Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/362

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354
TRAVELS IN MEXICO.

site chosen was the worst in the valley, principally from the impossibility of effectual drainage.

It is proposed to form here the nucleus for the American colony in Mexico, by building a hotel that shall compare with, or surpass, anything on the continent, and by dividing the land into lots of convenient size for building upon. The hotel is to be placed opposite the third glorieta, or the space destined for the statue of Cortés,—is to be built of indestructible material, and plans are invited from American architects. Ten thousand varas were given for the site of the hotel, which is to be 500 feet front by 600 deep; also all the stone, sand, and gravel necessary for its construction. Within half an hour, by steam, are the ancient quarries, whence the stone used in the building of the city was obtained. Here is that peculiar conglomerate called tepetate, which can be easily cut, like the shell rock of Florida and Bermuda, and of which half the city is built. This material is placed at the disposal of the builders of the hotel, and can be brought direct from the quarries to the proposed site, by the National road, which bounds the land on one side, and within a thousand yards are the stations of two other great railways, the Central and the Vera Cruz. All the street cars of the city rendezvous in the northeast quarter, while several lines reach the Paseo; none disturb, however, the sanctity of this grand avenue.

Nearly opposite the statue of Colon re extensive baths, with marble basins and an abundant flow of water, that would reflect credit upon any city. There are a score of artesian wells in the tract, from which streams of water gush the year through, rainy and dry season alike. Now the question arises, Why has not this valuable section been sooner taken possession of, and why has it not been built upon? It was, as I have said, part of Maximilian's wise plan to gradually extend the city westward to this higher and more salubrious location, by inducing the wealthy Mexicans to build elegant residences there. Taking up the grand suggestion of the late Emperor, it remains for Americans to realize his dream. The insecurity of the suburbs of the city has been the greatest objection to building there, but