The land that is now Parque Hidalgo (Hidalgo Park) was once the orchards and gardens of Convent of San Francisco. In 1861, the Mexican government expropriated properties owned by the church and transformed them into public spaces.
Construction on the park was completed in the 1880s. Originally the park was named Parque Porfirio Díaz (Porfirio Díaz Park) for José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori, who served seven terms as the President of Mexico. After Díaz was forced to resign and leave the country at the start of the Mexican Revolution, the park was renamed in 1911.
Parque Hidalgo is known for its collection of monuments and sculptures. A statue of the Greek goddess Hera was a gift from the Spanish government in 1910, and a large floral clock was built on the grounds soon after. There are monuments to several notable Mexican figures, including Miguel Hidalgo and Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez.
A pirul tree located in the park attracted stories, as locals began seeing the figure of a child in its roots. In the early 21st century, local authorities fenced off the tree and installed a sign telling the story of “Tree Child,” a young boy named Francisquito who looked after the tree. When the boy’s parents died, the tree took care of Francisquito and his sister by turning them into its roots. The legend says that at night, the children come out of the tree and play in the park.
The park’s newest monument was installed in 2015. “Paloma de la Paz” (“The Dove of Peace”) is a sculpture made of scale models of firearms that come together to form a dove holding an olive branch. Some of the metal used in the sculpture came from guns handed over during a gun amnesty.
As of November 2019, the Dove has been vandalized, the clock no longer functions, and the shapes of Francisquito and his sister on the pirul are harder to make out. Nonetheless, Parque Hidalgo’s monuments and attractions still make for an eclectic, unique collection of features.
Know Before You Go
The park is public and open at all times. During the weekends, it's common to see small events like performing clowns and dancers for the large family crowds.