History of the Sugar Mills – Todos Santos, B.C.S
An abundance of water and its fertile soil brought prosperity to the oasis of Todos Santos, allowing the cultivation of sugar cane, corn and a large variety of vegetables on an industrial scale. By the late 1800’s, Todos Santos was a major producer of panocha/piloncillo (brown sugar), exporting tons of the product to mainland Mexico. The traditional dark brown cones are still available in many of the local Mercados (stores) in Todos Santos. There were five “Molinos” or sugar cane processing plants in Todos Santos, as evidenced by the still standing brick chimneys dotting the landscape.
The industry flourished until the early 1950’s when a great drought caused the water table to drop and the plantations to dry up. Don Manuel Salvador Villarino brought the first iron-cane crushing mill to the village. It was shipped from San Francisco and was unloaded in the harbor of Cabo San Lucas, then transported to Todos Santos by “Cuadrillas”, men using stout levers.
EL MOLINO – formerly known as EL Progresso and the site of our home and BnB now, was owned by Don Abraham Salgado Villalobos. In the 1930’s Don Abraham gave his only son (also named Abraham) a birthday gift, allowing him to embark in a sugar-laden canoe off the beach at Punto Lobos to a waiting ship. A strong north wind sank the canoe with its cargo of panocha, drowning 15-year-old Abraham and his friend El Tiburon. El Progresso continued to operate until finally shutting down in 1974, although Don Abraham was never able to recover from his son’s death. The chimney and almost intact grinding machinery and vats are still clearly visible today. The property is now home to a residential community; our home is #10, where we look forward to welcoming you as our very special guest!