Calle Moneda sn, Tlalpan Centro I, Tlalpan, 14000 Ciudad de México, CDMX
55 5485 3266
History and architecture coexist in this big beautiful residence located south of the city in the Delegación de Tlalpan, the biggest delegación in the city. The house was built during the reign of President Porfirio Diaz at the end of the XIX century and has that characteristic french aristocratic style that was so prevalent during that time. It’s known as being one of the filming locations for Spanish-Mexican director Luis Buñuel’s 1950’s cinematic masterpiece Los Olvidados, and it was also the residence of former president Adolfo López Mateos. But its main claim to fame has been as the former residence to one of the city’s most popular robbers, who has, over the passing decades, come to be known as the “Robbin Hood of Mexico”.
And no, it’s not the same Robbin Hood as the one who inhabited the Castillo de Barrientos on the other side of the city, but this “Robbin” was Jesús Arriaga, better known as “Chucho el Roto” who became the lover of Matilde de Frissac, the lovely virginal niece of wealthy aristocratic banker Diego de Frissac. Both lovers would normally meet at this house. Eventually, they even had a daughter, but those happy times wouldn’t last long. The rich uncle wouldn’t have it and used his power and connections to separate them, and especially, to make Arriaga pay. For a moment it looked as though the evil uncle had succeeded as he was able to concoct a mischievous plan and send Arriaga to Mexico’s most terrifying prison back in the day: San Juán de Ulúa, a stone-walled dungeon in the port of Veracruz.
Yet Arriaga managed to escape and returned to the city, now it was his time for retribution, and dedicated himself to rob the rich people with a passion, attributing their privilege and petty ways as the source of his tragedy at the aforementioned prison. He gained notoriety in the area of Tlalpan, as he normally shared his loot with the poor inhabitants of the area, who also held resentment towards the ruling class. But unfortunately, Arriaga was apprehended again by Frissac and his posse, and this time they didn’t send him to the terrifying dungeon, it was way worse. They tortured him until they murdered him. Upon his death, they sent a coffin to Matilde and the daughter, and when they opened it, they found out it was just filled with stones (as his body was too unpresentable).
The years came and went and in 2001 it was inaugurated as a gallery where local painters can exhibit their work, the public can access and marvel at its beautiful architecture and gardens, and maybe even watch a play in its auditorium which can seat 100 people. There are also painting, sculpting, and digital art classes for young people and adults as well. It’s located just a few blocks away from Metrobús Línea 1 station “Fuentes Brotantes”.