Front Cover
 Title Page
 Front Matter
 Back Matter
 Back Cover

Title: Panama Canal review
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00097366/00059
 Material Information
Title: Panama Canal review
Physical Description: v. : col. ill. ; 28-34 cm.
Language: English
Creator: United States -- Panama Canal Commission
Panama Canal Company
Publisher: Panama Canal Commission
Place of Publication: Balboa Heights Republic of Panama
Balboa Heights Republic of Panama
Publication Date: October 1979
Copyright Date: 1969
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: PANAMA CANAL ZONE   ( unbist )
Periodicals -- Panama Canal (Panama)   ( lcsh )
Periodicals -- Canal Zone   ( lcsh )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Panama
Additional Physical Form: Also issued online.
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with v. 1 (May 1950).
Issuing Body: Vols. for 19 -19 issued by Panama Canal Co.; <Oct. 1, 1980-> by Panama Canal Commission.
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: "Official Panama Canal publication"--19 -19 .
General Note: Description based on: Oct. 1, 1980.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00097366
Volume ID: VID00059
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01774059
lccn - 67057396
issn - 0031-0646
 Related Items
Other version: Panama Canal review en espagñol


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Front Matter
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
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        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
    Back Matter
        Page 69
        Page 70
    Back Cover
        Page 71
        Page 72
Full Text


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OCTOBER 1, 1979

d ILI,


The Governor

of the

Canal Zone

At left: A ship moves through Gatun
Locks on a nightime transit of the
Panoma Canal.

On pages 4 and 5: A view of the Pacific
side of the Canal Zone as seen from
Sosa Hill.

This year, the Panama Canal
celebrated its 65th anniversary.
Since the SS Ancon made the
first official transit of the
waterway, August 1, 1914, more
than half a million ships have
moved through the Canal
transporting a wide variety of
commodities to all parts of the
The Panama Canal treaties,
which go into effect today, mark
another significant milestone in
the history of this important
world utility. They mark the
beginning of a new era bringing
changes that challenge all
associated with the waterway.
For Canal employees, the
passing of jurisdiction over the
Canal Zone to the Republic of
Panama and the creation of the
new and smaller Panama Canal
Commission call for major
adjustments in lives and
The Canal Zone has passed
into history. It has been unique
in American political history and
a showcase of American
organization. All who have
worked and lived here can take
pride in the standard of
excellence set during construc-
tion days and maintained
throughout the years.

We must now turn our
attention to the future. Much has
been done in that regard. The
initial changes taking place have
been anticipated and carefully
planned to avoid any major
disruption in the operation of the
Canal. But the best of plans will
fail without the enthusiastic
efforts of those who must carry
them out. In this regard I am
confident that the keen sense of
responsibility and devotion to
duty which have prevailed will
continue to be reflected in the
efficient operation of this world
To those who are leaving the
Canal, I wish you Godspeed and
good luck. For those who are
staying on with the Commission,
other U.S. Government agen-
cies, or the Republic of Panama,
the days ahead will demand the
best that you have to offer in
terms of continued commitment
to your duties and willingness to
adapt to new situations. Judging
from the dedication you have
shown during these last
uncertain years, I know that you
are equal to the task.


Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries


Governor-President Editor

Lieutenant Governor

Acting Informotion Officer Official Panama Canal Publication VICKI M. BOATWRIGHT
All articles and illustrations in the PANAMA CANAL REVIEW may be reprinted in full or in part without further permission by crediting the PANAMA CANAL
REVIEW as the source. The REVIEW is normally published twice a year. Yearly subscription is $3 for regular mail and $6 for airmail. The price for back issues
is $1.50 for regular and $3 when sent by airmail. For subscriptions, send check or money order made payable to the Panama Canal Commission to PANAMA
CANAL REVIEW, Panama Canal Commission Public Information Office, A.P.O. Miami, Fla. 34011. The editorial office is located in Room 100
Administration Building, Balboa Heights, Republic of Panama.

I It takes a nostalgic look at the past-at the buildings, the symbols, the living
.- and working environment of the Canal Zone-and an optimistic view of the
r. challenge of change facing the Canal organization.
". Taking the place of both the summer and winter editions, this special edition of
."... the REVIEW is being published to mark the day of the implementation of the new
Panama Canal treaties.
The October 1 edition will be the last time the REVIEW will appear as an official
publication of the Panama Canal Company/Government. With the formation of
Sthe Panama Canal Commission, it will become an official publication of that U.S.
": ..Government agency, which will be responsible for the operation of the Canal.
With the Summer 1980 edition will come the first major change in the REVIEW'S
.'._ ..logo since it began publication May 5, 1950. The retiring of the Canal Zone seal
will leave a hole in our logo but for the next edition there will be a Panama Canal
Commission seal to take its place.
Special thanks go to our guest writers who include Pandora Aleman, formerly
an Information Office writer but now with Records Management Branch; Janet
Len-Rios, free lance writer; Robert Burgess, retired Curator of Publications for
the Mariners Museum in Newport News, Va., and Veterinarian Nathan B. Gale
who collaborated on the wildlife story with Dolores Suisman, recently retired
editor of the Spillway, the Canal's weekly newspaper. The new Spillway editor,
Vicki M. Boatwright, assisted in the layout and design of this edition.
Photographers whose work is included in this edition are: Mel Kennedy, who
.designed the cover and served as art and photo director, Arthur L. Pollack, Don
Goode, Kevin Jenkins, Alberto Acevedo, Gerry Laatz, and Bob Rogers, all of the
Graphic Branch, and Vic Brown and Fred Robinson, of the Canal Zone Police,
who provided most of the wildlife photos. Artwork is by Carlos Mendez of the
Graphic Branch and Dante Fiori of the Division of Schools.

Buildings .................................................... 7-24
Symbols ..................................................... 25-35
The Panama Railroad ........................................ 36-37
Flora and Fauna ............................................ 38-49
The Canal Today ............. ......... ............ 50-53
The Canal Yesterday ........................................ 54-58
Looking Backward ......................................... 59-63
The Canal Zone at Night ...................................... 64-67

On The Cover
Lights from the many new highrise buildings of the Panama City skyline are a
dramatic backdrop to the classic lines of the Canal's Aoministration Building in
this night photograph by Mel Kennedy, who went to the top of Sosa Hill to get this
view. Back in 1915, "Red" Hallen chose the same site for a night photograph of
brand new building and the Prado. It appears on page 65. A comparison of the
two photos makes clear the dramatic changes that have taken place over the
past 64 years.

OCTOBER 1, 1979

L -- I-~.--~~I- ~;;llli- a-i


Building Unites Past,

Present and Future

By Vicki N1. Boatwriuht
Canal construction that doinriat
the walls of the Rotunda of the Ealbod
Heights Administration Building hold
employees and 'isilors alike in their
thrall. For the murals depict in bold
brushsirokes oi pale archer, brighr
orange and brick red the moinmental
labor that w.vent into building the
Canal. The'.. iell us oli what used it be.
But the 'ery'. quiet ol the rotunda and
the air conditioned coolness distance
us from the realities ol construction
days The!.. seeir lar a,'a.,a. in time
and space
But lace north in the rotunda and
,walk ior',ard a le... steps All o( a
sudden the gap beit een past and
present is bridged In the central
staircase, laid down in pink Tennessee
marble in 1914. the steps are groo\ ed
frotm the treading oi thousands ol
pairs of feet thai ha\e passed ihiis w.ay
since the building w..as completed. As
i.ou take hold oi the mahogan'.'
banister and begin to climb, .:.ou
become part ol that throng hurrying
to .,.'ork on a breez'., dr'.. season
morning in 1915; carrying blueprints
up to Engineering in 1923; worrying
about war news in 1942; or trudging
back to work in 1957 after a 5Z cup of
coffee in the cafeteria.The steps, the
banister, the building, all link us in an
unbroken chain with those who
walked this way before.
In 1912, about the same time that
the finishing touches were being made
to Gatun Locks and Gatun Lake was
filling up, Chief Engineer George
Goethals, who by this time was also
Chairman of the Isthmian Canal Com-
mission, turned his attention to the
construction of a permanent building
that would centralize the administra-
tion of the waterway. The engineering
department had moved to Culebra
in 1906, the disbursing and accounts
offices were in Empire, and most of
the offices concerned with material
and supplies had been relocated at
Unaware, surely, that he would be
the first Governor to occupy its
executive office, Goethals named a

The arched window at the third story
landing of the central staircase is typical
of Italian Renaissance architecture.


high-powered committee boasting such
notables as colonels Gorgas, Hodges
and DeVol to find a suitable loca-
tion on the Pacific side for a building
that would be "well fitted to the pur-
pose and character of an edifice which
is to guard and direct the interests and
operation of the Canal, overlooking
. .. what will be the first permanent
town of the Zone."
They considered five locations,
four on or near Sosa Hill and one on a
knoll of Ancon Hill west of the quarry
that gave Quarry Heights its present
name. When the committee decided
on the latter site, which they described
more precisely as "30 feet back of the
former triangulation station on Lone
Tree Hill," Goethals approved the
choice with the stipulation that not a
spoonful of earth was to be moved
until a competent architect had gone
over the ground.
Goethals' idea of a "competent
architect" was Austin W. Lord, head
of the department of architecture at
Columbia University and a senior
member of the firm of Lord, Hewlett
and Tallant of New York. But theirs
was to be a difficult association.
Lord spent the month of July 1912
on the Isthmus studying the topog-
raphy of the land and local conditions
that would affect the design of the
buildings. The agreement was that he
would return to New York to work out
a general scheme in which all of the
buildings "from Toro Point to Taboga
Island would be of a prevailing
style." He was to visit the Isthmus
every couple of months during the
construction period.
The arrangement never suited
Goethals. The Chairman wanted the
architect to leave his 5th Avenue
offices and come to the Isthmus until
the job was completed. Their cor-
respondence reflected the basic con-
flict-the hard-driving Goethals sent
curt memorandums demanding to
know what the hold-up was and com-
plaining of delays caused by having to
do business by mail; Lord wrote long
letters back, explaining that the Com-
mission hadn't authorized him enough
draftsmen, and more importantly,
Canal officials had made no decisionE
as to how the offices would be played
The Canal Record was later to com-
ment, "The entire building was
planned without any definite knowl-
edge of what offices were to occupy it,

At I.jr, in January 191-4 he e\error o1 rhe .-jdrrini slra0lorr Bulding rnearej
completion, but Albrook Field was still a swamp and the Ancon Cemetery
had yet to be moved to what is now Corozal to make way for new houses.
Miraflores Locks is visible in the distance. Above: It's 1916 and a payday at the
building, where employees line up at the pay windows located at the
west wing to receive their wages in gold. Down the hill the First Baptist Church
is under construction. Below: Males were still in the majority at the
building in 1929, judging from this scene in the Record Bureau. The group
seemed to be divided right down the middle on the bow tie versus the
four-in-hand. The Record Bureau handled the Canal organization's general files
and was situated on the second floor in the space now occupied by
the Personnel Bureau.
r-- ~ -

how much space they would require
or how they would be correlated ...."
Goethals had been very firm on one
issue, however. He informed the
architect that the Administration
Building was to cost, when completed,
"$375,000 and not one cent more, as
we have no more and are going to ask
for no more." No final costs are
recorded in the detailed story on the

building that appeared in The Canal
Record on December 30, 1914, but
memoranda indicate that the final
figures far exceeded the estimates.
At $25 per square foot, the rotunda's
Van Ingen murals alone would run
nearly $25,000.
Lord's direct involvement with the
Isthmian Canal Commission appar-
ently terminated in 1913, but not


1 _*L

- ~b~ ~ I B I I I ~I 1

before he had developed the plans for
the Administration Building, the lay-
out and design for the Prado-type
quarters and terminals buildings of the
town of Balboa, and the plans for the
hydro-electric station at Gatun, as
well as the three locks control houses.
He had decided on the "E" shape
for the building to keep it narrow
enough to maximize the efficient use
of natural light and because, had it run
end to end in a line, the amount of
floor space required would have made
the building too long. The style he
chose is Italian Renaissance.
With Lord out of the picture, his
assistant at Culebra, Mario J. Schia-
voni, was given the title of architect.
With it came the responsibility of
carrying out the plans of his pred-
ecessor and all the headaches as-
sociated with the undertaking.
Schiavoni had an artist's imagina-
tion, a quality not altogether ap-
preciated by either Goethals or the
resident engineer in charge of con-
struction, Frank Holmes. With the
latter, Schiavoni became engaged in
a feud carried on by memorandum,
centering mainly around the archi-
tect's tardiness in getting final drawings
for the building completed. At one
point, apparently fed up by Holmes'
habit of sending a copy of every

The overpowering beauty of the high,
domed ceiling, the dramatic murals and
the marble columns and floor make
the rotunda the main attraction
of the Administration Building.
The murals, executed by artist W. B.
Van Ingen at the request of
Col. George W. Goethols, depict,
below from left, the digging of Gaillard
(Culebro) Cut at Gold Hill; the erection
of a lock gate; the construction of
Miroflores Locks; and the construction
of the spillway at Gatun Dam.

memorandum to Goethals, Schiavoni
let fly this memo to Holmes: "I beg to
state that I consider your attitude in
making repeated written statements
about my work very unco-operative
and uncalled for."
Among the suggestions made by
Schiavoni was that a decorative title
panel in honor of the Canal builders be
placed above the main entrance to the
Administration Building. It would be
sculpted to show an American con-
struction worker flanked on either
side by a Negro, a Spaniard, a French-
man and a "Hindoo," with a steam
shovel at one end of the panel and a
dredge at the other.
The Chairman turned down the
proposal with one sentence: ". . I am
of the opinion that all that will be
necessary will be a plain inscription
with letters, V-shaped inset, reading
'Administration Building, Panama
Canal, 1914'."
The architect's recommendation
that the Seal of the Canal Zone be laid
in marble mosaic tile in the center of
the rotunda floor met with a similar
fate at the hands of Holmes, who
declared it to be too costly and time
But despite personality clashes and
delays for which each blamed the
other, the construction work pro-
gressed steadily. Notwithstanding his
caution about spending, Goethals
applied the same imagination and fore-
sight to the construction of the Admin-
istration Building that he had to the
Canal itself. He brought Albert
Pauley, the developer of a new
process for making concrete tile
blocks, to the Isthmus to oversee the
erection of a plant to manufacture the
blocks for all the permanent buildings
in Balboa. Artist W. B. Van Ingen of
New York, famous for his work in the

Library of Congress and the Philadel-
phia Mint, was hired to paint murals
for the rotunda that would preserve in
art form something of the monumen-
tal labor involved in building the
At Schiavoni's request, each week's
progress on the Administration Build-
ing was recorded by Commission
photographer Red Hallen, whose
work on the Isthmus using bulky glass
plate negatives was to later become
invaluable in visualizing the history of
the construction era.
On July 15, 1914, a little more than a
year from the day the first steel beam
was erected, the Administration Build-
ing had its first occupants. The time-
keepers' offices at Culebra, Balboa
and Cristobal were assigned one large
room extending from the rotunda to
the west end of the building on the first
floor. All the heavy construction work
had been completed at that point, but
the 50 employees who were paid in
gold and the complement of clerks
and messengers who received their
wages in silver moved in amidst the
sawing, hammering, mortaring and
painting that accompanied the laying
of the pine flooring, the red tile in the
corridors, and the mosaic tile in the
rotunda, and the finishing up of the
carpentry work and electrical wiring.
No landscaping would be done until
the following December, so out-
side the building the grounds were a
gigantic mudhole. Temporary wooden
steps led downhill to the Prado level,
where by June of 1915, the houses
had been completed and construction
on Barnebey Street begun.
As with any construction project,
not every detail had gone according to
plan. The Administration Building's
third and final architect, Samuel M.
Hitt, wryly pointed out that fact in a

memorandum concerning payment
due on the eight marble columns in
the rotunda. Commenting that the
columns were a first class job of
marble work, he added that the
supplier was not to blame for the fact
that construction workers had set the
top member of the column bases in
upside down. Visitors to the rotunda
today will notice that with the excep-
tion of one column, the outer edge of
the round marble disc upon which
each of the columns rest is ridged,
indicating that side should be facing
downward against the octagonal
lower base.
Between July and September of
1914, the offices at Culebra, Empire
and the administration building at
Ancon were moved into the new build-
ing. By June of the following year, the
building housed 424 employees, 49 of
them women.
Both the location of offices and the
daily routine of the employees that
occupied them were, in most cases,
quite different in 1914 from what they
are today. In regard to the offices,
only a few have remained in their
original locations. When Governor
Goethals, his Lieutenant Governor
(formerly called the Engineer of Main-
tenance) and their secretaries moved
into the second floor north front
corner overlooking Balboa and the
Canal, they set a precedent for the
location of those offices that has
continued to today.
The Chief Health Officer and Chief
Quarantine Officer moved out of the
old administration building at Ancon
into the Health Department, on the
second floor, which has since become
the Health Bureau. Its offices have
been enlarged, but like the Balboa
Heights Post Office, the Health
Bureau is where it has always been.

After winding his way up the spiral
staircase located off the central
stairway, Panama Canal photographer
Kevin Jenkins examines the remains
of a safelight in what was once
the darkroom of the Canal's first
Official Photagrapher.
Below: The building's "E" shape is
apparent in this aerial view.

Office hours were from 8 to 12 a.m.
and 2 to 5 p.m. the first two years after
the building was opened, and most
employees walked to work. Judging
from a circular from Governor Goe-
thals issued to all Administration
Building employees, at least one temp-
tation of office life has not changed at
all. Goethals reproved employees for
the practice of leaving work early at
noon and in the afternoon "in order to
secure an advantage in being served in
the lunch room or securing seats on
the motor buses."
While the opportunity to leave
during the two-hour lunch break was
obviously available, it would appear
that many employees chose to stay in
the building during the heat of the day.
Offices were locked during the
noon hour; but with commissary
coupons employees could buy a light
lunch consisting of sandwiches, coffee,
and pie from the basement restaurant
that ran the length of what is now the
Graphic Branch. Pool and billiard
tables were set up in the basement for
the men. The female contingent at the
building must have complained about
wanting equal consideration, for a

short time later two rooms on the third
floor now occupied by the Office of
the General Counsel were set up as
reading and sitting rooms for the
Employees could find plenty to read
in the library located on the third floor
in what is now the office of the director
of the Engineering and Construction
Bureau; but there was no room to sit
down. The Canal Record reported
that "The Canal library is so filled with
reading matter as to leave little room
for readers." Not long afterward, it
was moved to the first floor area now
occupied by the Press and Informa-
tion offices.
Kathleen McGuigan, retired ad-
ministrative assistant to the Comp-
troller of the Panama Canal Com-
pany, recalls that when she went to
work at the building in 1934, the coffee
break, now a mainstay of Administra-
tion Building life, was non-existent;
but an employee could buy cigars and
candy from a stand that had been in
existence in the small room on the
landing between the first and second
floors since the building opened.
As a matter of fact, very little about
the Administration Building's offices
or routine had changed when the
20-year-old daughter of two Roosevelt

medal holders got her first job with
the Canal as a clerk in the Claims
Bureau, which took up the area now
assigned to the Budget Branch.
The Paymaster's Office with its two
large vaults occupied the end of the
west wing that now belongs to the
Office of Internal Security. When Miss
McGuigan received her monthly pay
receipt, she walked outside to the
porch to cash it at one of the barred
pay windows still visible today, just
as her parents had done since 1914.
Only back then, she remembers them
saying, the payroll was delivered by
horse-drawn wagon and their wages
were paid in gold.
As a child, she remembers climbing
the winding stairway to the photog-
rapher's studio located in the attic at
the center of the building directly
above the main staircase.
The photographer Hallen took her
portrait using the north light coming
through the paned skylight window
that since has been covered over with
the red tile of the roof.
Many years later the Graphic
Branch was to find several thousand
tiny glass plate negatives of employee
identification photos stored in the
wooden filing cabinets of what must
have been Hallen's office under the

OCTOBER 1, 1979

sloping eaves. To get to it he had to
walk around the top of the rotunda
dome, which rises out of the attic floor
like something from the science fiction
film "Close Encounters of the Third
Kind." The Graphic Branch was able
to distribute a few hundred of the
negatives to relatives still living on the
Today the attic is a storage place for
old engineering plans, bound volumes
of Canal studies, civil defense sup-
plies, and the bulky air-conditioning
equipment that cools the building. But
the peeling black paint on the walls of
what was once a darkroom is a silent
witness to its original use.
C. A. Mclvaine, Executive Sec-
retary under Governor Goethals, still
held that position when Miss Mc-
Guigan came to work for the Com-
pany. To employees, she says, he
was "like God." Governors came and
went but C. A. Mclvaine endured,
carrying such broad responsibility as
to make him, in effect, the working
governor. His office was located in
what is now the Governor's Board
Room. The Correspondence Bureau,
much later to become Administrative
Services, took up the space on both
sides of the hall that now belongs to
the Office of the Executive Secretary.
Nearly all of the secretarial work for
the Administration Building and a

great deal of the writing was handled
by employees of that bureau.
Office supplies were kept in a
stationary storeroom, Miss McGuigan
recalls, just as they had always been.
Government forms and writing paper,
as well as the ubiquitous paperweight
to anchor them against the dry season
breezes that blew through open
windows, were among the items
requisitioned on a weekly basis.
The present Director of the Com-
pany's Office of Equal Opportunity
Bruce Quinn, who grew up on
Barnebey Street in Balboa, says his
most vivid memory of the Administra-
tion Building is when as children he
and his sister stood at the bottom of
the stairs each afternoon, starched
and pressed, waiting for their father to
get off work. At closing time, Quinn
recalls, great waves of people poured
out of the building and down the broad
expanse of stairs.
Indeed, the stairs played a signifi-
cant role in community life at one time.
On Memorial Day in years gone by
wreaths were placed against the
bronze plaque embedded in the base
of the original flagstaff to honor the
Canal's World War I dead. On the
Fourthof July refreshment booths
were set up on the concrete terrace
around the building, and the stairs
were alive with people watching the

marching band on the circle of grass
Today, only a few hardy souls come
and go by way of the 113 stairs that
architect Lord had so carefully de-
signed to emphasize the majestic
sweep from the building to the Prado,
an effect now broken by the presence
of the Goethals Memorial.
The years have brought many
changes to the Administration Build-
ing. Offices have been moved from
one floor to another and in some cases
to other buildings. Windows have
been blocked with concrete, and
others have been created where no
windows existed. Billiard tables and
reading rooms are a thing of the past.
Paychecks are cashed at the base-
ment vault that once housed valuable
records. The scars in the concrete
retaining wall at the end of each wing
of the building are all that remain of
the hitching rings of the horse and
buggy era.
Governor Parfitt will walk down the
stairs one last time and the Office of
the Governor will become the Office
of the Administrator. But the grand-
father clock there that dates back to
the French canal effort will go on
ticking away the passage of time. And
the grooves in the pink Tennessee
marble stairs will keep getting deeper,
reminding us that past and present
are one.

Col. George W. Goethals was the first Governor of the Canal Zone to use this second-floor office overlooking
the town of Balboa, and Maj. Gen. H. R. Parfitt is the last.


building most intimately linked
with the construction days of the
Panama Canal, will become the official
residence of the Administrator of the
Panama Canal Commission, with the
departure of Governor Harold R.
Parfitt, the last Canal Zone Governor.
The historic house, built as a
residence for the Chief Engineer of the
Isthmian Canal Commission, was
located in the construction-day town
of Culebra, overlooking what is now
Gaillard Cut. Its first resident, John F.
Stevens, canceled plans for an elab-
orate new residence for the chief
engineer which was being built in
Ancon because he wanted a simple
house close to the work site. The
building originally designed to be the
official residence is now the District
Court Building. It is featured in a story
on page 24.
Lt. Col. George W. Goethals
moved into the house in 1907 when he
succeeded John F. Stevens as Chief
Engineer. As Goethals was also
chairman of the Isthmian Canal
Commission House 159 became the
quarters of the Canal Zone's chief
It was in the house at Culebra that
most of the official visitors, coming
to see the Canal construction, were
entertained and many expressed
regret that the commodious house
was to be dismantled and that the
town, with its profusion of attractive
tropical shrubbery, would be aban-
doned following the opening of the
The house and several other
buildings were taken down in 1914,
each section carefully numbered, and
moved by flatcars to new locations at
Balboa Heights. According to rec-
ords, the Governor's House cost
$19,773 to build in 1906. It cost almost
that much $16,300, to move it from
Culebra in 1914, and re-erect it at
Balboa Heights.
Though a number of changes have
been made during the tenure of each
Governor, the house on the side of
Ancon Hill, the official residence of
Canal Zone Governors for more than
60 years, remains basically the same
as when it was first constructed.
Col. Chester Harding, Governor
from 1917 to 1921, had a porte
cochere built at the front entrance
over the circular driveway. During the
administration of Col. Meriwether L.

A Link With

The Past

Walker, 1924-28, some general altera-
tions were made, the main one being
the doubling of the width of the side
veranda. Most of the original equip-
ment and furniture was replaced
during the administration of Col.
Harry Burgess, 1928-32. At this time,
the Governor's House acquired its
first official china and flat silver which
bears the Canal Zone seal. It was in
that era also that the Canal Zone seal
was woven into table and bed linen.
Major changes were made in 1959
and 1960, under the supervision of
Governor and Mrs. W. E. Potter, who
in the interest of history and tradition,
rejected plans for a completely new
official residence. Instead, they re-
tained the original style of the house,
with its wide-sweeping verandas, high
ceilings and large gracious rooms,
characteristic of Canal construction
days. Walls and foundations were
reinforced, and wooden flooring was
replaced with tile on the first floor. The
stairway was relocated, a modern
service section built in the basement,
and a small bedroom, bath, and library
on the first floor were converted into
a comfortable air-conditioned guest
suite. Whenever possible, materials,
including the polished tiles on the first
floor and the ornamental iron gates in
the garden, were obtained in Panama.
The handsome Chippendale dining
table, its 22 matching chairs, buffet,
and two serving tables were made of
native mahogany by the Maintenance
Division to replace the set dating back
to Goethals' day.
A fountain was added in the front of
the house, a fish pond and fountain
built on the patio, a retaining wall was
constructed to terrace the gardens
and considerable landscaping was
During Governor Walter P. Leber's
term, the house was air-conditioned
throughout. A breakfast porch, in
keeping with the architecture of the
house, was added in 1971 during
Governor David S. Parker's term.
Items that enhance the historic
atmosphere of the house continue to
be added. A collection of oils and
watercolors of the Canal and Panama,

painted in 1913and 1914by E. J. Read,
that has been acquired by the Canal
Zone Library-Museum, is displayed on
loan in the house, along with oils by
Alwyn Sprague, well-known Canal
Zone artist. When the Tivoli Guest
House closed, some of the fur-
nishing, including one of the famous
wicker rocking chairs, were trans-
ferred to the Governor's House.
Entertaining at the Governor's
House includes formal dinners and
luncheons for 10 to 60 guests and
informal receptions, dinners, teas and
coffees accommodating up to 200 or
300 guests using the spacious recep-
tion areas inside as well as the patio
and garden. Because of sudden
showers during the rainy season, from
May to December, a large awning is
placed over the main part of the patio.
The second floor of the house is for
family living. It includes a large living
room; two large bedrooms with baths;
a study; a wing with a small bedroom
and bath; and utility room. Most of
the upstairs furniture is provided by
the family occupying the house.
Furniture in the downstairs area
belongs to the house but each family
adds a few additional personal pieces
of furniture as well as some decorative
Through the years, while it stood at
Culebra and after it was moved to
Balboa Heights, distinguished guests
from many countries including pres-
idents of the United States and
Panama have visited this historic
Many on the long and impressive list
of visitors who have been entertained
at the house by Governor and Mrs.
Parfitt since his appointment March
24, 1975, came to the Isthmus in
connection with the negotiation and
ratification of the Panama Canal
Included on the list, which reads like
a "Who's Who" of well-known United
States and international business,
civic, and political leaders, is a large
percentage of the members of the
Senate and House of Representatives.
Having a deep appreciation for the
history of the house, the Parfitts have
made a special effort to invite Canal
employees to come by for a visit and a
tour of the public rooms and the
garden. For their Christmas recep-
tions, the invitation was extended to
every member of the Canal work-

14 OCTOBER 1, 1979

The house as viewed from the garden and the veranda remain basically the same as in construction days except for
the screens which were replaced with glass when the house was air-conditioned. Right below: Governor and Mrs. Parfitt
take a walk in the garden.


Below left: A painting showing the
dredge "Cascadas" at work in the
Canal is displayed just inside the front
entrance. Below right: Some of the
wicker furniture from the Tivoii Guest
House and mola pillows add local color
ro a section of the porch.

Historic Plaque Lists Governors

Engraved on the plaque at left, which is on a wall in the house, is the following:
"Moved from its original location in Culebra, a now abandoned construction
town on the other side of the Canal, old 'No. 159' has housed Governors of the
Canal Zone since that time. In one way or another, its occupants have left an
imprint on the structure. There have been grounds changes and internal
modifications. But the house remains basically the same as built for its first
occupant, John F. Stevens, Chief Engineer, Isthmian Canal Commission
in 1906."
Also engraved on the plaque are the names of the former occupants, which
includes 16 Canal Zone governors: Gov. Harold R. Parfitt's name will be added
at the end of his term of office. The Goethals family lived in the house, while
it was at Culebra and after it was moved to Balboa Heights for a total of 10 years,
far longer than any other family. There are seven living former governors.
Past governors and their years of service are as follows:

George W. Goethals
Chester Harding
Jay J. Morrow
M. L. Walker
Harry Burgess
J. L. Schley
C. S. Ridley
Glen E. Edgerton

J. C. Mehaffey
F. K. Newcomer
John S. Seybold
William E. Potter
W. A. Carter
Robert J. Fleming Jr.
W. P. Leber
David S. Parker

Although they never ived in the Governor's House, other Governors of the Canal Zone or officials who were commonly given the
title of "Governor" during the construction period. May 4. 1904 to March 31. 1914, under the Isthmian Canal Commission were:
General George W Davis, Governor of the Canal Zone (Member of onginal Isthmion Canal Commission) May 14. 1904 to
May 24. 1905; Charles E Magoon. Governor of the Canal Zone (Head of Government ond Sonitation) Member of Commission.
May 25. 1905 to October 12. 1906. Richord R Rogers. Governor of the Canal Zone (Head of Department of Law & Government)
November 19. 1906 to March 31. 1907. JosephC S Blackburn. Head of Department of CavilAdminlstroaton (Member of Commisson)
Apnl 1. 1907 to December 4, 1909. Mounce H Thatcher. Head of Department of Cvil Administration (Member of Commission)
May 13. 1910 to August 8. 1913. Richard L Mercolfe. Head of Department of Civil Administration (Member of Commission)
August 9. 1913 to March 31. 1914

16 OCTOBER 1, 1979


On this page: The front entrance to the
house; dining room, the table set with
china imprinted with the Canal Zone
seal; a small breakfast porch; the living
room filled with fresh cut flowers;
and a sitting room that is part
of the guest suite.


By Fannie P. Hernandez
Building in Ancon, the 12-year-
old boy smiles as he admires the photo
on his brand new identification card.
For the card, or "ID" as everyone calls
it, is a sign that he is growing up, a
Canal Zone rite of passage into the
adult world.
His mother smiles, too, as she walks
to the car with her son. She is remem-
bering other happy occasions that
were marked by a visit to this building.
There was the thrill of her first driver's
license at 17, her husband's hard
earned ham radio operator's license
years later, and the recent purchase of
a plate for their new car.
Whether old timers or new arrivals,
Canal Zone families sooner or later
end up at the low white building off
Gaillard Highway that bears a striking
resemblance to an airport.
For the Canal Zone's old timers, the
removal of the control tower and the
addition of a neon sign spelling out
"Drive Inn" on one wing and the "Li-
cense Section" identified in big block
letters on the other hasn't changed
how they see the building. They still
remember the busy activity of a com-
mercial airport, which it was for
several years, and the propeller driven
planes taxiing down Albrook Field.

Above: The Civil Affairs Building today.
At left: Leaving the License Section,
Herbie Raybourn shares the thrill of
his first ID card with his mother
Jacqueline. His father, Herb Raybourn,
heads the Recreation Services Office
located on the second floor of
the building.

The first commercial flights to the
Isthmus landed at France Field on the
Atlantic side, where Pan American
Airways had a small wooden structure
that served as its terminal. In 1940,
when PAA established flights three
times a week from Miami to the Canal
Zone, operations were shifted to the
Pacific side because France Field was
inadequate for the new larger four-
engine planes.

Civil Affairs

Building Combines

Business, Pleasure

As commercial air traffic increased,
it interfered with emergency wartime
activities at the Albrook Air Field ter-
minal, and it was decided that a
terminal for all commercial service
should be built.
Following the allocation of $1,800,000
from the Emergency Fund of the Pres-
ident, the terminal was constructed,
along with a hangar, small utility build-
ing and other appurtenances. The
building and hangar were designed by
a group of architects and engineers
working under the direction of Lt. Col.
Norman J. Riebe, of what was then
called the Panama Engineer Division.
The contract was awarded to Tucker
McClure and Thompson-Markham
Company and work was to be com-
pleted in 100 days.

OCTOBER 1, 1979

~ ~II

When it was inaugurated on June 19,
1943, and turned over to the Gov-
ernor of the Canal Zone for operation,
it was one of the most beautiful,
modern and fully equipped air ter-
minals in this part of the world. The
firs plane to use the new terminal was
a Panagra airliner southbound for
Reinforced concrete stucco on
cement block and glass block was
used in the construction of the two
main floors, topped by a glass obser-
vation room and control tower. Its low
flat construction exemplified a modern
design of the early '40's and offered the
least possible hazard to aircraft on
landing and taking off. The exterior
was painted olive drab to conform to
wartime regulations.
A stained glass medallion was set in
a window above the glass doors that
opened by means of photo electric
cells, believed to be the first in these
parts. The medallion, designed by
Colonel Riebe, combines a wing and
propeller motif with the flags of the
United States and Panama against
a sheaf of flags of all nations of the
Pan American Union.
Heavy wooden benches were cen-
tered in the spacious waiting room and
main lobby that extended up through
two floors. A monolith map of the
Western Hemisphere with Panama at
the center was inlaid in the terrazzo
floor in front of the information desk.
The map was to be the cause of a
formal complaint by a South Amer-
ican ambassador who claimed that a
border between his country and that
of a neighbor was not correct. To
avoid the possibility of other "border
disputes" the narrow metal bars
marking the borders were removed

and the map was reset in one solid
A unique feature of the building was
the flat built-up tar and felt roof where
water remained during the rainy
season. The water was expected to
provide added insulation and because
its temperature was approximately
120 degrees, it was too hot to permit
the breeding of mosquitoes.
Since the greater part of the con-
struction was done after the United
States entered the war, there were
material shortages and priorities.
Where original plans called for steel, it
was necessary to substitute wood or
iron. Local materials were used
wherever possible. Stair railings were
made of Central American mahogany,
lockers were of wood instead of steel,
and refrigerator shelves of mahogany.
Terrazzo replaced marble on the
After the war, as air travel became
more popular and the terminal be-
came a busy international link be-
tween North and South America,
there was a constant stream of
diplomats and other dignitaries, busi-
nessmen, tourists and movie per-
sonalities. Local teenagers flocked to
the terminal when they heard of the
arrival of Clark Gable, Tyrone Power,
Cary Grant, Dolores Del Rio, Edward
G. Robinson, Vincent Price and many
other celebrities.
A rather "very important person" to
pass this way was an Indian maharaja
who an hour after his plane took off
realized that he had left his coat
behind in the terminal. The airliner
returned for the coat. Another in-
cident that caused quite a stir was a
shoot-out in the terminal between
a member of the Somoza family of
Nicaragua and a political enemy.

When it was announced just a few
years later, that a new international
airport was to open in Panama and the
commercial airlines would be moving
their operations there, a number of
requests and recommendations for
the utilization of the terminal building
were sent to the Governor. The
Caribbean Air Command offered to
transfer the Albrook grade school to
the Panama Canal if it would relin-
quish claim to the air terminal and its
facilities. As early as July 1945, a group
of employees suggested that it be con-
verted to a "modern and up-to-date
club for the exclusive use of Canal and
Railroad employees, with a first class
restaurant, bar, dance floor, tennis
courts and club rooms."
However, the Panama Canal ur-
gently needed the space to house
many of its activities that were
scattered in temporary wooden build-
ings and to eliminate the congestion in
the Administration Building.
When Tocumen Airport was opened
in September 1949, the terminal was
converted into office space for the
Public Affairs Office, as Civil Affairs
was then known, The Federal Avia-
tion Administration maintained its
offices there until 1962, when it moved
to its present location.

Above: A view of the newly opened
Canal Zone Air Terminal, painted olive
drab to conform with wartime
regulations, shows the hangar and
part of the airstrip. At far right,
two canvas topped touring cars,
taxis of the early 1940's
wait for passengers.


I -- ~ ----- 9~ L--~~ --~-- -


For the past 30 years, the building
has been the seat of the Civil Affairs
Bureau, the bureau of the Canal Zone
Government responsible for public
education, police and fire protection,
postal, customs and licensing serv-

ices, other government functions, and
home of the Canal Zone Library-
The Library was the first to transfer
to its new location in the left wing of
the second floor which included the

former mezzanine, moving in Novem-
ber 1949 from the first floor of the
Administration Building. The Museum
moved in late 1950 to what had been
the first floor lobby and the area
looking out on the airfield.

w -ab

Pon American Airways' 4-engine "fat-bellied" Boeing takes on fuel at
the Ci nrl Zone Ar Termirr i bei:,re Ioainr ,-,fi
on ihc C.rlol Z-,rne l,) Ai.- IIrr i, ihi


& ... .'."'. .
-;heile; ojre lidli n,,:, mn ,re c mirmlor.mIrcihe *rid ,:orrirri,:drlu qlu riert r n ihe
rid .i-, ihe I,-,rmer *ir ierniriol where ihe Lihronr
edir !Vt.:emher 1949

-- ... ..--. .-C- I

When the air terminal building was
turned over to the Civil Affairs
Bureau, it needed a new name.
Among the suggestions were Mc-
Ilvaine Building or Mcllvaine Hall, in
honor of C. A. Mcllvaine, who was
executive secretary of the Panama
Canal from 1914 to 1940; Goethals
Hall "with a bust of him in the con-
course"; and Civil Functions Building.
Canal Zone Governor F. K. New-
comer said he believed that Library
Building was "adequate and appro-
priate," and that is what it was called
until May 22, 1950, when it was
officially designated the Civil Affairs
That same year, the administrative
offices of the Division of Schools
moved from the Balboa Elementary
School to occupy the right wing of the
first floor.
The License office moved from the
Police Station opposite the Balboa
Elementary School to the area that
had been the airmail dispatch section
and bonded storage of Panama
The Police and Fire divisions, which
until 1950 were one division, each es-
tablished headquarters in the building
in the mid '50's; the Fire Division took
over an area in the left wing of the first
floor that for a time had been used by a
branch of the Postal Division for the
sale of money orders and postal cer-
tificates; and the Police Division lo-
cated in the second floor area formerly
occupied by airline offices.
The Canal Zone Postal Service and
its Philatelic Agency moved to the
S third floor observation room where
employees have enjoyed a privileged
view. From their desks, they could
follow the top of ships transiting the
Canal, passing trains, and aircraft
landing and taking off at Albrook.
Since it was created in 1963, the
Recreation Services Office has been
located on the second floor, and when
the Canal Protection Division became
the fifth division of the Civil Affairs
Bureau, it took over space in the right
wing of the second floor. When Civil
Defense was a part of the Civil Affairs
S Bureau, it too had an office there.
The control tower operation was

20 OCTOBER 1, 1979

moved to Tocumen Airport when the
terminal closed. The former kitchen
became a Drive-Inn in January 1950
and the coffee shop was later con-
verted to a vending site.
The electric door device was
removed in 1952, perhaps because the
doors opened inward into the building
and Canal Zone fire regulations
require that doors in public buildings
open outward, The bar had been
transferred earlier to the Hotel
Five directors have served as ad-
ministrators of the Civil Affairs
Bureau over a period of nearly
30 years. Col. Richardson Selee
(retired) was named the first director
when the first reorganization of the
Panama Canal and Panama Railroad
operating units was made in July 1950.
When Selee left the Canal in October
1953, Henry L. Donovan was ap-
pointed to succeed him and served
until his retirement in August 1961.
Bernhard I. (Emo) Everson was the
third Civil Affairs director and served
until October 1973, when he retired.
He was succeeded by Francis A.
Castles who retired in February 1977
and Fred A. Cotton was appointed
the fifth and last Civil Affairs director.
With the disappearance of the
Canal Zone Government upon entry
into force of the Panama Canal
Treaty, title of the Civil Affairs
Building has been transferred to the
Republic of Panama.

The Treaty, however, provides for
the Panama Canal Commission to use
certain office space within the building
during the period of transition for
activities related to the management,
operation or maintenance of the Pan-
ama Canal. The Treaty also allows the
Commission to operate and maintain
the public library-museum, enabling
the library to offer full scope library
services from the building.
In accordance with the Agreement,
the Police, Fire and Canal Protection
division headquarters will remain in
the building from 12 to 14 months,
until new headquarters are readied for
them in the former Balboa House-
wares Building. These divisions are
sharing the building with Panama
Government offices including Pan-
ama's main municipal traffic court and
Panama's licensing and registrations

The stained glass medallion signifies that the building was once an airport.

;' X~. r

=~i 1-

i ,

Civil Affairs Building "old-timers" listen attentively as Library-Curator
Beverly Williams (1951) tells her longtime coworkers the story
of the oil painting of the Half Way House that hangs on the second floor.
From left, Rhoda Fox (License Section, 1950), Peggy Zeimetz
(Director's Office, 1953), Billy Hultin, Director's Office, 1961),
Cecilia Vaz (Schools, 1951), and Doris Etchberger (Schools, 1949).
"Old-timer" Katherine Melanson (License Section, 1951) was not present
for the picture taking.


h :j-pital .-.rin i., l -i ,r .u- .:,( Pjn
ama *,.-a L'Hi p.,al C.~.rral .du
Panarr.j h.iIt bt. F ;h Fr.[r.: C a al
Com r ar, ,r, I'r. ai An,:.:r, ,,. i f it-.
prescrr -.i, .:,l ih, l.,:,,,1ii .:'; Bu td.iny
The l i; r rn | h,,. -r ; al :1:,ri r .:il .:, r.
in the C ar, l ?:,rn a th. .:.-.rriFpl :,r
i n 1 9 o l 1l -: p .. l ,- 'r a d d ,1dj I .- l h ,
M ain Bu.ildir, .:il G.:, rgI H.-.' pt:al i,:
abso-h I| ,- ,J. ;lr ,:1 .', I:,r,:- .:.1
earthlqu al
T '- i:hT. ria.3 Ir.-rr- F r r, ,:V. 1.:i A rr.. r
ican :,jrr..ri.;ta t.-.r. -'r.-.u -hi ; .:ha.r ..
in narr.i to L'Hospital Cintral du
Panama in 1905 when it was, by
gubernatorial decree, renamed Ancon
Canal Zone medical facilities have,
since the beginning, been stalled by
outstanding medical personnel who
have become particularly well known
in the field of tropical medicine. The
hospital at Ancon has had its own
laboratory since 1905.
With the close of the Canal con-
struction period and the concomitant
decrease in workforce to operational
levels, many of the buildings in the
spawling complex at Ancon, by that
time rather run-down anyway, were
no longer needed; so a smaller, more
modern and more centralized facility
was planned. The "new" Ancon Hos-
pital was completed in April of 1919.
In March of 1928, by Joint Resolu-

History of C.Z. Hospitals

A Chronology of Change

22 OCTOBER 1, 1979

l,:,r ..i C ,:.n, r-:;; ( ir. :.:.nr H ,',: p ll a1 ,,
i.rin rr,.. J ir rr,..rr,:.r; .:,l1 I .1, G nr
l'.'ill .jr.i C ,ra.,.t.-,rd G".-- 'r .: ir ..' rir l

IZ.-.r,, l r I,, i ... :rl, in fnddinJ h

,ljii i -,. '...- :. :~t r I .:.l I1-, rr -_ ll. .v

to work on...h, the third locks project.bl
.1al, ,rs wuren albuiltuon, 3rte variosh
Jmuriry baseh rl. CM ernl ',rization has'r
,J t.:
Th j.j .. rni .:il .'.-,rld .V.'yar lI
t:robjh-l rn urg-ri rl.,j I.-.r .-
p a r d& d r r ,.: 1 -. r .. : ,: l a ,: ,l h- .
alr ;.J ., I a: .-d.::I ri .n.lr u *: l:p-[ .-.ri,'r l
to work on the third locks project.
Existing facilities were enlarged and
hospitals were also built on the various
military bases. Modernization has
continued and the present Main
Building of Gorgas Hospital was
completed in 1965.
In recent years needs have again
changed ad medical services have
been gradually consolidated at the
two main hospitals-Gorgas on the
Pacific and Coco Solo on the Atlantic.
Flexibility and change have been
bywords for medical services in the
Canal Zone. With this history, it
should come as no surprise that yet
another change is in store. On
October 1, with the implementation
of the treaty, jurisdiction over Canal
Zone medical facilities will transfer to
the United States Department of

. Aerial vieu of Gorgas Hospital
on the Pacific side of the Isthmus and,
at right, Coco Solo Hospital on
the Atlantic side.


Bk. Jan.i Lcn Rio.j

considered the "permanent
Administration Building," this con-
crete block building at the foot of
Ancon hill served that purpose less
than a decade, before becoming
headquarters of the U.S. District
Court for the Canal Zone.
The rambling three-story land-
mark with a striking view of Panama
was first intended as the permanent
residence for the Canal Zone
governor. The house, whose com-
pleted cost a report of the Isthmian
Canal Commission estimated at
around $200,000, was to have had
15 bedrooms, each with its own
bath, a roof garden and a 55 by 48
foot drawing room. Between 12 and
15 servants would have been
necessary to keep it up.
In late 1906, before anything but
its exterior was completed, Chief
Engineer Stevens ordered that it be
converted to an Administration
Building, and by January of 1908
it was ready for I.C.C. officials to
move in. The first occupants were
the chiefs of the Civil Administration
Department; the Division of Posts,
Customs and Revenues; and the
Secretary of the Commission.

By September of 1914, when the
transfer to the "new" Administration
Building at Balboa Heights was
completed, only the offices of the
Special Attorney, the legal depart-
ment and a branch pay office

Court Comes

To Order in

The Ballroom

remained. The following year the
headquarters of the United States
troops in the Canal Zone was
temporarily located on the second
Exactly when it was decided to
convert the building to its present
use is not clear. A memo to the
Governor from the Constructing
Quartermaster dated November 24,
1914, authorizing repairs and
alterations costing $29,000 bears

a handwritten note saying the lower
floor was to be used as a District
In December the Quartermaster
recommended that the former
Sanitary Office on the first floor
be used as a courtroom and that
the second and third floors be
converted into high class bachelor
quarters to "afford us some relief
for the congestion which has existed
for a long time at Ancon." In July
of 1915 he advised that no repairs
be made until it was decided what
was to be done with the building.
In any case extensive renovations
were carried out and the offices of
the U.S. District Court moved in
February of 1916. The courtroom
was the large room at the front of
the building that had originally been
intended as the ballroom of the
Governor's residence. The old
District courthouse in the rear
of the Ancon police station was
turned over to the Christian Science
Following implementation of
the new Panama Canal treaty the
U.S. District Court will continue
to hold session in this building
for a 30-month transition period.

24 OCTOBER 1, 1979

By Pandora Gerard Aleman
first Governor of the Canal
Zone, is said to have remarked in 1905
that the Seal of the Canal Zone would
be a fixture on the Isthmus "for all
time." His words have an ironic ring
today, as the Canal Zone is erased
from maps of the world and the seal
itself is eased into retirement.
Representations of the seal have
been a common sight on the Isthmus,
displayed on arm patches of the Canal
Zone Police, on some official cars, on a
pillar outside the rotunda in the
Administration Building, on the Gov-
ernor's flag, on stationery, forms, and
postage stamps, and even on "license
plates" created by the Panama Canal
Society of Florida to help identify to
each other Canal retirees living in the
United States. Hand-painted replicas
have been presented to such dis-
tinguished visitors as Congressmen,
the Panama Canal Board of Directors,
the Industrial War College, and
foreign diplomats.
Creation of the seal was, one might
say, a gesture of faith in the Canal
enterprise, for when it was conceived
the Panama Canal was still a mos-
quito-ridden, rain-drenched dream (or
The Isthmian Canal Commission
declared in 1904 that "the Executive
Secretary ... shall be the custodian of
the seal of the Government of the
Canal Zone, and shall attest such acts
of the Governor as are required by law
to be done and performed under said
This has been the real job of the
official seal, the embossing device
whose home since 1906 has been the
Executive Secretary's office: to au-
thenticate official and legal docu-
ments, particularly those to be used in
jurisdictions other than the Canal
Zone. Together with the signature of


mal Zone Seal

tired But

plicas Abound

the Executive Secretary, the im-
pression of the seal has attested the
authenticity and validity of official
Through the years, the Executive
Secretary and his staff have had plenty
of opportunity to flex their muscles in
the exercise of this official function.
The seal and signature have been
affixed to as many as 5,000 documents
a year, from parole and pardon
documents to notary public com-
Having once decided to create a
seal, the Commission cast about for
an appropriate design. The origins of
the seal are somewhat cloudy, but it
appears that both Governor Davis
and Gaillard Hunt, a former State
Department official, had a hand in the
design, and that some characteristics
were inherited from the French canal
In 1905, Governor Davis wrote:
"The motif of my design was, first, to
comply with the law-second, to give
it an essential interoceanic canal
character, for the United States has
but one errand at Panama-to make a
canal, to join the seas for the benefit of
mankind-and I, therefore, adopted a
motto expressive of that idea."
"Of course," he continued, "it is well
known that M. DeLesseps adopted a
motto for his [French Canal] Com-
pany, the idea of which was that the
continents were divided for the benefit
of mankind."
In 1905, "Messrs. Tiffany and
Company," of New York City, sub-
mitted several designs for the seal to
the Department of State and the
Isthmian Canal Commission. On Mr.
Hunt's recommendation, one was
adopted the following year after the
Commission chairman changed the
original word "earth" to "land"and
made the sails of the Spanish galleon

...... ...- .. ............... .

Replicas appear on Traci Cotton's
track medal, plate and bronze plaque
by Artist Alwyn Sprague; and on
retail store items displayed by Viola
Dixon, left, and Beverly Kinsey.

Tiffany's then made the outsized
device for embossing the seal on
official documents which has been
hard at work for the past 63 years.
But the Tiffany color design for the
seal, which is still on hand in the
Administration Building, is in many
ways markedly different from the one
so familiar to us. It consists only of a
shield with a ribbon below; there is no
border. The Spanish galleon shown
passing through the Canal in the lower
part of the shield is brown and flies an
orange-and-white flag. The banks of
the Canal are brown, with green grass,
and the water is blue, showing a
yellow-gold reflection from the slightly

orange sky. Below is a light-blue
ribbon bearing the motto "The Land
Divided; The World United" in
metallic-gold letters.
So the seal might have remained, if
President Woodrow Wilson had not in
1915 issued an executive order
establishing that the Governor of the
Panama Canal should have a distinc-
tive flag, bearing the seal, for use in his
official capacity. His executive order
gives the first officially published
description of the seal:
"The seal consists of a shield,
showing in base a Spanish galleon of
the Fifteenth Century under full sail
coming on between two high banks, all
purpure, the sky yellow with the glow
of sunset; in the chief are the colors of
the arms of the United States. Under
the shield is the motto: 'The land
divided; the world united!' "
There are obvious discrepancies
between President Wilson's descrip-
tion and Tiffany's execution of the
design. Hence, as the official Histor-
ical Description of the Seal of the

Dorothy Cogwell uses the Tiffany
embossing device to affix the seal
to an official document.

Canal Zone says, "for years, color
reproductions of the seal proved
troublesome with mistakes being
made in the arrangement of the white
and red colors in the bars of the chief
and in various shadings."
To make matters worse, as the
official description was reprinted over
the years an error crept in (it was
immortalized on the brass plaque
below the seal outside the rotunda).
Whereas President Wilson speaks of
"two high banks, all purpure" (pur-
pure being a heraldic term for purple),

the version with the typographic error
reads, "two high banks, all purpose."
(Imagine the quandary of an artist
confronted with the task of depicting
"all purpose" banks!)
Finally, in 1956, it was decided to
settle definitively the question of the
proper color scheme. Employees of
the Architectural Branch of the
Engineering Division painted designs
based on President Wilson's descrip-
tion. Of these, Acting Gov. Herman
W. Schull Jr., selected illustrator
Franklin Kwai Ben's rendition as the
most faithful execution of the official
Searching for a bold, striking design
worthy of the seal, Kwai Ben had done
20 different color schemes. But one
remained his favorite throughout. It
was a simplified scheme, with the
ship's hull, the water, and the Canal
banks all purple. He gave the seal a
blue circular border bearing the words
"Seal of the Canal Zone Isthmus of
Panama" in golden-yellow letters. His
favorite turned out to be Acting
Governor Schull's as well.
Even though Kwai Ben's color
scheme was adopted 23 years ago,
and even though he for a time faithfully
reproduced those colors when paint-
ing replicas for VIP gifts, still not every
seal you see will conform to the official
color scheme.
A limited number of epoxy repro-
ductions of the seal were made from a
press designed by the Army Map
Service in Washington, D.C., and
hand-painted on the Isthmus in 1969
for use as VIP gifts. It was one of these
that found a place outside the
rotunda. Since that time, other blanks
have been painted by whoever could

be found with the time, energy, and
skill to do it.
Although most have guided them-
selves by Kwai Ben's design, the
careful eye will detect that each artist's
inventiveness and, perhaps, the colors
he happened to have on hand
influenced his rendition.
One will see blue banks and blue
water with white waves; sunsets
ranging from dull orange-and-yellow
to bright red; and flags of various
colors unfurled atop the galleon's
mast-in short, the range of variation
that distinguishes the hand-painted
artifact from the mass-produced.
If you're lucky enough to come into
the possession of one of these
reproductions, treasure it for the
"original" it is.
From the time the seal was adopted,
there have been hundreds of letters
from collectors of official seals, asking
for an impression, and from those who
want to reproduce the seal-in books,
on souvenirs, on handkerchiefs and
shirts, in needlework. With the
ratification of the Panama Canal
Treaty of 1977, collectors intensified
their efforts to corner the market on
Canal Zone memorabilia-with spe-
cial emphasis on any item, from molas
to stamps, bearing a representation of
the seal.
Such activity accompanies the
passing of an era. The Seal of the
Canal Zone is obsolete. One cannot
but hope, though, that elements of the
seal may be reborn in some new
device to be adopted by the Panama
Canal Commission, just as the dream
symbolized by the seal lives on in the
reality of an interoceanic Canal that
parts the Americas and unites the

AP The 29- Year-Old Panama Canal Co.

T z'Seal Becomes A Part of History

The Seal of the Panama Canal Company was created following the
reorganization of the Panama Canal and the Panama Railroad Company
operating units in July 1950. Designed by the Engineering Division, the Seal
depicts a lower locks chamber of the Canal with the bow of a ship of the
Panama Line in the upper chamber behind a closed gate. Inscribed on the
Seal is "The Panama Canal Company 1950." This Seal along with that
of the Canal Zone Government becomes part of Panama Canal history
following the establishment of the new U.S. Government Agency, the
Panama Canal Commission, which will operate the waterway following
implementation of the treaty.

OCTOBER 1, 1979

New Panama Canal Medal

A Symbol of Change

The passing of an era is commemorated in the bronze medal that has been
issued to all permanent employees of the Panama Canal Company and Canal
Zone Government who were on the rolls as of September 30, 1979, and have at
least one year of service. The medal is 11/4 inches in diameter to approximate
the size of the Roosevelt Medal and is suspended from a bar bearing the
aforementioned date. It features the seal of the Panama Canal Company on the
front and the seal of the Canal Zone Government on the reverse side. The medals
are serialized beginning with 00001. They have been distributed to employees
with an accompanying certificate bearing the same serial number. The Panama
Canal Company and Canal Zone Government Commemorative Medal was
struck by the Medallic Art Company of Danbury, Connecticut.

The scenes of Canal Zone life that appear on the certificates of appreciation are
engraved by Dante A. Fiari, an audiovisual specialist far the Division of Schools.


_ ~



History of


whether they be athletic en-
deavors such as the Olympic Games
of the Greeks or engineering feats
such as the building of a waterway to
join the Atlantic and Pacific oceans,
have always been recognized or com-
memorated by a symbol. In the era of
the Greeks and the Romans, the laurel
wreath was used to distinguish in-
dividuals of achievement. In our day,
the medal serves this purpose.
On at least five other occasions
in the 74 years that have elapsed since
the United States undertook to
succeed where the French had failed,
medals have been struck that had the
Panama Canal as their motif.
The Roosevelt Medal, 11/2 inches in
diameter, was issued beginning in
1909 to civilian U.S. citizens who had
completed at least two years of satis-
factory service with the Canal con-
struction forces or the Panama Rail-
road Company on the Isthmus
between May 4, 1904 and Decem-
ber 31, 1914.
Made of bronze and copper "French
junk," scrap metal from the equip-
ment that had been abandoned by the

French, the medal features a bust of
President Roosevelt on one side and
a bird's eye view of steamers passing
through Culebra Cut on the other.
The Panama Canal Completion
Medal commemorating the opening
of the waterway on August 15, 1914,
is struck in bronze and has a very
unusual design. On one side the medal
depicts a ship passing through the
Canal with Columbia, the female per-
sonification of the United States,
standing at the bow. Her arms are
outstretched with each hand resting
on globes of the eastern and western
hemispheres and a ribbon stretching
across her body is inscribed in Latin
"Columbia Unites the Oceans."
On the reverse is the seal of the
Canal Zone and a statement cer-
tifying that the medal was carried on
the vessel making the first transit of
the Panama Canal.
In 1962, the opening of the $20
million Thatcher Ferry Bridge which
spans the Pacific entrance to the
Canal was commemorated with a
medal. The 21/2 inch bronze and silver
medals feature the bridge on the front,
and the reverse is blank. The
aluminum medals are an inch smaller

and show a map of the Isthmus on the
To celebrate the Canal's Golden
Anniversary in 1964, a medal was
struck in silver and bronze. On the
front the medal incorporates the four
points of the compass and a shield,
inside of which a ship sails through
Gaillard Cut. On the reverse is the
seal of the Canal Zone.
The National Commemorative So-
ciety struck a silver coin-medal in 1971
to commemorate once again the
opening of the Panama Canal and to
honor Chief Engineer George W.
Goethals. On one side is a bust of
Goethals and on the other side is a
ship in the Cut.
The medals of the Panama Canal
chronicle the highlights of human ac-
complishment on the Isthmus and
preserve them for posterity in the
beauty of metal. But the Canal itself
in all its concrete splendor is the living,
functioning monument to those first
visionaries who dared to dream of a
waterway to connect the oceans; to
the thousands more whose sweat and
blood brought the dream to comple-
tion; and to the men and women today
whose labor keeps it operating at peak
efficiency 65 years later.

28 OCTOBER 1, 1979

Balboa for the first time are
apt to slow down for a second look
when they first spot the Statue of
Liberty on Gorgona Road. Most are
surprised to find a replica of this
well known U.S. symbol so
far south.
The Canal Zone statue, which
faces the Balboa Fire Station, was
donated to the Canal Zone
Boy Scout Council in May 1951
by Morris Hoffman, a Kansas City,
Mo. contractor and scouting
The original Statue of Liberty was
formally presented on May 21, 1884
to the American ambassador in
Paris by Ferdinand de Lesseps,
head of the Franco-American
Union, at that time at work on the
ill-fated French effort to build a
Canal in Panama.
The idea of a replica of the statue
originated with Jack Whitaker, a
Kansas City businessman and
Scouter of long standing, during the
1951 "Strengthen the Arm of
Freedom" crusade of the Boy
Scouts of America.
A number of the 71/2 foot high
copper and bronze statues were
made in a Chicago factory and
presented to Boy Scout councils
in 39 states. They are found gracing
the grounds of eight state capitols,
the lawns of 145 Court Houses,
and 206 of the statues are located
in Scout camps, school grounds
and public buildings. In addition to
the Canal Zone, the replicas also
are found in the Philippines, Guam,
Honolulu and Puerto Rico.
Although the Governor had
approved the installation site in the
triangle of land bound by La Boca
Road, Balboa Road and the parking
lot in front of the Balboa Police
Station, there were no funds for the
work and the statue was placed
on display at the Canal Zone
Library. When funds, mainly
donations from the Boy Scout com-
munity, were available, the statue
was installed at the selected site
and dedicated on May 30, 1953.
The widening of Balboa Road
made it necessary to move the statue
to another area. It was relocated in
May 1972 to its present site where
it is often photographed by tourists.

Celebrated Symbol

A Surprise to Sightseers


For A Quarter of A Century

A Balboa Landmark

T which stands at the foot of the
.. 113 steps which lead up to the front of
the Administration Building was 25
years old this year. After a quarter of
a century as a Balboa landmark, it is
such an accepted part of the land-
scape that even old-timers have
trouble remembering when it was not
Yet, there was much controversy
about the design and site for the
monument and it took more than 25
years of discussion, delays, indecision,
and planning before the memorial to
the "hero of the Panama Canal" was
erected in the Canal Zone. It was
finally dedicated March 31, 1954.
Efforts to build a monument to per-
petuate the memory of General
Goethals went on for years and formal
plans were presented in May 1928 at
the annual meetings of the various
Panama Canal societies in the United
The many years that elapsed
'/, 1A -between the planning and fulfillment
of the project were not due to lack of
enthusiasm. World circumstances,
the depression of the early 1930s and
World War II were the main delaying
... . poThrough the years, various pro-
posals for a suitable site and for the
memorial itself and other recognition
....... .... of Goethals were presented. Resolu-
tions were introduced in the House of
Representatives to change the name
of Gatun Lake, Dam, Spillway and
Locks to Goethals Lake, Dam,
Spillway and Locks. Another sugges-
tion was to change the name of
the town of Gamboa to Goethals.
A Goethals memorial library was sug-
gested as were memorial museums,
Symbolic in concept, the monument rising from a reflecting pool 65 feet buildings and statues including a
in diameter, represents the Continental Divide. The basins on each side statue for the rotunda in the Adminis-
represent the Panama Canal locks with water pouring from them to join tration Builig. All of these ideas
the waters of Gatun Lake with the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The shaft were discarded as unsuitable.
of marble is 56 feet high, 20 feet wide and 5 feet thick. It was designed On August 25, 1935, Congress
by Shaw, Metz and Dolio, an architectural firm of Chicago with the firm appropriated $160,000to build a mem-
of Mendez and Sander of Panama as associate architects and was orial and President Franklin D.
built by Constructora Martinz of Panama at a cost of $152,299. Roosevelt named General John J.
30 OCTOBER 1, 1979

Pershing to head the Goethals Mem-
orial Commission.
One suggestion given considerable
attention at that time was a memorial
at the Cristobal mole at the Atlantic
entrance of the Canal. Another was a
shaft or obelisk at one or both en-
trances to the Canal. President
Roosevelt favored the proposal of a
shaft with a beacon light to be placed
atop one of the two hills in the Canal
The Cristobal site continued to be
reviewed and discussed until World
War II when the construction of the
memorial was postponed for the
Still, efforts to give recognition to
Goethals continued and in early 1943,
a group of Canal employees who had
served with him suggested a bronze
bust to be placed in the Governor's
office. A letter was written to Tiffany
and Company of New York asking if
a bust about 12 inches high could be
produced for $1,000 or less. Tiffany
replied that it lacked the capability and
called attention to a government
regulation prohibiting the use of
bronze as the metal was needed for
the war effort.
At about the same time, there was
another movement to erect a 2' by 3'
bronze memorial tablet "somewhere
in the Canal Zone." It was to be made
of "historic bronze," melted down old
machine tools, that were used in the
construction of the Canal. About 300
pounds were required for the pro-
posed tablet that was to weigh about
150 pounds and was to be cast by
Gorham of New York.
In 1945, the ultimate tribute was
suggested but Governor J. C. Mehaf-
fey was strongly opposed to changing
the name of the Panama Canal to
Goethals Canal.
After the war, the Goethals Mem-
orial Commission was reactivated and
interest was revived in the Cristobal
site proposal which had been ap-
proved by Presidents Roosevelt and
Truman. Balboa, Miraflores, Gatun
and the Fortified Islands were added
to the list of possible sites for the
memorial, but by this time costs had
risen markedly and efforts to have
funds increased by Congress were not
At a meeting of the Commission in
Washington on February 4, 1952,
Chairman Ralph Budd presented a
tentative design prepared by Alfred


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Shaw of a Chicago architectural firm
for a shaft of reinforced concrete with
an outside shell of precast concrete
which would be simpler and less costly
than the proposed Cristobal design
and could be built with available funds.
After further discussions, the Com-
mission authorized the chairman to
proceed with the Shaw design for a
monument in the circle in front of the

Balboa Elementary School. The Com-
mission approved it on April 4, 1952
and when President Truman was
presented the proposal a few days
later, he approved it wholeheartedly.
Because of the possible hazard to
low flying planes, the memorial site
was moved to the foot of the Adminis-
tration Building steps facing the




Work progressed on schedule and revered the memory of General
was expected to be completed on Goethals.
August 1, 1953 with August 15, the Following the invocation by Rev.
Canal's 40th anniversary, tentatively Alexander Shaw of the Balboa Union
set as the date to hold the dedication Church and Governor Seybold's in-
ceremony. The date was postponed troductory remarks and the reading
however, until the dry season, and of the message sent by President
Governor J. S. Seybold appointed Eisenhower, who had designated that
a Goethals Memorial Dedication day a holiday for Canal employees, the
Program Committee. honorable Maurice Thatcher, pre-
A rendition of "Stars and Stripes sented $25 U.S. Savings bonds to the
Forever" by the joint Balboa-Cristobal winners of the Canal Zone schools
high school band opened the formal essay contest on Goethals' contribu-
dedication ceremony. A half-hour tions to the Panama Canal. Ms. Emily
concert by the band preceded the Butcher directed the La Boca Alumni
official ceremony as more than 2,000 Glee Club in a rendition of "American
* -- - -- - - -

k -



Balboa Elenmentoir.' School students gaze in LL'onder at tie "sno, "
A Q156 Hollout'Cen prarik, it tL.'(s produced b.- addhin detergerit to tle
t.,oter Ilo.I'(ing ito (ItI, biins.

persons gathered for the dedication of
the monument honoring the man
whose remarkable leadership, ad-
ministrative ability and devotion to the
task contributed to the successful
completion of the waterway.
Among the official guests were old-
timers who forty years earlier had
worked on the Canal during the
Goethals era; members of the Goethals
Memorial Commission; members of
the legislative committee having juris-
diction over Canal affairs; former
Canal Zone governors; Goethals'
son; Maurice Thatcher, the only sur-
viving member of the Isthmian Canal
Commission; the President of Panama
and other distinguished guests; Canal
employees, and many others who

Ode." The Honorable Richard E.
Whitehead, author of the book "Our
Faith Moved Mountains," a member
of the Goethals Memorial Com-
mission, made the formal presentation
of the Memorial Monument as Dr.
Thomas R. Goethals stepped forward
and unveiled the memorial to his
famous father.
In addition to the formal dedication,
an elaborate program of events was
prepared for the old-timers, some in
their late 70's and early 80's, who came
from all parts of the United States to
honor their hero.
Although not a part of the official
dedication program, Mary Pickford
and her husband Buddy Rogers, who
were visiting the Isthmus, greeted the

old-timers at the Goethals Exhibit at
the Little Gallery in the Civil Affairs
Building. There were many activities
including teenage baseball games in
which grandsons of the old-timers
At the dedication, Governor Sey-
bold said, "The Canal itself is a great
and lasting memorial to him and to the
skill and perseverance of a great army
of men who shared in its construction.
this marble shaft is a visible mark of
the respect and honor we pay to him
and to his associates in the achieve-
ment of a task of herculean propor-
tions and of immeasurable benefit to
humanity .."
In the formal presentation of the
memorial, Dr. Whitehead spoke of
events that led to the construction of
the Panama Canal and after lauding
Goethals' life and work in Panama
as a model of inspirational leader-
ship, he said, "The Congress of the
United States authorized the erection
of this Memorial to General George
W. Goethals in commemoration of his
signally distinguished services in con-
nection with the construction and
operation of the Canal. By authority
vested in me by the Goethals Me-
morial Committee, under whose
direction the wishes of Congress have
been complied with, I hereby dedicate
this Memorial to all nations and to
all people."
In his message read by Governor
Seybold, President Eisenhower said,
in part, "it is indeed fortunate that a
man of the stature of General Goethals
was available to lead our construction
force in this great undertaking and to
set the pattern for its successful oper-
ation. It is only fitting that we should
attempt to perpetuate his memory by
erecting a memorial near the site of
the humanitarian enterprise to which
he was so selflessly dedicated."
In addition to commemorating the
outstanding contributions of General
Goethals to the commerce of the
world, the ceremony highlighted the
50th anniversary of the taking over of
the construction of the Canal by the
United States from the French canal
company. The year 1954 also marked
the 40th anniversary of the appoint-
ment of Goethals as the first Gov-
ernor of the Canal Zone and 47th
anniversary of his appointment as
chairman and chief engineer of the
Isthmian Canal Commission.

32 OCTOBER 1, 1979

C.Z Stamp Book

A Collector's Item

Postage Stamps," which has
been out of print, is on sale again.
The Canal Zone Postal Service has
reprinted the book to meet the
demand which has developed with
the increasing interest in Canal
Zone stamps.

Always popular with collectors,
Canal Zone stamps have attracted
special attention lately following the
announcement that the Canal Zone
Postal Service is to be dissolved on
implementation of the treaty which
gives Panama jurisdiction in the
Canal Zone.
However, it is not just the stamp
collectors who are buying the book.
Customers include those who are
collecting all types of Canal Zone
memorabilia and others who find it a
handy reference book on the
construction of the Canal and the
development of the Canal Zone.
Reflecting on the book's historic
value, Gov. William E. Potter, who
served from 1956 to 1960, wrote in
the foreword: "The postal history
and stamps of the Canal Zone
Government vividly reflect the early
trials, heartbreaking failures and
glorious completion of the Panama
Canal. These bits of postage depict
the ingenious planners, scenes of
their work and the determined
'canal diggers' accomplishments."
"This book is an account of the
birth and growth of the Canal Zone
Government's postal system and its
stamps. I trust it will help us to
know and build upon our great
The 452-page paperback volume,
which was prepared by the late
Judge Edward I. P. Tateman,
Magistrate of the Cristobal Court,
was issued in 1961. The reprint of
the book and a supplement, which
covers the period up to the present,
are now available through the
General Services Division.

At left: The book, "Canal Zone Postage
Stamps," is displayed along with three
of the early stamps honoring Canal
Zone construction day figures, President
Theodore Roosevelt. William C. Gorgas
and George W. Goethals; and the last
stamp to be issued by the Canal Zone
Government, the new 15-cent stamp,
which was made from a painting by
.. Alwyn Sprague, well-known local artist.
In the centerfold: An assortment of
items imprinted with the Canal Zone
and Panama Canal Company seals and
..2 other items that were issued by the
Company Government, all of which will
be discontinued on October I, are
displayed on the door of a Company
official car.


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Rides the

Rails as

An Era

Draws to

A Close

one of a kind. For more than
70 years, it has been the only year-
round passenger and freight operation
of its kind run by the United States
Government. The Isthmus' most
effective means of mass transit, the
railroad has carried a good share of
the freight moving between Colon and
Panama-about evenly divided among
the Canal organization, U.S. military
installations in the Canal Zone, and
Panama-and has also handled most
of the container cargo between the
two ports. In fiscal year 1978, it trans-
ported 66,136 passengers and 184,162
tons of freight.

Long accustomed to adapting to the
vicissitudes of life, the Panama Rail-
road is now weathering yet another
change. Under the terms of the new
Panama Canal Treaty, the railroad
passes, along with its supporting
operations, to the Government of
The Panama Railroad has seen a lot
of history. In fact, it has been one of
the chief actors in the drama of the
Isthmus of Panama.
It gave birth to a city. In 1847,
William Henry Aspinwall, a New York
merchant, raised eyebrows by setting
out to build a railroad across the
Isthmus and combine sea and land
routes into one great system that

would open up the whole Pacific. The
railroaders chose Manzanillo Island
-a square mile of virgin mangrove
swamp-as the Atlantic terminus, and
transformed it into what was to
become the city of Colon.
It killed thousands of men. The con-
struction workforce was drawn from
the four corners of the earth-
England, France, Ireland, Germany,
Austria, China, India, Jamaica, Co-
lombia. Of the perhaps 12,000of these
who died of malaria, yellow fever, or
other hardships of wilderness life and
work, 6,000 found their final resting
place at the railroad cemetery at
Mount Hope.
It played its part in the California

36 OCTOBER 1, 1979

Gold Rush. In 1851, after 20 months of
labor, the rails reached only 8 miles
into the jungle, to Gatun. In October
of that year, two steamers were beset
I by a hurricane that drove them from
the mouth of the Chagres (the usual
place of debarkation) to shelter in
Navy Bay. From their anchorage,
the gold-rabid passengers spied the
work train, and there was no keeping
then back. Since that day, the
Atlantic port of Panama has been
It conquered the mighty Chagres
River. The river-300 feet wide and
sometimes rising 40 feet overnight-
swept away the first bridge at Barba-
coas. But by late 1853 it had been


spanned by a 625-foot, six-span bridge
of boiler iron. And on went the rail-
road, until in 1855 it went from coast
to coast, 47.51 miles over bottomless
swamps and through near impene-
trable jungle, till it neared Ancon Hill
and the sparkling cathedral towers of
the city of Panama.
It made the Canal possible. In 1881
the Panama Railroad was bought by
the French canal company, and when
that enterprise failed the railroad
faded away to "two streaks of rust and
a right of way." The U.S. Government
acquired it in 1904, and under the
Canal's chief engineer John F. Stevens
the railroad sprang to life again.
Rebuilt to handle an endless stream

of dirt trains and vastly increased com-
mercial traffic, it offered its passengers
an unparalleled view of one of the
wonders of the modern world in the
making. By 1912, the railroad line had
been relocated on higher ground and
the original line was abandoned to
make way for the waters of the Canal
it had helped create. Fittingly, the
inaugural transit on August 15, 1914,
as made by the Panama Railroad
steamship Ancon.
Since that day, as before it, the
Panama Railroad has carried on its
proud tradition of service to the
Canal, to Panama, and to the world.
An era draws to a close, now, but
the Panama Railroad goes on.

Canal Zone


. 0 0

By Dr. Nathan B. Gale and
Dolores E. Suisman
as much of their living space with
jungle animals as do those who live in
the Canal Zone. It is because we see
these wild creatures so frequently
that we take them so for granted.
When ecologists speak of endangered
species, we think-if we think at all-
that they are talking about exotic
creatures that inhabit forbidding jungles
we dare not enter.
The key to understanding is to
remember the animals we are in-
timately familiar with, the creatures of
the wild that come so timidly into
man's territory: deer that emerge at
the forest edge at dusk to search for
food, then flee back into jungle hiding
places at the approach of a car; a
family of fieques we pause to watch-
but too late, the mother has been
warned. She bristles, looks right and
left, and with her offspring, scampers
back into the forest; the armadillo we
come upon on an evening walk; an
iguana lazing in the sun on our door-
step; the hummingbird flitting from
flower to flower outside our office
window; birds of many colors and
kinds we toss bread to.
These animals and birds we know
and enjoy are some of the very ones
ecologists are worrying about when
they warn of the need for conservation
and preservation of Canal Zone forest
areas. For the Zone is a biological
island of vegetation, animals, birds
and insects that inhabit its un-
disturbed jungles and streams. In its
lush rain forests, millions of creatures
live and everything that lives in the
jungle dies, decays and becomes food
for new life.
It all began about 5.7 million years
ago, when a series of geographical
groans and tortuous twistings of the


newly emerged ocean floor created a
land bridge, the Isthmus of Panama.
This fortuitous geological event
created the narrow strip of land that
one day would attract explorers on
their way to the Orient, plunderers of
Incan treasures, travelers to Califor-
nia gold fields, engineers building a
railroad and a canal-and wildlife in
abundance. The land bridge heaved
up from the ocean floor came to be at
least as important to the birds,
mammals, and reptiles of the Amer-
icas as it has been to the commerce
of man.
Land dwelling animals used this
bridge to move into better grazing and
browsing areas, and to search for
more abundant or easier-to-catch
prey. Many found the route from tem-
perate to tropical climate to their
liking, settled here, and developed
diverse species.
Some of these-bats, marsupials
and sloths-are still here. Some are
already gone forever, like the giant
ground sloth which competed suc-
cessfully with the environment until
about a thousand years ago when it
became extinct.
With the Canal came the Canal

Zone that today is the last safe haven
for many endangered and threatened
Because of restrictions on public
access to the Panama Canal water-
shed and defense areas, much of the
Canal Zone is an "island of forest" in
the midst of a generally cleared coun-
tryside. This has helped preserve an
astonishing variety of plants and
animals in what is probably the most
extensive readily accessible forest
area in Middle America.
The continued existence of these
forests is ecologically important. They
must be left unscathed if the birds
and animals that inhabit or seasonally
visit them are to survive. Many forest-
dwelling animals have special food
requirements and are dependent
upon unique habitats. It may be dif-
ficult-or impossible-for them to
relocate. Many birds also are limited
in their choice of habitat or migration
route by their poor long-range flying
It is rare in Latin America to find
areas set aside for biological reserves
or national parks. But the ecological
significance of the Zone's forests was
recognized within a decade of the

OCTOBER 1, 1979

I ~---- -- -*----i--rrr*n- -I -

Canal's opening, in 1923. Barro Colo.
rado was set aside as a biological re-
servation. Measuring about six square
miles in area, the island is the largest
in Gatun Lake
In 1930. the Canal Zone Forest and
Wildlife Preserve (Madden Forest)
was established, and hunting, injuring
or molesting wild life, and cutting
down, destroying or damaging timber
or plans was prohibited in its 3,500
More recently, hunting was pro
hibited on the land along the Pipeline
Road beyond Gamboa.
The importance of Barro Colorado
Island. the immediate area of the wesi
bank of the Canal, and the Pipeline
Road area is illustrated by ihe number
of species protected by law that live
there. Sixty three percent of the
animal species protected by Pan-
amanian game laws have been seen
there The U S Endangered Species
Act lists 157 species of mammals en-
dangered throughout theworld Forty
126 percent) live in North and South
America, and of these, eight are found
on Barro Colorado Island and in the
Pipeline Road area. Thus five percent
of all endangered mammals in the

The Isthmus of Panama offers food
and shelter to both North and South
Amencan bird migrants The concen-
trating effect of the narrow, to-
pography on migratory routes offers a
greater variety of avian life, when
added to the native birds, than any
other area of comparable size in the
Five hundred sixty two species of
birds have been recorded from Canal
Zone waters, shorelines, and forested
areas This is only 80 less than are
found in all of North America north of
Mexico The highest one-day bird
census recorded in the world was
reported last year from the Atlantic
side of the Canal Zone when 354
species were counted.
The continued undisturbed exis
tence of these areas could be justified
solely on the basis of their research
'alue A Smithsonian Tropical Re.
search Insit ute publication lists 2.071
books and papers (through 1976)
written in the most part by scientists
working on Barro Colorado Island, in
the Canal Zone or in the Republic of
Panama The significance of data pro-
vided by this enormous volume of
literature is extraordinary

The <
most re.
cent Smith-
sonian Tropical
Research Institute
publication, a nearly
,CO0O-page volume en .
titled Flora oj Barro Colo. ',
radio Island by Thomas Croat.
has been 10 years in the making
The author indicates that over 1,300
species of "vascular plants," which
have a specialized conducting system,
are known from the island A recent
collection of 200 plants from the forest
canopy included :hree species new to
the island and one new to Central
if this area is to remain a sale harbor
for plant, animal and bird life, their
jungle home must remain undis
turbed. If the jungles are disturbed,
the animals will be destroyed, for, on
a jungle "island," they have nowhere
else to go.
The bush dog and he giant anteater
may be neanng extinction in Panama
Jaguars, ocelots, margays and sloths,
monkeys, marmosets and coatimundi,
raccoons, squirrels and kinkajous,
crocodiles and caimans may face the
same fate.
The rich array of flora and fauna in
the Canal Zone is a legacy from a
passing era. One hopes they will
become a living testimonial to wise
men who, appreciating the legacy, will
work to resolve the conflict between
the pressure for rapid economic
development in the Canal area on the
one hand, and the need to preserve
the natural environment to ensure the
continued existence of this seren-
dipitous jungle on the other.

world and 20 percent of i hose in North
and Souih America occur in these
iwo areas
The land along the Pipeline Road is
an area ol relatively undisturbed iro
pical lowland wet forest which con
tains 240 species of birds which are
not found outside the American tro-
pic An additional 35 North Amer.
ican species use this area as a
migratory route to South America.


is the

a --- -- I

I ---'a- -

--C -
c-- -. ---.
- --- --
c ---- -

I 111 -

a safe

haven for

animals ...



The rare tiger heron, the long-tongued tamandua,
the golden frog, the exotic heliconia and Charlie the crocodile
are a few of the living things that thrive in the
Canal Zone's tropical forests.

S. ... ......


plants, birds and insects

OCTOBER 1, 1979

A delicate butterfly resting on a branch; multicolored macaws out for a stroll;
the hairy sloth whose face we rarely see; stately egrets fishing in the surf; creatures
great and small each have a niche in our tropical environment.



Flowering Trees

A.41 ir. r i lt r i, ,,., ji .:.r, H.- hts Rood
*:i:r::: lr-:~l ^ *- i r-rn..i r H .:.US e IS
*.. ..^ nlr. I-,h ,. .;.1I..:i .:- I F, G uoyo-
,:lr.;,.;.ri Buddlj Ithr.,,jh Ih. t- ranches
S oj he Fink Cossio is reminiscent of
Washington, D.C. ot cherry blossom
time, while the purple Bouginvillea ond
the Royal Poinciono bnng La Boco Rood
alive with color. At right. Flomboyont is
another and very fitting name for the
Royol Poinciano, seen through the
window of o Gorgos Aportment.

As soon as the first permanent Canal Zone towns were completed, plans for
planting trees to beautify the area began immediately. The Canol Record of
May 5, 1915 reported that the horticulturist in charge of the landscaping was
urging residents to join in the effort. He encouraged tasteful planting and proper
community care to relieve the "glistening newness of the new concrete town of
Balboa and eventually transform it into a beautiful dwelling place, delightful
to live in."
As a result of these plantings, there are always some trees that a,- .r. bl.:.:rr
in the Canal Zone; but it is during the dry season that the most "p..:ij.:uljr
exhibitions occur. The array of blossoms that suddenly appears :.r, 1,e I.:.:.;
trees at this time rivals the splendor of spring in the temperate zor-
On these pages are some of the many flowering trees that have "r nrr.:.r rr,d
modest Canal Zone homes into places "delightful to live in."


OCTOBER 1, 1979

a man
does not plant
a tree for himself,
he plants it for


Alexander Smtth

?o,-' ih-' Ac i. Gr. r CT ..'.; .;ri r rh.
tbr n.; h, ,.f th.' r ll.-- Fir,.,,r,,j ,I ,h:
,rlr ,j tIh ,jr ,: ,,:i,:r At. l [,:.p I;rl

t GU t.,-' 'Lll L.:. .: upu th.: rr f, i
JIducorond, o plrch ql purple In the
midst of green jungle. Below, the Royal
Poinciana offers its shade to a family
from the "fishbowl" area in Ancon.
At top right, a Flamboyant in Margarita
has become the resting place for a
boy's kite, but not for long. Below, the
center of town is also beautified by the
Pink Cassia.

Canal Zone's

Garden of


in myriad of shades and
textures, delicate tropical plants and
fascinating exotics are taken for
granted in the Canal Zone, where
they form a constant background
for life itself.
Nonetheless, at Summit Gardens,
life-long Zone residents are filled
with awe and curiosity to find
themselves in the midst of 300 acres
of nature's beauty gathered from
almost every tropical and
subtropical corner of the earth.
Since the establishment in 1923 of
the "Canal Zone Plant Introduction
Gardens" to test, establish and
distribute valuable plants, more than
15,000 plants of an endless
assortment, size and shape have
been introduced.
Today, the Gardens have about
200 varieties of palms, some five
acres of citrus trees, most of the
flora native to the Isthmus and
exotic fruit, flowering and economic
plants from as far away as India,
Sumatra, Malaya, Ceylon, China,
Burma and Borneo and as near as
Panama's neighbors in Central
Not far inside the gardens is the
Tropical Walk, designed for walking
tours through the area where the
heaviest concentration of plants
compete for living space in a
tropical rain forest. The entrance is
lined with the fabulously beautiful
Night-Blooming Cereus and with
petrified wood formed when the
Isthmus was under the sea.
Scientists and industrialists have
visited the gardens to observe
experiments in the raising of
teakwood or rubber or medicinal
drugs and stayed to wonder at the
strange display of nature's curios
that man has gathered in this
tropical garden.

There are the Talibot, giant of
palms, with 15-foot fan leaves;
stands of bamboo that grow as
much as a foot in 24 hours; and the
"scramble eggs" tree, from which
natives make a dish they say tastes
just like scrambled eggs by boiling
and then frying the white meat of
the ripe fruit.
There are magosteens, a fruit
called the "queen of the tropics"
described as tasting like a combina-
tion of all one's favorite fruits; and
the "miraculous fruit" that

temporarily kills all sour taste buds
on the tongue so one can eat the
sourest of lemons without the
slightest puckering of the lips.
And there is a profusion of
orchids in almost limitless variety
with blooms that may last a single
day or for two months and whose
flower stalks may be a few inches
long or 20 feet long.
Above all there is Summit
Garden's gift of a recuperative lift to
the spirit for those who will pause to
contemplate the wondrous cycles of
the delights of nature.

Above: This orchid, which grows at
Summit, is found in Mexico and many
parts of South America. Below: The lily
pond, a favorite picnic spot. Bottom:
The sun shining through a bamboo
forest creates a distinctively tropical


.......... ......... 1 2 1

...: .... . . .

Era of the



By Willie K. Friar

Tobo in March of this year
signaled the arrival of the age of the
.. "SuperCarrier," the newest concept
in shipping.
The first of the Barber Blue Sea
Line's fleet of six, this extraordinarily
versatile vessel is capable of carrying
trailers, containers, and a great variety
of other cargo by utilizing the most
modern and sophiscated roll-on/roll-
off cargo handling equipment available.
The significant difference between
thi- .es el and earlier ,esin- is th,
hiri,_ [3ryr, 1-31 ," 3" f.,, 3: 3 ntio
lani liih .3.. II i Ihli r3m E 31 IhI
siirr -A h, :"h.p Ph)[ 31 :r3CI -d -,
rnTlCh 'ral i-l ,dljr,-rI Ih i3rl' r r ,g1I

,.,,' GI' 1 le T 3nr gr 3,'u3[ll,
Iric i3"rr, i : ': 2 le T t a T- -h hIr_~ rhe
hu , i.r r m p 31It,-,,,- ur, ?e irie i t d
I L.Ytta. iraiiic ior ry... Car or.*:n
rnd. :11 Ih hr. l 'ih Ihi hk 3 1c bll.1,I,.r
e".r "3let arid more vlb:crlln,.
c r.lrlld rjll, rT :. rT, r I i
pei, lbl .lor ih, Borber Tob i..,

h:u r

T.5t..-. MOP.- mj,; Ihrj?

Above: The "Barber Toba" uses her ramp, which is as wide as a two-lane highway,
to handle a variety of trailers and containers. At left: The gigantic hinged ramp is
folded against the stern of the vessel as she moves through Miraflores Locks.

Described by the ship's owners as
"the greatest cargo handling tool ever
invented," this ramp has a load
bearing capacity of 400 tons which is
equivalent to the weight of 50 sixty-
passenger schoolbuses.
Trailer cargo, known as roll-on/roll-
off or "ro-ro" in the shipping trade, has
become an increasingly popular way
of moving goods in many world ports
including those in the United States,
and Panama. The trailers are simply
driven on an off the ships.
However, it is not the trailer
carrying capability that is noteworthy
on the Barber Toba but the flexibility
of carrying and handling all types of
cargo and being able to be completely
self-sufficient in loading and dis-
charging. The Barber Toba carries its
own fleet of forklifts, trailers, and
gigantic crane, which can lift up to 40
This capability makes it a valuable
means of transport for developing
countries in South America, the Far
East and the Middle East, where often
only limited cargo handling facilities
are available. The fast loading and
unloading capability is a great asset
also in ports, such as Miami, where
crowded conditions make turnaround
time very important. It has been

estimated by its owners that it costs
about $25,000 a day in operating
expenses to keep a ship like the
Barber Toba in port. Depending on
the weather, this ship and its sisters
can move into a port, load or unload,
and leave in a matter of hours.
Another innovation on this ship is
its containerized office. All loading and
discharging operations are controlled
by crew members operating from this
special office. It is stored aboard
the ship and lifted into place at quayside
near the stern ramp at each port to
coordinate cargo handling activities.
Supervisors and other crew members
drive around the vessel in four-wheel
electric cars keeping in contact with
the portside operations office by
The flexibility and versatility of
these SuperCarriers allows them to
transport all types of containers and
rolling stock. Cars and other wheeled
vehicles can be driven aboard and do
not have to be boxed.
The deck for carrying cars has a
special surface which prevents shifting
and eliminates damage during the
voyage. When cars are not being
carried, this deck is hoisted up to
make room for more containers on
the deck below.
It took nine months to build the
Barber Toba, which is 749 feet in
length and 105 feet in beam, at a cost
of $33 million. It cost more than a
million dollars just to equip the engine
room and bridge which have the most

modern instruments available today.
This includes computerized anti-
collision radar, a satellite navigation
receiver, gyro compass, echo sounder,
electromagnetic log, weather facsim-
ile, radio equipment and an alarm
system connected to 250 sensors for
safe operation of the engine room.
Although capable of carrying up to
1,800 20-foot containers, 400 auto-
mobiles and 2,150,000 cubic feet of
baled cargo, the ship requires a crew
of only 27. Facilities for the crew (both
men and women) include a swimming
pool, exercise room, recreation room,
library and private cabins with baths
for each member of the crew.
When the Barber Toba, a Norwe-
gian flag ship transited the Canal, she
was carrying mainly containerized
cargo from the Far East including
electronics, textiles, handicrafts, tile,
cars, and yachts, from Japan, Hong
Kong, Taiwan, and Korea, to be
transported to the United States.
After the ship leaves U.S. ports, it
will head for the Middle East, with a
different cargo which will be, for the
most part, rolling stock including
heavy machinery, and oil drilling
A British, Norwegian, and Swedish
consortium, Barber Blue Sea is
investing nearly $200 million in a fleet
of six of these advanced multi-purpose
vessels, which are to be regular
customers of the Canal.
The agent for Barber Blue Sea at
the Canal is C. B. Fenton & Co.

OCTOBER 1, 1979

3% 1W_~p


One of the largest dipper dredges in the world, the "Rialto M. Christensen" works in
Mamei Curve removing islands and widening the Canal to provide a safer passage
for the increasing number of large ships. Below: Telephoto lens captures heavy traffic
in Gaillard Cut and Pedro Miguel Locks. At right: A container ship in Gatun Locks
and ships moving under the fog shrouded bridge that spans the Canal at Balboa.


All That's Left

Is Her Whistle

By Robert H. Burgess
her day. She had to be for selec-
tion in the role she was to play in the
opening of the Panama Canal. How-
ever, she wasn't all that glamorous.
Instead, she was just another of the
hundreds of pieces of equipment which
did the job thoroughly and helped
bring the entire project to completion.
She was a lowly tugboat which pulled
scows laden with mud and rock
dredged from the Canal site from 1906
to its opening in 1914. Then she re-
mained on the job in the Canal Zone
for 16 more years helping to clear
slides, dock ships, and numerous
other tasks assigned to a craft of all

',' ,. .-, .' 7
Nil ^^^
llm ^alB

Hejr brj-a 'trrrin highly' polshed .th-' GatunL -tearn- med hed h ".4n:on' on l th'e 'ljouuil Irur It cl theI Canal .4u.us't 15.
1914 .AbLe.. The GatLur" '.:a b-' s-''ri ,:frh lerli. in' the' L Ontrlr that a7p'jrpp -rs n tJ,'h dust io.''e l Io'. the -t booik aboul Iuthe
Canri. The Path Biut,'ern ih, Sec "

54 OCTOBER 1, 1979

....._..__ __ __~___I_ ___I~ _I I _iiriil~L_ _

. -f

trades. This was the steel tug Gatun
which was given the honor of being the
first vessel to transit any of the locks of
the Panama Canal.
Gatun started her career in 1902,
having been built that year by the
well-known shipbuilding firm of Neafie
& Levy of Philadelphia. Measuring
91 feet in length, she was originally
named H. B. Chamberlain and owned
by Boot, Dailey & Irving, with a home
port in New York. It is probable that
her job was to shunt scows and barges
around New York harbor and possibly
assist ships in docking-but not for
long. In 1906, as the United States was
gaining momentum in developing the
Canal, a search was made for floating
equipment to assist in the monumen-
tal task. The Chamberlain was pur-
chased by the Isthmian Canal Com-
mission, Atlantic Division, for $65,000
and renamed Gatun. She was based
at the Atlantic end and assigned the
mundane but important job of towing
mud barges and shifting other equip-
There were other tugs in the
Canal's fleet but somehow the Gatun
seemed to stand out in the limelight a
little more than these judging from

some of her other assignments.
Inspection parties would board her to
view the progress of the work. And
occasionally she was used to trans-
port and transfer prominent members
of the Canal's staff and government
officials. After Chief Engineer John
F. Stevens resigned his job on
March 31, 1907, he boarded the
Gatun at Pier 11 at Cristobal to be
taken to the liner Panama to return to
the States.
Gatun was just an ordinary tug,
nothing fancy about her makeup, but
her crew must have taken especial
pride in her appearance. Photos taken
of her during her early years at Pan-
ama reveal all her brass fittings
glistening in the sun, the rims of her
portholes, the searchlight and bin-
nacle atop her pilothouse, door knobs
and locks, running lights, and fire hose
nozzles. Around the topsides of her
hull and draped over her bow, were
large rope mats to protect her sides
when she was working with the heavy,
rugged scows and dredges.
Come the latter part of 1913, the
Canal was readied for operation. Just
how the selection was made is not
known but the tug Gatun was given

The Gatun 1\

led the way .

on opening day
the honor of being the first vessel to
pass through a set of the Canal locks.
She was cleaned up and for the
occasion bedecked with flags as she
departed from Colon for the Gatun
Locks. Additional lifejackets had been
placed around her main deck in an-
ticipation of the extra passengers she
was to carry on that trip. Folding
chairs were placed on her upper deck
under a permanent canvas awning to
accommodate the dignitaries. But her
rugged rope mats remained in position
overside indicating that she was a
working vessel taking a holiday for the
day. And a special one it was.


Bedecked with flags, the tug "Gotun" enters Gotun Locks, September 26, 1913 to become the first vessel to pass through the
newly completed lock chambers.


------- ------ -----~------ ------- - - - - - -a . .. .. ....... . .. .. ........ ...- ------




.." t. .- .,, .--

On September 25, 1913, pre-
liminary tests and filling of the Gatun
Locks were made and all operated as
planned. The 26th had been selected
to lift the Gatun from the sea channel
to the Gatun Lake level, using the
west flight, because of the imminent
departure from the Isthmus of Maj.
James P. Jervey, who had charge of
the masonry construction of Gatun
Locks, and of Maj. George M. Hoff-
man, who had charge of the building of

Gatun Dam, as assistants to their
chief, Lt. Col. William L. Sibert.
At 11:20 a.m., water was admitted
to the upper end of the upper lock
from the west culvert through the
upper rising stem valves and the water
was brought up to lake level. The
upper rising stem valves were then
closed and this water was passed
down the flight of three locks as a pre-
liminary test of the valves and culverts
of the west wall. Water was then
locked down, step by step, from the
lake to the lower lock, which was also
being filled by the two 14-inch sea
valves in the lower guard gates.
On board the Gatun, in addition to
her regular crew, were Col. H. F.
Hodges, Lt. Col. and Mrs. William L.
Sibert and family, Maj. and Mrs.
James P. Jervey, Maj. George M.
Hoffman, Lt. and Mrs. George W.
Goethals (the Chief Engineer's son),
Mr. Henry Goldmark, Mrs. Edward
Schildhauer, Mrs. E. E. Lee, Capt.
B. Corning of the steamship Panama,
and Mr. Frank Thompson of the
Panama Railroad. Capt. F. F. Stewart
was master of the tug and Mr. W. G.
Comber was chief navigator.
The filling of the lower lock was
completed by 4:45 p.m. when the sea
gate was opened. The Gatun, with
whistle blowing and flags streaming in
the breeze, steamed up the approach
channel and past the entrance to the

The Ilerr. rL.q "Cheler.'" lormrrl.'
"Gturin," u.,ia lied up oQ Prao Slreeti,
Baliirrore. Mar.larid in ..lune 195S
!uis before being sold lor icrapprin
At lelt The slearrm u.hile Irom the
mi wi nzow' mourited on a woodni
block at the aih'or'- horre
The irriall u.'htle ao lower right.
used o assl son docA.ing thlps,
w'as added ltler the tug lell
the Canal Zonre

lower lock, cheers from the spectators
resounding within the lock. The lower
operating gates were then closed and
the tug came to a halt alongside the
center wall. Col. George W. Goethals
was on top of the lock wall watching
the proceedings.
The operation was repeated in the
middle lock and at 6:15 p.m. the
Gatun entered the upper lock of the
last lift. Half an hour later the two last
gates were swung open and the tug
passed out on to Gatun Lake, the
whole passage requiring 1 hour and
51 minutes. The next day the Gatun
returned to the Atlantic channel, the
lockage taking 1 hour and 37 minutes.
On October 9, 1913, three groups
of dredging vessels and a floating pile
driver, in tow of tugs, a total of 13
vessels, were lifted at one time from
the Atlantic entrance channel to the
surface of Gatun Lake, using the en-
tire 1,000 foot length of each chamber.
The second group consisted of the
Gatun with the suction dredge No. 86,
several pontoons, and a fuel oil barge
in tow.
More honors were bestowed upon
the Gatun when she was selected as
consort to the steamship Ancon on
the official opening of the Canal on
August 15, 1914. There is a photo of
her steaming just ahead of the Ancon,
approaching Cucaracha Slide, but she
probably dropped astern at the appro-

OCTOBER 1, 1979

1.~- ---- -- ----



Belgian ...... .................. .....
British ....................................... ...............
Chilean ................................... ................
Chinese, Nationalist .....................................
Colombian .................................... .........
Danish ...................................... .............
Ecuadorian.................................... .............
French ....................................... ..............
German, West...........................................
Greek ........................................................
Honduran..................................... ...........
Italian ............................... ................
Japanese ....................................... .............
Liberian ...................................... ...........
Mexican .................................. ..............
Netherlands ....................................................
Norway.................................... ...............
Panamanian ....................................... ..........
Peruvian .........................................................
Singaporean ................................. ...........
South Korean ...................................................
Spanish ...................... ...........................
Swedish .................................... .............
United States...........................
U.S.S.R. ................................... ..............
Yugoslavian ................................... ..........
All other .................................... ...............
Total .......................... .. ..........

6 Months FY 1979
No of Tons
Tronsits Corgo
48 963,208
513 5,638,581
84 839,428
60 665,140
85 588,867
162 2,983,865
133 1,285,861
50 472,153
218 1,720,694
658 10,817,253
51 81,063
104 692,154
505 4,686,440
962 17,588,995
40 507,370
100 552,427
215 3,508,931
529 4,561,344
104 982,689
96 1,371,854
77 1,020,390
57 172,455
97 822,423
865 13,400,876
236 1,104,734
50 547,959
388 2,028,288
6,487 79,605,442

6 Months FY 1978

No. of



Trode route
East Coast United States- Asia.................... ........ ..... .. ..
East Coast United States-West Coast South America .....................
Europe-West Coast South America ........................................... ...........
East Coast United States-West Coast Central America...................
Europe- West Coast United States/Canada ....... ............................
South American Intercoastal .............................. .........................
U.S. Intercoastal (including Alaska and Hawaii) .........................
East Coast United States/Canada-Oceania....................................
Europe- O ceania .................. ..... ....................................... ...
East C oast C anada- Asia .......................................................
All Other .................... .. .................................... ......................
Total ....... ..................................................




O ctober.... ..... ...... ..................... ..........
November ................................. ...............
December ......................................................
January ...... .......... ... ... ..........................
February ......... .............................................
March .........................................................
T otal ...................................... .................
IBefore deduction of any operating expenses.
Statistic compiled by Executive Planning Staff

FY1979 FY1978
1,115 1.028
1,089 947
1,087 1,002
1,072 1,000
949 942
1,175 1,135
6,487 6,054

Tolls (In thousands
of dollars)
FY 1979 FY 1978
$18,279 $14,995
17,611 14.280
18,232 14,848
16,849 14,433
15,162 14,199
19,443 17,022
$105,576 $89,777

6 Monits
1979 1978
TRANSITS (Oceangoing)
Commercial. 6,487 6.054
U S. Government 47 45
Free 7 3
Total 6.541 6.102

U.S. Government
CARGOz (Ocean-
U.S Government

$105.617,016 $89,799,541
452,425 421,735
$106.069.441 $90.221,276





Includes tolls on all vessels. oceangoing and small.
2Cargo figures are in long tons.
Statistics compiled by Executive Planning Staff.

private moment so as not to take away
any glory from the larger ship as the
first vessel to transit the Panama
Canal. That same scene appears in
color on the dust jacket of the new
book about the Canal, "The Path
Between the Seas," but the little tug is
never identified. With a magnifying
glass this writer has seen the Gatun's
name across the front of her pilot-
house in a photo.
For 16 more years the Gatun was to
remain in the Canal Zone carrying out
the chores of a tug. About 1930 she
returned to the United States and was
renamed H. B. Chamberlain. About
1931 she was renamed Point Breeze
and owned by the Donaldson Towing
and Lightering Co. of Philadelphia,
with the home port of Wilmington,
Del. Moving scows and barges, and
docking and undocking ships were her
chief duties on the Delaware River.
In the early 1930's the Point Breeze
shifted her operations to Baltimore
carrying out a regular harbor routine
of towing and assisting ships. While
sailing out of that port she en-
countered what may have been the
most harrowing experience of her
career. On August 21, 1933, the tug
left Baltimore for Gibson Island, Md.,
towing a barge filled with muck from a
dredging operation in Baltimore harbor.
When approaching the Seven-Foot
Knoll Lighthouse 30 miles from
Baltimore, she was wracked by
heavy winds and seas. Water seeped
below deck and the tug was in danger
of sinking. The captain sounded
4 rapid blasts on the steam whistle in
distress and awakened the keeper of


- -- -- ~----'-


(in long tons)

Atlantic to Pacific

Corn.. ......................... .................. ... .. ............
Petroleum and products ..................................... ...........
C oal and coke ........................................................................
Soybeans.............. .....................
W heat ............................................ ........................... .........
Phosphate .............................................................. ............ .....
Metal, scrap ...............................................................................-------------------
Sorghum ...................................... .................----
Chemicals and petroleum chemicals .......................................
Manufactures of iron and steel .............................................
Sugar ..................................... .. ...----- --...... ---...........
O res, various .............................................. ................. ....... .........
Fertilizers, unclassified ..................................... ..............
Caustic soda..................................................... .............................
Ammonium compounds ............................................... ...............
All other ..................... ...................... ..............................
Total............ .........................................

6 Months
FY 1979
5,690 358

6 Months
FY 1978

Pacific to Atlantic

Petroleum and products.................................. ............ .........
Manufactures of iron and steel .............................................
Lum ber and products ................................... ...... .............
Ores, various ....................................... ...............
Coal and coke ................................................................... .
Sugar ....................................................... ... ......................
Food in refrigeration (excluding bananas)..............................
Pulpw ood .................................. ......... ........... ........ ..
Bananas................................... ...... ...............................
M etals, various......................................... .. ....... .........
Sulfur .. ........................................... ......................................
Autos, trucks, and accessories ..................................
Salt ........................................... ........................ .......
Fishm eal ........... ........................ ........................................
W heat ...........................................................
All other ......................... ....... .......... ...
T otal................................ ..... ......

6 Months
FY 1979

6 Months
FY 1978


O ceangoing ........................................... .....................
Small .................................................................
Total...................................... ................

U.S. Government:
O ceangoing ... .......... ... ......... ..............
Small .............................. ............ .......
Total ................................... .........
G rand T otal........................................................

6 Months FY 1979
Atlontic Pacific
to to
Poclfic Atlontic Totol
3,391 3,096 6,487
317 168 485
3,708 3,264 6,972






'Vessels under 300 net tons, Panama Canal measurement, or under 500 displacement tons. Statistics compiled by the
Executive Planning Staff.

the light. Manning a small boat, the
keeper went to the aid of 4 men who
had jumped off the stricken vessel as
she settled beneath the waters of
Chesapeake Bay, and also recovered
the body of the engineer who had died
of a heart attack after he had jumped
from the tug.
The Point Breeze was later raised,
renamed Chester the next year, and
resumed her career around Baltimore
harbor. In 1957 the Curtis Bay Towing
Co., of Baltimore, was recorded as
her owner. Most of that firm's craft
were newer diesel tugs less historical
than the former Gatun but more
suited to the needs of modern
shipping. The Chester was laid up to
await a purchaser but the only offer
came from a scrapyard.

In late 1958 the Chester was
acquired by the salvage firm of Martin
G. Imbach, Inc. in Baltimore for
breaking up. This writer long knew of
the earlier career of the Chester, her
historic association with the Panama
Canal, and desired to preserve some
relic from the craft. As the tug was
being cut apart by torches, I was able
to secure her brass steam whistle,
4 feet in length including its release
valve, before it was shattered for
melting down. If anything on the tug
was original from her Canal days,
other than her rugged hull, I felt it was
the steam whistle which had blown so
vigorously as the Gatun made her
entry into the first of the Gatun Locks
that eventful day in September 1913
when the world was shown that a
vessel could be lifted from the Carib-
bean level to that of Gatun Lake.
A whistle is just about indestructible.
Only the valve, a separate unit, needs
occasional replacing. This whistle
compares favorably with the one
appearing in photos of the Gatun
taken at the time of the opening of the
Canal when its hoarse tones echoed
around the sides of the locks 65
years ago.
It is quite possible that this steam
whistle, now mounted on a wooden
block in the author's home, is the only
portion of that historic ship in
existence and serves as a reminder
of the beginning of a new era in world
shipping. And certainly the Gatun was
one of the most long-lived of any of the
numerous vessels which participated
in the construction of the Panama

OCTOBER 1, 1979

Mary and Herbert Knapp are
teachers in the Canal Zone schools.
They currently are at work on a book
about life in the Canal Zone entitled
An Ambiguous Utopia. It is a
retrospective view of the unique
community where those who built
and operated the Panama Canal lived
and worked for 75 years. The
following article is a digest of a
chapter from that book. The Knapps
are also the authors of One Potato,
Two Potato: The Secret Education
of American Children (Norton,

in Panama belongs squarely in the
American utopian tradition that runs
from the Puritan "City upon a Hill" in
seventeenth century Massachusetts
to the latest condo "paradise" in
Not many of the blue-collar aristo-
crats or shirt-sleeved bureaucrats
who lived on the Zone ever thought of
it as a utopia, but when they came to
the Zone they became part of a small-
scale, managerial society designed
according to a fairly rigid plan. The
theory was that a pervasive pater-
nalism with a corresponding restric-
tion of certain liberties would result in
the happiness, well-being, and most
importantly, in the productiveness of
the people.
It wasn't a perfect society, but
utopias never are, except in books.
Real utopias are experiments. They
take place somewhat apart from the
real world, somewhere between euto-
pia, "a good place," and outopia, "no
place." That's right where the Canal
Zone used to be, along with Brook
Farm, the Oneida Community, Or-
derville, New Harmony, and hundreds
of other American social experiments.




By Mary and Herbert Knapp
Of course, those in charge of the
canal project didn't plan the Zone as a
social experiment. When Charles
Magoon, second governor of the
Zone, proposed establishing a model
government, he was plainly told that
the Isthmian Canal Commission was
in Panama to build a canal, period.
Nevertheless, as the canal workers'
communities developed, the Zone
increasingly resembled the society
described by Edward Bellamy in his
futuristic utopian novel, Looking
Few people know that book today,
but in the decade following its
publication in 1888, Looking Back-
ward outsold anything ever published
in America except Uncle Tom's
Cabin. It appealed to "brains" and
"roughnecks" alike; to wild-eyed
socialist agitators and dewy-eyed
social belles. Bellamy's admirers or-
ganized themselves and became a
political force. In 1935 three American
intellectuals called Looking Backward
the second most influential book of
the preceding half-century! According
to John Dewey, James Beard, and
Edward Weeks, only Dos Kapital had
more influence upon the world than
Looking Backward.
The resemblance of the Canal Zone

to Bellamy's imaginary society didn't
go unnoticed. A visitor reported in
1913, "The dream of the late Edward
Bellamy is given actuality on the
Zone"; about the same time Canal
Zone Policeman 88 testified, "It
strongly resembles what Bellamy
dreamed of years ago." And as late as
1928, a Zonian was still explaining to
tourists that her community was
frequently referred to as "resembling
Bellamy's Looking Backward." She
went on to say, "When Bellamy
journeyed across the Isthmus-in the
eighties-Panama certainly did not
present a possibility, even to the most
visionary, of eventually becoming the
nearest approach to... the ideal of the
Utopia that his remarkable book
But it would be a mistake to
suppose Looking Backward provided
a blueprint for the Canal Zone. The
Zone resembled several nineteenth
century literary utopias, Etienne Ca-
bet's Voyage en Icarie (1840), for
instance. By the end of the nineteenth
century a lot of people had come to
similar conclusions about what a
better world would be like. It would be
very much like the Canal Zone.
In Cabet's utopia, everyone works
for the government, which owns the
factories, cultivates the land, and
provides clothing and household
furnishings-as was more or less the
case in the Canal Zone. But the
uncanny thing about Cabet's Icaria is
that it looks like the Zone.
The city of Icaria is divided by a river
that has been deepened and straight-
ened to accommodate large ships.
The river's banks have been fronted
by straight walls. On an island in the
middle of the river is a palace
surrounded by trees and gardens, and
on the terrace of the palace is a statue

of Icar, the founder, which overlooks
the city.
The Zone, too was divided by a
waterway, a canal, not a river, but the
Chagres River was deepened and
straightened to form the Canal, and at
the locks one even sees the banks of
the "river" enclosed in straight walls.
The Zone's equivalent of Icaria's
palace was the Administration Build-
ing-known on the Zone as "The
Building"-as if there were no other. It
is not on an island in the middle of the
Canal, but it sits on a hill that rises like
an island in the middle of the city of
Balboa, and it overlooks the Canal. It
is also surrounded by carefully ar-
ranged trees and plants. On the
Building's terrace, between the flags of
the United States and Panama, is a

Nw )ysa


". how resourceful they are at
devising methods to keep
the streets clean."

large rock taken from the Cut-not a
statue of the founder, but a monument
to the founders: "Dedicated to the
builders of the Panama Canal . ."
The most outstanding feature of
Icaria is its cleanliness. The character
in Cabet's novel who describes the
Icarians breaks into excited italics
when he mentions how "resourceful
they are at devising methods to keep
the streets clean." He oh's and ah's
about "subterranean canals" that
drain water from the streets and about
the absence of dust and mud.
His paradise is more notable for
what it lacks than for what it contains.
He says that the eyes of the citizens of
Icaria are not offended by street-
corner hangouts, advertisements, graf-
fiti, "rich and pretty shops," or "those

paintings of nudes or voluptuous
scenes. ... Such pictures no husband
would want his wife and the mother of
his children to behold."
Anyone who ever lived on the Zone
will be struck by its similarities to
Icaria. The Zone, too, was remarkably
clean. Its grass was kept cut; its trash,
promptly removed. An admirable
system of subterranean canals, cre-
ated by Zone engineers, drained water
from the streets, sidewalks, and
airfields, mud was not something the
average Zonian worried about-ex-
cept mothers. Children often sought it
out for games of mud football and mud
And like Icaria, the Zone was
notable for what it lacked-cabarets,
gaming houses, establishments of
culpable pleasures. No commercial
advertisements cluttered its land-
scape or airwaves. The Zone's televi-
sion station advertised only morality
and the military life. As for voluptuous
scenes, a Zonian who wished to
purchase Playboy at the Company
commissary had to wait while the
clerk took it from under the counter
and stapled it inside a paper bag. The
Zone, however, was never as pure as
Icaria. It never, for instance, reached
the point where it could do without
Unlike Cabet, who emphasizes the
cleanliness and geometric order of his
utopia, Bellamy emphasizes the or-
ganization of labor and the distribu-
tion of wealth in his. Bellamy's utopia
doesn't have so much the look of the
Zone as the "feel"of it.
As a story, Looking Backward is
pretty corny. But Bellamy wasn't
trying to write a literary masterpiece.
He was a social reformer who wanted
to promote equality and brother-
hood-his "Religion of Solidarity"-
and to make men less materialistic.
The central institution of his dream
world is the Industrial Army. Every-
one from age twenty-one to forty-
five belongs. Related industries are
grouped into ten divisions. The
President of the United States, or
"the general-in-chief," is chosen from
among the retired division-chiefs.
Only retired workers can vote, but
everyone retires at forty-five. From
twenty-one to twenty-four, everyone
works as an apprentice or a laborer.
His performance is regularly evalu-
ated. Those with the highest scores
get first choice of occupational

specialities. There are three grades in
each industry and two classes in each
The Zone was never quite like this,
but it came close. Zonians were
certainly members of an Industrial
Army, one that included 1,754 dif-
ferent kinds of jobs. Only the
Department of Defense listed a
greater variety. And the Canal Army
was organized much like Bellamy's
Army. The Zone, too, had its
divisions-Electrical, Dredging, In-
dustrial, Railroad, Schools, and so on.
What's more, all Zone workers were
classified NM-9 or GS-10 or whatever,
much like those in Bellamy's world.
But Zonians weren't required to work
as laborers for two years in their
twenties, though the Zone did have a
flourishing apprentice program. Nor
did Zonians retire at forty-five and
vote for their governor.
Age entitles you to privileges in
Bellamy's paradise, and as a result, he
was accused of advocating geron-
tocracy. On the Zone, age alone didn't
entitle you to a thing, but length of
service-ah, that was another matter.
Length of service on the Zone could
get you what money couldn't buy-
assignment to the house of your
Bellamy wanted to eliminate osten-
tatious displays of wealth which he
thought were socially divisive, so
everyone in his utopia received
exactly the same pay-from generals
to the inhabitants of insane asylums.
Officers in the Industrial Army were
rewarded with prestige and power but
not cash. At the year's end, all unused
money reverted to the state, so you
couldn't get ahead of your neighbor by
To further discourage people from
buying things just to impress the
Joneses, Bellamy standardized all
products and eliminated competing
retail outlets. Everyone shopped at
the government store, where no
new product was introduced unless
customers petitioned for it.
People on the Zone were never
economically equal, but there was a
good deal more visible equality there
than in most places. The limited kinds
of housing available contributed to
this impression of a relatively narrow
range of inequality. And there was
simply not much scope for con-
spicuous consumption in a com-
munity where everyone lived in rented

OCTOBER 1, 1979

quarters and did most of his shopping
at the "commy."
Did the Zone's approximation of
Bellamy's vision work? Did it en-
courage brotherhood? There was
never any lack of squabbling on
the Zone-especially about housing.
Sometimes the smaller the difference
between two houses, the greater
difference if made to people-a point
planners of future utopias would do
well to consider. And visiting writers
often note that social divisions con-
tinued to exist, something no Zonian
would deny.
The problem was that the Zone was
a one company community. There
was no satisfactory way to achieve
prominence outside the Company
hierarchy. As a result, the social
prestige of the hierarchy went unchal-
lenged, though it was sometimes
On the other hand, in a book
published in 1928, a Zone resident
keeps referring to the "democratic
setting" of the Zone, and she praises
the governor for his "democratic
manner." Clearly she's not referring to
a political system but to an atmos-
phere of informality. If people did not
meet as equals on the Zone, they
nonetheless met. The smallness of the
Zone accounted for that. And usually
Zonians were spared the pomp
and circumstance of ostentatious in-
equality. Then, too, they shared a
connection with an historic enter-
prise. All this may help explain why
ex-Zonians who did not socialize on
the Zone tend to greet one another
like fraternity brothers when they
meet elsewhere.
Bellamy's second goal was to make
men less materialistic. He assumed
that given a margin of economic
security, people would lose their taste
for accumulating possessions. It never
quite worked that way on the Zone,
but for years the lack of air-
conditioning on the Isthmus dras-
tically limited the kinds of possessions
a Zonian could have. In those days the
sparseness and standardization of
household furnishings would have
pleased the most puritanical of
Bellamy's disciples.
Even after the introduction of the
air-conditioning in 1957-1958, the re-
strictions on private enterprise and
the simplicity of life on the Zone
encouraged Zonians to devote them-


selves to a remarkable range of non-
materialist avocations, ranging from
volunteer community work to chart-
ing butterfly refuge areas in Central
The Zone never provided its
residents with the array of choices and
opportunities for personal develop-
ment one finds in the United States.
What it did provide was time. People
lived close to their jobs; no one spent
hours every day commuting to work.
Nor were people offered a great
variety of professional entertainment.
There was plenty of time to "do one's
own thing" on the Zone.
Those things included studying
shells, antique bottles, rocks, dialects,
and South American folk dances.
There were orchid men on the Zone,
and snake men, bug men, bird men.
Painters, potters, pathfinders: Ex-
perts on stage lighting, skin-diving,
molas and the music of Elgar.
And all of these avocations carried
Zonians beyond the boundary of the
Zone into Panamanian theatrical and
musical circles, Panamanian service
organizations, kennel clubs, motor-
cycle competitions, sports arenas,
and of course, into Panama's moun-
tains and jungles.
One of the drawbacks of the Zone
as a utopia is that is was too small. Few
could have remained happy on the
Zone for long had it not been for
Panama and United States "out there"
with their broader horizons. For all its
virtues, the Zone was a limited place.
But then so was Bellamy's utopia.
Just as life on the Zone revolved
around maintaining and operating the
Canal, so life in Bellamy's utopia
revolves around maintaining and
operating his system. One problem
with utopias is that once you're there,
there's no place to go.
For that reason neither the Zone
nor Bellamy's timeless dreamland
could fully accommodate American
ideals. Like the Zone, Bellamy's utopia
contains no political parties. There
were no political campaigns and no
campaign promises. And in the tiny
regulated world of the Zone, there was
no room for the impossible dream.
But one should not overlook the
Zone's considerable virtues. It was a
beguiling place-not a twentieth cen-
tury dream of kaleidoscopic change,
consumption, and magic, but a
nineteenth century dream of clean-

lines, preservation, and rationality.
And though the Zone was centrally
controlled from "The Building," in-
dividual communities had distinct
characteristics. Bellamy would have
approved of that. His utopia was
meant to combine the advantages of
diversity and unity.
For instance, in construction days a
workman described Ancon as on the
way up socially, but insecure com-
pared to Cristobal, "the most 'Statesy'
of all Canal villages." Gorgona was
unruly but hospitable; Empire, arty;
"Pedro Miguelites were given to card-
playing"; Paraiso was serious and
charitable. Some of these towns
disappeared long ago, and the atmos-
phere of others changed over the
years. But any ex-Zonian will have his

".. dedicated to the builders
of the Panama Canal ..."
own memories of the distinctive
atmosphere of his "Canal village."
Bellamy was one of the first
planners who wanted to balance
technology and nature. Perhaps in no
place did men come closer to doing
that than in the Canal Zone, where
the Canal was our machine; the Zone,
our garden.

Among the hundreds o 'nineteenth century utopian
experiments in the United States was an effort to found Icana.
led by Cabet himself At vonous times there were Icaano
settlements near The Red River in Texas: at Cheltenham.
Missouri Nauuoo. Illinois: Corning, lowa, and Claverdale,
California By 18S7 all had Jailed and the Icarians became

On next page:
Aerial view of Balboa.

.... ii.... ..

Ii, ii ..

The lights an the Thatcher Ferry Bridge come an as the sun sets over the Canal an the Pacific side of the Isthmus. Below: Ancon
Hill is silhouetted and Gargas Hospital is clearly visible in the night phota taken from the Lottery Building in Panama City.

64 OCTOBER 1, 1979

The Canal Zone At Night

Like beacons in the night, the lights of
the Canal provide the illumination vital
to its 24-hour operation. Below:
Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks
stand out in the darkness. At right: A
1915 night photograph of the
Administration Building to compare with
our cover photograph. Inside the back
cover: The Fort Amador Causeway is
outlined by the lights of cars and in the
Canal a streak of light indicates the
movement of a ship.


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