History of the Fábrica La Aurora
(1902 – 1991)
Before its renaissance as an art and design center, Negociacion Fabril de la Aurora known as La Aurora was a leading textile factory for over 90 years. Its location below “Las Colonias” Dam was strategic for generating the electricity needed for the textile plant. The construction of the factory was completed in 1902 and is typical of textile plants designed by an English company in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Its façade with twelve stone-carved arches and the impressive wrought iron gates that open onto a gracious patio offer a sharp contrast to the functional design of the interior spaces. The original structure remains intact except for the minor renovations undertaken to accommodate the present studios, galleries, shops, and restaurants.
As a working factory, La Aurora was equipped with cylinders, spindles, and looms to process the bales of raw cotton that arrived to the plant from the cotton-producing areas of La Laguna in the center part of Mexico and from the states of Sinaloa and Sonora. The process of cleaning, ginning, carding, and spinning the raw fiber into a yarn or thread was all done on the premises.
The final product, manta or unbleached muslin, woven from the thread was sold throughout Mexico. The Aurora manta was of high quality and used to make indigenous clothing and home linens. Some special grades of thread were spun specifically for use in the making of “rebozos”. By the 1970’s, production included heavy canvas used in making tennis shoes.
The first looms and spindles were imported from England in the early 20th century. By the mid-l950’s, most of the English machinery was replaced with later models from Germany and Switzerland. Being able to maintain this imported machinery was essential to production. La Aurora had an on-site forge, a mechanics shop, and a carpentry shop. In addition, there were storage spaces filled from floor to ceiling with replacement parts. Some of the most interesting structural features can be seen in the spaces that were formerly maintenance areas.
Generations of San Miguelenses have worked in the factory since 1932. At the time of its closing, La Aurora was the largest employer in San Miguel with a work force of over 300, and it had become an integral part of the daily lives of its workers and the San Miguel community. Sports, music, and participation in local celebrations were all a part of the Aurora trademark. For many years, San Miguel families would arrive to the factory grounds on Sunday with their picnic lunches to listen to the Aurora band that was set up under a kiosk in the garden. The Aurora also sponsored a soccer team and a baseball team. In addition, there were many observances of San Miguel traditions such as the Mass on December 12 to honor the Virgin of Guadalupe. An altar was arranged inside the factory, and a local priest came to deliver the Mass.
La Aurora also set tradition. The “Alborada” which celebrates the patron saint of San Miguel was instituted by the factory workers . . .
READ MORE > >