Ranch of the Ant, Now Open to the Public
Los Pinos was, until 2018, the Mexican President’s official office and residence. It had served in this official capacity since 1934, when then president Lázaro Cárdenas moved in, but as of 2018 it became a cultural center. It’s open to the public, admission is free
History of the Site
In about 1550, a mill was constructed on the site for processing wheat and maize. This facility grew in importance until it became widely recognized as the Molino del Rey, literally “The King’s Mill.” Some 300 years later, the mill was sold to a doctor, José Pablo Martinez del Rio, who built the Casa Grande on the same property. It was the site of the bloodiest battle during the USA invasion in 1847, and the first of those included in the overall Battle of Chapultepec which ended with the US occupation of the city.
The Casa Grande eventually came to be called Rancho La Hormiga, which can be translated as the Ranch of the Ant. In 1865, it was sold to Emperor Maximilian, but with his downfall it returned Doctor Martinez del Rio.
With the end of hostilities of the Revolution in 1917, President Venustiano Carranza expropriated the land and buildings in part because of their nearness to the Chapultepec Castle. Carranza intended to install cabinet member on the site, but only Alvaro Obregon lived there. The site was then unused until 1934 when President Lázaro Cárdenas refused to inhabit the castle. Offered Rancho la Hormiga, he accepted, but he changed the name to Los Pinos, and it has remained under that name ever since.
14 presidents lived within the site. Los Pinos, with all of it’s modifications and changes ended up being a facility of some 56,000 square meters of space, about 14 times bigger than the White House in Washington DC. Thus, Lázaro Cárdenas’ vision of a residence less “ostentatious” than Chapultepec Castle had become just as ostentatious and perhaps more so. The new president’s decision to return it to the Mexican people was fulfilled on the day after he took office in December of 2018.
Today it’s as popular as any other place in Chapultepec Park and a fine addition to your next visit.