Home in Santander (Jimenez)

Now the Jimenez City Hall

In his early years as governor, Conde Escandon was rarely able to visit his family in their luxurious home in Queretaro. After three years he obtained permission from vice-regal authorities to build at his own expense a combined fort and residence at Santander that also would be headquarters for administering affairs of the colony. The construction took two years and is said to have cost twenty three million pesos. For 10 years the Condesajosefa, Escandon's second wife, and their three sons occupied the spacious living quarters on the second floor. There also was an oratory or guest house for visiting priests and additional rooms for family relatives and servants. Golantes (schooners) landed food staples and household items from Veracruz at Soto La Marina a few leagues distant. Three cannons were mounted on corner balconies above the thick-walled courtyard. The Escandon coat of arms flanked the main entrance.

An existing section of the original massive structure on the north side of the plaza now serves Jimenez as the Municipal Palace (city hall). A picture of the Condesa, who is said to have "furnished the many rooms in good taste," hangs in a room just inside with other family memorabilia. However, most of the Escandon relics, including the original coat of arms emblazoned on stone, are in the Tamaulipas State Museum in C. Victoria. Here also is the famous oil portrait of Escandon loaned by Queretaro's prestigious San Franciscan Museum.

An existing section of the original massive structure on the north side of the plaza now serves Jimenez as the Municipal Palace (city hall). A picture of the Condesa, who is said to have "furnished the many rooms in good taste," hangs in a room just inside with other family memorabilia. However, most of the Escandon relics, including the original coat of arms emblazoned on stone, are in the Tamaulipas State Museum in C. Victoria. Here also is the famous oil portrait of Escandon loaned by Queretaro's prestigious San Franciscan Museum.

The still elegant family coach, also in the museum, stirs thoughts of the delicately bred Condesa jolting over Santander's rough cobblestones. She is still remembered for her charities and gifts to the church and the parochial school her children attended there. Though her new home was the most sumptuous in the entire colony, it had none of the beauty and refinement of the palace in Queretaro. Secluded behind a high stone wall, the beautiful palace is considered one of the finest examples of Queretaro's vice-regal architectural style. This subtle blending of Moorish and Italian influences was developed by master artisans brought from Spain. The eighteenth century masterpiece was designed with a grand stairway leading to the second floor family living quarters. On the ground floor were waiting rooms, servant compound and coach house. All rooms opened onto a vast bricked courtyard. Having been a member of a fortunate quartet invited inside the Escandon Palacio in Queretaro, I marvel that the Condesa Josefa was seemingly content in Nuevo Santander's provincial capital. Particularly, I wonder, because her husband was so often absent making one of his long journeys.

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