Santa Rosalía near sunset, 1967. Harry Crosby Collection, MSS 333
Santa Rosalía came into being durning the 1880s after a French corporation, the Boleo Mining Company, was formed to exploit local copper deposits that had been bought up from small, independent miners. El Boleo, as it was called in the region, brought in large equipment and, beside digging shafts and pits to acquire ore, also built a company town complete with administration buildings, a hotel, a school, a pre-fabricated steel church designed by Gustave Eiffel, a narrow gauge rail line, a breakwater to create a small harbor, and barracks for workers. Most of the miners were Yaquis brought over from Sonora. To feed a town that grew to 10,000, El Boleo developed dozens of ranches in adjacent interior areas to provide meat, fruit, and vegetables. After more than 30 years of profitable operation, the amount and quality of ore diminished. The company could not be sold, but lingered on in one form or another until the 1970’s when the picturesque mill and the miniature rail line were shut down. One of the real attractions of the peninsular drive lost much of it’s appeal; a colorful chapter in local history was closed.
From Images of Baja California: Images by Harry Crosby