Iglesia Santa Bárbara de Santa Rosalía
Unlike the Spanish missions scattered across the peninsula, Santa Rosalía’s church is a simple structure made almost entirely of metal. Long said to have been designed by French architect Gustave Eiffel for use in the country’s African colonies, the origins of this unusual church came into question in the 1990s and the true history remains a mystery.
According to the Eiffel story, the church was exhibited at the 1889 Paris World Exposition, forgotten in a Brussels warehouse, and then rediscovered by an El Boleo manager, who had it shipped to Baja.
Today the local community uses the church for worship.
Mesa Francesa (Mesa Norte)
The mesa on the north side of town holds several well-preserved examples of French colonial architecture, including the Hotel Frances (Don Gaspar 210, tel./fax 615/152-2052) and, across from the hospital, the Museo Histórico Minero de Santa Rosalía (off Frances Altamirano, tel. 615/153-0471, 8 A.M.–2 P.M. and 5–7 P.M. Mon.–Sat., US$1.30), with exhibits that depict the town’s mining past.
To get to the mesa from the town center, you can climb an old set of stairs from the Iglesia Santa Bárbara or follow Calle Altamirano.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition