This collection consists of papers related to Albert Kimsey Owen, the rise and fall of the Topolobampo utopian colony in Sinaloa,
Mexico (1886-ca. 1903), railroad development, and Owen's survival of the wreck of the Vera Cruz in 1880. The collection also
includes a diary, newspaper clipping scrapbooks, and notebooks of Owen.
Albert Kimsey Owen (1848-1916), born in Chester, Pennsylvania, son of a Quaker
physician, was a utopian reformer and founder of a co-operative community in Topolobampo,
Sinaloa, Mexico. By profession Owen was a civil engineer. He went to Colorado to survey a
railroad route, then on to Mexico to help lay out what was to become the Mexican Central
Railroad. Upon first seeing Topolobampo Bay in 1873, Owen's dream was to found the perfect
city, a colony based on cooperative principles, complete with workers, artisans, and
intellectuals, to be supplied by a railroad line from the United States, with entry at El
Paso, across the Sierra Madred mountains, to the Bay of Topolobampo. Since this would be the
shortest route to the Pacific from the great industrial cities of the United States, he
envisioned Topolobampo as a center for the Pacific trade.
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