In the early morning hours of September 19, 1985 Mexico City, Mexico was violently hit by an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. The earthquake resulted in more than 5,000 deaths and widespread destruction throughout the city. As the ruble was slowly removed, authorities decided that the newly open space would better serve the community as a public space and Plaza de la Solidaridad started to take form. The plaza was created partially to fill highly populated Mexico City’s need for more public spaces, but more so as a way to honor victims that were unable to escape the hotel before its destruction, and to show the world that the hands of Mexico City were joined together by common bonds and work together for the greater good.
Though the old building that once stood at the site of the plaza changed hands several times throughout the years, it existed almost exclusively as a hotel since 1910. During most of the 20th century, especially in the 1940s, the space now occupied by Plaza de la Solidaridad was a bustling center for social gathering. This was largely due to the Hotel Regis being the unofficial place to be if you wanted to see movie stars, famous musicians, and high fashion. The area was the heart of the city’s nightlife from the 1910s to the 1980s.
When the Hotel Regis collapsed, the damage caused an explosion and a fire that lasted three days. 74 bodies were found, but no one knows exactly how many people may have lost their lives in the hotel.
Plaza de la Solidaridad Facts
- La Plaza de la Solidaridad is located next to the Alameda Central, on Juarez Avenue.
- The location of the plaza has been an important meeting place since the 1910s.
- The Diego Rivera Mural Museum is just a few meters away.
- The current site of the plaza was once occupied by the Convent of San Diego.
1985 Mexico City Earthquake Facts
- The event caused an estimated $3-4 billion (US) in damage.
- 412 buildings collapsed and 3,124 others were seriously damaged.
- More than 10,000 people died as a result of the earthquake and it’s estimated that 250,000 were left homeless.
- Government corruption and lax code enforcement were discovered after the tragedy.