Proust's fictional name for the village.
The Municipal Palace of El Oro de Hidalgo is the seat of government for both the town and the surrounding municipality. Founded in 1787, El Oro de Hidalgo began as a gold mining settlement and quickly emerged into a thriving region for extracting gold and silver.
Originally occupied by the Mazahua people, the region was rich with agriculture, fishing, and hunting; and was populated by indigenous tribes for thousands of years. Lured by the promise of gold, the Spanish arrived in the 16th century and colonized the area. First called El Oro, the town was a territory of the Ixtlahuaca municipality and then turned over to the Spanish Crown.
In 1793, El Oro was given municipality status.The coming years brought much change to the town: the Mexican War of Independence roared for eleven years and Miguel Hidalgo, a leader of the War, passed through El Oro on his way to Mexico City. The town would eventually adopt his name and much of the mining operation was turned over to the English.
In the 19th century, a large English and French population resided in Mexico. Napoleon sent troops to invade the country twice, enduring a defeat at the hands of the Mexcian army during the Battle of Puebla in 1862. For this victory over the French, Mexico celebrates Cinco de Mayo each year.
The influence of English and French can be seen in the architecture of the El Oro de Hidalgo’s Municipal Palace. Built in 1910, the Palace pictured above is the town’s second municipal palace, distinguished for its combination of Neoclassical and Art Nouveau design. This influence was embraced by Mexico’s President at the time, Porfirio Diaz. The Palace’s towers, facade, portico, and courtyard make up a uniquely Mexican building reflective of the country’s storied past.
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