Dotty arrived in San Miguel de Allende from Chicago to study art at the Instituto Allende just after the close of World War II. The Instituto, founded and nourished by expatriate Sterling Dickinson, attracted former servicemen and women, who with their GI Bills firmly in hand, came to study art in what they heard was “a charming colonial town with eternal spring climate.” Before coming to Mexico Dotty was in the Air Force, complete with custom-made uniforms, and assigned as an air traffic controller…guiding planes safely down to their home bases.

From the get-go, Dotty cut quite a swath in this then sleepy, quaint Mexican town. When she arrived in San Miguel in 1947 her goal was to paint, study Spanish and change from the prospect of being a suburban housewife to a bona fide career woman. Back in 1947, it was a quiet town with cobblestone roads running three blocks in each direction. Grand old Spanish Colonial mansions with spacious patios lined the streets of the town of about 8,000 residents Very few retail stores existed and those that did catered primarily to campesinos, or country people.

Dotty Vidargas super interesting early life and career in San Miguel began not in business as planned – but as a mother raising four children. Then came the business part…she soon started working at the newly formed art school, Instituto Allende. In the 1950’s she started a dairy with her husband Pepe. Being an avid sportswoman she became a championship golfer and horseback rider and the first female picador in the Mexican bullring! In quieter times Dotty painted and wrote. As a leading member of the town’s burgeoning local community she served on the Boards of many of the town’s leading philanthropic organizations.

Then, Dotty embarked on yet two new and exciting career adventures…first when she and Pepe started building houses. Soon after she started Casa Coloniales, a business that still flourishes today where she consults with clients on their interior design needs and sells the furnishings she’s designed…all in a magnificent colonial mansion and garden in the heart of town. But Dotty’s primary involvement is for Vidargas Real Estate…one of the reasons that it continues to dominate the real estate business in San Miguel de Allende.

Dotty Vidargas holds a number of ‘firsts,” all of them quite extraordinary. Namely:

  • The first person to open a real estate business in San Miguel
  • One of the first American women to marry into a long-time established Mexican family
  • The first woman entrepreneur in San Miguel, starting a dairy in the 1950’s
  • The first female picador in the bullring
  • Am acknowledged championship sportswoman in golf and horseback riding
  • A designer, and one of the first, of fine home furnishings which are sold in her retail boutique Casa Coloniales
  • One of the town’s leading interior designers