First, there can be no doubt that Mesoamerican proponents looked to Mesoamerica because of those articles. For example, here is what John E. Clark wrote in an article titled "Archaeology, Relics, and Book of Mormon Belief" that is still on the web page of the Maxwell Institute:
Since our "Extract" [from Stephens's book] was published . . . we have found another important fact relating to the truth of the Book of Mormon. Central America . . . is situated north of the Isthmus of Darien and once embraced several hundred miles of territory from north to south. The city of Zarahemla . . . stood upon this land. . . . It will not be a bad plan to compare Mr. Stephens' ruined cities with those in the Book of Mormon.
Although this article is a decade old, I saw it cited on a blog just today, so there is still a lot of work to do.