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Mexico

GUERRERO
Coahuila, Mexico


South of the Border


A Side Trip from Eagle Pass
30 miles from
Piedras Negras
across the Rio Grande


Church bell in Guerrero
Guerrero means "warrior" in Spanish.

There are three Guerreros on the Texas/ Mexico border - all of them on the Mexican side. There is a Guerra in Jim Hogg County - but that's another story.

The other two Guerreros are in the State of Tamaulipas: Guerrero Viejo was flooded when the Falcon Reservoir was formed in the 1950s and the new Ciudad Guerrero remains not far from its namesake.

The Guerrero we're visiting here dates to Spanish rule and among other things - was the point where Santa Anna's army crossed the Rio Grande in 1836. Guerrero was once a very busy crossing point until smugglers moved about 30 miles upriver to avoid involving government in their business.
Welcome to Guerrero, Coahuila, Mexico
Welcome to Guerrero, Coahuila
TE Photo
Getting There:
Guerrero is only about 30 miles from Piedras Negras and is certainly worth the trip if you're in the area and don't mind the absence of nightlife.

From downtown Piedras Negras - follow the signs that say Highway 57 (To Saltillo). As the town thins out you'll come to a major intersection where you'll see the directional sign to Nuevo Laredo (Hwy 2).

After passing scores of ranches on a smooth 30-mile trip road you'll arrive at Guerrero.
Guerrero Mexico street scene
A street scene in Guerrero
TE Photo
Guerrero is spacious with well-paved streets. The feeling of spaciousness is perhaps due to the removal (or collapse) of some buildings - but the wells remain in place - many of them on vacant lots.

Many buildings and some crypts in the cemetery show that Guerrero dates to the 1700s.
Guerrero Mexico bandstand on the square
The Bandstand
TE Photo

The town square consists of the two story municipal building/city hall on the south side and a church to the east. A bandstand is the centerpiece and a primary school is on the NW corner. A casual restaurant sits north of the church.

Guerrero church bell
The smaller bell of the Guerrero church
TE Photo
The bell tower of the church contains two bells - the smaller of which has a large noticeable crack. The larger bell is rung by means of a screaming yellow plastic rope. Rather than confine the bell ringer to inside the tower - he rings the bell from the outside. This practice is wearing a groove into the masonry - but it doesn't seem to bother anyone enough to abandon the practice.
Guerrero Mexico corner store
The store "Tres Esquinas" (three corners)
TE Photo
Traffic is so rare that housewives actually sweep the street in front of their houses with their household brooms. Kids in the street may be actual kids - since many househods keep goats.

During our visit a woman stopped in the middle of the street to deliver a cake to the primary school - leaving her car door open for the ten minutes she was inside.
Colorful exterior wall stencil
A decorative strip on a downtown wall
TE Photo
colorful street scene in Guerrero
Another row of buildings
TE Photo
stencil on exterior wall in Guerrero Mexico
Another of Guerrero's decorative strips
TE Photo
Two things give Guerrero a distinctive color - one is their trademark type of well - an arch over a rustic natural crosspiece from which the pulley is hung - and a decorative strip of paint waist-high on all of the houses and stores. Within the decorative strip the pattern may vary but it's always the same height.

The wells (we are told) reach the water table 1500 feet below the surface.

John Troesser
April 2002 Feature
Related Topics: South Texas Towns | Mexico
Readers' Comments:

When you were down in Eagle Pass did you cross the border and go to Guerrero, about 25 miles down river from Piedras Negras, to visit the mission San Juan Baptista?

This mission was the original mission and the headquarters from which the fathers operated in their forming and governing the missions in Texas including the Alamo. It is a ruin now but the Mexican government has made some attempts to save it. - Sincerely, Bick Eubanks, June 24, 2002

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