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The Salvato Family Collection - Mexican Vacation (1956)

Dixie Salvato Flint

Silent | 1956

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  •  Dancing 
  •  Hipodromo de Las Americas Horse Track in Mexico City 
  •  Teatro de los Insurgentes, featuring a mural painted by the famous artist, Diego Rivera 
  •  Central Library of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, featuring an array of murals created by Juan O’Gorman. The one pictured showcases the Pre-Hispanic days of Mexico, specifically the capital of Tenonchitlan. In the mural, the lake sections off six significant villages surrounding Tenonchitlan. The center city includes the Sun Stone, the legend of the eagle and cactus, and an array of symbols and gods praised by the Aztecs.  
  •  Estadio Olimpico Universitario, which hosted the Pan American Games the previous year 
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This home footage shows the Salvato family vacationing in Mexico with their friends, the Ripke family. The first scene captures them at a farm in the country with plenty of chickens, turkeys, and dogs to keep them entertained. They spend time washing clothes, eating food, and socializing with friends. After they travel throughout the countryside, they make their way to Mexico City and admire the numerous cultural monuments. They observe a horse race, look at murals by Diego Rivera and Juan O’Gorman, and explore new architectural feats, such as the Teatro de los Insurgentes and the UNAM Biblioteca Central.
The Salvato family played an integral role in the early development and community of Dickinson, located about 20 miles northeast of Galveston. Peter Salvato, born in June of 1911 to Joseph B. Salvato Sr. and Dominica Cucchia, frequently appears in this collection of home movies with his young children, Dixie and Jimmy. He had seven other siblings, including Joe, Sam, Mike, Tony, Lena, Katy, and Sister Mary Henry. 
Peter, Mike, and Joe Salvato operated numerous night clubs in Dickinson. They partnered with Anthony J. and Victor J. Fertita, another notable business family, on the Cedar Oaks Club. They also worked with Sam and Carlos Emmite on the Dickinson Social Club, located on Farm to Market Road 517.
Besides night clubs, Peter Salvato owned and operated other businesses, such as auto shops, service stations and restaurants. One of his operations seen throughout this collection of home videos is the Ritz Motel and Cafe. The Salvato children often spent time swimming in the pool, while the adults sat and lounged on the patio. 
In 1957, State Attorney General Will Wilson began a massive campaign of raids in Galveston County, ultimately closing around 47 night clubs, casinos, and brothels for illegal activity. Galveston and its surrounding cities had become known as the Free State of Galveston during the 1920s due to the prevalence of vice-oriented businesses and lax law enforcement. Venues across the county, including the Cedar Oaks Club and Dickinson Social Club, lost their licenses for violating gambling and liquor laws. The move effectively ended the Free State of Galveston, gravely impacting the city’s tourism industry.