The story of the Homeowners Association of La Cholla actually starts after World War II. Many Southwestern “fishermen” realized the fertile grounds of the Sea of Cortez. As a result, many took the long trek across the desert with car and boat to come to the Puerto Penasco area to fish . In those days the “road” ended at the border and asphalt was replaced with sand and aggravations of getting stuck. Once they arrived in Cholla they were rewarded with excellent fishing. The thought of returning to the U.S. with their boat was replaced with “renting” a space in the Cholla area from the local owner, Gustavo Brown, Sr. The system was simple then, rocks, paint, and a handshake was all that was needed to secure your piece of land. Many areas today show the signs of the splotch of paint indicating a corner of something. Leaving your boat and or trailer gave piece of mind that the trip back to the states would be a bit easier and a quicker return to Cholla.
There were no services in Cholla, no electricity, no water, no roads per se, nada. Outhouses were abundant. The earliest map of the La Cholla area was done by Bill Valentine in 1948. His book, “Valentine and Friends Revisited”, is a great read for anyone interested in the fishing days of the La Cholla area.
In 1955 The Cholla Bay Sportsman’s Club was formed. The community continued to be a haven for those who loved the sea. You didn’t have be a fisherman to come to Cholla, just a love of tranquility. New “shacks” started to pop up throughout the peninsula known as “La Cholla”.
The Brown companies had envisioned developing the Sandy Beach area for tourism and to promote the Penasco area. A dream that continues to this day. Together with city, state, and federal help that dream started to become a reality. One of the issues was the community of La Cholla and its legal status for all that were renting there. By the early 1990’s La Cholla was now really becoming a community. Replacing shacks were beautiful homes. Services were becoming necessary. The community, through a group of homeowners, at the behest of the Company and the government, formed a non-profit Mexican Corporation in June 5 of 1991, “the Asociacion de Regularizacion de Vecinos de La Cholla, A.C.”. This organization would be recognized as the spokesperson for the community.
So that regularization process could move forward, a deadline was set, July 1, 1995, for those who were renting to enter into a contract to purchase their property. Concurrent to this time, a “Technical Committee” was formed. This committee included the City of Penasco, the State of Sonora, Bancomer, Promotora Turistica Playa Escondida, SA de CA, and the Asociacion de Regularizacion de Vecinos de La Cholla, A.C.
This committee met for 25 meetings over the course of 2+ years to bring the start of the infrastructure and deeds of trust to the owners of record at that time. Our Asociacion through its president, Alan Peterson, was instrumental in making sure that the power was brought in adequately to service then and in the future. This was followed by phone service. In 2011, your Asociacion, through its president, Mike Dugan, negotiated and acquired the concession for the community to have water brought to the edge of La Cholla, thus assuring water for the future. The roads and signage, although owned by the city, are maintained by your Asociacion.
A community center was purchased from the Cholla Bay Sportsman’s Club. Additional land was purchased for more space to provide parking and outside events. Remodeling and expansion ensued to create a facility with open meeting space, full commercial kitchen, and a library. There is a “city park” owned by the City of Penasco but maintained by the Asociacion.
La Cholla has come a long way from the days of the arduous travel to the sea with challenges of car problems and lack of utilities. Many can say that they have a place in Penasco but few can say they are part of a community of mixed cultures with a common bond, the love of the sea and the pride in being part of Vecinos de La Cholla.