Historic Landmark, “La Ramona” Smokestack, to be Restored in El Triunfo

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After nearly a century of disrepair, the looming 47-meters tall La Ramona smelter smokestack will receive a makeover, thanks to the efforts of a coalition of local non-profit organizations, the Ejido of El Triunfo and the Mexican government, who recognize the important environmental, health, and cultural implications of this overlooked historic treasure from the booming industrial era of the 1890s.

Nestled in the heart of a region dependent on tourism and its natural beauty, the partners in this initiative believe that the restoration of “La Ramona” is an important first step in the economic and cultural revival of El Triunfo, a quaint village located in the mountainous region of the southern portion of the peninsula of Baja California Sur. The La Ramona smokestack was constructed in the 1890s by El Progreso Mining Company, during a time of extensive industrial growth on the Baja California peninsula. After decades of unrestricted resource extraction, primarily for metals such as gold and silver, the industry began to decline and La Ramona was eventually abandoned.

Over the past century, La Ramona has suffered significant structural damage due to age, lightning strikes and hurricanes. Today, amidst reports of new mining operations across the Baja California peninsula, this coalition is reinvesting in the proven economic potential of cultural, historic, and natural tourism, beginning with the “La Ramona” restoration.
La Ramona Signing.Recognizing the cultural and historical significance of the structure, as well as the physical dangers that further degradation would cause for the local population, in 2015 two nonprofit partners—the Corredor Histórico CAREM, A.C. and the International Community Foundation (ICF) — collaborated with the Ejido of El Triunfo, the legal owners of the property, to design and implement an initiative to restore La Ramona. The project’s other major partners include the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the Mexican Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), the Reforma Agraria, the State of Baja California Sur, and the Municipality of La Paz, as well as private sector affiliates in El Triunfo.

On April 22, 2016, a landmark agreement between the Ejido and CAREM was signed, officially marking the launch of the restoration. When completed, this landmark will not only create a healthier public space for community members and children, whose daily activities occur near the deteriorating structure, but it will complement a string of other sustainable developments that have begun to put El Triunfo on the tourist map, including the Café El Triunfo, Bar El Minero, and Hotel Casa Santa Cruz. Zella Ibáñez, Executive Director of CAREM, says that the community and other partners “hope that El Triunfo will become a place where tourists and residents alike can learn about the unique history of the region, and change the community’s perspective of their economic options and their vision of the future.”

The next critical step towards restoring the project requires the cooperation of many residents and visitors, beginning with fundraising for the $160,000 dollars necessary to cover the restoration work! To kick start the fundraising effort, local supporters have organized the El Triunfo Gastronomic Festival, which will be held at Bar El Minero on Saturday, November 19th from 2PM onward, and will feature food from the region’s top restaurants including Don Sanchez, Pithayas, Nicksan, Ediths, Los Tamarindos, De Cortes Sheraton, La Pintada, La Santeña, Wine Co., and Cabo Unico Tequila, as well as wine tastings, art exhibits and live music from local violinists and Cuban rumba band Los Trillizos, amongst other surprises! Tickets are MXN$850 pesos and can be purchased online at: https://first-festival.kimbia.com/triunfo or at these retailers in BCS; LOS CABOS: Aguila Bus Company at Plaza Golden Cabo San Lucas, La Pintada, Don Sanchez LA PAZ: Aguila Bus Company at the Malecon and Sortis; TODOS SANTOS: Restaurant La Santeña; El TRIUNFO: El Minero Café Bar.

Additionally, the community invites you to “Adopt-A-Brick” and help them reach the 3,500 Brick Goal needed to begin construction through a U.S. tax-deductible donation to the International Community Foundation at: https://laramona.kimbia.com/adoptabrick.

For information on other ways that you can support the restoration of La Ramona and the community of El Triunfo, please contact Zella Ibáñez at CAREM, A.C. zella@prodigy.net.mx, or Alicia Milla at the International Community Foundation at amilla@icfdn.org.

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