Oct 052023

When cataloguing extensive photo archives, it is inevitable that errors are occasionally made. This mini series identifies some examples of photo identification errors which pertain to the Lake Chapala area.

Mexico’s National Photo Archive (Fototeca Nacional INAH) includes this image, titled “Multitud en la ribera del lago de Chapala” (Multitude on the shore of Lake Chapala). The image is credited to Winfield Scott, with a date of about 1920.

Winfield Scott-foto-allegedly of Chapala

“Multitud en la ribera del lago de Chapala” ?? (Winfield Scott, c 1920) Fototeca Nacional INAH.

I have no idea whether or not this photo was taken by photographer and hotelier Winfield Scott (1863-1942), whose close ties to Lake Chapala are explained in “Photographer and hotelier Winfield Scott (1863–1942).” Nor do I have any idea how accurate the date might be.

However, the photograph was certainly not taken at Lake Chapala. Indeed, I think it unlikely to have been taken anywhere in Mexico! The group of multistory buildings (right-hand side of the image) does not correspond in any way to the architecture of any town at Lake Chapala, whether at the end of the nineteenth century or at any point since.

Surely, this photo must show a place in the US? Perhaps an eagle-eyed reader can suggest a likely location? All suggestions welcomed!

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My 2022 book Lake Chapala: A Postcard History uses reproductions of more than 150 vintage postcards to tell the incredible story of how Lake Chapala became an international tourist and retirement center.

Comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios are welcomed. Please use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts, or email us.

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