Los Mochis and Topolobampo

A Planned Community

Los Mochis is a rural farm community established in the 1890's. Albert Owen was hired to survey the west coast of Mexico for an extension of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. Once he viewed the bay of Topolobampo, Sinaloa, Mexico, Owen immediately realized Topolobampo's commercial potential. The north of Mexico had mining and a railroad to the port would provide access to Denver and the world. It could connect Texas to the Pacific Ocean and help open up Asia.

A great ideal but never materialized till 1961 long after Owens death. He planned a town at Topolobampo harbor and, in 1880, organized a corporation with a group of investors called the Texas, Topolobampo and Pacific Railroad and Telegraph Company. In 1881, with the help of the Mexican President and general of the Army, Porfirio Diaz, he got the land to establish a colony and to build a city surrounding the harbor.

Owen was an utopian socialism, and as the corporate owner of colony lands, he was able to determine how the community would be ran. Colonists were required to sign in writing to the tenets of the company, which eliminated private wealth and the use of money in favor of a system of credits for work done. It was a socialist 24. Eight hours of sleep, eight hours of work and eight hours of culture and entertainment were among the guidelines that attracted people. This was when most worked 12 days 6 days a week. Moreover, colonists were assured that they operate and own the railroad, telegraphs, banks, water supply, and that they would share equal stakes in all aspects of running the town. All members were seen as equal partners and had to share equally in working the land and businesses. 

Los Mochis/Topolobampo

Later Los Mochis became a large sugar producing area with irrigated fields and a sugar mill, thanks to Benjamin Johnston. Originally Benjamin was a colonist drawn to Owens and his plans for the country. When the project began falling apart Benjamin saw potential in the hot flat farm land with a port near by. Ochoa and Lycan were building "El Águila Sugar Refining Company" the three started out as partners but with Lycan's sudden death "El Águila Sugar Refining Company" became "United Sugar Company" with just one owner, Benjamin Johnston. Soon he was drawing up plans for Los Mochis; streets and parks, the largest being his personal park next to his house. Both his house and park were donated to the city later by his heirs. 

Now days Los Mochis is know for its rich farming and a get away to the Chihuahua-Pacific Railway, Chepe. Topolobampo is emerging port city and ferry route to the Baja. 

Topolobampo's visionary Albert Owen

Topolobampo's visionary Albert Owen