Mazatlan and its German Influence


The German citizens who lived in Mazatlán left a profound influence in different areas that are still in force today.

Proof of this is the Gothic-style Kiosk found in Plazuela República, which was donated by Melchers Sucesores.

Plazuela República

The origins of banda music are from the German musicians who lived in the port and that over time the Sinaloan musicians imposed their own style on the music

It is undeniable that Mazatlán has a marked German influence since some buildings that denote the German influences of the 19th century are still preserved today, despite all the significant transformation that the city has had to date. Proof of this is the Gothic-style Kiosk found in the Plazuela República, which was donated by Melchers Sucesores and on whose plaque it says: (gift to the people of Mazatlán, February 1909).

Melchers Sucesores was a German commercial house that had a lot of growth thanks to the maritime commercial activity of those years, because, in the mid-19th century, there were 13 important commercial houses in Mazatlán of which 6 were German, Hass Denghauysen y Cia, Runherdt and Enwal, Jr Moller y Cia, Unde y Pini, Rocker, Riñes y Cia, and Copman y Lomer. 3 were French, Redanet and Echeguren, a Swiss-Spanish, De la Torre and Jecker and Cia an American, Matt and Talbat and a Filipino-English, Machado Yeawaid and Cia.

The Sinaloa exchange from 1811 to 1877 was characterized by being fundamentally maritime due to the non-existence of land transport and because it was mostly concentrated with Europe, for this reason, it was a monopoly of foreign merchants based in Mazatlán that strengthened this situation being the only port enabled for high-altitude trade and as they are the only ones with the necessary contacts and credit abroad.

Thus, foreign merchants, mostly Germans, made exports of $ 165,794 and imports of $ 221,345 and $ 2,725,100 for those same years.

In the case of foreign merchants in Mazatlán, during this period there was contraband that was in the public domain, such as the one that occurred in 1871 supported by the revolt of the Noria plan that was used by commercial houses. Such as Lewels and Co., Cariaga and Co., and successor Melchers.

Alzua Durry y Cia and Echeguren D la Quinta y Cia, Julio Patte y Cia, and Pedro Fort and Jr. Moller bought the municipal house and maritime customs with a repurchase agreement for $ 6,500.00 and $ 7,000.00 in 1880.

Among other things, the Germans not only left their mark on the port commercially but also culturally, bringing with them their music, introducing wind instruments and percussions into their bands, which were the forerunners of today’s bandas. Sinaloan music, that is, the origins of band music, are the German musicians who lived in the port and that over time the Sinaloan musicians imposed their style on them. But there is still more, they were also the ones who introduced the manufacture of beer in Mazatlán, which at the beginning was homemade and rudimentary, and that over time they founded one of the most productive beer companies in Mexico, Pacific Brewery, marketing their product throughout the country and abroad. 

The building was the headquarters of the German Haberdashery when the great commercial houses reigned 

These families laid the foundations of the current regional economy by developing commerce and industry.

One of the most elegant and stately buildings in the architectural catalog of the historic center.

Its large windows denote the commercial use that the property had until about 1940, when the financial crisis caused by World War II forced its managers to close.

The pediment is its main feature, as well as the individual balconies on its second floor, where some of its administrators and main dependents generally lived.

The historian Brígida Von Mentz, in her book The Pioneers of German Imperialism in Mexico , explains that the German Haberdashery was founded around 1848 by the businessmen Teodoro Heyman and César Bertheau.

They were engaged in the retail sale of hardware, china, toys, jewelry, watches and tools for agriculture.

In addition to this, they made furniture of fine woods, collections of paintings, watercolors and musical instruments.

There is a version that some of its employees, young people from Germany, the majority, taught the local musicians to play some of the basic wind instruments of band music.

In a short time, the German Haberdashery came to financially rival another of the main commercial houses of the city: La Casa Melchers y Sucesores, a business run by German families that had expanded their influence to the states of Durango, Nayarit and Sonora.


The building is in good condition, even though it has had very different uses over the decades. In recent years it has housed a lumberyard, an artificial climate business, restaurants and bars.

However, the property still seems to be waiting for a destination that will revalue it for what it is: one of the main architectural jewels of the city.


The Mazatlan Post