MEXICO ON THE ROAD IN
Santa Ana and Benjamin Hill, Sonora
By Dorothy Bell Share |
This is second in a series about towns and cities along Highway 15 and 200 as you drive south in Mexico - Santa Ana and Benjamin Hill.
Our Lady of Saint Ana
Santa Ana, Sonora
Location 105 kms (65 miles) South of Nogales on Highway 15
Population 11,000 people in the city, 15,000 in the municipality
Climate: DRY and Hot. Santa Ana lies in the Sonoran Desert
29.1 ° C in July-August, a minimum average monthly temperature of 12.4 ° C in December to February, Rainfall occurs in the months of July and August with an average annual rainfall of 332 mm, Frost appears in February and March.
Santa Ana is and has always been an important crossroad.
The Pima Indians populated the Magdalena River Valley and settled into an area called Santa Ana Viejo once the Spanish arrived and a Mission was established.
The town was founded in 1883 with the building of the Sonoran Railway. It was given municipal status in 1935.
Santa Ana is not a major stopping spot for tourists. Perhaps the most notable building is the Gothic Church “Our Lady of Saint Ana.” An old 18th century structure with grand beautiful arches.
In July the town celebrates Saint Ana Day, a regional fair which runs from 17 to 26 June
Agriculture and animal husbandry are the main economic activities. Main crops are corn, vegetables, wheat, and cattle fodder, Ranchers export calves to the US.
one Maguiladora plant assembling
automotive electronic components, generating 800 jobs.
From Nogales drive 105 kms (65 miles) south past to KM 165. At the junction of HWY 2.
Location 148 kms South of Nogales on Highway 15
Population 5,285 people
Climate: DRY and Hot. Benjamin Hill lies in the Sonoran Desert.
Summer maximums of 31.6°C Winter minimums of 13.8°C. The average annual temperature is 22.5°C.
Prior to 1939, the area was called San Fernando Ranch when the Federal Government chose it as a junction for two rail lines; The Sonora Baja California and South Pacific Railways. It was incorporated as a municipality in 1952.
See below regarding the town's namesake.
Benjamin Hill is a small pueblo easily missed when driving Highway 15. There are limited attractions or services for the tourist.
The colonial church was built in 1949 and the town plaza and kiosk in 1953 – both with Colonial styled architecture.
Benjamin Hill remains a small town with limited agricultural activity and animal husbandry with calf exportation to the US. There is a small industrial park.
There are preserved train cars in the town.
From Nogales drive 148 kms south to KM 122
Benjamin G. Hill
31 March 1874(1874-03-31) – 14 December 1920
Benjamin Hill was named after a revolutionary war hero and not as many believe, a bump in the desert landscape.
Born in March 1877 in Choix Sinaloa, North East of El Fuerte and educated in Chihuahua and then sent by his father to continue his studies in Germany and Italy. He returned to Mexico and became involved in agriculture and politics. He was elected to Navojoa city Council in 1908.
Hill joined the revolution in 1910 siding with Madero. He was then thrown in the Hermosillo prison until April 1911. When released he raised a volunteer army in Navojoa. He fought various campaigns including those against Pancho Villa. He became the Governor of Sonora in 1914 and later was appointed Divisional General.
When Obregon took the Presidency of the Country, he appointed Hill Secretary of War and the Navy. He died a few days later at a luncheon in Mexico City. It was rumored that Obregon was grooming him as a successor and that Hill’s main rival, Plutarco Calles, poisoned him.
The town was named in his honor.
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