Cabo San Lucas during the 1960’s

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Photos of the Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos area of Mexico during the 1960’s.

Original, circa 1960’s, site where the Bahia hotel would be constructed in the mid to late1980’s. This is the former residence of fisherman Oscar Montaño Herrera circa 1960. Known as Don Yoka, he was a pioneer of Los Cabos’ coastal fisheries. More than a quarter century ago, Don Juan Esquivel built one of the first hotels on Medano Beach, circa mid 1980’s, on the site that originally belonged to Don Yoka. Bahia Hotel & Beach Club, www.bahiacabo.mx

Photo courtesy Bahia Hotel & Beach, Club Cabo San Lucas. www.bahiacabo.mx

Cabo San Lucas circa 1961 - today this dirt road is Calle Lazaro Cardenas

Cabo San Lucas circa 1961 – today this dirt road is Calle Lazaro Cardenas

Have you Ever Met a Living Legend?

Meet Carlos Ungson, one of Baja’s true pioneers. Many people claim to be famous but not Carlos… however, his life story tells otherwise.

Benjamin Ungson (Carlos’ father) was just 16 years old in 1895 when he travelled across the Pacific Ocean from China to Mexico, a whole new world to him. After living in many areas of Mexico, he finally settled in Mexicali where in 1935, Carlos was born. Benjamin insisted that all his children learn to speak Spanish and their native Chinese dialect as well as English.

When he was nine, Carlos, a brother and one of his sisters were sent to boarding school in Los Angeles where Carlos thrived during his formative years. He earned an Engineer’s degree from the University of Southern California and served his first job with IWATA, an international engineering firm. In 1960, architect Alberto Triboletti received a contract to build a new hotel in Los Cabos, Mexico which lead to the question …”where?” Carlos had a feeling that his future would change dramatically.

Carlos Ungson c.1965
Carlos Ungson c.1965

The developer, Bud Parr painted a fabulous picture with tales of pristine beaches, exceptional sport fishing, spectacular scenery, and unbeatable weather! The Hotel Cabo San Lucas rose at El Tule on the dirt road between San Jose Del Cabo and the small fishing village of Cabo San Lucas.

“As I flew over the site for the first time, it was pointed out to me where the hotel would be built and I remember thinking…’where am I going and what have I gotten myself into’! It turned out to be the greatest adventure that has ever happened to me or that could happen to anyone…to experience what I did as a 25-year old!”

Building materials took weeks to arrive by boat so Carlos and his team made equipment to trim lumber, make tiles and mix cement. They also built electrical stations, water reservoirs and sewage plants… remember this was 1960 with no highway or easy access by plane.

The Hotel Cabo San Lucas soon became a world-famous destination, known as a quick get-away for Hollywood’s “Rich & Famous”. People lucky enough to discover this desert oasis found themselves enjoying a cocktail with John Wayne and Frank Sinatra, teeing off with Bob Hope and marlin fishing with Ernest Hemingway.

Carlos Ungson and Bud Parr - estimated photo date: 1965-75
Carlos Ungson and Bud Parr – estimated photo date: 1965-75

In 1961 when construction was finished, Carlos became General Manager of the hotel until 1976 when he moved on to projects such as the Palmilla Hotel, the Twin Dolphin Hotel and the Hacienda in Cabo. He invested wisely in real estate, much of which he still owns today, including the beautiful Casa Bella Boutique Hotel located in Cabo San Lucas Centro. It remains a family business with his lovely wife Maria Elena and his daughter Barbara there every day.

Carlos’ contributions have benefited Los Cabos for decades and his visionary commitment to the future will continue to do so for generations to come. Even now in his golden years, Carlos has three major projects on the go: Town Center / Riverwalk, Cabo San Lucas: located between Wal-Mart and the bullring arroyo sit 30 hectares (75 acres) which for the past 10 years have caused people to ask…”where do those two paved roads go, what will be built there?”. The answers will soon be revealed when construction of the Town Center / Riverwalk of Cabo San Lucas is started. It will be home to businesses, stores, restaurants, shops, boutique & luxury hotels, condominiums, medical facilities…everything a bustling community needs including a winding riverwalk just like in San Antonio. Of course, proximity to the beach and wonderful vistas are free.

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The Town Center / Riverwalk will combine local culture with international flair. Investment opportunities are available as all permits are in place and financing is being finalized.

Satellite City, San Jose Del Cabo: located near the international airport are 300 hectares (750 acres) designated for “Cuidad Satellite, Los Cabos”, utilizing a new design of intermediate urbanization with considerations to the environmental, social, and educational interactions of residents. Schools, hospitals, police & fire stations, commercial & retail locales, residential homes, public facilities and green space make Satellite City one of the most anticipated developments to be brought to Baja.

Marina on the Pacific, Los Cerritos: located just south of Todos Santos, the property is 1100 hectares (2500+ acres) with 2 km of beachfront then across Highway 19 for 7 km up the side of the Sierra Laguna foothills. The oceanfront section will have a 200-slip marina, a signature-designed golf course, and private residences. The land sites across the highway will be home to 1 acre estate homes with panoramic vistas. The close proximity to both Cabo San Lucas and La Paz makes a 30-minute drive easy and quick.
Information about all three projects can be found at www.iicg.com

“Once in our lifetime, we are offered a wonderful opportunity which will change our lives forever. I was very fortunate and took mine 50 years ago. It can happen to anyone…we don’t do things for ourselves but for others. “
It has been my extreme privilege to know Carlos and his family for 14 years and I look forward to his on-going ventures in keeping Baja the magical place that we enjoy!

By: Brian Blackburn • e-mail: ask@caboguy.com
Article previously published in Ventanna Magazine 2008
http://www.ventanamagazine.com/

 

Old Tuna Cannery

In 1917 an American company established floating plant for the exploitation of tuna, and ten years later the Marine Products Company was established.  1917 – Una compañía estadounidense estableció en 1917 una planta flotante para el aprovechamiento del atún, y diez años después se estableció la Compañía de Productos Marinos.   Source: http://raulverdugo.blogspot.mx/2011/08/cabo-san-lucas.html

Old tuna cannery 1966
Old tuna cannery 1966. Source: Three friends of Bette Sutherin.

 

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The old tuna cannery in Cabo San Lucas
La antigua planta empacadora de atún en Cabo San Lucas

 

Old Tuna Cannery in Cabo San Lucas. Copy of print displayed on the wall at Latitude 22 The Roadhouse Cabo.
Old Tuna Cannery in Cabo San Lucas. Copy of print displayed on the wall at Latitude 22 The Roadhouse Cabo. the name Paul Ames is barely visible on the print. Year unknown.
Old Tuna Cannery in Cabo San Lucas. Copy of print displayed on the wall at Latitude 22 The Roadhouse Cabo. the name Paul Ames is barely visible on the print. Year unknown.
Old Tuna Cannery in Cabo San Lucas. Copy of print displayed on the wall at Latitude 22 The Roadhouse Cabo. the name Paul Ames is barely visible on the print. Year unknown.
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In this impressive photograph, which was taken at the beginning of the decade of the seventies of the twentieth century, we see the background tuna packer Pando, at the bottom the Finisterra hotel that was his huge beach watching the Pacific.

DSC09549It is indeed surprising to see detail this photograph was taken in 1970, although the date is not confirmed, I guess it will be in that year when it was taken. We clearly see the building occupied by the tuna cannery Pando and the few buildings that were in what is now the tourist marina of Cabo San Lucas, back is a warehouse, maybe it was part of the plant of Don Elias Pando. We reached the pier also served notice to the packing and would later be used for ferry service that existed between this point and Puerto Vallarta. We have been asked as then population centers that now make up the municipality of Los Cabos.

10542882_708543122559099_7200007118204188768_nSource:  http://vamonosalbable.blogspot.mx/2012/05/un-vistazo-cabo-san-lucas-en-1970.html

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Tuna Cannery circa 1960. Photo courtesy friends of PhotoMexico.com

 

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The Cabo San Lucas Cannery pier and harbor, circa 1977. Photo courtesy Latitude 22 Cabo.

 

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View of the old tuna cannery, circa 1960 to 70. Caption is about changes the names of the Cannery Beaches.

 

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Compañía de Productos Marinos, Cabo San Lucas. Date of photo unknown, but I think it is fairly recent.

What remains of the old tuna canning plant in Cabo San Lucas is merely a shell of its former self. Nearly destroyed by a hurricane in the 1940’s and rebuilt in the 1950’s the old building stands as piece of local history. The historic Cabo San Lucas tuna cannery in the photo above was built in 1927 and kept in operation until 1980.

The Old Tuna Cannery, Cabo San Lucas, April 19, 1957 Images by Howard E. Gulick

 

The old Cabo San Lucas tuna cannery and fishing pier. Photo February 1993 by Joseph A. Tyson.
View of the old Cabo San Lucas tuna cannery and fishing pier at the entrance to the marina. The fishing pier was destroyed by Hurricane Juliette in 2001 after being a landmark for 70 years. Photo February 1993  by Joseph A. Tyson.

 

Remains of the old tuna cannery in Cabo San Lucas. Photo February 2014 by Joseph A. Tyson
Remains of the old tuna cannery in Cabo San Lucas. Photo February 2014 by Joseph A. Tyson

 

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Remains of the old tuna packing plant in Cabo San Lucas.
Photo January 2014 by Joseph A. Tyson

 

Remains of the old tuna cannery in Cabo San Lucas. Photo January 2014 by Joseph A. Tyson
Remains of the old tuna cannery in Cabo San Lucas. Photo January 2014 by Joseph A. Tyson