Sep 132018
 
Did Ernest Hemingway ever visit Lake Chapala?

Everyone knows that Lake Chapala has attracted hosts of famous writers over the years – after all, without them, this blog would have been a bit pointless! However, as I suggested in “Did Somerset Maugham ever visit Lake Chapala?“, some famous writers have been associated with the lake despite never visiting it. Is this also […]

Aug 302018
 
Virginia Downs Miller, non-fiction writer, moved to Lake Chapala in the 1980s

Mexican-born Virginia Downs (1914-2005) was the third wife of William (“Bill”) Colfax Miller. After their marriage in November 1969, the Millers lived in Cuernavaca, where they co-owned an art gallery, before moving first to the U.S. for a year and then, in about 1982, to Lake Chapala, where Virginia Miller was a prolific writer of […]

Aug 232018
 
Ignacio Arzapalo photographed Chapala in the 1890s

In the early 1990s, a small number of photos signed “Arzapalo” were included in J. Jesús González Gallo’s book Aquellos tiempos en Chapala. Judging by their subject matter, the Arzapalo who took these photographs was almost certainly Ignacio Arzapalo Palacios (1837-1909), though there is a small possibility that they were the work of his son, […]

Aug 162018
 
Cinematographer William Colfax Miller lived at Lake Chapala in the 1980s

Writer, actor and cinematographer William Colfax Miller (1911-1995) had worked in the film industry in Hollywood and Mexico, before he moved to Lake Chapala with his third wife, Virginia Downs Miller (1914-2005), in the early 1980s. Miller was born on 29 May 1911 in South Dakota. He moved to Chicago after graduating from high school […]

Aug 092018
 
Chapala-born artist Jorge Seimandi painted for pleasure not profit

Chapala-born Jorge Seimandi Ramírez was a highly-respected art educator at the University of Guadalajara for more than 40 years. He was not interested in the commercial side of art and his own work was rarely sold or exhibited. Seimandi was born in Chapala on 2 February 1929, the son of Italian-born businessman Juan Seimandi and […]

Aug 022018
 
Dane Chandos, part three: Anthony Stansfeld and the Mexican detective Don Pancho

As we saw in previous posts, the two writers behind the first two Dane Chandos books related to Lake Chapala – Village in the Sun and House in the Sun  – were Nigel Millett and Peter Lilley. Whether by coincidence or not, less than 3 weeks after Nigel Millett‘s father died in Ajijic in 1947, […]

Jul 052018
 
Juan Kaiser published some of the earliest postcards of Lake Chapala

Swiss-born publisher Juan Kaiser (1858-1916) published some of the earliest postcards of Lake Chapala. His early postcards of the lake, dating back to the start of the 20th century were multi-views, with three small images on each card. Kaiser was born in Leuzigen, Bern, Switzerland in 1858. In 1881, at the age of 23, he […]

Jun 282018
 
American artist Everett Gee Jackson painted at Lake Chapala in the 1920s

Everett Gee Jackson (1900-1995), the renowned American painter, illustrator and art educator, lived at Lake Chapala, apart from some short breaks, from 1923 to 1926 (and returned there in 1950 and 1968). Jackson loved Mexico and during his first visit to Chapala he became intimately acquainted with the artistic creativity of Mexico’s ancient pre-Columbian civilizations, […]

Jun 212018
 
Artist and serial prankster Jim Moran lived in Ajijic in the mid-1980s

Ajijic has certainly attracted more than its fair share of strange and colorful characters over the years but perhaps nobody with quite so many true tales to spin as serial prankster Jim Moran. By the time Moran “retired” to Ajijic, he was almost 80 years old and had put his pranks behind him. Tall, rotund, […]

Jun 072018
 
Dane Chandos, part one: Nigel Millett

In the 1940s, two superbly written books introduced readers in the U.S. and U.K. to life in the village of Ajijic. Both have remained perennial favorites on the must-read lists of anyone interested in Lake Chapala. Village in the Sun and House in the Sun were both written by Dane Chandos, who later wrote several […]

May 292018
 
Illustrator and graphic artist John Russell Clift visited Lake Chapala in the early 1950s

John Russell Clift wrote, and illustrated with original serigraphs, “Chapala-Mexico’s Shangri-La”, published in Ford Times, the monthly magazine of the Ford Motor Company in October 1953. The article was published in Ford Times,. Volume 45 # 10 (October 1953) pp 34-39. The article, with illustrations, was reprinted on Mexconnect.com in its October 2003 edition, to […]

May 242018
 
Lowell Houser painted in Chapala and Ajijic for several years in the mid-1920s

Lowell D. Houser (1902-1971) lived and painted in Chapala, and later Ajijic, in the mid-1920s. He was subsequently hired to paint copies of Mayan murals for an archaeological survey of the Yucatán Peninsula. Houser was born in Chicago on 18 May 1902. During his childhood, the family moved to Iowa, where Houser graduated from Ames […]

May 102018
 
Film and TV actor Norman Burton moved to Ajijic in 1998

Among those active in the Lakeside Little Theater twenty-plus years ago was Norman Schnall (1923-2003) who moved to Ajijic with his wife, Claire, in 1998. Schnall’s professional name as a film and television actor was Norman Burton. As a stage and screen actor, Schnall appeared in more than 40 movies, including Pretty Boy Floyd (1960), […]

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