From the Archives…the “Republic of Puerta” continued
“ … A pioneer in the wilderness of the American continent.”
Want a glimpse back into what the Ranch was like in the 1940s and ‘50s? This month we continue sharing a summary paper (probably used for marketing purposes) that we recently found in the archives. It covers “climate,” “scenery and atmosphere,” and “history.” You’ll even encounter the term “climato-therapeutic”—marketing language for “the weather’s darn nice here and very good for you!”
Professor Szekely’s search, in this part of the world, for a desert-mountain climate similar to that of the Mediterranean spas, led him at last to the northern part of Baja California, with its magic desert-mountain air. The climate is indeed one of the best in the world, comparable only to the climates of the French Riviera and the Swiss Alps. The bracing, refreshing breath of mountains and desert represent the greatest climato-therapeutic value of the Resort. It is free of ocean dampness and fog—the humidity is extremely low. Semi-desert-like, dry, sunny and warm, it is as desirable in winter as in summer. There are exceptionally invigorating nights the year round, but both winter and summer are mild.
One may sun-bathe daily during most of the year in both our open and covered solariums. The average daytime temperature varies from 70 to 80 degrees. Though occasionally we have hot days, there is almost always a breeze. The winter months bring a few showers, but the skies clear immediately.
With its brilliant sunshine 340 days of the year, its gentle breeze, and its dry, uncontaminated air from desert and mountain, the climate of the Resort is really unsurpassed. In it, outdoor life blossoms like a flower. Health and vigor flow back naturally and quickly.
Scenery and Atmosphere
The huge rock formations typical of this area, not confined to the mountainsides, are strewn over all of La Puerta Valley as well. This lends a rugged, picturesque quality to the landscape. The Valley, notwithstanding, is luscious and green in spring.
Besides the miles of vineyards and grain fields, it contains many oak and sycamore trees. Locusts and willows grow near the streams. The hills and mountains are covered with sage, aromatic herbs and other desert verdure. The sweet scent of these wild plants makes the crisp clean air even more delicious. By day, one feels the spell of the sun and the ever-blue sky, the vivid green trees and vineyards, the fragrant fields, gentle winds, and liquid-silver bird songs.
There is a homey feeling about everything. Sight of the colorful casitas (small cabins) tucked away in the vineyards, and the adobe homes of Mexican farmers, bleached white in the brilliant sunlight, flood one’s heart with warmth. By night, the unbelievably vast display of low-hanging stars, the absolute silence of the earth beneath them, the music of frog and cricket and the soft yet exhilarating night air, lay peace on your soul. You feel you have been here always.
Over and above all this, La Puerta pleases you profoundly. Here, everyone calls you by your first name; there is complete absence of caste. Rules and regulations are elastic. Everything is run on the cooperative plan. You are free, relaxed, alert. Sparkle returns to your eyes, reflecting a new, joyous outlook. It is wonderful just to be alive.
Aladdin and his magic lamp? Professor Szekely brought forth the “Republic of La Puerta” from an abandoned, windowless adobe stable! To give substance to his vision of showing man a new way of life, he abandoned a rich and pleasant European background to become a pioneer in the wilderness of the American continent.
The Professor arrived in Tecate on June 6, 1940, with only a miniature library, four thousand sheets of paper, and a mimeograph machine. Within the bare walls of the deserted hovel, under a leaky roof, he piled up boxes for furniture, and began slowly, steadily to make his ideal real.
At the time the Professor decided that northern Baja California would prove a fully satisfactory locale for his Resort, the Second World War had started, and skilled labor from the U.S.A. was unobtainable. Restrictions, priorities, etc., made it difficult or impossible to obtain needed supplies, such as pipes. Thus, from the start, there were countless hurdles to surmount. But nothing succeeded in blocking the Professor’s progress. Year by year the Resort has grown and prospered. Physical hardships have been overcome; legal, financial and labor problems met; countless other pioneering difficulties solved. Gradually the resort acquired new facilities, new buildings, new land. What has been accomplished here truly borders on the miraculous.
In 1942 the Professor’s staff consisted of only three persons, one of whom was his wife. The Lecture Hall and meeting place were merely a sheltered space under two wide-spreading oaks. The Staff grew rapidly, however. We have 63 central buildings at present, and 125 casitas. We own our own water plant, including three wells, and our own electric plant. For some time we have been proud possessors of five separate Ranchos, comprising 850 acres.
And still change and growth continue, as plans in the blueprints become realities. La Puerta is now a community. But basically it remains the same, eliminating as far as possible the luxuries of city dwellers. At the same time, it equips itself very more perfectly with the essentials of simple, outdoor life. Visitors find their stay here increasingly enjoyable and beneficial. And the Professor serves more and more individuals, teaching them to re-orient their eating, thinking and living habits, to the end that all humanity’s health may blossom like the rose.