Once upon a time, there was a village whose name was changed overnight. And it was such an unexpected decision that even today it is remembered with nostalgia.
In the Name of What is Functional
What would you feel if the district where you live was suddenly moved several kilometers away from your home? What would happen if your place of origin suddenly had a different name? Can the name of a place influence the identity of its inhabitants or is it just a detail everyone can easily become adapted to?
Let's set ourselves in time and space. Let's imagine this is 1910 and we are in Sierra de la Ventana, in the Province of Buenos Aires. It is important to take into account that saying Sierra de la Ventana in those days was not the same as saying it today. In 1910, Sierra de la Ventana lay 27 kilometers away from the Sierra de la Ventana of our days.
Former Sierra de la Ventana
Yes. This is not science fiction. The land did not move from one place to another. History goes that in December 16, 1912, the Post Office requested a change of name for the Sauce Grande station, where the Sierra de la Ventana Hotel was located. The idea was to give Sauce Grande the name of Sierra de la Ventana Station in order to avoid any inconveniences regarding the mail sent to the hotel, which was often confused for that addressed to the district bearing the same name.
But what would happen then with the former Sierra de la Ventana. And, above all, what would happen with its dwellers?
We all know that back then, villages were named after their railway stations. Thus, if it was not possible to have two Sierras de la Ventana (which would have turned out to be even more confusing for the mail service), the name of the former Sierra de la Ventana station should also be changed.
We should wonder what the former dwellers of Sierra de la Ventana, present inhabitants of Saldungaray, feel today after 90 years about the day on which their village moved away from them. We should ask what we would feel if we moved away from our town without leaving our house, changing neighbors or moving our furniture.
Can Identity Be Recycled?
It is said that many inhabitants of Saldungaray could not cope with the emptiness of being renamed without their previous consent and they chose to move to the new Sierra de la Ventana so as to preserve their origin.
It is hard to imagine the feeling of being repatriated amidst unknown streets, of chasing a strange place in order to keep being ourselves, so that the streets remain the same, even if the location does not.
Today, almost a century later, it is worth doing the exercise of imagining that renamed population. It is worth touring Saldungaray, former Sierra de la Ventana.
Pablo Etchevers Gentileza Sierrasdelaventana.com.ar
Contact of the excursion or tour
Informes Turísticos - Saldungaray
La Plata 348 (8168) Sierra de la Ventana, Buenos AiresTel: +54 291-4916016
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Sierra de la Ventana