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THE PANAMA RAILROAD
THE PANAMA CANAL
Jean Sadler -eeald
6/O 'tr 6S ~
COPYRIGHT. 1928. BY JEAN SADLER HEALD. PANAMA.
CURT TEICH 8 COMPANY, CHICAGO.
Samuel 'Woodwvard 'Weald
TO THE READER
T HIS little book is designed to be for you a modest, but, as far as
possible, an accurate and faithful guide to Panama, and, in word
and picture, a brief story of the Panama Railroad and the great Panama
Canal. Compared to the rich series of publications on Panama, learned
and often monumental, my work will be plain and unpretentious in
its .brevity and simplicity, merely covering the points of interest, and
answering the questions the writer has, by reason of long residence,
answered for the short-time visitors toPanama during the past ten years.
Especial thanks are tendered the Isthmian Canal Commission for
permission to reproduce their photographs and for the privilege of
getting information from their files.
JEAN SADLER HEALD.
INFORMATION FOR TOURISTS
TRAIN SERVICE AND ROADS:
There are no highways across the Isthmus. Colon and Panama City are con-
nected by rail.
There are three trains each way daily, except on Sundays, when there are two.
The following time table is in effect:
BALBOA TO COLON AND WAY STATIONS:
Leave Balboa: 7:05 A.M. Arrive Colon 8:45 A.M.
12:20 P.M. (Except Sundays) 2:10 P.M.
6:15 P.M. 7:55 P.M.
COLON TO BALBOA AND WAY STATIONS:
Leave Colon: 9:10 A.M. Arrive Balboa 10:50 A.M.
12:15 P.M. (Except Sundays) 2:05 P.M.
4:00 P.M. 5:40 P.M.
Panama can only be reached by sea. Colon is 5 y days from New York and
10 days from San Francisco by direct steamers.
Eastern time is used.
There are from three to five sailings a week from New York to Panama and
about one a week from San Francisco.
There are bi-monthly sailings for the Far East and weekly sailings for Europe.
The trip to Europe is much cheaper from Panama than from New York.
POSTAL, CABLES AND CURRENCY:
Mails are received from and dispatched to the United States on an average of
three times a week, and are in transit from six to ten days.
The United States Government maintains a radio service which, together with
the All America Cable Company, renders Panaman communication with the world.
United States currency is used in the Canal Zone as well as in the Republic of
The tourist coming to Panama should provide himself with clothes similar to
those worn in the Summer in the States. The visitor who plans to spend some
time in Panama will find local tailors who make very satisfactory linen and light-
weight suits for a nominal sum.
For Ladies-Evening gowns and sports' frocks of light weight material are ad-
visable. Washable sports' clothes are always satisfactory. A light scarf or wrap in
the evening is a necessity. Imported gowns appropriate for tropical wear are carried
by several of the better class shops in the Republic.
INFORMATION FOR TOURISTS
The National City of New York, Head Office, 55 Wall Street, N. Y. City.
Resources $1,400,000,000. Special service rendered to the traveling public.
Letters of Credit and Travelers' Checks issued; available in all parts of the world.
Make this your bank while sojourning on the Isthmus.
Located in Panama City, Cathedral Plaza. Also in Colon-Front St.
HOTELS IN PANAMA CITY:
Hotel Central, Cathedral Plaza: Modern; first-class, American and European
Plan; recently remodeled under American management.
I. L. Maduro, Jr., Cathedral Square, next to Hotel Central: Panama hats,
kodaks, films, Spanish mantillas, silk shawls, kimonos, silks, curios, souvenirs, etc.
New China, Panama City, 27 Central Avenue and 123 Central Ave. Colon-
11th and Bolivar Streets. Importers of Chinese and Japanese silks and curios.
Chong Kee, 39 Central Avenue, Panama City, established 1888, silks, curios,
Oriental wares, etc.
Nina Mastellari, Central Avenue at 9th Street, Panama City, hats, dresses,
lingerie, French bags, shawls, perfumes, Paris models.
Foster's, The American Store, Central Avenue, hats and dresses.
Antonio, 30 Central Avenue, Panama, also Colon, hand embroidered linens,
French dresses, Parisian novelties.
The French Bazaar, Panama City and Colon, hats, frocks, shawls, jewelry,
Lewis Photo Service, No. 1 Fourth of July Avenue, Eastman agent.
D. Chellaram, Colon and Panama, Spanish shawls, ivory, linen, silks, Eastern
J. V. Beverhoudt, Front Street, Colon, kodaks, victrolas, souvenirs, candy,
fountain pens, periodicals.
Pohoomull Bros., Colon and Panama City, dealers in Oriental rugs, brass,
embroideries, and Panama hats.
Charles.L. Persons, auto service and tourist companies; special representative for
all leading tourist companies, hotel reservations made by cable or radio. Cable ad-
dress: Persons, Panama. Arrangements made for motor trips, fishing parties, etc.
For information concerning investments, real estate, and industries of Panama,
address: Chamber of Commerce, Panama City.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
M. L. Walker, Governor Panama Canal and President Panama Railroad Co.,
July, 1921-1928.-Colonel Harry Burgess, Engineer of Maintenance.
Service October, 1924-1928.-Colonel Weston Chamberlain, Chief
Health Officer Panama Canal. Service June, 1924-1928.-R. K.
Morris, Chief Quartermaster. July, 1905-1928.-S. W. Heald, Super-
intendent Panama Railroad and Steamship Line. April, 1908-1928.-
C. A. McIllvaine, Executive Secretary. December, 1904-1928.-Captain
John Downs, Marine Superintendent. March, 1926-1928. Frontispiece.
Modern Colon-A City Fair to See. .... 19
Colon Before the Arrival of the Canal Commission in 1905 ... 21
A Typical Canal Zone Town. ........ 23
Hotel W ashington 24
A View of the Caribbean over which Hover the Vapors of Many Legends. 24
Washington Hotel and Statue of Christopher Columbus. .. 25
Busy Docks in Colon Harbor .... 25
Interior of Spacious Panama Railroad Docks in Cristobal. 26
Cristobal Coaling Station. View of Plant, Looking South from End Wharf. 26
Gilbert House, Once the Home of the Poet Gilbert, Now Used as a Club House
by the Woman's Club of Cristobal .... 27
Coco Solo. U. S. Naval Air Station...... 28
Cross-Section of the Isthmus of Panama 28
Mount Hope Cemetery. .. 29
G atun. .. .29
Gatun Locks ..... .. ... 30
Gatun Spillway with Mighty Volume of Water Released. 31
H. M. S. Renown in Gatun Lake with Duke and Duchess of York on Board.
Jan. 23, 1927. .... .. 31
Dreary Stretches of Dead Flora in Gatun Lake ..... .. 32
A Tropical Landscape after Leaving Gatun ...... .. 33
Primitive Thatched House of Native Near Monte Lirio. .. 33
Barro-Colorado with Laboratory. 34
Scene on the Island of Barro-Colorado. .. 35
Chagres River Bridge . .36
Culebra Cut. Being Torn Asunder .. 36
General George W. Goethals, "The Man who Stood Up in Panama and the
Mountains Stood Aside." .. 37
Operation Panama Canal, S. S. "Laconia" in Gaillard Cut ... 37
Pedro Miguel. .. 38
Miraflores Locks from Top of Floating Crane "Hercules." 39
Home of the 33rd Infantry, Fort Clayton ...... .. 40
Balboa and Harbor. .. 40
The Administration Building. The Prado and Balboa High School. 41
Administration Building with Visiting Elks Club Convention in Foreground.. 41
Avenue of Lofty Banyan Trees Leading to the Pacific Harbor .. 42
Pacific Terminal, Dry Dock and Shops from Sosa Hill, Looking South. 42
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Under the Banner of the U. S. Flag in Panama, Pacific Harbor 4.
Governor's House . 44
Mrs. M. L. Walker, Wife of the Governor of the Canal Zone ... 44
General Charles H. Martin, Commanding Panama Canal Department. 45
General Wm. S. Graves, Who Will Shortly Assume Command of Panama
Canal Department. .. 45
Quarry Heights . . 46
Home of the Commanding General, Panama Canal Department .. 46
Ancon Hill in the Distance, Balboa Inner Harbor .. 47
Quarry Heights in the Beginning with Scarred Old Hill in the Background. 47
Powell Orchid Garden. .. . 48
View of the Missouri Botanical Garden, Tropical Station, Canal Zone,
Panama. ..... .. 48
View of the Missouri Botanical Garden, Tropical Station, Canal Zone,
Panama. .. 49
Dove Orchid (Peristeria elata) ...... ... 49
Ancon Hospital. .. 50
Ancon Hill with Ancon Hospital in Foreground 50
Court House of the Canal Zone. Judge Guy H. Martin. .. 51
Homes in Ancon. . 51
Home of Superintendent Panama Railroad .... 52
Fence Posts that are Growing Trees. .. 53
A Typical French Residence, Ancon. . 54
Ruins of Old Panama. Cathedral Tower, Showing Spiral Staircase to Belfry. 55
Ruins of Old Panama .. .. .. ....... 56
Old Bridge that Connected Ancient Bridge with King's Highway. .. 57
Porto Bello Harbor-Where Drake was Buried ..... .. 59
Fort San Lorenzo 64
The Panama Golf Club with Its Quaint Thatched Roof .. 65
A View of the Links from the Golf Club House ..... 65
The Santo Tomas Government Hospital ........ 66
The Panama Hospital . .. 67
Panama City Today. . 68
Panama Before General Gorgas Began His Work of Sanitation in 1905. 68
The Famous Union Club in Panama City ...... .. 69
Types of Beautiful Women of Panama 70
Central Avenue and the Cathedral Church .. 71
The Ruins of Santo Domingo Church, Showing the Flat Arch .. 73
Madame Chiari, Wife of the President of Panama.-President Chiari.-Mrs.
South, Wife of the American Minister.-The American Minister, Dr.
John G. South. .... Full page 75
National Institute. .. . 77
Dr. Henry Goldthwaite, Health Officer of Panama City. .. 78
Panama City Embosomed in the Curve of Panama Bay. .. 79
Fort Amador and Fortified Islands in the Distance ..... 80
Hotel Aspinwall, Taboga. .. 80
Palm Fringed Coast of the Island of Taboga ..... .. 80
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
H. M. S. Renown Entering Miraflores Locks with Prince of Wales on Board,
Sir Henry M organ. 82
Aspinwall, Central America, 1857. The Panama Railroad Train Starting for
Panama. .. 85
Colonel George W Totten . 87
Panama Railroad Station, Panama City. .. ... 89
Panama Railroad Passenger Train, 1927...... 91
Ran Runnels. ........... .. 93
Christ Church, Colon, Built by the Panama Railroad in 1865 .. 95
Panama in 1865 .. ........ 97
Colon's First Residence. . .. 97
The Rampart of Panama, 1855 97
When Colon was Aspinwall....... . 97
Crossing the Isthmus in The Olden Time..... 97
Old French Engines. . 98
Cold Storage Plant. Commissary Division Cristobal .. 99
Theodore Roosevelt, who left to the World the Enduring Monument, The
Great Panama Canal . Full page 103
Count and Countess de Lesseps with Their Nine Children. .. 105
The Unfinished Sea Level Canal as Visualized by de Lesseps ... 107
U. S. S. Colorado and S. S. Manchuria in Upper Miraflores Lock, 1924 108
U. S. S. Nevada in Gaillard Cut ..... 109
Government Mule-a Locomotive. ..... 110
Pedro Miguel Locks. . 110
Native Cayaco Passing a Lock Gate 110
Gates of Locks Under Repairs .. Ill
Ajax and Hercules 250-Ton Cranes. .... .. 111
Range Light and Emergency Dam....... 111
Pacific Entrance to the Panama Canal...... 112
John Frank Stevens. . 113
By Moonlight in Picturesque Panama...... 114
Narrow Street in Panama. .. 115
Monument Erected to the French who Failed 116
Atlantic Terminal Office Building, Cristobal. 1 17
United Fruit Company, Office Building, Cristobal, Canal Zone .. 119
W. C. Adamson. .......... .. 121
Tivoli Hotel from Ancon. .. 123
TO THE READER.
INFORMATION FOR TOURISTS.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Book I PICTURESQUE PANAMA Page
1. DELIGHTFUL CLIMATE-TROPICAL CHARM. 19
2. IMPORTANCE OF PANAMA'S GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION. 20
3. DISCOVERY BY COLUMBUS ON HIS FOURTH VOYAGE .... 20
4. COLUMBUS' REPORT UPON HIS RETURN TO SPAIN OF THE
RICH GOLD MINES IN PANAMA. . 20
5. SETTLEMENT OF ISLAND OF MANZANILLO BY CHAUNCEY,
STEPHENS AND ASPINWALL. ...... .. 20
6. ARRIVAL OF THE CANAL COMMISSION ..... 22
7. THE CITY OF COLON TODAY 22
8. THE TRIP ACROSS THE ISTHMUS BY TRAIN. ... 28
9. BALBOA, QUARRY HEIGHTS, ANCON .. 39
10. THE DRIVE TO OLD PANAMA. . 52
11. REVIEW OF THE EARLY HISTORY OF PANAMA. .. 53
12. DESTRUCTION CAUSED BY THE PIRATES. 59
13. THE NEW CITY OF PANAMA..... 67
14. PANAMA TODAY. . 67
15. THE FORTIFIED ISLANDS . 78
16. TABOGA . . 79
17. PEARL ISLANDS. . 81
Book II THE PANAMA RAILROAD
1. HISTORIC AND ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE. 85
2. EARLY ATTEMPTS AND PROJECTS TO BUILD A RAILWAY ACROSS
THE ISTHMUS. .. . 85
3. DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN CALIFORNIA. ... 86
4. THE FORTY-NINERS. . .. 86
5. THE BUILDERS OF THE RAILROAD ..... .. 86
6. THE DIFFICULTIES .. .. 87
7. THE COMPLETION OF THE ROAD ..... .. 90
8. PROSPERITY OF THE PANAMA RAILROAD-THE DECLINE. 94
9. THE ARRIVAL OF COMPAGNIE UNIVERSAL DU CANAL INTER-
OCEANIQUE ON THE ISTHMUS .. 96
10. SALE OF THE PANAMA RAILROAD TO THE U. S. GOVERNMENT. 96
11. THE PANAMA RAILROAD TODAY. 99
Book III THE PANAMA CANAL
1. EARLY EFFORTS TO OPEN A TRADE-ROUTE TO INDIA. 105
2. COLUMBUS' EFFORTS TO FIND THIS ROUTE. ... 106
3. DEFINITE BEGINNING OF THE PANAMA CANAL. ... 107
4. ARRIVAL OF COUNT FERDINAND DE LESSEPS ON THE ISTHMUS. 107
5. SEA-LEVEL CANAL BEGUN IN 1879 ... 108
6. FAILURE OF THE FRENCH .. .. 108
7. ATTEMPT TO PURCHASE CANAL RIGHTS FROM COLOMBIA-
FAILURE. .. 110
8. REVOLUTION IN PANAMA 115
9. A NEW REPUBLIC CREATED. UNITED STATES FORMALLY
RECOGNIZES THE REPUBLIC OF PANAMA. TREATY CON-
CLUDED . 116
10. THE UNITED STATES BEGINS THE GIGANTIC TASK OF BUILDING
THE PANAMA CANAL...... 118
11. DIFFICULTIES OVERCOME. . 118
12. ARRIVAL OF COLONEL GOETHALS. . 120
13. COMPLETION OF THE CANAL. . 122
14. THE CANAL TODAY . 124
FACTS CONCERNING THE CANAL.
I. L. MADURO, Jr., 34-36 Cathedral Square,
Panama, Rep. of Panama.
SOUTHWARD-BOUND for Panama are words to conjure with,
and to the prospective visitor, bring visions of sunshine, flowers,
the song of birds, the radiance of moonlit tropic nights and the lure
of the Southern Cross, which hangs low, flooding the sky with its
brilliance in "latitude nine."
During the winter months, while North America struggles with
snow, sleet and cold winds, Panama is at her loveliest, for it is during
January, February and March that the dry season, which begins in
December and lasts until May, is at its height-the sunshine warm
MODERN COLON-A CITY FAIR TO SEE.
and brilliant, the gorgeous flowers blooming in riotous profusion as
variegated in color as the butterflies that brighten the landscape. Nor
are the intervening months by any means devoid of attractions, for
while North America during the summer months is in the throes of
terrific heat waves, the days are gray, cool and restful in Panama, with
a softened background of mist-covered green hills. The feeling of ten-
sion and hurry unconsciously falls from one in the mellow, languorous
air of this enchanting land, and a glamour is cast over all, causing one
to chant with the poet:
"O Land of Love and Pleasure,
Of soft and languorous days,
Of brilliant flowers and sunny hours,
How shall I sing thy praise?"
There is a breath of ancient poetry about Panama-this slender
strip of land which nature forged for her uses during some crisis in her
conflict with time and change. Thus it was found by Columbus,
washed on the eastern shores by the turbulent tides of the Atlantic,
and by Balboa, looking toward the sunset with the placid Pacific flow-
ing past. There is perhaps no region in the world, of similar area,
which has been allotted so important a role in the world's commerce,
nor is there a region of similar area, that possesses so many places re-
plete with history, romance and tropical beauty-as the Isthmus of
Panama. The visitor will find the days spent here full of charm, in-
terest and incident.
As Panama is reached through the portals of Cristobal from
Europe and the eastern parts of the United States, it is fitting there-
fore that Cristobal and Colon should be the beginning of this delight-
ful journey, and the visitor will doubtless seek to acquaint himself
with the more notable places and features of the eastern port. Before
setting out upon a journey of exploration it is far more interesting
if one gets the proper background by briefly recalling some historical
facts connected with Colon and Cristobal.
Columbus was the first white man to visit Panama. On his
fourth voyage of discovery he visited Navy Bay, which is now called
Limon Bay, and which encircles the Island of Manzanilla on which
the city of Colon is located. As the island presented a very depressing
aspect, Columbus did not consider effecting a settlement at this point.
However, he named the bay-Navy Bay-and sailed away to a point
fifty miles west of Colon and made a settlement which he named
Belen. Here he left his brother Diego with one hundred men. The
settlers remained there for some time and the sad story of their priva-
tions, hardships, and the final destruction of the entire group by the
Indians, is one of the most pathetic in the history of early coloniza-
The Indians in the region of Belen at the time of Columbus'
discovery were very friendly; they wore plates of gold suspended
around their necks and weighted their fishing nets with gold nuggets.
When Columbus returned to Spain, his report was that Panama was
the richest of all his discoveries. Years later Spain honored Luis, the
grandson of Columbus, by conferring upon him the title of Duke of
Veraguas, and the tract of land known as the Province of Veraguas
today is practically the same as contained in the grant known as the
Dukedom of Veraguas in the days of Spanish rule.
The founders of the present city of Colon, which for a number
of years was called Aspinwall, were the American builders of the Pan-
ama Railroad, constructed in the year 1850-1855 by Chauncey,
Stephens and Aspinwall. Remembering that to Columbus belonged
the honor of early discovery, the Colombians resented bitterly the
name of Aspinwall which was fittingly given to the new town at the
inception of the railroad in honor of its chief promoter. Colombia
never recognized the name of Aspinwall but called the town Colon
from the beginning. After many years of amusing controversy, causing
much confusion in the delivery of mail and official matters, the United
States was finally forced to agree upon the present name of Colon,
and later with the establishment of the Atlantic terminal in the Canal
Zone, the name of Cristobal was given the American town. Thus it
was that Cristobal Colon, the great discoverer, was honored while
founders of the city and the builders of the railroad were forgotten
-except for the nondescript monument which stands in the garden
in front of the Washington Hotel in Colon. The monument is a red
granite shaft on a triangular base on which are mounted the busts of
the builders, John L. Stephens, Henry Chauncey and William H.
Aspinwall. Perhaps some day the patriotic citizens of Colon will
erect a great monument, a lighthouse in the harbor, as a memorial
to these men, the founders of Colon, who conquered the tropics be-
fore science had discovered wherein lay man's deadliest foes-the yellow
fever and malarial mosquito-and who by their pioneer work made
the subsequent development on the Isthmus comparatively easy.
The Colon of today bears little resemblance to the Island of
Manzanilla as that island appeared when chosen as the Atlantic ter-
COLON BEFORE THE ARRIVAL OF THE CANAL COMMISSION IN 1905.
minal of the Panama Railroad. At that time it was cut off from the
mainland by a narrow channel and in area was little more than a
square mile; in elevation only a few inches above.the sea. Covering
the entire island was a dense growth of the water-loving mangrove
and poisonous manzanillo trees, growing out of a swamp of un-
fathomable ooze which was the habitat of alligators and other huge
reptiles. The air was filled with poisonous insects and heavy with
the unhealthy vapors rising from the marshes.
Columbus, stout-hearted and unafraid, quailed at the sight of
this island, which was to remain unchanged until the building of
the railroad. Certainly there was little to recommend it as a site for
a town, the establishment of which was due solely to the necessity of
a terminus of the railroad.
For many years after the completion of the railroad and until
the arrival of the Isthmian Canal Commission, in 1905, Colon re-
mained little more than a swampy, disease-ridden port and was fre-
quently referred to as the "pest hole of the Universe," and the
wickedestt city of the Americas," the moral tone of the place being
in keeping with the sanitation.
But conditions changed rapidly with the arrival of the Canal
Commission. The city of Colon was raised, drained, sanitated; large
areas raised, streets paved, the morass in the heart of the city filled in
and converted into a lovely park, and behold Colon as the visitor sees
her today-a city fair to look upon. It is divided into two parts, the
native city of Colon and the American quarter, Cristobal. The Canal
Zone embraces a strip of land five miles wide on either side of the canal
over which flies the American flag; legally a part of the United States.
Beginning with Cristobal,- the American towns scattered along the
railroad crossing the Isthmus are alike and complete, inasmuch as each
town has its own station, restaurant, post office, clubhouse, churches,
lodge hall and dispensary. There are playgrounds, tennis courts, base-
ball parks. The houses follow one general type and are painted gray
with white trimming, with black, or sometimes red roofs. They are
attractive and picturesque, these simple frame houses with wide
porches, substantially screened and covered with vines and masses of
The towns are bright, clean and beautiful and have something
of order and symmetry, the pleasing arrangement of which conforms
with the most approved ideal of the City Beautiful.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the Canal Zone is the best
governed section of the United States, if not the world. Certainly
it is the cleanest, and it is no small wonder that the employees, living
under such ideal conditions, should never want to return to the United
A TYPICAL CANAL ZONE TOWN.
States, where life is more complex with the intricate economic problems
of today; the fierce industrial and commercial struggle; the business
world, agitated and feverish, while life in the Canal Zone, by com-
parison, is calm and peaceful.
It is always June in Panama, where the thermometer never varies
more than ten degrees the year 'round; where the days are genial and
balmy and the nights delightfully cool. There is no problem of pro-
viding heavy clothing for the changing season or fuel for the winter
The interest begins for the visitor who plans to spend a short
time in Colon, when he decides to stop at the spacious and beautiful
Hotel Washington, delightfully situated on Colon Beach. Its fine
double gateway, beautiful park and cloister walls form a delightful
setting for this attractive hostelry, built of hollow tiles and reinforced
concrete in modification of Spanish mission style, and modern in
every sense, with baths, beautifully furnished rooms, lounging rooms,
ballroom and broad verandas on the side looking toward the sea. The
spacious grounds are adorned by a statue of Christopher Columbus and
an Indian maiden. This monument was cast in Turin and was pre-
sented by the Empress Eugenie to the Republic of Colombia, and
represents Columbus in an attitude of protection, explaining to the
wondering maiden, who is supposed to personify America, the dreams
of the New World. Outlining the streets are the tall, feathery palm
trees, the broad-leafed bread-fruit tree, the lovely frangipani; and one
gets a glimmering in between of the characteristic blue of the beautiful
Caribbean over which hover the vapors of many legends. These
waters, part of the Spanish Main, have a strong appeal and only await
the touch of romance to awaken memories of the great admirals:
Raleigh, Drake, Rodney, Nelson; and of the bold buccaneers, Morgan,
Black Beard, Sharp and others who sailed their ships over these very
waters, lured to strange seas and remote lands by the love of adven-
ture and the magic of gold.
Just across the street from Cristobal lies Colon, a unique city
with a touch of cosmopolitism about it, because of the strange com-
mingling of representatives of countless races which comprise its pop-
ulation, that will never be reproduced elsewhere. Here are seen the
HOTEL WASHINGTON. A VIEW OF THE CARIBBEAN OVER WHICH
HOVER THE VAPORS OF MANY LEGENDS.
East Indian, Spaniard, German, Italian, Indian, English, West Indian
and other races which, taken altogether, contribute to the kaleidoscopic
effects not seen elsewhere in the world.
One is impressed by the bustle and activity which characterizes
the shopping district, with its interesting oriental bazaars and modern
and American shops. Many tourists find their chief delight in shop-
ping on the famous Front Street, where rare perfumes, exquisite por-
celain, linens, and oriental rugs are temptingly displayed and can be
purchased at reasonable prices, since the duties on many of the imports
into Panama are nominal.
This impression of activity is further emphasized by the extent
WASHINGTON HOTEL AND STATUE OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS.
and facilities of the splendid harbor, comprising docks that are owned
and operated by the Panama Railroad, capable of accommodating the
numerous steamships from all parts of the world, flying all flags, as
they pull alongside the spacious quays, loading and unloading their
huge cargoes with a quietness and dispatch that is a marvel of efficiency
and translates into reality the ideal of commercial activity.
r F :z
BUSY DOCKS IN COLON HARBOR.
INTERIOR OF SPACIOUS PANAMA RAILROAD DOCKS IN CRISTOBAL.
The Coaling Plant, also under the management of
Railroad, is the last word in mechanical ingenuity. The
can be successfully coaled in the space of a short time.
A-=- R C S O M
CRISTOBAL COALING STATION. VIEW OF PLANT. LOOKING SOUTH FROM END WHARF.
capacity, which is two thousand tons per hour, attests this fact. It
is well worth the visitor's time to make a visit to this plant which
makes an interesting picture with its hyper-modern iron silhouettes,
displaying electric cars and machinery, against the tropical azure of
The volume of the shipping from this busy harbor, which from
year to year assumes greater proportions, is proof of the commercial
importance of this growing city. The spacious offices of the numerous
steamship companies, the splendid brick buildings, large commercial
buildings, the famous Strangers' Club, the quaint old building known
GILBERT HOUSE, ONCE THE HOME OF THE POET GILBERT, NOW USED AS A CLUB HOUSE BY THE
WOMAN'S CLUB OF CRISTOBAL.
as the Gilbert House, now used as a meeting place of the Cristobal
Woman's Club (a federated club, noted for its philanthropy and
which is unique in the fact that it was organized in the early days of
canal construction by the United States Government) and once the
home of the poet Gilbert, where he wrote his poems of Isthmian life,
the luxurious Government Hotel Washington, all lie here in a tropical
setting amid the green freshness of the rain-washed trees, breathing
prosperity and telling a story of profitable commerce which is the result
of that great achievement, the wonder of work, the Panama Canal.
The visitor who is a patriotic American will be interested in
taking the drive along the splendid highway, flanked with luxuriant
vegetation and tall trees, that leads to France Field and Coco Solo, the
aviation field and submarine base, both of which are constantly being
improved and which are destined to become two of the greatest forti-
COCO SOLO. U. S. NAVAL AIR STATION.
fications in the world. Also located in Colon are the Military Posts
Fort Sherman, the Headquarters of Second Coast Artillery; Fort De
Lesseps, Headquarters of the Harbor Defense; Fort Randolph, Head-
quarters of Battery First Coast Artillery; and Battery C, Sixty-fifth
Coast Artillery. t
To have seen Colon and its environs is not to say that one has
seen Panama-the part only serves as a foretaste of the whole, and
the visitor taking the trip across the Isthmus, via the modern
Panama Railroad, whose past history forms a link with the present,
finds the fifty-mile ride an ever-varying source of picturesque beauty
in its natural features, the interest being greatly enhanced by charming
views of the Panama Canal, with its never-ending stream of ships
silently passing through, and in the passing, mark in the truest sense,
the place where "East meets West."
The trip to the Capital of the Republic now claims the attention
of the visitor, who finds himself seated in a luxurious observation car,
CROSS-SECTION OF THE ISTHMUS OF PANAMA.
and his interest is aroused when he learns that, except for the metal
framework, the car is made entirely of the beautiful native mahogany,
which is plentiful in the jungles of Panama.
The first stop of the train is made at Mount Hope, which is the
name of the station as well as the beautiful cemetery where repose
hundreds of brave
who paid the price
of their lives in
building the railroad
and digging the ca-
nal. This plot of
ground lies on the
slope of a hill in the
shadow, amidst a
great variety of trop-
ical trees, which
suggest a botanical
garden rather than
MOUNT HOPE CEMETERY.
a cemetery. There are
many flowering shrubs growing in the beautifully kept grounds and
the air is heavy with the scent of exotic flowers-the hills, phantom
blue in the distance, the huge trees outlined against the sky, looking
on unconcerned and
apart from the "tur-
moil of the present
and are fitting me-
morials of a precari-
the next stop is at
the spick and span
Army Post, Fort
Davis, the home of
the 19th Infantry
and Brigade and
GATUN. 4th Field Artillery,
where the splendid
military establishments and well-turned-out soldiers stamp it as an im-
portant military post.
A little further on we come to Gatun, a small town charmingly
set upon a hill overlooking Gatun Locks and the famous Gatun Dam.
Special interest attaches to this dam of stupendous dimensions that
stretches across the valley at Gatun and is so much a part of the land-
scape that it does not appear to be artificial. Upon its grassy slopes
there is in constant use a magnificent golf course known as the "million
dollar golf course," unique in the fact that it is the only one of its kind
in the world. Gatun is also famous for its wonderful tarpon fishing
and we find here a Tarpon Club, which has welcomed and entertained
fishermen from all points of the compass.
The carefully designed spillway which cuts through the big dam
is made entirely of concrete and provides an outlet for an overflow
of water from Gatun Lake during the rainy season when the influx
of water into the lake is much greater than the amount consumed. The
surplus water is carried away by means of a concrete channel to the
old French Canal, thence to the Chagres River, thence out to the sea.
When the spillway is opened and this mighty volume of water
is released, the scene is one of impressive and indescribable grandeur.
The railroad follows the outline of Gatun Lake for miles and
a wonderful panorama of scenery lies open to view. This lake is of
GATUN SPILLWAY WITH MIGHTY VOLUME OF WATER RELEASED.
particular interest when one learns that it furnishes twenty-three and
one-half miles of the canal channel and about half the entire length
of the canal and is eighty-five feet above the sea-level. No less inter-
esting is the Chagres River, the turbulent waters of which replenish
the lake, supply the power that drives the generators of the hydro-
electric station, which develops forty-four thousand volts of elec-
tricity, supplying the canal with the electric light and power to op-
erate the machinery. Thus it is, that this mighty river harnessed, is
made useful to serve man's purposes.
H. M. S. RENOWN IN GATUN LAKE WITH DUKE AND DUCHESS OF YORK ON BOARD.
JANUARY 23, 1927.
Continuing on for miles we can still see glimpses of Gatun Lake.
Interesting and mysteriously sombre are the dreary stretches of dead
flora, the remains of a once living jungle, which always excites com-
ment. After the completion of the canal, the water was turned into
the artificial lake basin and the dense and humid forests of the jungle
were completely inundated. The trees soon died, with the result that
the denuded trunks of the ghost-like trees are seen protruding from
the surface of the lake. In many instances the bare branches are cov-
ered with lovely clinging orchids of many varieties, and orchid col-
lectors have found this watery area a fruitful field for the collection
of these floral trophies for which Panama is justly famed.
DREARY STRETCHES OF DEAD FLORA IN GATUN LAKE.
The region traversed after leaving Gatun is a veritable jungle, the
dense growth of palms and festoons of vines clinging to the lofty trees
giving a charming aspect to the tropical landscape. Monte Lirio is
soon reached, which is only a station with a small settlement of
natives. At this point many bananas are loaded for shipment to the
States, the numerous small plantations in and around Gatun Lake
being the source of supply. Glimpses of the primitive thatched houses
of the natives, nestling among the evergreen of orange, mango and
banana trees, can be seen along the lake front, together with many
other charming views.
The next stop is Frijoles, which is also a small settlement of
West Indians, but interest centers here for this is the point of. em-
barkation for the beautiful Island of Barro-Colorado, which occupies
a commanding position in the vast expanse of Gatun Lake and can
be plainly seen from the train. Barro-Colorado in area is about six
miles square and reaches an elevation of 537 feet above the surface of
A TROPICAL LANDSCAPE AFTER LEAVING GATUN.
PHOTO COURTESY OF LEWIS.
PRIMITIVE THATCHED HOUSE OF NATIVE NEAR MONTE LIRIO.
PHOTO COURTESY OF LEWIS.
Gatun Lake. Besides being set aside as a natural park by the United
States, there is maintained on the island an Institute for Research
Work in Tropical America. Perched high upon the hill overlooking
the lake where stately ships pass in silent review, surrounded by the
dense jungle with its thousand tints of green, can be seen the labora-
It is a beautiful island full of mystery and charm and here, in
the "tranquillity of the noisy solitude of incessant sound", famous
scientists have established a center of work and come here to study
the habits of birds, insects and the larger animals, the flora of the
island and to wrest from nature her inscrutable secrets, to discover
the hidden forces that animate the world of the primeval jungle. A
BARRO-COLORADO WITH LABORATORY.
veritable paradise for the scientist-"A paradise of wild things" is
The train passes rapidly along until Darien is reached, where
the government maintains a powerful wireless station. The train
winds in and out through a lovely country and we soon cross the
bridge that spans the beautiful Chagres River, at which point an ex-
cellent view can be obtained of the country drained by this mighty
stream of which the poet Gilbert wrote-
"Beyond the Chagres River
Are paths that lead to death
To the fever's deadly breezes
To malaria's poisonous breath!
Beyond' the tropic foliage,
Where the alligator waits
Are the mansions of the Devil
His original estates.
Beyond the Chagres River Beyond the Chagres River,
Are the paths fore'er unknown, 'Tis said-the story's old-
With a spider neathh each pebble Are paths that lead to mountains
A scorpion neathh each stone. Of purest virgin gold;
'Tis here the boa constrictor But 'tis my firm conviction
His fatal banquet holds, Whatever tales they tell
And to his slimy bosom That beyond the Chagres River
His hapless guest enfolds! All paths lead straight to hell!"
Soon after crossing the Chagres River Bridge we see on the left,
enclosed behind a high stockade, the Canal Zone prison, which repre-
sents as nearly as can be represented the ideal of a humanitarian prison,
clean, wholesome, strictly disciplined and the opportunity given the
prisoner of working in the open air.
Soon the apex of the Continental Divide, which extends over an
area of nine miles, is reached at Summit-the highest elevation of the
railroad at this point being two hundred and seventy feet. The low
undulating hills, eternally green in Panama, are a part of the Cordillera
of the Andes. The
long line of front
stretches to the south
and to the north
many thousands of
miles, and is broken
in its outline where
the peaks are loftiest
on the horizon with
slowly melting un-
der the fierce rays of
an equatorial sun, and
again in smoke-
outlined against the
sky, where the sullen
fi res of volcanoes
There is a per-
ceptible increase in
the elevation of the
country as the train
traverses the Conti-
nental Divide, and
from the observa-
SCENE ON THE ISLAND OF BARRO-COLORADO.
tion car can be seen the most interesting portion of the canal-Culebra
Cut or "Gold Hill," rising abruptly from the canal bed with its
luminant walls of red stone soaring upwards and telling the mute story
ULCD.A I, DCINlu IUKiN nbUINUMK.
PICTURES UE PANAMA
of man's triumph over nature. It was this scarred old hill, cleft,
gored and finally torn asunder, that inspired the poet to write-
"A man went down to Panama,
Where many a man had died.
To slit the sliding mountains
And lift the eternal tides.
A man stood up in Panama
And the mountains stood aside."
Across the canal on
the right, outlined on the
green background of the
forest-clad hills, can be seen
Culebra, and further on the
town of Empire, both
of which were important
towns in the busy days of
construction, Culebra, hav-
ing been the capital of the
At Summit, on the
left, is the Summit Botani-
cal Garden, which is in the
process of development and
which is proving of great
scientific as well as aesthetic GENERAL GEORGE W. GOETHALS, "THE MAN WHO STOOD
value. There is a paved UP IN PANAMA AND THE MOUNTAINS STOOD ASIDE."
OPERATION PANAMA CANAL. S. S. "LACONIA" IN GAILLARD CUT.
road from Panama to Summit, and a trip to this garden is well worth
while. Assembled here we find a large and varied assortment of rare
and beautiful trees and plants from all over the tropical regions of the
world. These plants are distributed to interested growers in the Zone
and Republic, and the garden is serving the agricultural interests of
the American tropics by introducing useful and beautiful trees and
plants, and also in bringing up the standard of tropical fruits.
Of particular interest is the collection of medicinal plants, which
includes a large number of Chaulmoogra Oil trees of Burma, the oil
of which is successfully used in the cure of leprosy. Another curious
plant in this group is the Stevia Rebaudiana, which comes from the
desert regions of Paraguay. The locality in which it grows was
guarded as a secret until recently. The plant contains a substance two
hundred times sweeter than sugar and has the advantage of being
npnfermentable and nonfattening. There is found here an interesting
group of perfume plants, which if developed to any extent may prove
a source of great wealth to Panama.
The next stop of the train is made at Pedro Miguel, a charming
little village that owes its importance to the imposing Pedro Miguel
Locks. As the road winds around Miraflores Lake on the right, set
upon a hill, can be seen the Filtration Plant which renders the im-
portant and valuable service of purifying the water supply, which is
obtained from the Chagres River, for both Panama and the Canal
Zone. On the right a little further on, we come to the Miraflores
Locks, Miraflores Lake being the connecting link between the two
points. In comparison to Gatun Lake, Miraflores Lake is small, being
.I-IKAHLUK. LUL. l rKlUM 1 UI- Ut riLUAl IINui LKAiNL ntlKKLUL.
only one and one-half miles long. Into its waters flow the Cocoli
River, also the Rio Grande and Pedro Miguel Rivers.
Before reaching the next station we dash through an amusing
little tunnel and emerge a moment later, thus completing the require-
ments of a long railway journey.
We next pass Fort Clayton, a military post of importance, and
Headquarters of the 33rd Infantry, which occupies an advantageous
position overlooking the canal. The concrete quarters have a look
of permanence and the post presents an attractive front. Continuing
on we come to Corozal where three important branches of the Military
Service are located-Quartermaster, Ordinance and Engineer Corps.
Also at Corozal is located the Insane Asylum, which is under the
Health Department of the Canal Zone and takes care of the insane in
the Republic of Panama.
A beautiful view is obtained of Balboa as the train turns the
curve coming into the station. The beautiful location of this town
will impress the visitor, rounding the base of Ancon Hill and encircling
From the imposing Administration Building, set upon a terraced
HUME Of ITHE 5IKU INFANIKY, UKRT LLAY I UN
hill overlooking the canal and the surrounding country, a panorama
presents itself to the spectator in one magnificent, comprehensive view.
The Prado, the town's principal boulevard, radiates from the Admin-
istration Building to the Government Clubhouse. The broad walks
and drives, overhung with the shade of many trees, will claim the
tribute of the visitor's admiration.
A visit to the Administration Building should not be omitted.
Here is where all the affairs of the Government are administered and
where the Executive Office of the Governor is located. The Governor
BALBOA AND HARBOR.
THE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING. THE PRADO AND BALBOA HIGH SCHOOL.
of the Canal Zone holds a most responsible position as direct repre-
sentative of the President of the United States, and guides ably, and
with authority and diplomacy, the course of affairs in the Canal Zone,
in a democratic manner. Also in the Administration Building are
located the offices of the officials of the canal.
Of special interest are the beautiful paintings seen on the second
floor of the building. These pictures, which are arranged in a pan-
oramic group, were painted by W. B. Van Ingen, assisted by C. T.
Berry and Ira Remsen. A group of lithographs, made by the artist
ADMINISTRATION BUILDING WITH VISITING ELKS CLUB CONVENTION IN FOI
Joseph Pennel, can be seen hanging in the Board Room of the Ad-
ministration Building and are of great interest, as they also show the
canal in the process of construction, as seen by a great artist in the
year 1913. One can-
not look at these
realizing that they
are a work of art,
for in them one feels
the charm of the
vivid pictures of la-
borers lacquered in
sweat, the thrill of
achievement and the
_n beauty in the great
driving force of mus-
cular arm strains,
AVENUE OF LOFTY'BANYAN TREES LEADING TO THE PACIFIC HARBOR. pulling at chains and
PHOTO COURTESY OF LEWIS. pulling at chains and
gigantic cables and
the tense force of iron and steel. Here we catch the spontaneity of
this force which was put into motion by human ingenuity, and here
PACIFIC TERMINAL, DRY DOCK AND SHOPS FROM SOSA HILL, LOOKING SOUTH.
we see in the making the herculean miracle of the age-The Panama
Canal. Also of interest on the third floor of the building is a museum
of canal antiques dating from the French activities in Panama.
PICTURES UE PANAMA
The beautiful driveway leading past Balboa station, outlined
by an avenue of lofty banyan trees, leads to the Pacific Harbor where
there are splendid docks, and, strangely in contrast to the quite charm
of Balboa, there is a bustle of activity pervading this busy seaport.
Ships laden with strange cargoes, bound for strange lands are being
loaded and reloaded for trans-shipment via the railroad or through
the canal. Here, in great quantities, can be seen the bales of cinchona
bark from Peru, indigo and cochineal from Guatemala, coffee from
Costa Rica, cocoa and ivory nuts from Ecuador, copper bars from
Peru and nitrate from Chile, presenting an exotic picture of commer-
Nor is the Pacific Harbor less interesting than the Atlantic. The
docks swarm with
tropical race has its
representatives in the
mingling of passen-
gers leaving and ar-
riving. Here we see
the turbaned Hin-
doo, the slant-eyed
Orientals wearing L
Indians from the
south, the exiled rev-
olutionist, the pros-
perous tourist wear- UNDER THE BANNER OF THE U. S. FLAG IN PANAMA, PACIFIC
HARBOR. PHOTO COURTESY OF LEWIS.
ing the latest crea-
tions in tropical clothing from Paris and Palm Beach; the wealthy
South American en route to and returning from the United States,
all meeting on a common ground in a democratic setting under the
banner of the United States flag, which in Panama is a symbol to the
passing world of the efficiency of the United States.
Returning by the same road situated on a higher level, we come
to Balboa Heights, which lies in the western shadow of- Ancon Hill.
Its winding vistas, well kept yards and flower-clad roofs, are very pic-
turesque. Here are grouped a number of the official houses, notable
amofig them being the Governor's House, which has the appealing
charm of dignity and simplicity, and approaches the ideal of a tropical
home. It owes much of its charm to the artistic grouping of the tropi-
cal shrubbery that ornaments the spacious grounds. Special interest
centers in the Governor's House, for it is here much official entertaining
is done. The duties of the Governor's wife of the Canal Zone are
manifold and upon her slim shoulders rests the organization and re-
sponsibility of a household
where many delightful so-
cial events take place
throughout the year. Dis-
tinguished people from all
over the world are con-
stantly coming to the Canal
Zone and the gracious hos-
pitality extended to them
by Governor Walker and
his charming wife is tradi-
Continuing on beyond
Balboa, we come to Quarry
Heights, the name being
chosen because of its origin.
Here are located the Head-
quarters of the Panama
Canal Department and the
palatial quarters of the Com-
manding General, set in the
MRS. M. L. WALKER,
AA WIFE OF THE GOVERNOR OF THE CANAL ZONE.
extensive grounds which are
surrounded by beautiful trees
and terraced to the brow of
the hill. At present the
Commanding General is
General Martin who will
shortly be succeeded by
A site was needed for
a military reservation and
the plan was adopted to util-
ize that portion of Ancon
Hill which had been quar- ,.
tried during the construction
of the canal. The plan
has been carried, out with
such wonderful results that
Quarry Heights, with the
superior beauty of its trees,
flowers and charming quar-
ters, has become one of the
GENERAL CHARLES H. MARTIN, COMMANDING
many brilliant achievements PANAMA CANAL DEPT.
on the Zone and compels
the admiration of all who
see this beautiful post. The
gaping wound from whence
the canal locks drew a part
of their firm foundations
has not yet healed, nor has
the deep gash made for a
roadway that encircles this
brooking old hill that leads
to its summit where it is
capped with fortification guns.
One of the notable
points of interest in Balboa
that should not be over-
looked by the flower lover
is the Powell Orchid Garden,
which is a branch of the
Missouri Botanical Garden
of St. Louis. This beauti-
GENERAL WM. S. GRAVES. WHO WILL SHORTLY ASSUME
COMMAND OF PANAMA CANAL DEPT. 41
ful garden is a bower of beauty, and here can be seen growing
hundreds of varieties of orchids, all that are native to Panama and many
other lands. Of particular interest are some of the native orchids,
the Holy Ghost or Esperitu de Santo deserving special mention; the
history of which is enshrined in much legendary lore dating from the
arrival of the Spanish friars in the Fifteenth Century, who gave this
strange flower the name Holy Ghost and taught the natives to regard
it as sacred and symbolic of the white dove of the New Testament.
The flower is of an alabaster whiteness, in shape something like a mag-
nUIM r in LUAiMAiVINIJU UjiNLKAil I-ANAMA UNAr .UctVAtIMrs i.
ANCON HILL IN THE DISTANCE, BALBOA INNER HARBOR.
nolia, only smaller, and in the center, in exquisite purity with lowered
pinions, rests the snow-white image of a dove so perfect in detail that
it is little short of startling. So far Panama is the only place where
this unusual orchid is found.
A drive of a few minutes, returning through Balboa Heights,
and Ancon is reached. The road circles its way around the base of
Ancon Hill and through the extensive and beautiful hospital grounds
where Ancon Hospital is situated. The French, with their charac-
teristic love of beauty, chose this incomparable situation for their hos-
,UXAKKxI rtlIttIl IN I jn D-.UMINNINU Wllt OCAKKr. tLU ruLL I N Ite DALKJKUUvINUJ.
POWELL ORCHID GARDEN.
pital. The side of Ancon Hill was graded for roads, and the natural
advantage of a comparatively high elevation made it a picturesque site
of great natural beauty. The old French Hospital numbered thirty
buildings and extended over a large area of ground. The hospital
grounds have been beautified by every variety of plant and shrub from
far and near tropic lands. This interesting collection was begun by
the Mother Superior, Marie Rouleau. Many additions have been
made, until now the grounds are a veritable botanical garden. Here
can be seen the stately royal palms that flank the drive that extends the
Y i~ ~A&A~L
VIEW OF THE MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN. TROPICAL STATION. CANAL ZONE, PANAMA.
VIEW OF THE MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN. TROPICAL STATION, CANAL ZONE. PANAMA.
length of the hospital, palms of many varieties, India rubber, bamboo,
eucalyptus, cork, many fruit bearing trees, guavas, sapodillos, mangoes
and numerous beautiful perfume and spice trees, also the giant ficus
and others too numerous to mention.
For a number of years after the arrival of the American Com-
mission the old French Hospital buildings were used, but with the
completion of the canal they were replaced with the modern structures
we see today. The distinctive entrances, red with the gorgeous bou-
gainvillea, the air heavy with the
scent of the fragrant ilang-ilang and
beautiful frangipani, Ancon Hill
in the background, the long line of
beautiful royal palms extending the
length of the grounds, in the dis-
tance the hazy blue tone of the Pa-
cific, makes a picture of rare tropic
beauty and one that is unforgettable.
This ideal setting, combined with
the luxuries and comforts of favored
surroundings and the skill of the
best in medical science, renders Ancon
Hospital a Mecca for the ill who
flock here from far and near.
Continuing on from the hos-
pital and rounding the base of An-
DOVE ORCHID (Peristeria elata).
con Hill we come to the imposing building occupied by the Court of
the Canal Zone, which is ably presided over by Judge Guy H. Martin,
ANCON HILL WITH ANCON HOSPITAL IN FOREGROUND.
ANCON HILL WITH ANCON HOSPITAL IN FOREGROUND.
Federal Judge of the Zone. An interesting bit of history connected
with this spacious building is the fact that it was originally built for
the Governor's mansion, who at that time was Governor Magoon.
The building was begun under the administration of John F. Wallace
and later, when-Stevens became Chief Engineer, it was his recom-
mendation to abandon the plan of using such a pretentious building
for the Governor's mansion and instead it was used during Construc-
tion Days for offices of the Sanitary Department.
After leaving the Hospital grounds in Ancon, the road winds
in and around many of the most attractive of the Canal Official Houses
as well as numerous
smaller homes all
o following the gener-
al plan as elsewhere.
The landscape is
adorned with hibis-
cus and variegated
croton which grows
in great profusion in
the orderly hedges
that outline the yards
and walks of the
station, the train's
next stop is Panama
City, the Capital of
line of division from
the Canal Zone be-
ing a well paved
street. Thus at the
end of the railway
journey begins the
most interesting part
of the trip-an ex-
cursion into the City
City of Panama is
HOME OF SUPERINTENDENT PANAMA RAILROAD. the result of long
historical processes and cannot be well understood without a knowledge
of its past history. Therefore, before exploring the new, the visitor
is advised to first visit Old Panama, which lies about five miles to the
north of the present city and is reached by a splendid highway that
traverses a beautiful country characterized by low undulating hills and
stretches of treeless pastures, in sudden contrast to the forest clad hills
encountered in crossing the continent.
The highway is flanked in many places by a wire fence, the posts
of which are of particular interest and exemplify the passionate in-
tensity of vegetation in the tropics-vegetation that refuses to be ar-
rested-for the posts have been cut and hewn to a uniform size and
have taken root and burst into leaf and blossom and are growing trees,
presenting a wall of living green in many places.
FENCE POSTS THAT ARE GROWING TREES. PHOTO COURTESY OF LEWIS.
The ruins of the old city are soon reached, and the scattered walls,
broken arches and lonely columns lift themselves from the earth, the
sentinels of a buried past, and here, in the panorama spread before us,
we recall the story of the glory of this once proud city's pomp and
power, and the horror of its tragedy.
It has now been more than four hundred years since the estab-
lishment of Old Panama City which, as we see, bears little resem-
blance to what it was in its ancient glory when it bore the title of Cas-
tila del Oro, which included that region of the Isthmus that extended
west and north of the Gulf of Uraba as far as Cape Gracios a Dios,
and was so called by the King of Spain, meaning Golden Castile.
The name of Golden Castile was given Panama because of the definite
evidence of golden plates, pipes and crude masses of ore that Columbus
obtained in 1502 from the Indians in the district of Veragua.
I' t .. F L 1'
Later Vasco Nunez de Balboa came-in 1513-his quest was
gold. From the Indians Balboa had heard vague stories of a land to
the south of Panama where gold was as common as iron is in Europe,
and it was his ambition to reach the fabled land of El Dorado that
caused the discovery of the Pacific Ocean.
From a peak in the Darien country, one hundred and twenty
miles east of Panama, in the San Blas country, after twenty-six days
of struggling through the dense and trackless jungle, Balboa first be-
held the calm waters of the Pacific, bathed then as now in purple and
rose, gold and amethyst, with the green peaks of the low hills touched
by the glow of the rising sun.
History records that alone Balboa knelt in reverence, and later,
when his companions joined him, they planted a cross and Balboa
claimed all the land that was visible for the King of Spain. The
next day he and his companions reached the shores of the Pacific, and
Balboa repeated his claim by saying in a loud voice that he "claimed
this unknown sea, with all it touched and contained, for the King
of Spain, and that he would make good his claim against Christian or
Infidel who dared gainsay it." It was on Michaelmas Day that Bal-
boa reached the actual shores of the Pacific and because of this fact
Balboa christened the gulf St. Michael (San Miguel).
As a consequence of Balboa's discovery in 1513 a new chapter
was begun in the history of the New World. The discovery of the
Pacific Ocean only intensified Balboa's desire to reach the golden
shores of Peru, and accordingly he planned an expedition southward.
The ships were built on the Atlantic side and transported across the
Isthmus on the backs of the Indian cargadores. The undertaking
was a hazardous one and resulted in the death of a great number of
the faithful Indians, some historians placing the number at five hun-
dred, while others claim that five thousand lost their lives in thus ef-
fecting the first transit of ships across the Isthmus.
On the Pacific side the ships were re-erected and properly equipped
and Balboa with four ships and three hundred men set sail for
the unknown land, but this adventure of discovery was not reserved
for Balboa. His plans were frustrated by Pedro Arias De Avila, the
Governor of Panama, who had become extremely jealous of Balboa's
success in transporting his ships across the Isthmus, his friendship
with the Indians and his project to discover a new country. Pretend-
ing to believe that Balboa was planning a conspiracy to conquer the
New World and to
overthrow the Gov- "
ernment at Panama,
Pedro Arias De
Avila had charges
brought against s .
Balboa. The charges -
were false, but Pedro I
Arias De Avila soon
converted them into
tion soon followed,
and Balboa was be-
headed at Acla, then
the Capital of
Panama, situated on
the north shore of
Calidonia Bay. Thus
perished the brave
discoverer of t h e
Pacific Ocean, in the
forty-second year of
Today there is
not a trace of the
ancient capital, Acla,4 -
RUINS OF OLD PANAMA.
CATHEDRAL TOWER, SHOWING SPIRAL STAIRCASE TO BELFRY. 55
and there is no monument to mark the final resting place of Balboa.
However, the United States authorities at Panama, in the year 1909,
at the suggestion of the Peruvian Minister, changed the name of the
Pacific terminal of the canal from La Boca to Balboa, thus fittingly
RUINS OF OLD PANAMA.
honoring and commemorating the memory of the great discoverer of the
The capital of Panama was removed from Acla to Old Panama,
which formerly had been an Indian fishing hamlet and bore the name
of Panama, meaning in the Indian language "a place where many fish
are taken." By royal decree dated at Burgos, September 15, 1519,
the Emperor Charles created Panama- a city, with the name of Nueva
Ciudad de Panama.
Francisco Pizarro, a Captain under Balboa, had shared in Bal-
boa's plans and ambitions to reach Peru; therefore, after Balboa's ex-
ecution, Pizarro was commissioned by the Governor of Panama, Ped-
rarias, to carry out the project begun by Balboa, and in the city of
Old Panama, 1525, Francisco Pizarro, Diego Almagro and Hernando
de Luque signed the historic contract for the conquest of Peru and
sailed away in Balboa's ships. After many hardships and seemingly
insurmountable difficulties, and long delays they finally reached their
destination and found ample evidence of the vast amount of gold in
Peru. As this was only a voyage of discovery, Pizarro returned to
Spain and obtained from Charles the Fifth the Royal Grant. Armed
with this grant he hurried back to Panama and on St. John the Evan-
gelist's Day the banner of Pizarro's Company and the Royal Standard
were consecrated in the Cathedral Church of Old Panama. Mass was
performed and the sacrament administered to every soldier. Reverently
and solemnly the blessings of heaven were invoked upon the enter-
prise, after which Pizarro and his followers set sail from the Island of
Taboga in 1531 for the Conquest of Peru, to christianize the infidel
and to steal from the Incas their glorious gold. Shortly afterward
Pizarro again appeared off the coast of Peru. The conquest of the
Peruvians soon followed and a ruthless slaughter ensued. Pizarro
and his followers, in the name of God and their King, ravaged the
land of its golden treasure, which amounted to millions. Thus it
was that the discovery, the conquest and destruction of Peru was
achieved from historic Panama.
As a consequence of the Conquest of Peru, Panama, from a rude
group of thatched houses became in the course of a few years a great
metropolis, and was the first port through which passed the gold wrest-
ed from the conquered Incas. This gold was destined for the Crown
of Spain, and the necessity of transporting the treasure across the
OLD BRIDGE THAT CONNECTED ANCIENT BRIDGE WITH KING'S HIGHWAY.
Isthmus resulted in the building of the Gold Trail or Camino Real.
meaning King's Highway, across the Isthmus. This historic old trail
led through the jungles and extended from Old Panama to Nombre
de Dios on the Atlantic side of the Isthmus.
Nombre de Dios was settled by Diego Nicuesa in 1507. After
a tempestuous voyage, Nicuesa and his companions arrived in the
peaceful little harbor that offered possibilities for a fortress, at the
sight of which Nicuesa exclaimed, "Nombre de Dios"-"In the
name of God." One of his companions, seeing in this an omen of
good fortune, suggested that the settlement be called Nombre de Dios.
A colony was founded and Nombre de Dios became the first capital
of Castila del Oro.
However, the settlement was soon abandoned, but later, in the
same year that Old Panama City was founded, Diego Albietes began
a new settlement on the same site that Nicuesa had chosen for the
capital, which became the Atlantic terminus of the Royal Highway,
and here was established the first base for the gold that was sent across
the Isthmus by pack train. Here was built a great treasure house of
stone where the treasures were stored until the galleons of the Plate
Fleet came bearing them to Spain.
The flood of gold that flowed like a stream across the Isthmus
aroused the envy of the world. The dominant thought of the En-
glish pirates and buccaneers was to wrest from the Spaniards the gold
and the silver they had forced from the docile Incas of Peru. Thus
began that romantic and adventurous period in the history of the
Spanish Main which lasted over two hundred years and which resulted
in England becoming the Mistress of the seas. Sir Francis Drake,
"gentleman pirate and adventurer," was the first buccaneer to attack
the Spanish fortress at Nombre de Dios. This attack was made in
the year 1572. "I have brought you to the mouth of the treasure
house of the world," Drake told his men when they made their famous
attack upon the King's Treasure House, and the concrete evidence of
the truth of this statement they saw lying in heaps of golden and sil-
ver bars before them, too heavy for one man to carry. This attack
proved unsuccessful because of a wound Drake received as the door of
the King's Treasure House was being battered down and the treasure
he sought was within his grasp. His men became demoralized, and
carrying their wounded leader in their arms they fled.
Shortly afterward an attempt was made by Drake and his men
to intercept and rob the treasure train as it passed across the Isthmus,
but this attempt also was unsuccessful. However, Drake and his com-
panions were undaunted and with renewed energy made a subsequent
attack upon the treasure train while transiting the Isthmus on the
Royal Highway. Their plans were well-laid this time, and they suc-
ceeded in capturing a large amount of gold. Drake returned to En-
gland and shortly afterward sailed back to Caribbean waters with a
strong naval force. Aboard the graceful Golden Hind, he sailed into
the harbor of Nombre de Dios and did not depart until the town was
plundered, burned and destroyed.
He and his companions next sailed into the harbor of Porto
Bello. The Spaniards had a small settlement here, but fled at the
approach of the British buccaneers. In the harbor of Porto Bello
Drake became very ill and soon died. His body, encased in a leaden
coffin, was carried out to sea and lowered into the waters of his tri-
umphant conquests. A lonely little island, near the bay of Porto
,, 2 .-_
PORTO BELLO HARBOR-WHERE DRAKE WAS BURIED.
Bello, called Drake Island, is the only monument that marks the final
resting place of one of the most romantic figures in English history.
After the complete destruction of Nombre de Dios, the Span-
iards next turned their attention to Porto Bello, which was visited
and named by Columbus in 1502. This was probably the best posi-
tion on the Atlantic coast that could have been chosen as the next
stronghold to store the King's gold. Here on the shores of the beauti-
ful landlocked harbor, commanding a full view of the ocean and af-
fording a ready means of intercourse with the interior, traversed by
the Royal Highway, the Spaniards built a fort they deemed impreg-
Porto Bello grew in importance, and at the beginning of the
seventeenth century we find the city one of the most important in the
New World and the scene of great commercial activity. Once a year
a fair was held here when the merchant princes from Mexico, South
and Central America and the Philippines gathered for the exchange of
gold, precious stones and merchandise of all kinds. The toll of gold
continued to pass over the Royal Highway and the treasure houses con-
tinued to overflow with the wealth of Peru stored behind the strong
Eighty years had passed since Nombre de Dios had been com-
pletely destroyed. Many attempts had been made by the English
buccaneers and pirates to take Porto Bello, but the guns'of the power-
ful fort had more than justified the Spaniards' belief that their massive
fort was capable of repelling attack either by land or by sea. Secure
in this belief, they were dreaming in idle ease when Henry Morgan,
the bold British pirate swooped down upon the fair city of Porto
Bello and laid it in ruins.
Morgan had been sold into bondage in Barbados at an early age.
His years of hardship had hardened and embittered him. Brooding
iii a tropical prison, he matured in his imagination vast and daring
plans to become a pirate-a terror of the sea. These plans he car-
ried out so successfully that he became one of the greatest characters
in the history of sea robbers.
After his release from prison, he went to Jamaica, the rendez-
vous of pirates and buccaneers, and from that point he assembled his
ships and four hundred and sixty men, "the scum of the seven seas,
reckless, ruthless, hardened adventurers, a motley crew," and sailing
ino the harbor of Porto Bello made his famous and daring attack. The
Spaniards, though taken by surprise, made a gallant defense, but they
were no match .for Morgan and his-desperate men. The Governor
was killed, all the gold and treasures taken, and for fifteen days Mor-
gan and his companions occupied the city.
Those were the days "When Knighthood was in Flower," and
the polite exchange of courtesies the order of the day. The Governor
of Panama dispatched a messenger to Morgan before his departure
from Porto Bello, with the polite and ironic request, that he "send
some small pattern of those arms, wherewith he had taken with such
violence so great a city." Whereupon Morgan took from his belt a
slender pistol, a few bullets and an emerald ring from his finger, which
he handed to the messenger with the answer to the Governor: "He
desired him to accept the ring as a gift, and the slender pattern of arms
wherewith he had taken Porto Bello, and to keep them a twelve-
month, after which time he promised to come to Panama and fetch
them away." The Governor of Panama sent the messenger speedily
back to Morgan, returning the gift, the pistol and bullets with thanks
for lending him weapons that he needed not, and the message that "he
desired him not to give himself the labor of coming to Panama as he
had done to Porto Bello, for he did certify to him he should not speed
so well here as he had done there."
Morgan and his band of pirates sailed away, leaving behind
death and destruction, taking with them every vestige of the coveted
gold, and Porto Bello still stands, one of the most interesting ruins in
the New World. The treasure house is empty, the banquet halls
where men "gloried and drank deep" are deserted. The old Fort San
Jerome charged with a lofty mystery of stillness, italicized by the tur-
bulent swish of the tides as they ebb and flow, washing the crum-
bling walls of a once proud city, rich only in romance now, where the
wealth once stored was greater than Ophir's hoard.
After the destruction of Porto Bello, the Spaniards, discouraged
but undaunted, decided to abandon their once powerful stronghold
and accordingly removed to San Lorenzo, which defended the beauti-
ful Castle Chagres, occupying an incomparable position at the
mouth of the Chagres River. When it was decided to make this
point the next base for the King's treasure, the fort was strengthened,
enlarged, heavily fortified and strongly garrisoned; and here the trea-
sure, safely guarded, was brought first over the Gold Trail by pack
train to the Chagres River; thence by boat to Lorenzo, where it re-
mained safely stored, guarded by the powerful guns of San Lorenzo,
awaiting the arrival of the Plate Fleet to come with its armed convoy
to transport the treasure to Spain.
With such a position and a well-garrisoned fort, the Spaniards
had little to fear from further attacks of the pirates, but Morgan's
threat and promise to call upon the Governor of Panama within the
year carried with it a sequel that was translated into reality.
He again assembled his ships and men and sailed from Haiti,
December 16, 1670, for Panaman waters and four days later arrived at
St. Catherine's Island where the Spaniards had a fort. Immediately
they summoned the garrison to surrender and took possession of the is-
land. Dividing his forces Morgan remained on the island, while Col.
Brodley with a force of four hundred men and four ships came on to
Panama and made the famous attack on Fort San Lorenzo. The battle
fought at San Lorenzo was one of the most interesting in the history
of the buccaneers. Of the four hundred Spaniards in the fort there
were only thirty left and ten of them were wounded. The success of
the pirates was due to an accident that is interestingly told by Esque-
melling, a Dutchman who was the surgeon for the expedition-
"One of the pirates was wounded with an arrow in his back
which pierced his body to the other side. This instantly he pulled
out with great valor at the side of his breast; then taking a little cot-
ton that he had about him he wound it about said arrow, and putting
it into his musket, he shot it back into the castle. But the cotton be-
ing kindled by the powder occasioned two or three houses that were
within the castle, being thatched with palm leaves, to take fire which
the Spaniards perceived not so soon as was necessary. For this fire,
meeting with a parcel of powder, blew it up and thereby caused great
ruin and no less consternation to the Spaniards, who were not able to
account for this accident, not having seen the beginning thereof."
The ruins of the old fort guarding the Chagres and overlooking,
in the indefinite distance, the blue water of the Caribbean, rise up
majestically from the crest of the steep rock cliff against which the tur-
moil of the waves beats unceasingly. The once powerful moated
fortress, the dungeons and the castle are overgrown with the lambent
green of the jungle, but still vibrant with memories of a historic past
which calls to mind not only its destruction by Morgan and his pi-
rates but also a subsequent destruction relating to an episode in En-
glish history wherein Americans played a small part.
Both Porto Bello and San Lorenzo were restored after Morgan
and his pirates had laid them in ruins and they were strongly gar-
risoned. Their second destruction was also the result of an attack made
by the British and it is interesting to recall the facts. Captain Jen-
kins, an Englishman in command of a British trading vessel, in an
altercation with a Spanish pirate, had the misfortune to have his ear
cut off in the fray. Its loss so outraged Jenkins that he began a cam-
paign of verbal warfare against Spain, producing dramatically on all
occasions the ear which had been carefully preserved as evidence, of
the justness of his claim that England should declare war on Spain.
The British Parliament, after due consideration covering a period
of several years, with the pretext that it was in retaliation of Jenkins'
loss, really did declare war. Accordingly Parliament commissioned.
Edward Vernon, Admiral, supplied him with seven ships and sent
him to wage a war against Spain on the Spanish main. English
history records the war humorously as the "War of Jenkins' Ear,"
the first battle of which took place at Porto Bello.
North America at the time-1741-was a colonial possession of
England's, and the King of England issued a call for America to fur-
nish England with four thousand soldiers as well as a large number
of sailors. Over four thousand American soldiers either volunteered
or were forced into service. Also a large number of sailors. Vir-
ginia sent five hundred men, commanded by Lawrence Washington,
scarcely grown and the half-brother of George Washington.
The fleet composed of the English soldiers and sailors, together
with American colonists, sailed to the Isthmus of Panama. The
Spanish garrison at Porto Bello, which was small, had been ravaged
by smallpox and yellow fever and the sick and apathetic soldiers were
unprepared for the attack. The capture of the fort was an easy mat-
ter and was accomplished with the loss of only four men.
When the news reached London there was great excitement and
rejoicing. Admiral Vernon was proclaimed the "Hero of Porto
Bello." The victorious fleet then sailed to Jamaica, and after a short
delay occasioned by refitting and provisioning, the expedition sailed
again for the Isthmus of Panama and proceeded to attack Fort San
Lorenzo. It was an easy victory, for the Spaniards were few in num-
ber and weak in resistance. The warehouses of the fort were plun-
dered and again the fort was blown up, after which the fleet sailed
away to Cartagena for further conquests. Here they met with disas-
trous defeat. Behind strong walls and fortresses the Spaniards re-
pulsed the British with a deadly fire. Tropical diseases broke out
among the men and it was a dejected, defeated and fever-stricken com-
pany that sailed away with Admiral Vernon. It is estimated that
four thousand Americans lost their lives on this tragic expedition.
Lawrence Washington never recovered from the diseases con-
-tracted at Cartagena. His admiration for Admiral Vernon, his com-
mander, is attested by the fact that he named his beautiful Virginia
estate Mount Vernon which, after his death, became the property of
A further interesting fact connected with Fort San Lorenzo and
Porto Bello is that the forts were both restored again in 1751.
When the traffic ceased passing over the Gold Trail, Porto Bello lost
all importance as a port and fell into the state of decay we see today.
Fort San Lorenzo in 1844 assumed a new importance when the Royal
Mail Steam Packet Company for a brief period made this point a port
of call, but with the building of the Panama Railroad all traffic was
diverted to the new terminal. At the beginning of the world war,
the United States Government maintained a wireless station at San
Lorenzo and troops were stationed there until the close of the war,
which brings the history of the old fort to the present time. Fit-
tingly the poet has written-
"Still standeth San Lorenzo there
Aye, faithful at his post-
Though scoffing trees in every breeze
Their prime and vigor boast;
His garrison is but the shades
Of soldiers of the past,
But it pleaseth him, alone and grim,
To watch until the last."
His great success in accomplishing the fall of San Lorenzo served
to stimulate Morgan, who had joined the expedition with the remain-
der of his force, to further victories, and as Panama City was the real
objective of the expedition, the conquerors began their march across
the Isthmus. The heat was terrible, and the pirates, stout-hearted
at first, became discouraged, but as they marched on to Old Panama,
their spirits revived as the vision of glittering gold and the beautiful
emeralds cleverly carved by the Incas swam like a mirage before their
The passage through the jungle was difficult. They could find
no provisions on their line of march, and it was a half starved, blood-
FORT SAN LORENZO.
thirsty army of desperate men that swept down upon the city. The
Spaniards were not prepared for such a deadly onslaught. The city
burst into flames and a reign of terror ensued. At the end of four
days the siege ended; Old Panama, that populous city containing .be-
fore its destruction twelve thousand buildings, cathedrals with plate
fillings of solid gold, eight monasteries, the Royal Palace of the Viceroy,
two hundred palatial residences, the hospital, the King's stable and a
slave market, lay in utter ruin. The suffering and agony of the re-
maining Spaniards touched the hearts of some of the most hardened
of the pirates, but not Morgan's. His disappointment at not finding
more gold infuriated him, and he tortured and racked his victims in
vain to make them tell where the treasure was hidden. Time has not
revealed the secret and the search for the hidden treasure in Panama
today continues around the ancient ruins and the Gold Trail, over-
THE PANAMA GOLF CLUB WITH ITS QUAINT THATCHED ROOF.
PHOTO COURTESY OF LEWIS.
grown with a tangled riot of rank jungle growth. The sturdy arches
of the Cathedral St. Augustin, at whose altar Pizarro made votive
supplication, is clutched in the fierce embrace of the python-like roots
of a giant ficus tree-that fabulous tree of legend and epic. A glam-
our and spell of romance is gloriously inscribed on the old walls,
every stone of which is rich in the history of the dramatic events that
Henry Morgan sailed away victorious, and with his spoils he
A VILW Ut lHit LIINIS ZIrKUM mit 'uuLr cLvUD nuuoc.
PHOTO COURTESY OF LEWIS.
T r.Hi Wm B ---r,- ,". .... P P P ,
THE SANTO TOMAS GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL.
became a hero. He was knighted and, as His Brittanic Majesty's
Governor of Jamaica, ended his days honorably in the service of his
king. The story of his misdeeds does not "point a moral," but cer-
tainly "adorns a tale" of interesting adventure.
Returning from Old Panama via the Golf Club, it is pleasant
to pause for a brief view of the Golf Club House, a quaint structure
built entirely of native woods with an interesting thatched roof.
The building overlooks a splendid eighteen-hole Golf Course which
is open the year 'round and offers all that is ideal in a delightful links.
The golfer who desires a sporty course will find here all the numerous
hazards that invite care and precision at every stroke, as well as a
pleasant finale at the "nineteenth hole," for it is in a land where prohi-'
bition is unknown that the Panama Golf Club is located.
After leaving the Golf Club, the highway passes the race track,
where all of Panama gathers once a week to witness this fascinating
amusement. Passing on, we next come to Bella Vista, one of the new
and modern suburbs of Panama, and soon the Exposition Grounds are
reached, where many of the numerous Legations are located, the
spacious and artistic Government Charity Hospital, Santo Tomas, as
well as the private Panama Hospital.
We soon reach the present city of Panama which was founded
in 1674. The founders of the new city were the survivors of Old
Panama, and three years after the destruction of the capital, a new city
had risen, not on the ruins but on a new site, which, if inferior to
the ancient capital in extent, surpassed it in, strength.
This new city was built upon a rocky peninsula, three sides of
which were protected by the sea wall-forty to sixty feet high and
built of solid masonry-the fourth boundary was on the land and was
protected on this side by a moat, the only communication with the
mainland being over a drawbridge. With the drawbridge up, the
city was protected from invasion in every direction.
Until the year 1821, Panama acknowledged the authority of
Spain, then under the leadership of the immortal Simon Bolivar, who
by revolt liberated a continent, Spanish dominion, effort and influence
ceased in South America, Panama becoming a part of the country of
New Granada which was later superseded by Colombia.
On November 3, 1903, Panama declared her independence, and
on the sixth of November the United States Government recognized
the new republic and negotiated a treaty, February 26, 1904, whereby
the United States guaranteed protection to Panama and at the same
time agreed to pay the sum of ten million dollars cash for sovereignty
over the Canal Zone; and after 1913 an annual sum of two hundred
and fifty thousand dollars, thus bringing to an end Panama's unhappy
history of devastation, turbulence and insurrections.
As we view Panama City today, we view a city of charm and in-
terest, a harmony of the past and present, the capital of a country,
small in area but vast in undeveloped wealth, portions of which are
yet beyond the confines of civilization and more unknown today than
four hundred years ago.
The boundaries of the Republic of Panama extend from the
L I..l~~ll nn~l r~
PANAMA CITY TODAY.
Atrato River on the Colombian side to Costa Rica on the west. The
country is three hundred and forty miles long from east to west and
from north to south the distance is one hundred and twenty miles.
The lowest point of the mountain chain traversing the country is
three hundred and twelve feet, at which point it is pierced by the Pana-
ma Canal. In Chiriqui Province, famous for its coffee and agricul-
tural products, the mountains attain an elevation of seven thousand
Spanish is the language spoken in Panama, and in spite of the
American invasion on the Isthmus, Panama City still retains many
of the aspects it has worn since its establishment, and with its quaint,
narrow streets, red-tiled high roofs, attractive plazas and old Cathe-
drals, is strongly reminiscent of Spain. Portions of the old walls are
THE FAMOUS UNION CLUB IN PANAMA CITY.
still standing, the broad surface of one portion near the sea furnishing
the city with its most popular promenade, known as Los Bovedas,
whither Panamans delight to flock at evening time and on holidays
and fete occasions. There is perhaps no city more cosmopolitan,
more rich in sharp contrasts, of people, places and customs than Pana-
ma, which furnishes a background of brilliant social and civic life as
well as one of squalor and dire poverty.
Where the old wall terminates begins the modern and beautiful
Union Club, built out over the water with an open terrace specially
arranged for dancing, which combines the unique charm of dining and
dancing over the water under the light of the stars and the magic of
a strange, pale moon. The Union Club has become famous as the
center of many attractive social functions of both Panama and Canal
PICTURES UE PANAMA
TYPES OF BEAUTIFUL WOMEN OF PANAMA.
The custom established years ago by the better class of Panama
families of sending their children to the best colleges, either in the
United States or England, still prevails, with the result that there is
an interesting society of the aristocratic class, who speak perfect En-
glish and which, combined with the diplomatic corps, the Army and
Navy and the Canal Zone residents, insures a social life in Panama
both interesting and cosmopolitan. The beauty of Panaman women
PICTURES UE PANAMA
is traditional and typifies the grace and charm of the true Spanish type,
deserving of the compliment and admiration it receives.
There are many points of interest in Panama, and particularly
fascinating is a drive down Central Avenue by night. This is a
brilliant thoroughfare in which both street and home life are open to
inspection. Many of the shops have no windows and an amazing
array of oriental merchandise is hung in the open doorways alluringly
displayed to the passerby. Also on this same avenue can be seen the
modern shops with plate glass windows, displaying the latest in
European importations, which are as interesting to the visitor as the
incredibly picturesque shops on the side streets, full of brasses, ivories,
rugs, silks and all the "perfumes of Araby." Of historic interest is
the French Bazaar, which has the distinction of being one of the old-
est shops in the New World, having been established in 1825 by an
ancestor of the present owners.
The stately and historic old churches in Panama are derserving of
special mention; built with thick walls of solid masonry, capable of
defense like so many fortresses they were designed to protect against
invasion as well as to administer to the spiritual needs of the colonists.
The Cathedral facing the Cathedral Plaza is perhaps the most im-
posing. Begun in 1751, the construction was delayed until 1760.
The architecture is of the Moorish type with Spanish modifications.
CENTRAL AVENUE AND THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH.
Particularly noticeable are the twin towers in early morning or late
afternoon, when the sun's rays reflect the glittering sheen of the rich
mosaic of mother-of-pearl shells that cover both. The interior is
spacious, containing a nave and four aisles, an apse, containing a richly.
ornamented high altar with two side altars and an episcopal throne.,
A painting said to be an authentic Murillo representing the Miracle
of the Rosary adds a touch of Old World interest to the interior.
Opposite the Cathedral and facing the Plaza stands the historic
Hotel Central, one of Panama City's popular hostelries. It is of
Spanish style architecture, thoroughly modern, but with alluring charm
of foreign atmosphere. During the French canal occupation in Pana-
ma, this hotel was the scene of many dramatic events. The numer-
ous banquets and social functions were held here during those feverish
mad days, when toasts were drunk to living who were soon numbered
among the dead.
It was from the balcony and entrance of the Hotel Central that
excited crowds surged to witness the inauguration of President Amador,
the first President of Panama, on that momentous day rendered mem-
orable to the United States as well as Panama, when the shouts of the
populace acclaimed with joy the end of their tragic struggle in work-
ing out their destiny of freedom.
The oldest church in Panama and perhaps the most artistic is
the Church of San Felipe Neri, built in 1688, on the corner of Avenue
B and Fourth Street. Much interest centers in the old Dominican
Church at the corner of Avenue A and Third Street, because of the
Flat Arch, fifty feet wide, that spans the portals. The woodwork of
the church was burned in the fire of 1756 and was never rebuilt, but
the flat arch still stands and the quaint legend that attaches to it is in-
teresting.-The friar who was directing the construction of the church
had the arch built as we see it standing, but it fell; a second effort was
made to erect the arch and it fell again. It was then that the friar
prayed for guidance. In a vision it was revealed to him just how it
should be constructed, and so he placed the stones with his own hands
just as we see them today and achieved an architectural triumph for
it has remained intact, resisting earthquakes and time with no sup-
port other than the terminal arches, which fact has puzzled practical
architects from all over the world. This old arch also played an im-
portant part in building the canal, for the reason that it had remained
standing all these years was convincing proof that Panama was out-
side of the earthquake area, and this fact was a deciding factor in the
momentous question of building a lock type canal when the question
was being debated as to the feasibility of a sea-level or lock type.
Of particular interest is San Jose Church, the Church of the
Golden Altar, which faces on Avenue A, the story of which stretches
back to the days of the pirates. The altar was used in one of the
churches in Colonial days, when word came that Morgan and his pi-
rates were on their way to destroy Fort Lorenzo the priests disman-
tled the altar and with other valuables put out to sea. The altar was
lost sight of for years. Later, when Panama City was established,
San Jose Church was built, and there was erected therein an altar
elaborately carved, but pure white. Years later when there was noth-
THE RUINS OF SANTO DOMINGO CHURCH-SHOWING THE FLAT ARCH.
ing to fear from pirates, suddenly upon the dazzled vision of the
little congregation there burst the mysterious radiance of the gleaming
golden altar as we see it now, the change having been effected by the
priests merely removing the white paint that had obscured the golden
surface, thus safeguarding it from theft.
Foremost among the public buildings in Panama deserving of
note is the National Palace, constructed shortly after Panama became
a republic. It is fire-proof, the architecture being of a modified Ital-
ian renaissance style. Facing a small plaza and overlooking the sea, the
building occupies a favorable position and presents an imposing appear-
ance as the National Capitol Building, one wing of which consists of
the Government National Theatre, which has a seating capacity of one
Another government building of which Panama is justly proud
is the National Institute, consisting of a group of seven buildings
opening on a court. The Institute Building possesses great beauty
and dignity, and this school is filling the growing educational needs
of the republic in a splendid manner. The building itself has an
ideal location across from the Canal Zone at the base of Ancon Hill.
Deserving of special mention in Panama is the Archives Build-
ing, located in the Exposition Grounds. This building was only re-
cently constructed and is one of the most beautiful buildings in
On the south of Plaza Independencia are situated two handsome
buildings, the Municipal Building and the old French Administration
Building which was built in 1875 and used for many years as a hotel.
It was leased to the French Canal Company and used as their admin-
istration building. The Americans occupied it for a period of two
years, but were compelled to abandon it on account of the fact that
it was infested with the fatal stegomyia mosquitoes. It was abandoned
and headquarters moved to Culebra.
Much of the beauty and charm of Panama City is due to the rare
fidelity to the Spanish style of architecture which has been incorpo-
rated into the buildings, the colorful old tile roofs, adding a note of
pleasing harmony. Many of the houses are interesting and quaint,
with barred and latticed windows, arched doorways and mysterious
The Presidencia, where lives -the President of the Republic, is
situated within the old portion of the once walled city and is of spe-
cial interest. The building is of Spanish mission style, which is
characterized by a charming patio opening upon the street and is
quite tropical in its arrangement of luxuriant, decorative shrubs, bor-
dering a sparkling fountain, about which are grouped numerous snow-
white egret herons, their stillness adding a note of unreality and rare
beauty. A glimpse into this enchanting palace, past the military
guards at the entrance, leaves a picture that will linger long in the
President Chiari and the "First Lady of Panama" are repre-
sentative of the Spanish aristocracy, and the charming social functions
that are held from time to time at the Presidential Palace are' tradi-
tional for their charming dignity and the sincerity of true Latin hos-
On Central Avenue and fronting an exceedingly picturesque street
is the American Legation, not an imposing building to view from the
exterior, but historically interesting, and one which makes a strong
claim to the attention of the visitor, for it was here that the former
WIFE OF I HE PRESIDENT OF PANAMA.
MRS. SOUTH, WIFE OF THE AMERICAN MINISTER. THE AMERICAN MINISTER, DR. JOHN G. SOUTH.
Director General of the French Canal Company made his home, and it
was here that the French held the brilliant banquets and receptions
during the romantic and prodigal period that played such a dramatic
part in the history of Panama, under the de Lesseps regime. After
the arrival of the American Canal Commission the Chief Engineer,
John F. Wallace, made his home here and later on the property was
purchased by the United States and since has been the home of the
The interior of the Legation is artistically and appropriately fur-
nished with great distinction, and it is here that the affable American
Minister, Dr. South, and his gracious wife, interpret in the finest sense
the true meaning of Pan-Americanism. Notable among the many
charming social events that center at the American Legation throughout
the year is the annual reception given every Fourth of July to the
American Colony in Panama.
Near the sea wall and overlooking the bay is the French Legation.
an artistic building which faces a beautiful plaza, where France has
fittingly erected an imposing monument to her sons who failed in that
great pioneer project of building the Panama Canal.
The two main plazas, Santa Ana and the Plaza Independencia,
frequently called Cathedral Plaza, are notable features of Panama and
are much frequented, particularly every Sunday night when the mili-
tary bands play. Fronting the Plaza Independencia is the Bishop's
Palace, built in 1880, also in the same building is the National Lottery,
where the lottery drawing takes place every Sunday morning. The
lottery is an institution in Panama that is patronized by all classes,
including the residents of the Canal Zone. A portion of the money
is given to the Panama Red Cross and to the Panama Charity Hospital,
thus rendering the lottery ticket purchaser a volunteer contributor to
these public charities.
There are numerous
clubs and organizations in
Panama, prominent among
them being the Rotary Club
which is composed of the
most progressive business
and professional men in
the republic. This organ-
ization is doing splendid
work for the advancement
of Panama along all lines.
The Elks' Club is also
an outstanding organization
in the republic. A beauti-
ful new Elks' Club Build-
ing is under construction
An early morning visit
to the native market should
not be omitted, as it is one
of the points of interest in
DR. HENRY GOLDTHWAITE, Panama. Situated at the
HEALTH OFFICER OF PANAMA CIY. Panama. Situated at the
base of the steep incline
where the historic old wall passed to the sea and housed in an open
building, it is a model of cleanliness and order, due to the excellent
supervision of the Health Officer of Panama City, Dr. Henry Gold-
thwaite. Both the cities, Panama and Colon, are under the complete
control of the Health Department of the Panama Canal, which has
in the past and is at present maintaining a high standard of progressive
development along the lines of sanitation, rendering both the terminal
cities, preeminent in Latin America as to excellent health conditions.
Looking out from Panama Bay can be seen the three small islands,
Flemenco, Perico and Naos. The black line running from the islands
is the causeway that connects with Fort Amador, one of the most beau-
tiful of all the military posts on the Zone. It is difficult to realize
that the broad acres, grass-grown and beautified by lovely trees, and
the attractive quarters, are the result of the millions of cubic yards of
earth and rock which were taken from Culebra Cut in the busy days
of canal construction. Flemenco, the central island in the group, was
formerly used for a cemetery, and here were buried a number of naval
officers and sailors who had succumbed to yellow fever and other ill-
IVANAMA LII1 T LMISUIUMLU IN 1 I L.UI(VI: UiP I'ANAMA ISAY.
nesses while their vessels were lying in port. When plans were being
formulated to fortify these islands the cemetery was removed to Ancon
Hospital grounds and later removed to Corozal. All. three of these
islands are strongly fortified and are grim guardians of the Pacific en-
trance of the canal.
In the remote distance beyond the fortified islands can be seen
the outline of Taboga Island, which is a delightful spot and well worth
the visitor's time. As part of Panama, Taboga has her traditions.
It was founded in 1549 by the King of Spain, who at the time of
settlement freed all the Indians who were then slaves of the Spaniards.
It is recorded that when the news reached Old Panama that Morgan
and his men were crossing the Isthmus to attack the capital, the
"monks and friars, laded
with heaps of tall candle
sticks of purest silver, crosses.
crLucitix' and goblets o-
Fp.ur. t .gold and ver lair
to Io.k lu 'pon and o,:,re to
3 rr vw.'ih" puE oIt [o: s1 .
and upon arriving ar Taboi g
has become tamn,:ui s .1 pliasurc
island rather than as a rrieasiirc
i.land. ind thie borel which
was'. bu ili bv the Frcnch and
iLicd as ia sanitarium is open the
',ear 'rltound and is the scenL .-If
man', fectivc rp-rties throu.g]h:,ut
ihe ;lc, .ir.
.In the "fortis" Taboga
enjoyed a period of great pros-
perity and affluence, and was
considered a port of great im-
portance with a large fleet of
steamers calling weekly, and we
find it listed in the old charts of
the English Admiralty as "an
island in the Gulf of Panama
with a safe harbor, good water
and an abundance of tropical
fruits, pigs and fowls". How-
F i' i .' r '. .. 1 CL I .:.i.T i-,E i. I L .'.N .:
114 T I E L i' E
and [he small adjoining is-
land. TabI'guillla. ptocc'ded
to btur\ tlhe goldLn r tre3asur
But T-aboga of rcccnt vear;
PALM FRINGED COAST OF THE ISLAND
PICTURES UE PANAMA
ever, with the advent of the French, the glory of Taboga waned and it
was during their regime used as a health resort. The Americans also
appreciated the benefits of the delightful climate, cool breezes and good
water, and followed the example of the French. During the construc-
tion of the canal, they maintained a hotel there where patients were
sent when dismissed from the hospital to convalesce.
The island is a popular resort and is much visited by tourists,
Panamans and canal employees, who go there for a quiet and restful
week-end. There is a quaint little village, an interesting old church,
a palm-fringed coast washed by a scale of blue and ultramarine water,
while in the background is the outline of the green hills, at the base
H. M. S. RENOWN ENTERING MIRAFIORES LOCKS WITH PRINCE OF WALES ON BOARD, 1920.
of which nestles a beautiful grove of tamarind trees-the very name
tamarind striking the ear like a note of music. Such is Taboga-the
gem of the ocean.
Beyond Taboga, some forty miles from Panama City, is the
famous group of islands known as the Pearl Islands. The Spaniards
called them King's Archipelago, and from the pearl fisheries, which are
of ancient origin, were obtained many pearls of surpassing beauty.
The pearls of Panama have for centuries been famous for their size and
a lustrous silvery sheen, rather than the soft golden tint of oriental
pearls. Many of the more famous taken from the Pearl Island fish-
eries are now in possession of the Royalty of Europe. Because of neg-
lect and carelessness the fisheries have been overworked of late years and
the industry of the island of collecting pearls is a languishing one at
PICTURES UE PANAMA
The return to Panama from Taboga is made quickly, and as we
glance back at the green-blue slopes of the mountains, the coast of the
tiny island is outlined against a golden rosy haze and its green shores
soon become unreal like a far-away vision. Before us lies beautiful
Panama City, embosomed in the curve of Panama Bay, with a sky of
brilliant blue that melts into grey, misty clouds-a canvas of raw
throbbing pigments backgrounded by grey-green hills and nodding
palms, of which Pennel, the great artist, wrote-"Panama as beauti-
ful as Naples or Tangier, yet hardly a tourist knows it." However,
this was written when the work of building the canal was at its height
and when the importance of the stupendous undertaking had blotted
out every other interest in Panama. Today the tourists are coming
here by the hundreds and Panama is destined to be as popular as Naples
or Nice with her historic background, foreign charm, great natural
beauty and numerous delights that it hospitably offers the passing
6IR HENRY MORGAN.
lhe Tanama c railroad
THE PANAMA RA ILROAD
IT would be difficult to over-emphasize the historic and economic
importance of the Panama Railroad to the Americas and to the
world, for its history is the history of a realized dream of think-
ing men who for centuries had recognized the importance of a free inter-
oceanic communication at the narrow strip of land known as the
Isthmus of Panama.
It is necessary, before considering the Panama Railroad as it
exists today, to glance at the background of the historical forces which
CA, 1857. THE PANAMA RAILROAD TRAIN STARTING FOR PANAMA.
produced it. Its early beginnings antedated those of North America
many years and our successful efforts were but a renewal of many
previous attempts to construct a rail-and-water communication between
the Atlantic seaboard and the Pacific Ocean.
England, inspired by the appeal of the benefits which would re-
sult from the shorter trade route to her possessions in the East, inves-
tigated the possibility of building a railroad or a canal, but the stupen-
dous magnitude of such an undertaking discouraged her and the pro-
ject was abandoned. France, ambitious also, entered into a contract
to establish a railroad and a grant for this purpose was made by the
Government of New Granada (the Colombian district was disrupted
in 1831 and the region of Panama became known as New Granada)
THE PANAMA RAILROAD
to Mateo Kline in 1848, but the many obstacles and huge sums of
money required for its completion discouraged the contractors to such
an extent that the contracts were defaulted within the year.
It was then, with the changing of the North American bound-
aries when we came into possession of Oregon, and the war with Mex-
ico giving us California, that the attention of North America was
properly aroused to the necessity of a shorter route to the almost (at
that time) inaccessible possessions.
Meanwhile the discovery of gold in California which attracted
the multitude of "Forty-niners" who, urged on by the true spirit of
the pioneer and a cupidity that was dauntless, flocked to the Isthmus
in such numbers that the need was infinitely increased for a regular line
of steamships between the Atlantic and Pacific ports.
Accordingly, to meet this suddenly increased need, the North
American Congress hastened to authorize contracts for the establish-
ment of two lines of mail steamships-one from New York and New
Orleans to Panama, and the other to connect with this by the Isthmus
of Panama to California and Oregon. Mr. William H. Aspinwall
secured the line on the Pacific side and Mr. George Law the line on
the Atlantic side. Aspinwall was a man of vision and in securing the
contracts for the steamship line it was his plan in the beginning to
build a railroad across the Isthmus. Together with his associates,
John L. Stephens and Henry Chauncey, they entered into a contract
for the construction of an "Iron Road across the Isthmus of Panama".
However, before the contract was ratified, the services of Mr. G. W.
Hughes of the United States Topographical Corps were engaged and he,
accompanied by a large party of engineers, came down from New York
for the purpose of mapping and surveying and locating the road.
Their report that a railroad across the Isthmus was a practical and
feasible proposition corroborated Mr. Stephens' own opinion. Mr.
Aspinwall immediately returned to New York and conjointly with his
partners, John L. Stephens and Mr. Henry M. Chauncey, incorporated
under the name of Panama Railroad Company and a formal contract
was entered into on April 15, 1850, with the Government of New
Granada for the exclusive privilege of establishing "an iron Railroad
between the two oceans across the Isthmus of Panama".
The route the engineers selected for the Panama Railroad crossed
the lowest pass to be found between the oceans in any part of the
Americas and also at the narrowest part of the Isthmus, the distance
by air line being little more than thirty miles. Geologists state that
the Isthmus has existed as land above water since the tertiary period
and that through the ages it eroded, greatly, until the Culebra Gap
was only five hundred feet above the sea; the topography consisting of a
THE PANAMA RAILROAD
costal plain on the Atlantic side ascending to the mountains and then
the narrower costal plain along the Pacific coast.
The Isthmus, as can be seen, is in the shape of an arc running east
and west convexing toward the north.
This contract was liberal in its terms and granted to this com-
pany the right of operating the road for a period of forty-nine years
from the date of completion. It was stipulated that the construction
should not occupy a longer period than six years. The engineers se-
cured on the construction ct the road were Col. G. W. Totten and
John C. Trautwine, and under their
capable guidance the work on this gi-
gantic undertaking was begun in May,
The inauguration of the actual ..
beginning of the work was marked .
with no "imposing ceremonial or
breaking of ground." but with a prim-
itive simplicity. Mr. Trautwine and
Mr. Baldwin with a few Indians armed
with machetes began work at the Island
of Manzanillo which is now known as
Colon. The first thirteen miles of the
road traversed dense jungles which
were a morass of pestilential dangers
infested with snakes and poisonous in-
sects. In Seeman's "Voyage of IH. M.
S. Herald" we find a graphic descrip- COLONEL GEORGE W. TOTTEN.
tion of this region:
"In all muddy places down to the verge of the ocean are impen-
etrable thickets of mangroves, chiefly rhizophoras and avicennias, which
exhale putrid miasmata. Myriads of mosquitoes and sand flies fill the
air, while huge alligators sun themselves in the slimy soil."
Despite the discouragements, dangers, and seemingly insurmount-
able obstacles, these brave men pushed on and worked painstakingly and
methodically for the achievement of their ideal-a completed railroad.
The country was almost entirely without resources: the food and
materials had to be shipped thousands of miles. The natives, apathet-
ic and unaccustomed to labor, could not be relied upon and all labor
had to be imported. And from all points they came; natives from the
coast, West Indians, English, Irish, Germans, coolies and Chinamen,
and all with the same result. Death thinned their ranks until it looked
for a time as if the work would have to be abandoned. It became
THE PANAMA RAILROAD
increasingly difficult as the work progressed to get more men, for the
gruesome and weird stories of the "Hell Strip" which had proven a
graveyard for such a vast number had spread abroad. The plan to
import a boatload of Chinese laborers was finally decided upon; and
eight hundred eventually arrived. The story of their ill-fated ex-
pedition to a land where they expected high wages and an eventual
triumphant return to China is one of the many tragedies connected
with Panaman history.
Soon after their arrival in the unfamiliar land of strange customs,
they became morose with homesickness and fear. Added to their
misery was the fact that because of a Maine opium law which on some
pretext had been enforced on the Isthmus, the use of opium was pro-
hibited because of the "immorality of administering to so pernicious
a habit", and they were deprived of their accustomed daily portion of
the drug. A heavy melancholia settled upon them. In their ears
they heard but one sound, the mournful dirge of death, and with that
strange complexity of their natures, they brooded wistfully for their
native land; the promised land of their fanciful vision had proven too
terrible to even endure, and with that passive resignation so character-
istic of the Chinese they committed suicide, choosing weird and un-
expected ways. Some hung themselves with their queues, others cut
their throats, and some paid their last money to their companions to
shoot them; and again in groups they joined hands and walked out
beyond the margin of the sea and met their fate stoically as the turbu-
lent incoming tide bore them out to the ocean. A watery grave was
preferable to the land they found so unbearable. The small remain-
ing group, numbering scarcely two hundred, sick in body and spirit,
were sent by the engineers to Jamaica.
The next importation of labor proved almost as unsuccessful as
the Chinese. A shipload of Irishmen arrived from Cork, Ireland.
Immediately upon arrival they succumbed to the fatal fevers and scarce-
ly a day's labor were they able to perform. The few survivors were
shipped to New York where most of them died from diseases contracted
in Panama. The work was completed with laborers from Cartagena,
Jamaica and East Indians.
From the beginning it was difficult to run the lines through the
swamps and as the work progressed it became increasingly so. In the
reports of the engineers under Col. Totten we find the statement that
they failed to find the bottom of portions of the swamp at 180 feet
but, undismayed, later repeated their efforts with renewed force and
effected a causeway by throwing in tons of wood, rocks, brush, etc.,
and at last literally floated the tracks over the jungle swamps.
An interesting story found in the private papers of Colonel
THE PANAMA RAILROAD
Totten tells of an incident in connection with filling the seemingly
bottomless pit known as the Black Swamp, near Gatun, and is retold
The holes would not fill. William Thompson, who later became
a passenger conductor on the railroad, was sent to Gatun Lake by
Chief Engineer Totten with orders to fill in a designated part of the
lake. Thompson kept running his cars to the lake, unloading and re-
turning for more dirt and stone. Days and months passed. Still the
measurements evidenced no material difference of depth of water where
PANAMA RAILROAD STATION, PANAMA CITY.
the dumping had been carried on. Thompson becoming discouraged,
sought his chief, and after explaining his trouble, handed in his resig-
nation. Totten leaned over his desk and put these questions to
Thompson, the disconsolate:
"Have you any other job in view, Thompson?"
"Are you tired of the job?"
"Looks that way, Col. Totten."
"Are you afraid that the Company has not enough money to pay
"It is not that, Col. Totten, but you see, sir, I've worked faith-
fully to fill up that .. hole and I don't seem to make any impres-
ThE PANAMA RAILROAD
sion on it, and I thought it was my fault, and that you could find a
man to do it better."
"Now Thompson," said Engineer Totten, smiling, "you go back
to your hole, take your cars and keep on filling until you get the
bottom covered and I will tell you when to stop, and you will find
And he did.
Notwithstanding all of these difficulties and discouragements, the
road was successfully completed in 1855, just five years from the date
of the beginning of its construction, at a total expenditure of $7,407,
535.00. The frightful toll of death, evidenced by the hundreds of
wooden crosses that marked the graves of those who succumbed, gave
rise to the epigrammatic and gruesome statement that "every tie in the
Panama Railroad represents the life of some man who paid the price
of its construction with his life."
The honor due these intrepid engineers, who with their men held
to duty when it was more reasonable to leave it, has never been
given; and the tragic fate that befell many of them has not been writ-
ten in epic, song or story. Their only monument today is the Pana-
ma Railroad, the completion of which marked one of the greatest
achievements of the age and will ever be a memorial to the dauntless
courage of its brave builders and their story is one of the most gallant
in the annals of commerce.
That Col. Totten was the dominating force back of this ambi-
tious project is evident by the reports, and his energy and almost super-
human endurance in prosecuting the enterprise is amazing. Ten years
he spent in Panama, the first five in construction and the second five
years in operation. He was employed after the completion of the roach
as Manager. Shortly after its inauguration, Col. Totten was stricker
with yellow fever. For days he lingered between life and death. At
last his Spanish doctor told him and his family that there was no hope
for him. Hearing this, Col. Totten roused himself and with the
same indomitable courage that had marked every step of his work in
building the railroad said, "You are mistaken, sir; not yet. What is
to become of the road? Yellow fever can't kill a Totten. I am go-
ing to get well!" And he did.
The inauguration of the Panama Railroad is graphically described
in the Daily Courier of Aspinwall, New Granada, February 24,
1855. There was a special train with guests and at all the stations
floral arches were erected. The day ended with a grand banquet at
the Aspinwall Hotel, the social center at that time of Panama. The
editorial of this issue of the Courier is interesting:
THE PANAMA RAILROAD
"The communication between the two oceans (Atlantic and Pa-
cific) by railway may now be considered permanently established.
The iron was connected on the evening of January 27th and on the
following day (January 28th) that sure harbinger of North American
civilization and triumph, the 'chariot of fire', came thundering over
the summit and down the Pacific slope. It was a glorious sight to
witness the 'iron horse' and his rider pursuing his perilous journey
over fearful chasms, through mountain gorges, along pleasant valleys,
winding around hoary mountain tops and perched upon a narrow
PANAMA KAILKOAl [-ASSbENUI 1KAIN, I YL/.
shelf of mountain rock in mid-air. On, on he went, over rivers,
through dense forests, plunging clear through the awful swamps, and
ever as he went there came up from the caverns of the hills strange
sounds and echoes that had not been disturbed since that day 'when
the heavens and earth were finished and all the hosts of them.'
"The people of Panama who had been anxiously awaiting the
arrival of this strange visitor greeted its approach with such a cheer
of hearty good will as made the welkin ring again. Even the dimples
on the placid face of the Pacific seemed brim full of happy smiles as
her waves coquetted with the shore.
"Col. G. W. Totten, Chief Engineer of the Road, J. M. Center,
Vice-President of the Company, Dr. T. C. Barker, one of the Medical
THE PANAMA RAILROAD
Officers of the Company and a few citizens composed the party which
left the summit and passed over the track on that occasion."
The following highly entertaining account of the inauguration
of the road, as sophisticated New York viewed it, is worth copying.
The Daily Courier, issued in Panama, in the issue of Friday morning,
February 16, 1855, had the following from the New York Mirror:
"A SUBLIME BRIDAL-TWO OCEANS WED."
"Invitations are out for the most sublime and magnificent nuptials
ever celebrated upon our planet, the wedding of the rough Atlantic to
the fair Pacific Ocean. An iron necklace has been thrown across the
Isthmus; the banns are already published and the bridal party will
leave this city on Monday next, February 5th, to perform the august
"Some seven millions of dollars have been spent in achieving this
union, but the fruits thereof will soon show it has been money well in-
vested. Across the bosom of the Isthmus the golden products of our
Pacific borders and the incalculable treasures of the distant Orient are
destined to flow in unremitting streams.
"The stupendous enterprise of uniting the two oceans which em-
brace the greater portion of the globe, we are proud to say, was con-
ceived and executed by our own citizens in the frowning face of ob-
stacles that none but Americans could have overcome. The swamps,
the mists, and miasmata of the Isthmus drove all the engineers of Eu-
rope home in despair who contemplated the gigantic undertaking and
the herculean work was left to the hands and hearts of men in whose
vocabulary 'there is no such word as fail.'
"The engineers of England and France pronounced the project
utterly impracticable. To the late lamented Aspinwall, his associates
and others, the world is indebted for the completion of the Great Bond
-this commercial linking of the hemispheres-an enterprise so full
of poetic sublimity and so fraught with interest coextensive with the
whole earth may well command the attention of the whole world and
deserves to be fitly inaugurated."
That the editor of the Aspinwall Courier was a loyal American
is evidenced by the following:
"Passengers bound to California left here on the morning of the
16th and had an agreeable and expeditious transit across the line. To
the United States belongs the honor of this work. From its inception
to its consummation, it is purely American-American genius conceived
THE PANAMA RAILROAD
the plan; American science pronounced it practicable; American capital
has furnished the sinews; and American energy has prosecuted the
gigantic enterprise to its completion in spite of the most formidable
From the beginning of the Panama Railroad's history, to its offices
have been delegated unique and unusual activities, perhaps none so
strange as the enforcement of law in those early days of lawlessness
when New Granada was too weak and unstable to safeguard the prop-
erty and maintain order. Full power was given to the railroad by
the government, and the railroad officials became the recognized po-
lice of the Isthmus. That they were successful along this line was due
to the fact that they employed an armed guard of forty men who were
placed under the command of a Texas Rang-
er, Ran Runnels, who was famous in his day
for daring and fierce exploits in the cause of
order, and on the Isthmus he became a terror
to a group of outlaws who infested the place.
A description of his personal appear-
ance, as related by a writer who visited Pana-
ma when Runnels' word was law is inter-
"The casual observer would not mark
anything very formidable in the delicate or-
ganization of the bold Ran. He is of short
stature and of slightly-built frame. His
hand is small and looks better suited for a
lady's kid glove than to handle a bowie knife RAN RUNNELS.
"His boyish, well-combed head and delicate features indicate little
of the daring spirit of the man, but there is a close resolute pressure of
the lips, a commanding glance of the eye, a sinewy wiryness of the
limbs, and an activity of movement, all of which are in character with
his bold determination and lively energies.
"His guard of forty are not very impressive in appearance. A
military martinet might object to such a loose assortment of bravos of
all colors, heights, and varieties of dress. A bare-footed, coatless, har-
um-scarum looking set they are, and might easier pass for the forty
thieves than that number of honest guards. However, with Ran
Runnels at their head, they have cleared the Isthmus of robbers and
kept thousands of unruly laborers in wholesome subjection.
"Whipping, imprisonment, and shooting down in an emergency,
have been liberally inflicted in the exercise of the powers delegated by
THE PANAMA RAILROAD
the Governor of New Granada to the Company which has the power
of life and death on the Isthmus, without appeal."
The completion of the Panama Railroad marked a revolutionary
period in the world's traffic, and the immediate effects on transportation
of the rapidly increasing demands of commerce were such that they
could not be met at the beginning.
All the money the company had had been spent on the road's
construction; the equipment was inadequate and it was a grave question
that faced the railroad officials-a definite curtailment of the road's
operations meant not only a great loss of money but also a loss of
prestige. For this reason the management in Panama conceived the
idea of getting out a rate card that would be so prohibitive in price that
only a limited number would travel via this expensive route. The
charge for first-class passage one way was $25.00; second-class $10.00;
personal baggage 5 cents per pound and express $1.80 per cubic foot.
The card, which was more or less of a joke and only intended to
bridge over a critical time, was duly forwarded to the New York Gen-
eral Offices with the explanation that the tariff would be reduced to
reasonable limits in the near future. It was with utter astonishment
that the management in Panama received from the New York office the
statement that the rates had been accepted without protest and, more
astonishing still, is the amazing fact that for a period of twenty years
these exorbitant rates were unchanged.
It is small wonder that during this time the company paid a
24% dividend with an occasional stock dividend. The gold seekers
continued to come and Panama enjoyed a period of affluence and im-
portance, and the eyes of the world were focused upon her, for the com-
pletion of the railroad had but served to stimulate the ambitious
dream that nations had indulged in for over two hundred years, of a
canal from ocean to ocean. With the increased revenues, progress
manifested itself in every department of the road. Splendid terminal
wharves were erected and many improvements made. New cars and
engines were purchased, hospitals were established and medical atten-
dance was free. A well equipped library and a billiard hall contrib-
uted much to the pleasure of the employee and it was the Panama
Railroad that was administratively responsible for the quaint church
known as Christ Church-by-the-Sea, erected in 1865, and which is
today the most picturesque place of worship on the Isthmus.
The railroad was maintained by a highly specialized subdivision
organization which was extremely simple in operation as compared
with methods used today. Every four miles stations were erected,
the house being used for the residence of the track master, and under his
supervision there were ten laborers who looked after the intervening
THE PANAMA RAILROAD
CHRIST CHURCH, COLON, BUILT BY THE PANAMA RAILROAD IN 1865.
road. There were twelve track masters and one hundred and twenty
laborers, and it was in this manner that the road was kept in perfect
condition. However, with the prosperity of the road at its height,
there came a dark sequel which had two contributing factors. First,
a change in the political life of Panama when New Granada was super-
seded by the Republic of Colombia, and the original concession given
the railroad for a period of 49 years was modified August 16, 1867,
to ninety-nine years with heavy impositions on the railroad company
which made serious inroads upon its revenues. One million dollars
was paid then to Colombia and a subsidy of two hundred and fifty
thousand a year was exacted besides having to transport "free of charge
troops, chief officers and their equipage, ammunition, armament, cloth-
ing and similar effects that may belong or be destined for the immediate
service of the Government of the State of Panama." In the report
for one year after this measure was put into effect we find there were
4,663 first-class paid fares, while 11,098 passengers and 6,601 troops
were carried free.
The second cause of the road's waning glory was attributed to
the fact that May, 1869, marked the completion of the Union Pacific
Railroad, and travel to and from California was directed to this con-
venient transcontinental route. The business of the Panama Railroad
THE PANAMA RAILROAD
began to decline rapidly, and until the French took up the problem of
building a canal we find the finances of the company at a very low ebb.
The stocks that had once sold for $335.00 could be bought for $60.00.
However, this depression in the road's affairs did not continue
long, and a new impetus was given to all commerce in Panama with the
arrival of the Compagnie Universale du Canal Interoceanique on the
Isthmus to construct a canal, and we find the Panama Railroad stock
at this time listed at $100.00 per share. It was soon evident to
de Lesseps, the French engineer who was at the head of the French
Canal Company, that it was highly important to obtain full control
of the railroad in order to construct the canal, and accordingly he be-
gan negotiations to buy out the Panama Railroad. Immediately the
shares jumped to $291.00, but this fact did not deter de Lesseps, and
in 1881 the French Canal Company bought 68,887 shares of the 70,-
000 outstanding stock, and thus the control of the Panama Railroad
passed into the hands of the French Canal Company.
However, surprising as it may seem, there was very little visible
change in the status of the road with the inception of the French con-
trol, which was due to the company's charter given in 1849 from the
State of New York, which stated expressly that ". the Directors
should be annually chosen in the city of New York and on such notice
as shall be directed by the laws of said corporation." It was de Les-
seps' intention to remove the New York office to Paris, and it was a
blow to him when he learned that under the terms of the charter it
would be necessary to continue the American organizations in New
York. However, the policy of the railroad's affairs was dictated by
the French Canal Company and appointments of the New York offi-
cials made by them.
The reign of extravagance that marked all of the French canal
operations also affected the railroad; there were some improvements
in equipment and terminals, and much unnecessary machinery was pur-
chased, including snow plows. We find in the reports that the Direc-
tor General rode in a car costing forty thousand dollars. The road
was run on a correspondingly lavish scale; large salaries and much graft
were the order of the day, and when the French Canal Company col-
lapsed in 1888 the railroad organization went to pieces also and there
was a demoralized condition generally in the road's affairs until the
Canal Commission arrived in 1904.
The vicissitudes with which the past history of the Panama Rail-
road is so strongly marked came to an end with the arrival of the Canal
Commission, and a new era began.
In 1904, shortly after the Republic of Panama was established,
the United States Government paid the French Canal Company forty
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