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Following the flowing road through the Isthmus
Ae nnma ' ].n
V/e Coast to Coast RecreationlRoue
- i lHIIAll
GAN accurate Guide to the
Issued with the approval of
the Canal Administration.
Maps and pictures are from
H-69o0-3-29 Printed in U. S. A.
One of the World's Greatest Travel Thrills
NOT even the pyramids of Gizeh, for centuries
counted the greatest of man-made wonders, can
compare with the Panama Canal in appeal to the
interest and imagination of the traveler. The pyramids
stand for the mystic past; the Canal is an imperishable
tribute to the genius of the present.
Not alone its massive locks and walls of concrete,
its cuts through rock and morass, or its artificial lakes,
make it an object to marvel at. Back of its material form
is the great and glowing thought that its flowing road
connects the mighty seas of East and West; that it
pierces the backbone of the Continent; that it material-
izes in fact the elusive, fabled strait by which Columbus
and his followers sought the shortest road to the Indies.
Four hundred years after the coming of the Great
Discoverer, the mountains that had baffled him looked
down upon the union of Atlantic and Pacific by the
man-made artery of the Panama Canal. The colossal
nature of the work by which this miracle was wrought
won for American engineers the plaudits of the world,
and today the endless procession of ships through the
Canal are eloquent evidence of its practical value.
Travelers are prepared for what they are to see of
its great locks; of its ingenious methods of lifting ships,
of its long course through artificial lakes, above the level
of the oceans. But one thing that comes as a surprise
is the beauty and magic charm of its natural setting. "I
had no idea it was so beautiful," is an exclamation often
heard in a transit of the Canal. The deep, vivid verdure
of islands and hillsides; the colors of flowers amidst the
green along the shores; the waving foliage of shoreside
banana plantations, each with its palm-thatched house;
the purple slopes of the mountains in the Continental
Divide, that seem to recede mile by mile as the ship
advances; the red roofed military stations; the model,
spotless towns in the Canal Zone, and finally the color
and bizarre briskness of life in the Spanish cities of
Colon and Panama-all these are things that one can
know and feel only by actual passage of the Canal.
In its historical background the Canal appeals as
much to imagination as its physical beauty does to the
eye. The old Road of Gold across the Isthmus by
which the Spaniards transported the treasure of Peru
from Old Panama to Porto Bello, for shipment thence to
Spain, lies but a short way from the Canal, while the
Canal's channel, for more than half its length, is up the
valley of the Chagres River, that was followed for gener-
ations by hardy adventurers-first the Spaniard, next
the buccaneer who despoiled him, then the gold hunter,
California-bound. When crossing Gatun Lake the
traveler today is stirred by the knowledge that his
ship's keel is passing over the very route along which
these epic figures toiled in their canoes up the Chagres
toward Cruces, there to take the trail for Panama.
The Transit of the Canal
From the Atlantic to the Pacific
THE ATLANTIC END
SHIPS enter and leave the Panama Canal at the Atlantic
end by a dredged channel beginning at a point 3 mile
inside the breakwaters of Limon Bay (Colon Harbor). The
West breakwater (on the right hand), extending from Toro
Point 2% miles northeasterly, was built 1910-12 and contains
2,840,000 cubic yards of rock, the core being local stone and
the faces harder rock from Porto Bello. Eastward is the East
breakwater, of later construction and about a mile in length,
the two giving complete protection to Colon Harbor.
Occupying a flat peninsula on the East side of Limon
Bay is the city of Colon, belonging to the Republic of Panama
(30,000 inhabitants), with the Canal Zone industrial section
of Cristobal adjoining it on the harbor side and the residential
district of New Cristobal on the East (see map).
The most prominent landmark on the waterfront of Colon
is the white Moorish facade of the Washington Hotel. Along
Washington Drive, which skirts the sea wall to the left of the
hotel, are hospital and school buildings and various structures
now or formerly occupied by the Canal administration, includ-
ing the former residence of earlier superintendents of the
Panama Railroad. Most of the buildings have settings of
royal palms. Between the piers where steamers land and the
coaling plant beyond them was the Atlantic entrance of the
French canal, started in 1882.
The town of Colon proclaims its position at the "Cross-
roads of the World's Commerce" by business streets lined
with shops selling anything from silk shawls to sheet anchors,
and with strange places of refreshment and entertainment
where men of all maritime nations may be seen.
Panama Pacific steamers stop at the Colon piers eastbound, to take
passengers for Havana and New York, but do not land passengers
when westbound, stopping only in the channel, for inspection by port
officials; westbound passengers are landed at Balboa. Agents,
Andrews & Co.
Colon owed its first development to the building of the
Panama Railroad across the Isthmus (1850-55), and was called
Aspinwall, for William H. Aspinwall, one of the road's pro-
moters. For some years it was the terminus of steamship lines
from New York, whose passengers, largely gold seekers, at first
crossed the Isthmus from Fort San Lorenzo at the mouth of
the Chagres, by boat and on foot, and later by rail, to con-
tinue their journey to California by steamer from Panama.
The French named the place Colon, and added Cristobal for
the docks section, to complete the name of Christopher
Travelers interested in the early history of the Isthmus before leav-
ing Colon Bay should look eastward along tle mountainous coast
toward Porto Bello, which lies 20 miles away. The place was discov-
ered by Columbus on his last voyage, 1502, and named by him "Har-
Colon and Cristobal from the air. (Photo courtesy U. S. Army Air Service.) In the upper left corner can be seen the entrance
to the old French canal. The channel of the Panama Canal passes the docks at the upper right corner.
but also by the pungent, fragrant smell of the land, a grateful
odor after some days at sea.
Less than a mile from Gatun Locks the channel crosses the
course of the old French canal, which can be seen on either
ENTER CARIBBEAN S A hand.
P, GATUN LOCKS AND DAM
S,, J The largest and most impressive locks in the Canal are those
St ofanas.f wh" at Gatun. Here vessels are lifted from the Atlantic level 85
G_. ^ 6 U I s K h feet in three steps-at the rate of 3 feet a minute-to Gatun
6Ai ^o Lake. Passage through the Gatun Locks takes about an hour.
The locks and their approaches, built of massive concrete,
are Ij1 miles long. Each lock is I,ooo feet long and IIo feet
wide, the standard for the six sets of locks in the canal. They
are 70 feet deep. Their side walls are 45 to 50 feet thick at
Enc to Ch i the bottom, tapering to 8 feet at the top. The center wall
isf6.7)ilefromnCatatLocks is 60 feet wide with sheer sides. Each wall contains a
gallery for electric installation, and a passage for the use of
bL Woo tsun aolSta. Each chamber holds about 6 million cubic feet of water, and
dretio uses 3 million cubic feet at a filling. Though the scale on
strr a jtPt ON ANe
z 2Yo BAY t op
Colon, Cristobal and vicinity, showing Canal Zone boundary.
bor Beautiful." It became the shipping point for Spain's treasure
from Peru, which was brought across the Isthmus on mule-back from .i i czns "'
Old Panama and loaded in galleons for the voyage to Spain. Porto -
Bello was sacked by Drake in 1572, again by Morgan in 1668. and was
Atlantic beAdm l Veton -i 6in 17
taken by Admiral Vernon in 1739. It is now a village of perhaps 500 ,
custom house, and church. A trip to Porto Bello and back may be
made in a day from Colon by launch. Further east of Colon (75 miles), .
is the San Bias Indian country, where the natives live in primitive
fashion. A steamer leaves Colon every Thursday for the Gulf of San GATUN
Bias, returning Saturday. -'
by the bright green of growth along the shores, including that Atlantic end of the Canal, Gatun Locks and channel in
of banana patches, each with its shacklike home on a knoll, Gatun Lake.
Approach to Gatun Locks. On the right can be seen part of the old French Canal, and the slopes of Gatun dam. In the center
are the locks, with Gatun Lake showing beyond them. On the left is the town of Gatun.
which the locks are operated is gigantic, the principle em-
ployed is the simple one of letting water run downhill. No
pumps are employed. Three culverts, each about the size of a
Hudson River tube, extend under the walls of each lock, one
A scene in Cristobal.
on either side and one in the centre. Smaller culverts branch
from them, and from these water enters the locks through
many holes in the floor. The great valves controlling the flow
of water are electrically operated as are also the gates.
Between the upper locks will be seen the control house. In
this is a model of the locks, 64 feet long and 32 inches high
with every feature indicated in metal or hard rubber, including
the gate tops, which move as the gates themselves open or
shut. Here is stationed an operator who, on receipt of a tele-
phone message from the lock master in charge of putting a
ship through, turns the water on or off as required by turning
a small nickle handle on the control board, which turns on or
off the electric machinery of the valves. When released, the
water flows from a higher to a lower level, through the cul-
verts, so rapidly that a lock can be filled and emptied in about
15 minutes. To empty a lock, the upper valves are closed and
the lower ones opened. The water in the lock then flows into
the lock below, until the level of the two locks is the same.
The gates are then opened and the ship passes into the next
The great gates of the locks are well worth study. Each leaf
in a gate is 65 feet wide, 7 feet thick and about 70 feet high.
They are built of steel, bolted to frame work and divided into
an upper and a lower compartment, the lower being air tight
to make the leaf buoyant in water, and take its great weight,
about 400 tons, off its hinges.
Vessels do not pass through the locks under their own
power, but are drawn through by powerful electric locomotives
running on tracks with cogged center rails. Steel hawsers are
passed to the ship from two to four of these "mules on either
side. The work of locking a ship proceeds with the utmost pre-
cision, and without noise. Accidents are rare, and are never
serious, for there are many safeguards. No part of the electric
machinery can be started until related parts have performed
Central portion of the Panama Canal showing channel through narrower part of Gatun Lake, Gamboa Reach, and upper section
of Gaillard Cut; also the upper Chagres River, and beginning of the old Cruces trail.
their function. Chains that will be noticed across each lock are
designed to stop any ship that might get out of control and en-
danger the gates. Each chain weighs 12 tons and each link
IIo pounds. Should a ship strike the chain, automatic hy-
draulic releases will pay out the chain with resistance enough
to bring the vessel to a stop. If a Io,ooo-ton ship should strike
the chain when going four knots an hour, she would be stopped
in 73 feet-less than the distance to the nearest gate. Should
a gate be damaged, a second gate would prevent the escape of
At the entrances of the upper locks will be seen a bridge-like
structure of steel. These are emergency dams, for use should
the gates get out of order or when periodic repairs are made.
They swing out over the lock on a pivot. A series of girders are
lowered, and seated in iron pockets in the lock floor. Panels of
steel are then lowered on these girders, until a dam has been
constructed leaf by leaf that will check the flow of water
through the lock. On inspection, the steel leaves can be seen
inside the truss of the dam.
CLIMBING GATUN'S WATER STAIRS
Climbing the three steps of the gigantic water stairs at
Gatun Locks is one of the most interesting experiences in a
transit of the Canal.
In the top lock, a passenger on the deck of a ship, has a view
Northward of the docks at Cristobal; Eastward, of the village
of Gatun, with its houses on the green hills for "gold" em-
ployees (Americans) and in the hollow for "silver" employees
(colored); Westward over Gatun dam, with an I8-hole golf
course on its velvety green slopes; and farther away, the val-
ley through which the Chagres River pursues its course North-
westward from the spillway in the dam to the sea, 7 miles
away. There the ruins of Fort San Lorenzo lie buried in the
GATUN LOCKS GaH WATRa+87 LowwA PR+82 LOCK
GA-T-U7N -LAKE Z! LOCKS
1%\T v\ st.L a -" -` +40 LL*37 ALORESI
ATLANTIC OCEAN LAKE PACIFIC OCEAN
Colon IGHTIDE+1 -L o HIGHTIDE+10 PanM I
5. t . ,;d SILL-50 ..45
S[-- ------ 7.7 MILES.-------- --------32.3 MILES ------------- --1.8 MILES--.-----ABOUT 8.56MILES------
1 --------------- ----- TOTAL LENGTH OFCANAL-ABOUT 50.3 MILES-------------------------------
Diagram Shouwing Eleuations o OCanal
Where Gatun Lake follows the upper valley of the Chagres from the mountains. (Looking West). Near the end of the vista,
where the channel turns to the left, is the Darien radio station.
brooding jungle, as they were left by Henry Morgan when
he returned from the sacking of Old Panama.
In this striking view from the ship's deck, at an elevation of
more than 1oo feet above the sea, one may actually look down
upon the treetops in the valley of the Chagres. Below the dam
is seen a lagoon where the old French canal ends. Further
along, as the ship leaves the locks, can be had a glimpse of the
Chagres itself, below the spillway. Sportsmen find excellent
fishing here for lively tarpon that come up the river from the
sea to feed on fish from the lake.
Gatun Dam is 8,400 feet long and a half mile wide at its
base. It is built of rock and earth. On the rock foundation of
what was a small hill stands the spillway, to take care of the
surplus waters of Gatun Lake. There are 14 gates, in a semi-
circle 808 feet long, and a discharge channel 285 feet wide.
Through these sluices may pass in a year more than 80 billion
cubic feet of water, or as much as 50 per cent of the water im-
pounded annually in the lake from a watershed 1,320 square
miles. The inflow averages about 182 billion cubic feet a year.
Loss of water in the lake by evaporation is, roughly, Io per
cent, the locks take 18 per cent, and the hydro-electric plant
at the foot of the spillway 22 per cent. This plant furnished
power for the entire Canal.
From Gatun Locks can be seen Gatun station on the Panama Rail-
road (!eft). Around the hill beyond Gatun the road turns sharply to
the left, to follow the shore of Gatun Lake for several miles across the
lake's upper arm, coming back to the Canal at Darien. (See map.)
The road traverses the Continental Divide back of Gold Hill, its high-
est point being at Summit, 275 feet. The road as originally built fol-
lowed the course of the Chagres from Gatun to Gamboa, and thence
paralleled what is now Gaillard Cut, lying to the west of the present
Canal route. With the building of the Canal, it was necessary to re-
locate the road for almost its entire length, placing it on the East side
of the Canal. It is 47.61 miles long, is rock ballasted and has five-foot
gauge. Its trains cross the Isthmus from Colon to Panama, with ten
stops between, in one hour and forty-five minutes. There are three reg-
ular trains each way every week day.
GATUN LAKE, THE WONDERFUL
GATUN LAKE, formed by the dam across the Chagres,
is the largest artificial lake in existence, its area, about
164 square miles, being equal to that of Lake Geneva, in
Switzerland. It holds 183 billion cubic feet of water. Its level
is 85 to 87 feet above the sea. Its shore line is very irregular
and totals about 1,1oo miles. The lake's greatest length is
about 30 miles.
Following the old valley of the Chagres, the Canal crosses
Gatun Lake in a generally southeast direction for 23% miles,
in a channel from 45 to 85 feet deep, and 500 to 1,000 feet
wide. The direction of the channel changes six times between
Gatun Locks and Gamboa Reach, which is traversed to
Near Gatun the lake is broad, with a vista of extensive bays,
in which the skeletons of drowned trees still stand. Here are
observed on either hand, on islands and headlands, numerous
banana plantations, whose light green verdure contrasts with
that of the dense forest growths around them.
Land in the Canal Zone is leased for banana culture and other agri-
cultural purposes to residents of the Zone, on revocable licenses of in-
definite tenure at $5 a year per hectare, or about $2 an acre. There has
been steady development of banana culture in the Zone in the past few
years, the crop for 1928 amounting to more than 2,000,000 bunches for
Gatun area alone. The fruit is transported largely in boats to points
on the railroad (East of the Canal) for transportation to tidewater and
shipment north. Some vessels proceed to Gatun Lake to load bananas.
In traversing Gatun Lake a trace of the old French canal is
seen at one point, North of Barro Colorado Island (see map),
in the form of a cut where its first lock was to have been
placed. This cut pierced a headland now named De Lesseps
Many persons today believe theFrench engineers planned awater-level
canal. Maps of their route show this was not the case, but that provi-
Where the Canal leaves the valley of the Chagres, at the begin
Chagres. Three miles up the river from here
sion was made for eleven locks. -The route of their canal was similar
to that of the present Canal, following the valley of the Chagres to
Gamboa, with practically the present route through the hills. Their
plan did not contemplate the forming of Gatun Lake, but provided for
diverting the waters of the Chagres and other streams at bends by
means of artificial channels. Their second lock was near the entrance
of Gamboa Reach, the third and fourth near Gamboa. the fifth at La
Pita, the sixth at Cucaracha, the seventh and eighth near Paraiso, the
tenth at Miraflores, and the eleventh at Corozal. (See map for the
On leaving the open lake the Canal channel follows the shore
of Barro Colorado Island (right). This is the largest island in
the lake. Here the government has a wild life preserve with
an institute for scientific research, in charge of a curator who
makes scientists welcome. The dwelling of the curator can be
seen in a clearing near the shore.
Whether Gatun Lake is crossed on a bright or a cloudy day,
its vivid beauty delights and surprises the traveler. The blue
peaks of the Continental Divide, through which one would say
no ship could steam, are particularly impressive when viewed
in conjunction with a foreground of lush green vegetation that
meets the eye on every hand.
Throughout the passage of the lake the density and variety
of the vegetation that lines the shores and clothes the islands,
headlands and hills, often interlaced with vines or brightened
by masses of blossoms, is a source of wonder and curiosity to
the stranger. Owing to the variety of tropical trees, there being
more than fifty useful kinds on the Isthmus, not counting
minor growths, it is difficult from a steamer to distinguish
species. It is also hard to tell the difference between a log on
the shore and a crocodile sunning himself in the mud.
Bird life on the Isthmus quickly attracts the traveler's attention.
In Limon Bay and along the sea-level channel of the Canal, pelicans
that seem more bill than body sail heavily about or roost on the buoys.
They are expert fishermen and bag their catch in a pouch under their
bill. Along the waterfront at Panama City they furnish comedy by
stealing fish from market boats. Also numerous are large frigate birds
with black and long, bifurcated tail, that when sailing high look like a
ning of Gaillard Cut. On the left is the railroad bridge over the
was Cruces, starting point of the old Panama trail.
monoplane. They have a long narrow bill with a hooked end and are so
strong and quick they can rob a pelican of his catch. A species of small
black crane is common along the Canal, and the shyer white crane can
also be seen. Aigrettes from the latter birds are sold in the shops at
Panama. In the woods along the Canal a glass will reveal many species
of birds, some of bright colors, including parrots and parakeets, the lat-
ter traveling in flocks.
INTERESTING GAMBOA REACH
TYING between the broader waters of Gatun Lake and
S Gamboa, where the actual cut through the rock spine of
the Continent begins, is Gamboa Reach, an estuary with
numerous beautiful headlands.
Here, on the East bank (left) are seen the tall trestle towers
of the Darien high-powered radio station, through which
officials of the Canal Zone, the Army, and the Navy talk with
Washington. The station is in charge of the Navy. The neat
homes of the staff may be seen half-hidden in tropical growths,
making a pretty picture.
The radio towers, which can be seen long before they are
passed, mark the Northern end of Gamboa Reach, where, for a
short distance, a ship bound westward actually steers a course
North of East-a bewildering fact for landsmen.
Gamboa has various landmarks easily recognized. Here the
Canal quits the valley of the Chagres, the upper reaches of
which can be seen on the left, spanned by a long steel railroad
bridge. On a hill at the South end of the bridge is Gamboa
signal station, from which traffic through Gaillard Cut is regu-
lated. By a system of cones and balls hoisted on a staff, pilots
are directed whether to proceed or hold up. A second station
is at La Pita, a few miles South, and a third is opposite Gold
At the base of the signal hill at Gamboa can be seen the
Canal Zone penitentiary, usually having between 70 and 80
inmates. On the sidehill to the left can be seen a fine grove of
papaya, "the melon that grows on trees," a staple fruit of the
When they dug the great cut at Culebra. A scene in 1912.
This is now Gaillard Cut. Gold Hill on left.
Isthmus, having all the characteristics of the melon, and a
TRAIL OF BUCCANEERS AND 'FORTY-NINERS
The vicinity of Gamboa historically is one of the most interesting in
the whole length of the Canal. Between Gamboa and Darien, on the
west side of the channel (right) stood the construction town of Gorgona.
where the French and later the American canal builders had repair
shops for rolling stock. The site is now deep under water.
It was hereabouts, at the Village of Santa Cruz, over the site of which
ships now pass, that Morgan's weary buccaneers, after a week's hot and
hungry journey from the mouth of the Chagres, in January, 1671,
halted to debate the wisdom of continuing their march on Old Panama.
Some plotted mutiny, but thought better of it, and once more, in their
canoes, or walking beside them, they splashed up the stream to Cruces
(about three miles above the present railroad bridge) where navigation
stopped. Esquemeling, historian of the trip, thus describes a crushing
disappointment that awaited them here: "Being at a great distance
as yet from the place, they perceived much smoke to arise out of the
chimneys. The sight thereof afforded them great joy and hopes of find-
ing people in the town and . plenty of cheer. They went for-
ward in great haste, but found no person in the town, nor anything that
was eatable wherewith to refresh themselves, unless it were good fires,
which they wanted not." The residents had set fire to their houses,
leaving only the "king's storehouse," where the buccaneers "found by
good fortune 15 or 16 jars of Peru wine," and a leather sack full of bread.
hey proceeded to drink the wine, "when they fell sick, almost every
man." They believed themselves poisoned, "but the true reason was
their huge want of sustenance in that whole voyage and the manifold
sorts of trash which they had eaten." After staying a day at Cruces to
recover, the marauders pressed on. (For the sacking of Old Panama
see page 19.)
Las Cruces (now under water) was the starting point of the old trail
to Panama, that was followed many years later by the Yankee gold
seekers bound for California, on leaving the boats that brought them
from the coast. The older paved trail between Old Panama and Porto
Bello, over which, to Morgan's time, the Spaniards sent forward the
treasure from Peru, passed through the watershed of the Chagres
farther up, traversing the towns of El Vigia and San Juan, on the Rio
Pequeni, a confluent of the Chagres, 11 and 14 miles respectively,
northeast of Gamboa. A new lake, to be formed by a dam across this
river at Alhajuela, 10 miles above Gamboa, to impound a reserve of 23
billion cubic feet of water for Gatun Lake, will cover a dozen miles of
this famous trail, which has long been buried in jungle growth. An
Army officer led a company over the trail from coast to coast in 1925,
but died of fever contracted on the march.
A Panama Pacific liner passing over the same ground 15 years
later. Old town of Culebra on the right.
THROUGH FAMOUS GAILLARD CUT
FOR Southbound ships the actual.passage of the Conti-
Snental Divide begins at Gamboa, where the leafy shores of
lake scenery give way to rock cuts, above which the banks rise
abruptly, in grassy terraces, or steep-faced hills. Here is the
beginning of Gaillard Cut (named for D. D. Gaillard, Army
Engineer; formerly Culebra Cut). For nearly 8 miles in this
cut the Canal is excavated through rock.
As the ship proceeds down the cut, the remains of disused
towns, Empire and Culebra, can be seen high up on the right.
On the right bank also can be seen the effect of hydraulic
dredging, employed to straighten the channel by cutting the
face off a bold point. Further South, on the East Bank (left)
can be seen the largest waterfall in the Canal area. It carries
off surface water from the hills and in the dry season (January,
February, March) is nearly dry. In this part of the Canal
travelers observe on both banks numerous diamond-shaped
boards, marked in black and white. These establish ranges for
the guidance of pilots. The largest, with a black cross, are
about 30 feet high. When in range with each other they indi-
Scate the centre of the channel. Smaller boards with vertical
stripes mark the sides of the channel. When possible, vessels
follow the centre ranges.
Unquestionably the greatest interest of travelers in the
transit of the Canal centres in the passage of Gaillard Cut.
Here one actually steams through the spine of the Western
Hemisphere. (The whole eight miles of the channel through
the mountains is termed Gaillard Cut; the deepest and most
interesting section is that part of the Canal passing between
Gold Hill and Contractor's Hill.) Gold Hill, on the left, is 662
feet high. Contractor's Hill is 405 feet high. The ridge be-
tween them was 305 feet high in its lowest part. Where the
slides occurred, near these hills the builders of the Canal had
their sternest task.
Approaching the deepest part of the Cut, one may see high
on the right bank the deserted houses of the once-busy con-
The locks at the Pacific side of the Continental Divide. In the foreground are Pedro Miguel Locks; across Miraflores Lake are
the Miraflores Locks. In the distance can be seen the island of Taboguilla, in Panama Bay, off the Canal entrance.
struction town of Culebra. Here, in a house that has since
been transferred to Balboa Heights, Colonel George W.
Goethals, the engineer who completed the Canal, had his head-
quarters, at a point from which at a glance he could review the
work for miles in the great cut. Recognizing the importance
of this crucial point in the route across the Isthmus, the French
engineers began their excavations here, and here they worked
doggedly for years, with disease striking down their men on
every side. Few today think to give them credit for what they
American engineers have taken out of this gigantic cut more
than 150 million cubic yards of material, largely rock, includ-
ing about 75 million yards attributable to slides, the locations
of which can be recognized by hollows in the banks both North
and South of both hills. Most of these slides were actually
not slides at all, but upward and outward bulging of earth and
rock along and below the Canal's level, caused by the weight
of the hills pressing out softer material at their base. (The
North face of Gold Hill was not reduced by blasting, as many
assume, but by the rock falling off.)
Just south of Gold Hill-is an uneven hollow known as Cucaracha
Slide (pronounced kooka4racha). The oldest slide in the Canal, this
began to move when the French were working here. When the water
was let into the cut in October, 1913, this slide blocked the Canal,
which was not opened to commerce until August 15, 1914. A safety
basin that has been dredged out of the Canal bank at Cucaracha Slide
has been effective in catching later slides without blocking the channel.
Some of the most serious earlier slides took place on the north side of
Gold Hill. In September, 1915, a simultaneous movement from both
banks at this point completely blocked the Canal with rock and earth
in a ridge 260 feet long and 65 feet above water level. Not less than
12,000,000 yards of material were removed from this slide, which kept
the Canal closed to navigation until the following April. In 1920 a
slide of rock from the face of Gold Hill was pushed into the channel.
including one piece 60 feet in length, 30 feet wide and 20 feet deep, as
large as a two-story house, and lying under 25 feet of water. Drills,
blasters and dredges broke up and removed this huge obstruction in
twenty-four hou hrs.
At the South end of Gaillard Cut, on the left bank, will be
seen a station where ships may tie up. There are float fenders
beside a rocky shelf of bank, and steel bollards for hawsers.
Passengers here may obtain a close-up of papaya trees, and if
the season is right, of their fruit, which grows at the base of the
South of Gaillard Cut the country opens out into a region
of cone-shaped hills, that in turn give way to a valley broaden-
ing toward the Pacific. In Paraiso Reach the channel of the
Canal widens. On the left bank will be seen the village of
Paraiso, repair base for tugs and dredges. Here are stationed
two immense cranes, Ajax and the Hercules, used for heavy
lifts. Each can lift 250 tons.
Below Paraiso are the Pedro Miguel Locks, the first step
down to the Pacific.
Above the locks is the only ferry across the Canal. (There are no
bridges.) Here a scow, pushed by a tug, crosses the Canal at 8 and 10
A. M. and 4 and 5 P. M., conveying vehicles and foot passengers. The
ferry connects with a military road to Culebra and Empire, and also
with the only road from the Canal Zone into the western part of
Pedro Miguel Locks, which are % mile long, with two lock
chambers I,ooo feet long by I o feet wide by 70 feet deep, are
set in a valley between hills, with an earth fill half a mile long
on the West side (right) and a concrete wall connecting with
the hill on the East. But one set of locks was built here for
want of rock foundation for the three sets needed to reach the
level of the Pacific. Another rock base was found a mile
further south, at Miraflores, and here the other two sets were
built, the intervening valley being converted into Miraflores
Lake, holding 878 million cubic feet of water. The lake receives
the water of Rio Grande and several smaller streams. Never-
theless, it is partly salt, owing to a mixture in the locks of water
from the Pacific.
Here it may be fitting to mention that the poetic idea of the meeting
of the waters of the Atlantic and the Pacific by means of the Canal will
never be realized. All the water between Miraflores Lake and Gatun
Locks is fresh, and must always remain so.
Where the Canal pierces the Continental Divide and reaches the Pacific. Topographical features of the Gaillard Cut section,
and relative location of Balboa, Panama and the ruins of Old Panama. For map of Canal's Pacific end see page 16.
Fort Clayton, U. S. Army reservation, seen near the East bank, between Miraflores Locks and Balboa Basin.
Gatun's a" 's Ships
page 5) (Text,
page 6) page 6)
at 19 5
(Text, page 16)
SOME INTERESTING SCENES IN AND NEAR THE CANAL
A BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF THE CANAL AND CANAL ZONE, FROM SEA TO SEA
At the point where the Canal was cut, the axis of the Isthmus runs from Southwest to Northeast. As the Canal was built selves readily in strange places. In using the above map, it is suggested that the book be turned slightly by lowering the right
almost at right angles to the Isthmus, its course, except for seven miles at the Atlantic end, therefore is generally Northwest and side. The compass will then be at the top of the map. This will make the direction of the Canal easier to understand. In this
Southeast. At two points in the Canal the channel for a short distance lies almost East and West, and at these points a ship map will be found not only the correct direction of the Canal but the principal features of adjacent country, boundaries of the
bound West (Southbound, in the official language of the Canal), steers about East, while a ship bound East (Northbound) Canal Zone, and principal roads and rivers. The course of the lower Chagres, shown at the left, was the original route of the
steers almost West. At the end of the Canal the traveler, having made the transit from sea to sea, finds himself, when buccaneers and later of the '49ers. From Gatun Dam to Gamboa, the valley of the Chagres was flooded to form Gatun Lake.
Westbound, 27 miles further East than when he left the Caribbean, and when Eastbound, 27 miles farther West on entering the It is also flooded for some distance above Gamboa railroad bridge. Near the top of the map will be seen the proposed site of a dam
Caribbean than he was on leaving the Pacific. These facts occasion some confusion to people not accustomed to orienting them- at Alhajuela, where additional water will be impounded for hydro-electric purposes, and to supply Gatun Lake in the dry season.
4 1 I TTt1~~. 4~i~t~rit1r F .1
Locksare for use
page 4) agency
for the Weights,
page 8) page 9)
Dam and Balboa,
Water I Canal
Plant at Head-
Mira- .. quarters
(Text, page 15)
PHOTOS TELL A STORY OF THE CANAL'S OPERATION
Balboa, the Basin and the Canal, from Ancon Hill, looking West. In the right foreground is the Administration building, on the
left Sosa Hill, and in the middle distance Balboa docks and basin, with the Canal beyond.
Miraflores Locks, two in number, by which vessels are low-
ered 54 feet to the level of the Pacific, are built between two
dams. That on the right is a broad earth dike half a mile long,
covered with velvety lawn, and the site of a few houses, quar-
ters for Canal employees. That on the left is of concrete,
with a spillway having eight gates, through which flood water
The highest gates and the highest lock walls in the Canal
are those of the lower lock at Miraflores, 82 feet. This is due to
the tides in the Pacific, which have an average rise and fall of
12y4 feet and sometimes rise 21 feet. The gate leaves here are
the heaviest in the whole Canal, weighing 730 tons each. The
lock chambers have the standard length of I,ooo feet each,
and width of 1no feet. (For method of controlling the gates
and water refer to page 4.)
Westward of Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks are several hills of
moderate height that have been cleared by the Canal Commissary
department for use as pasturage for cattle. In these pastures, and others
near Gamboa and Darien, along Gatun Lake, there are 50,000 acres,
where as many as 6,000 head of cattle have been kept at one time.
About 8,000 head were purchased in 1928, in Colombia and Venezuela,
for fattening here. A slaughter house is maintained at Mt. Hope,
near Gatun, and cold storage plants at Colon and Balboa, for supply-
ing ships and Canal Zone commissary stores. Meat is advertised for
sale as low as nine and a half cents a pound for fore quarters and
twelve cents a pound for hind quarters.
From the locks at Miraflores, looking down the Canal to-
ward the Pacific, one can see the blue peak of Taboga Island,
12 miles off the Canal entrance, and nearer and to the left, the
wooded top of Ancon Hill, lying between Balboa and Panama
City, with the red roof of the Canal Administration Building
showing at its base. The building seen on the side of the hill is
the Shrine Mosque, a Masonic temple.
On a terraced bank east of the Miraflores Locks (left), are the pic-
turesque red-roofed buildings of the Miraflores water works, or puri-
fication plant. The watersupply comes 11 miles through pipesfrom the
Chagres River at Gamboa. At Miraflores plant it first enters an aeration
basin, where it is sprayed 15 to 20 feet, to remove vegetable odors and
taste. It then passes through the head-house (left) where it is chemi-
cally treated, to extensive basins, where sediment is removed. It then
goes through the filter building (right), where it passes through filters
(14 in all) each containing 4 feet 6 inches of graduated sand and gravel.
Chemically pure and as clear as crystal it next passes to a well holding
900,000 gallons, from which it is pumped to two reservoirs on Ancon
Hill. Gatun and Colon each has a similar though smaller purification
plant. Consumption of water in the Canal Zone amounts to about 3
billion gallons a year. Panama City takes about 1 billion 200 million
gallons; Colon 600 million gallons, and ships 1%,million gallons.
THE PACIFIC END OF THE CANAL
THE Pacific end of the Panama Canal consists of a tidal
channel 8 miles long, extending from Miraflores Locks
to deep water in Panama Bay. Below the locks for 3 miles,
the channel follows the old valley of the Rio Grande, a winding
stream that formerly came to the sea at the present harbor
basin of Balboa.
Below Miraflores Locks there are several interesting things
to see. Back from the East bank (left) is an extensive army
post, Fort Clayton, with many red-roofed buildings. Beyond
is Corozal, a base for Army engineers and signal corps. The
buildings have dark roofs. Officers' quarters, with red roofs,
are seen nearer at hand, surrounded by beautiful trees, includ-
ing giant bamboos, the royal poinciana and the cabbage palm.
On the left of the buildings can be seen a model cocoanut grove.
Half a mile from Balboa Basin, on the left, in a creek indent-
ing the East channel of the Canal, can be seen the remains
of four of the largest dredges used by the French at the Pacific
end of the Canal. The Canal Administration building at
Balboa can be seen above them. On the West shore, opposite
Balboa Basin, can be seen the wrecks of other French dredges.
Balboa Basin is a harbor for all sizes of ships. Here, from
early times, was a small settlement called La Boca (the
Mouth) with a harbor in the Rio Grande for vessels of moder-
ate tonnage. Back of the village were a creek and marsh,
that were filled in to make the site of Balboa docks and the
lower part of the town. (The present La Boca, South of the
Basin, was laid out to house West Indian employes, and has
no relation to the old village.)
Near the edge of the channel at Balboa Basin, on the West
side, will be seen a row of very large steel buoys. These are for
the use of ships as moorings. Along the upper edge of the
flats can be seen a mangrove swamp, common to tidal waters
on the Isthmus. The trees have roots above the bottom equal
in length to the rise of the tide where they grow. Dredges are
at work here deepening the Channel from which 6,500,000
cubic yards of material, mostly rock, will be taken.
Although ships do not as a rule navigate the Canal at night, the great
waterway is most carefully lighted, every mile being marked by
lighthouses or lighted buoys. The tallest lighthouse towers are at
Gatun. The small white towers seen at various points along the channel
(Continued on page 17)
Above: Arrows at lock entrances
to guide ships.
EVENTS IN ISTHMUS HISTORY
(From the Official Information Bulletin, Panama Canal)
CoLUMBUS-Christopher Columbus visited the shores of -v
Panamaon his fourth andlast voyagein 1502. Hewas then
skirting the coast southward from Honduras to Venezuela,
seeking "the secret of the strait which should lead on to India.
He turned into the beautiful harbor at Porto Bello, which he so
named, and investigated the reaches of Limon Bay, now the Atlantic
entrance of the Canal. Columbus died in the belief that he had
reached Asia, and the hope of the secret strait persisted years after the
discovery of the Pacific, in 1513, by Vasco Nfifiez de Balboa.
BALBOA-Balboa crossed the Isthmus on a course about 100 miles to
the southeast of the line of the Canal, and entered the Pacific in the Gulf
of San Miguel, so named because he reached it on the day of St. Michael.
DISTURBANCEs-Features in the history of Panama include the found-
ing of the City of Panama (Old Panama) in 1519; the sacking of Old
Panama by Morgan in 1671; the founding of the present City of Pan-
ama in 1673; the achievement of independence from Spain by Panama
in the period from 1808 to 1821, under the leadership of Sim6n Bolivar,
the Liberator; subsequent coalition with Colombia; and the secession
of November 3, 1903, by which independence was established.
PROJECTs-Following the discovery of the Pacific, the search for the
strait continued on both sides of the continent, resulting in the discovery
of the Strait of Magellan (1520), but nothing closer to north latitudes.
Leaders began then to talk of making a strait, and in 1529 Alvaro de
Saavedra, a companion of Balboa in the discovery of the Pacific and
later one of Cortez's most persistent lieutenants in the seach for the
strait, prepared the first plans for a canal.
CONSTRUCTION-The first actual work on the Canal was begun by the
French on January 20, 1882, in excavation of Culebra Cut. This com-
pany operated until 1889. A reorganized company resumed operations
in October, 1894, and continued work of varying extent until its rights
and property were purchased by the United States under the authority
of the Act of Congress of June 28, 1902. The American occupation of
the Canal Zone began on May 4, 1904, and in the eleventh year after
that the Canal was opened. The first ocean passenger liner to pass
through the Canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific was the Kroonland,
of the Panama Pacific Line, February 2, 1915.
To Balboa Basin,
Pacific End of the Canal, Panama City and Balboa.
-AO O CU
Panorama of the Pacific End of the Panama Canal, from Ancon Hill, looking south. In the foreground are tanks for oil storage,
and beyond them, at the left, three fortified islands. In the distance are the islands of Taboga and Taboguilla. On the extreme
right can be seen the old French pier at the Canal entrance.
(Continued from page 15)
are range lights, set in pairs, some distance apart, the two lights when
in range indicating the course a ship must follow. The front lights are
fixed white, and the rear lights flash, on all the ranges. Buoy and pier
lights may be red, white or green. At the entrance of each pair of locks
is a large red arrow, which at night is lighted by electric bulbs, and in-
dicates to a pilot which lock he shall enter, or if he shall hold off.
At Balboa the Canal administration maintains a first class
port, with one of the world's largest dry docks (1,ooo feet),
machine shops, foundries, repair shops, boiler shops, cranes,
coaling docks, commissary stores, water and oil supply, and
extensive piers for passengers and freight.
As one approaches Balboa Basin, dominating landmarks
are two hills lying East of the harbor. On the grassy top of the
smaller, Sosa Hill, near the docks, is a signal station for pilots.
The higher is Ancon Hill, which physically separates Balboa
town-a model American settlement-from Panama City.
The hill shows on its West face the scars of quarrying, for it
provided much rock for use in building the Canal. On its
lower West side are the army headquarters of Quarry Heights.
At its base is the administration building, headquarters of the
Canal, looking down on the orderly town of Balboa, which has
broad streets, airy homes, a community clubhouse with swim-
ming pool, a commissary department store, and many other
features to make life easier.
On the far side of Ancon Hill, facing Panama, and not seen from the
Canal, is Ancon Hospital, a model of its kind, under the control of the
Health Department, Panama Canal. The French founded a hospital
here in 1883, in a reservation of 80 acres, but as they did not understand
the character of the fever-carrying mosquito, whose extermination in
the Canal Zone was one of the great triumphs of the American Canal
builders, they failed to screen their buildings. As a result, the hospital
became a breeding place of disease, with a tragic record of deaths. The
Americans took over the hospital in 1904, and rebuilt it. All the old
buildings were replaced in 1915-19, with tile and concrete construction,
at a cost of $2,000,000, and $1,000,000 more was spent on equipment.
On the slopes of Ancon Hill also are the homes of many
Canal employes. Ancon, the American residence district.
and Panama City, actually touch elbows on the South and
East slopes of the Hill, where two streets, Fourth of July
Avenue and Tivoli Avenue, become boundaries. One side of
the street is Panama, with Spanish speech and ways, on the
other side a community wholly American.
Of the Americans living on the Isthmus, Colonel Jay J.
Morrow, former Governor of the Canal Zone, has said:
From the beginning the job (of building the Canal) appealed to the
imagination and it attracted and held Americans of a high type who felt
they were working not only for themselves but for their country and for
the world. The pioneers of 1904 and 1905 assumed the risk of death
and disease and the certainty of discomfort and privation in an un-
developed tropical country. But even in those early days the morale
of the force was excellent. . The traditions of construction
days has been carried over into the period of operation . .
What was originally an expeditionary force has become a permanent
colony. The Canal community is one of typical Americans, living ac-
cording to American traditions and American standards.
Seaward from Ancon Hill the colorful roofs and towers of
Panama City stretch away to the Pacific. Beyond the city
on the East lie the curving beach and attractive villas of the
suburb of Bella Vista, with a modern hospital (Panamanian)
and a statue of Balboa, presented by the King of Spain.
Further on are the links of the Panama Golf Club, and beyond
them the ruins of Old Panama, 7. miles out by the auto road.
On leaving Balboa Basin for the Pacific, a ship passes on the
left a long, rusty steel and concrete pier, another relic of the
French canal builders. Further down the shore is a pier where
oil is landed for a "tank farm" that can be seen on the left.
Here the government and several oil companies maintain stor-
age tanks, there being 26 in all, with a combined capacity of
1,215,ooo barrels of crude and refined oils. There are similar
storage facilities at Colon with 23 tanks.
Southward and a little Westward from Panama is the course
of the Canal channel through Panama Bay to the sea. Paral-
leling part of the channel is a long point on which is situated
a U. S. Army Post, Fort Amador. Over it is a panoramic view
of Panama City, with Ancon Hill rising at its back. Extending
from Fort Amador Eastward is a stone breakwater, nearly 3
miles long, connecting the mainland and three fortified
islands, Naos, Perico and Flamenco. South of the channel,
and a little to the West, are the lofty islands of Taboga and
Taboguilla, from which buccaneers in the 17th century cast
hungry eyes at the city and shipping of Panama. The smaller
of the islands, Taboguilla, lies 6 miles from the channel's end,
and when the ship outbound passes it, she is in the deep waters
of the Gulf of Panama, which is the Pacific.
An air view of the City of Panama, looking North. (Photo courtesy U. S. Army Air Service.) The sea wall on the point in the
foreground, now a promenade, stands on rock that is bare at low tide. On the left can be seen Ancon Hill, with its military road.
VACATIONS AT THE ISTHMUS
CLIMATE-Novel, interesting and healthful vacations may
be spent at the Isthmus of Panama at any season of the year.
The climate, though tropical, is equable. It is always sum-
mer at Panama. Cyclones are unknown. The variation of
temperature between January and July is scarcely one degree.
The average temperature for a year is 79 degrees on the Pacific
side and 80 degrees on the Atlantic side. The two coolest
days in 1926 were January 13 with 70 degrees and August 8
with 71 degrees. The hottest day in the year was May 13,
with 95 degrees, about the temperature of a "hot spell" in the
Although the Isthmus has a reputation for being a rainy
place, weather reports show that 47 per cent of the daylight
hours are sunshiny on the Pacific side, and 52 per cent on the
Atlantic side. A majority of days are partly cloudy, a condi-
tion that tempers the heat of the sun. January, February and
March are the dry season, when there is scarcely any rain. In
the other nine months rain falls on an average forty minutes
a day. A steady all-day downpour is rare. Showers, some
heavy, some light, make up the rainfall. They pass quickly,
and are usually followed by a burst of sunshine. There is
rarely a day without a breeze-the prevailing winds are north-
west and moderate-and wherever there is an air stirring,
and shade, one may keep cool. The nights invariably are cool,
and some bed covering usually is needed.
By avoiding unnecessary exertion in the heat of the day,
when everybody is expected to take a siesta, the average visitor
to the Isthmus can make himself comfortable at all times.
HEALTH-The Isthmus is healthful. Visitors who observe the
rules of health need have no fear of unusual illnesses. Colds
and throat affections brought from the North quickly yield
to the mild climate. There is little danger of contracting tropi-
cal diseases while in or near the Canal Zone towns. Mosquitoes,
carriers of fever, have been exterminated (by scientific meth-
ods, based on drainage of swamps and oil spraying of breeding
places.) The extensive screening of all houses in the Canal
Zone, conveying the idea that insects are troublesome, is a
precautionary measure. In Panama City there are no screens,
nor even glass in the windows, which are shaded by blinds,
and one might live a month with blinds wide open without
seeing a mosquito or a fly. Strict precautions are taken
against giving mosquitoes a chance to breed, and a Zone house-
wife who leaves a bucket of water on an unscreened porch is
finedif detected. Malaria no longer is troublesome. In a
total population of more than 28,000 people in the Canal Zone.
an average of less than ioo cases a month are reported. In a
year's record (for 1928) not a single death was reported of an
employee from this disease. As sanitary control of Panama
An air view of the ruins of Old Panama. (Photo courtesy U. S. Army Air Service.) In the middle foreground is seen the
Cathedral's ruins, and on their right those of the convent of Santo Domingo. The white gable in the left distance is that of
San Jos6 church, the only structure that escaped destruction by fire when Morgan sacked the city in 1671. Many of the other
ruins are concealed by jungle growth. (See map on page 20.)
and Colon is in the hands of the Canal authorities, those cities
also are healthy. They have modern sewerage systems, brick
paved streets and a pure water supply, furnished from the
Canal Zone purification plants.
THE CANAL-What does one do on a vacation at the Isth-
mus? As an attraction to most visitors, the Canal comes first.
Travelers in transit proclaim it one of the world's greatest
sights. Vacationists remaining on the Isthmus from a week
to a month find it a daily source of interest, and they have be-
sides opportunity for continued observation of how well the
great work is managed by the Canal staff.
Visitors may view the Canal from several different angles.
Passage through, from Balboa to Colon, may be had on
Panama Pacific Line steamers for $Io a person. A rail trip
across the Isthmus (I hour, 45 minutes), $2.40, affords several
interesting views of the Canal. The same is true of an auto trip
to certain points. From Panama and Balboa there is a fine auto
road to Gamboa (17 miles) passing near the locks at Mira-
flores and Pedro Miguel and over the Continental Divide
back of Gold Hill. On the west bank there is a road from
Pedro Miguel to Culebra, the old construction town where
General Goethals had his headquarters when completing the
Canal. Here one may look down on traffic passing through the
Gaillard Cut. From Colon, at the Atlantic end, there is a fine
road to Gatun Locks (7 miles).
OLD PANAMA-Next to inspection of the Canal, a visit to
the ruins of Old Panama is a high spot in a stay, long or short,
at the Isthmus. These ruins, seven miles by auto road from
Balboa or Panama, are unlike any others in the world. They
are the remains of a city that passed out of existence from a
single attack by a small but desperate band of adventurers, the
buccaneers under Henry Morgan. The city was rich, the seat
of a diocese, with an ornate cathedral, several other churches,
monasteries, shops, warehouses and probably 20,000 inhabi-
tants. It was the depot for transfer of the treasure from Peru
that was sent annually to Spain. It was this treasure, vast
and alluring, that led to Morgan's attack, and destruction of
the city from fires set by its own defenders, to cheat the enemy
of their spoils. But Morgan and his men succeeded in taking
back to their ships 176 mule-loads of gold and silver-treasure
The most conspicuous of the ruins of Old Panama is the
cathedral tower, with the City Hall beside it. The jungle has
covered much of the city, but the crumbling walls of other
churches and monasteries, of the city market, of the house
where the men of Genoa dealt in slaves, the remains of paved
Plan of OLD PANAMA
From.a Survey dated 1609
Old Panama was founded in 1519. When burned by its inhabitants at the time of Morgan's raid in 1671 it covered thirty
blocks, extending 1400 yards east and west and 480 yards north and south. The principal buildings were of stone, but
dwellings were of wood.
streets and the still perfect arch of the bridge by which Morgan
entered the city, may be seen by the persistent visitor with
plenty of time. There were two bridges at Old Panama, and
the King's Bridge, at the east end of the city, is passed by the
highway followed by automobiles. The other can be reached
only by a walk of nearly a mile down the beach. (See map.)
The Panama government has made some progress in clearing
the ruins of late, but much remains to be done. Access to the
cathedral tower, which alone is well worth a visit, is never
AUTO RIDES-Although there is no highway entirely across
the Isthmus, the roads in the Canal Zone, and at Panama and
Colon, are so good that one is tempted to make free use of
public autos, which are available at fixed rates, the standard
being 15 cents a zone. Cars can be hired by the hour for $3
for the first hour and a diminishing scale for subsequent hours,
for four persons.
The longest auto tour that can be taken on the Isthmus is
into the country west of the Canal that is reached from the
ferry at Pedro Miguel. There is a macadam road in the in-
terior, passing through lovely scenery to several old towns,
175 miles to Santiago. Arrangements can be made through
the Panama Pacific Line agents for a two or three days' trip
into this country, with an English-speaking driver, at reason-
able rates. On such a trip the seasoned American tourist will
get fresh impressions, both of scenery and people.
DIVERSIONS-Dancing is popular at the two hotels main-
tained by the.government, the Tivoli and the Washington.
There is a first-class golf club at Panama, with an 18-hole
course and a novel "I9th hole" in a thatched house, for which
visitors may obtain cards at their hotel. There is also an 18-
hole course at Gatun which is open to guests of the Washing-
Swimming is a sport followed by all ages among Americans
at the Isthmus. There is a fine pool at the community club at
Balboa, open tor visitors, and another connected with the
Washington Hotel at Colon. Surf bathing is available at
Bella Vista, Panama, where an exclusive shore club is being
built (Club Miramar) to which, on its completion, cards will
be available for Panama Pacific Line travelers.
Other amusements at Panama include horse racing through-
out the year, on Sundays; dog racing on a special track, eve-
nings in the winter season; the weekly drawing of the National
lottery, on Sunday mornings at the Bishop's Palace, and the
great annual fiesta of four days preceding Lent.
Everyday diversions include morning visits to the city mar-
ket beside the beach, where many odd boats unload cargoes
of fruits, vegetables and fish; strolls in the old, balconied streets
or along the sea wall promenade of the Malecon; evening con-
certs in the city squares, by excellent brass and reed bands, to
which the whole town turns out; visits to the shops-many
kept by Hindus and Chinese have a strangely foreign air-
afternoon calls at the Canal Zone community clubhouses,
where one becomes the guest of Uncle Sam, and not least, ob-
servation of American soldiers and sailors out for a lark in the
noisy pleasure palaces along the Avenida Central.
SPORT-For the fisherman and the hunter, Panama is virgin
territory. Duck shooting and deer hunting both yield gratify-
Scenes at Old Panama. Left, the Cathedral tower, showing position of a spiral staircase of brick. Centre, the bridge by which
Morgan and his men entered the city by the back door. Right, inside the Cathedral. Begun in 1626, the Cathedral had three
wide naves and two lateral chapels. There were 10 windows and a tile roof supported on cedar columns. The tower had six
bells. The altar was richly decorated.
ing results. Fishing in the Bay of Panama produces incredible
catches, including sea monsters of great size-sharks, sawfish,
sail fish, jewfish and ray, some attaining a ton in weight.
Crocodile hunting in rivers a few hours away along the
coast by launch, tests the skill of the best rifle shot, while sea
turtle hunting is not without its rewards. Comfortable cruising
launches, in charge of experienced American captains, can be
arranged for through Panama Pacific Line agents, for hunting
and fishing parties.
Tarpon fishing in the swift water below the spillway at
Gatun on the Atlantic side has attracted many fishermen from
the North. There is a Tarpon Club at the spillway, with a
comfortable clubhouse, where visitors with cards (procured at
the Washington Hotel) are made welcome.
SIGHTs-Panama City has a number of objects of interest
to the visitor, all of which can be seen in an hour's ramble. At
the point of the sea wall is a Pantheon (Las Bovedas) built
over the dungeons of an ancient prison, that is dedicated to
the French canal builders, with a shaft for those who died for
the work and busts of engineers. Inside the wall the history
of the Canal is told on massive tablets of stone. In the city,
nearby, are the ruins of Santo Domingo Church (burned in
1737) containing a flat arch of brick that is an architectural
curiosity; San Jose Church, with a gilt altar, revered as a
relic of old Panama, the Cathedral, and numerous handsome
buildings, including a National Theatre. The principal nations
have embassies at Panama, those of Great Britain and Spain
being the most handsomely housed.
HOTELS-The government hotels at the Isthmus are con-
ducted as first-class houses. Their rates are lower than those
of the best resort hotels in the United States. At the Washing-
ton, in Colon, rates vary from $2.50 for room without bath in
summer to $8 for room with bath in winter. At Colon there are
two other hotels patronized by travelers, the Imperial and the
Miramar, that are well spoken of. Their rates are from $4 a
day upward for room with board.
The Hotel Tivoli, at Ancon, stands in extensive grounds,
overlooking a section of Panama City, and eastward the
Savannas, with a distant view of the Pacific. It has 222
rooms. Its winter rates are from $2.50 a day for a single bed-
room without bath to $6 a day for room with bath (parlor and
In Panama City, facing the Cathedral, is the Central Hotel,
conducted by Andrew Johnston, formerly manager of the
Tivoli. Its rooms are large and airy, with modern baths, the
table good, and rates moderate, either on the American or
European plan. The staff speak English.
Facing the railroad station is the International Hotel, con-
ducted by Mr. John McEwen, also a former manager of the
Tivoli, which is patronized by Americans, and is known for its
good cooking and Spanish wines. The staff speak English.
Either of these two hotels on brief notice will provide Spanish din-
ners for parties from Panama pacific Line ships stopping at Balboa.
There are several smaller hotels (including the Metropole
with cabaret) and numerous restaurants in Panama and Colon,
while at Balboa, Ancon and Cristobal, Canal Zone restaurants
MONEY-United States paperand coin are the currency of the
Isthmus and are accepted everywhere in Panama and Colon,
where Panamanian currency has disappeared from circulation.
LANGUAGE-English is the language of the Canal Zone,
Spanish of Colon and Panama City; but English is spoken
generally by taxi drivers, hotel staffs and shop attendants
throughout the Isthmus.
OF SERVICE TO TRAVELERS IN PANAMA CITY
American Consul: Central Avenue and H Street.
Banks: National City Bank, No. 19 Central Avenue; Chase National,
Books and Maps: Benedetti Hermanos, Central Avenue and 3rd Street.
Chinese Goods: Chong Kee & Co., Central Avenue and A Street; New
China, No. 27 Central Avenue.
Department Stores: The French Bazaar, Central Avenue and 8th Street:
the American Bazaar, No. 25 Central Avenue.
Ice Cream Parlor: Preciado's, Central Avenue and 8th Street.
Panama Hats: Sabas A. Villegas, No. 163 Central Avenue; C. A. Lupi, No.
41 Central Avenue.
Perfumery: The Maduro Company, No. 21 Central Avenue.
Photographs of Panama Scenery: Lewis Photo Service, No. 1 Fourth of
July Avenue, opposite Ancon Postoffice.
Photographic Supplies, Kodaks, etc.: I. L. Maduro, Jr., No. 24 Fifth Av-
enue. (Also curios and Spanish shawls.)
Spanish Shawls: Antonio's, No. 30 Central Avenue.
Steamship Ticket Agents: Fidanque Brothers. Panama Pacific Line, No. 17
(There are numerous shops in Panama and Colon, kept by Hindu mer-
chants, that feature Eastern goods. Prices are regulated by the skill of the
buyer. Chinese shop keepers expect to make slight concessions in prices.
The shops listed above sell at fixed prices.)
The Government-operated Tivoli Hotel.
VARIOUS FACTS ABOUT THE CANAL
ENGTH of the Canal, from deep water to deep water,
50.76 statute miles, length of sea-level approaches 15.02
miles, of lake and locks sections, 35.74 miles, airline distance
across the Isthmus, shore to shore, 34 miles.
Depth of the Canal: Atlantic channel 42 feet at mean tide;
Pacific channel 45 feet (being deepened); lake and cut sections
45 to 85 feet. Bottom of Gaillard Cut above mean sea level,
40 feet (least width 300 feet.)
In the month of February the mean level of the Atlantic and
that of the Pacific at the Isthmus are the same. In other
months the Pacific is 8 inches higher than the Atlantic, except
in October, when it is I foot higher. The variation is caused by
winds and currents in the Pacific.
Excavations from the Canal (about 350,000,000 cubic yards)
represent as much material as would come from a hole 15 feet
square driven clear through the earth. This material would
make a cube 2,132 feet on each side, and would build 106
pyramids as large as the largest at Gizeh.
Not less than 4,500,000 cubic yards of concrete, requiring
the same number of barrels of cement, were used in building
the Canal locks.
About 38 billion cubic feet of water is required annually to
operate the Canal locks. All water in the Canal above the
locks at Gatun and Miraflores comes from the watershed of the
Chagres River, which yields about 185 billion gallons in a nor-
mal year. There is an unavoidable waste of flood water
through the Gatun spillway which will be lessened when a pro-
jected storage basin is created in the upper watershed of the
Chagres, by means of a dam at Alhajuela, ten miles above
Average time required for transit of Canal, eight hours.
(Panama Pacific ships at times make the transit in six hours.)
In the fiscal year of 1928, 1,811 commercial vessels made
6,456 transits of the Canal, carrying 29,630,709 tons of cargo
and 160,ooo passengers. Travelers disembarking at the
Isthmus totaled 40,000 more, and those embarking 38,000.
Those remaining on board ships touching at Balboa or Colon
and not transiting the Canal totaled 18,000.
The capacity of the Canal is estimated at 17,000 transits a
year, or about three times as many as were made in 1928. It is
believed, however, that the Canal locks must be enlarged in
thirty years, and the water supply in Gatun Lake increased
in five years.
The Central, Largest Hotel in Panama.
Traffic through the Canal from East to West is led in volume
and value by manufactures of iron and steel, with refined petro-
leum second. Traffic from West to East is led by crude petro-
leum, with lumber second and wheat third. Fruit is seventh.
Tolls are levied on the net tonnage of the ships, which is the
interior spaces which can be devoted to the carriage of cargo
or passengers. The rate for laden ships is $1.20 per net ton,
Panama Canal measurement, and the rate for ships in ballast,
72 cents per net ton; with the proviso that the amount collect-
ible shall not exceed the equivalent of $1.25 per net ton as
determined under the rules for registry in the United States,
or be less than 75 cents per net ton on the same basis. Each
net ton is Ioo cubic feet. Average tolls for bulk cargo are about
65 cents per ton of 2,240 pounds. The heaviest tolls paid for a
single transit of the Canal have been $22,399.50 on the British
Investment in the Canal at the beginning of 1928 was
$388,000,000, of which $275,000,000 was chargeable to com-
mercial use and $113,ooo,ooo to national defense. Deprecia-
tion charges provide for the amortization of the Canal invest-
ment aside from profits in Ioo years.
Earnings of the Canal for the year ending June, 1928, were
$47,473,667 of which tolls amounted to $26,944,499.77. A sur-
plus of $10,835,925 resulted, to be applied to wiping out deficits
of previous years. In the fourteen years of its existence up to
June, 1928, the Canal showed a nominal excess of earnings over
expenses of $90,ooo,ooo but this was without charging interest
against the commercial investment, which at three per cent
would amount in that time to $115,ooo,ooo.
Population of the Canal Zone includes several thousand
soldiers at the various U. S. Army posts, crews of naval vessels
stationed at the Canal, and a civilian population of 28,000,
composed chiefly of Canal employees and their dependents.
There are about 3,000 skilled ("gold") employees, and about
10,700 unskilled ("silver") on the Canal and Panama Rail-
road payroll, which amounts annually to about $14,500,000.
"Silver" employees are natives and West Indians, formerly
paid in Panama silver dollars, or pesos, worth 50 cents each in
American money. Prices in silver are double those in gold.
Distances saved by ships using the Canal over old routes
are very great. Between New York and San Francisco the
distance of 13,135 nautical miles by way of the Strait of Magel-
lan has been reduced to 5,262 miles by way of the Canal, a
saving of 7,873 miles.
Under the Panama Pacific Line's One-way-water, One-way-rail routing plan, passengers residing in any part of the United
States or Canada can make a single booking that will cover a complete journey from their home town back to their home town,
in which the Panama Canal trip will be the outstanding feature. Motorists may drive to the nearest Panama Pacific Line port,
make the Canal trip with their car on the same ship-checked as baggage-and after completing their sea voyage, drive home
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A S A matter of
National prestige, the Canal is a
wonderful investment. . The
Canal and the community con-
nected with its operation are the
finest expression of
thoroughness in engineering,
public health and Community
life that I have ever known. .
Engineers come from everywhere
to study our engineering work. ..
In every part of Latin America,
when a question arises as to
American thoroughness and skill
comes the answer: "The Pana-
JAY J. MORROW
Colonel U. S. Army
Former Governor, Panama Canal
S. S. California S. S. Virginia
in regular service
S. S. Pennsylvania
(now being built and scheduled to enter service in the
Fall of 1929)
THE largest and fastest steamships making the transit of
the Panama Canal in regular Coast to Coast service are
those of the Panama Pacific Line.
At the head of the fleet are the new California and Virginia,
each of 32,000 tons displacement, the largest American-built
liners and the world's largest electrically-driven steamships.
Under construction at Newport News, Va., is a third vessel
of similar type and size to be ready in 1929.
On any of the vessels in this service the 5,500-mile voyage,
lasting a little more than two weeks, is thoroughly delightful.
No other sea trip affords a greater variety of interests, nor a
higher average of perfect days. The course is always near land.
The sea, blue and brilliant under sub-tropical skies, rarely is
rough enough to cause the slightest concern to the most timid
sailor. A holiday spirit pervades the whole ship, making the
trip a true recreation cruise.
One week from New York, with a half-day stop at colorful
Havana, takes the traveler by this delightful route to the
Isthmus of Panama. Part of a day is spent in making the
transit of the Canal and is followed by sightseeing at Balboa
and Panama City, with an evening free to dine ashore and see
the vivid street life of the old Spanish town.
Sailing from Balboa before midnight the ship next morning
will be off the blue mountain ranges of northern Panama.
A week of steaming, often in sight of wonderfully beautiful,
mountainous land, ends in the harbor of San Diego. Los
Angeles harbor is entered next morning, and a day after leav-
ing that port, the liner enters the Golden Gate, to end her
voyage at San Francisco.
The best evidence of the popularity of this premier Panama Canal route
from Coast to Coast is the numbers who take the trip and afterward glow-
ingly recommend it to their friends. Particular attention should be called
to the fact that a single booking will cover a journey from home town to
home town, anywhere in the United States, the tickets to include rail journey
either across the Continent in either direction or from any interior point to
New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles, the Coast to Coast voyage in
either direction by the Panama Pacific Line, and rail to point of departure.
Illustrated literature regarding these tours and the Panama Pacific Line
ships, with cabin plans, sailing schedules and rates, will be sent to any
address on request to a company office, or any authorized steamship agent.
THE PANAMA PACIFIC LINE
1 Broadway, New York 460 Market St., San Francisco
715 West 7th St., Los Angeles
SEND COPIES TO YOUR
To mail, place this flap over
cover and attach seal. Extra
copies of this booklet will be
supplied to passengers by the
ship's purser, on request, or
Panama Pacific Line Offices in the furnished at any of the corn-
United States and Canada pany's offices.
The Panama Pacific Line is one of the con-
stituent lines of the International Mercantile
Marine Company, which has offices at the fol-
lowing points in the United States and Canada:
NEW YORK.................... 1 Broadway
ATLANTA .............. Haas-Howell Building
BALTIMORE ......... 308 North Charles Street
BOSTON ..................... 84 State Street
CALGARY, ALBERTA ........... Land Building
CHICAGO ........ 180 North Michigan Avenue
CLEVELAND ............... 1000 Huron Road
DALLAS ........... Cotton Exchange Building
DETROIT .................. Majestic Building
GALVESTON ........ Cotton Exchange Building
HALIFAX.................. .126 Hollis Street
HAVANA................... 75 Obispo Street
HOUSTON.......... Cotton Exchange Building
Los ANGELES ........ 715 West Seventh Street
MINNEAPOLIS ........... 121 South 3rd Street
MOBILE .................7 St. Michael Street
MONTREAL ................ McGill Building
NEW ORLEANS ........ 211 St. Charles Street
NORFOLK .............111 East Plume Street
PHILADELPHIA ........ 15th and Locust Streets
PITTSBURGH ...Arcade, Union Trust Building
PORTLAND ME. ......... 690 Congress Street
QUEBEC ................ 53 Dalhousie Street
ST. JOHN, N. B. .... 108 Prince William Street
ST. Louis................ 1100 Locust Street
SAN FRANCISCO ............460 Market Street
SASKATOON ................ Canada Building
SEATTLE ................ 1333 Fourth Avenue
TORONTO ............... 55 King Street, East
VANCOUVER ................. Pacific Building
WASHINGTON .......... 1419 G Street, N. W.
WINNIPEG ...............224 Portage Avenue
AUTHORIZED AGENTS EVERYWHERE
Ve Coast o Coast RecreationlRoute