February 2006

I recently visited your website and had fun looking at your photos.  I believe I know at least one person in the photo labeled Balboa gun club.  The man standing at the end is, I am almost sure, Ezra Smith "Smitty".  In the foreground, possibly Jimmy Young.  You might check with Jimmy about this - I understand that Smitty has passed away now.
I have loads of slides that my father took.  You have inspired me to look through them and send you a few.  Nice work on your collection by the way.
Cathy Schloeder

Thanks for the memories as one so once aptly said ! Seems that was another world away things were changing very fast and the memories ebb and flow in my mind. I came across your web page and was very surprised to find the things that seem to stand still in time! the Christmas decorations at Fort Amador the lights on the houses.  The Chinese gardens  I remember they had a zoo with macaws of all colors . I was in the boy scouts and I remember camp Chagres and getting to sleep out under the jungle stars ..I also played the coronet in the junior high band we played "sound of music" with all the bands on the eastern side of the canal zone on a special day. I rode the train with my friends . we swatted the misquotes after the monsoon rains ... we set out on the screened porches in the cool of the evening the balmy breezes and the fragrant air was intoxicating .. the fresh fruit pineapples ,oranges, apples. Bananas  grew in our back yard and letting the ripen on the stalk were so sweet. I can't get them in the states like that you know ? We lived on the corner of the street across from the NCO club we could see the ships go across the fields at Miraflores locks ! I seem to remember a stone fort on the colon side of the canal it was just a shell but had something to do with pirates do you know of this place? it was on the ocean . also there was a hill that had military armaments and was hollow for defense manned by the military on that side too? well again thanks I would like to keep in touch just to have my mind pictures brought to life if that’s OK? 

Sincerely Ron Burnside from Montana Ps snow tonight ! need a cruse on the Caribbean ?  

Thank you !

I grew up in Margarita & Gamboa in the late 60's . We left in 1974 our last house was on Pandanis Place. I Googled Gamboa and found a Resort site where the "swamp" used to be!! My Father was a operator at Miraflores power plant
Thank You for the site
David Smith 

Karin Martin
445 Officers Circle West
Robins AFB



I am so overwhelmed with joy! Your website is so comprehensive. It really tugs at my heart. I lived in Panama throughout the 1980s. My mother is Panamanian and my father was in the service. I have been visiting Panama since infancy and the images I've seen on your site corroborate my memories and experiences- had great times at the Margarita clubhouse, remember going to Coco Solo commissary, swimming at Galeta Point - many, many memories.

Thank you most sincerely,


 Stanley Karpinski 
 304 Jeanette Drive
 Schenectady,  New York



Love your site!!! Super, cannot critique in any way! I was with the Army, at Ft.Gulick, between the years 56/58. A Light Fire Control Repairman on the 75 MM "Skysweepers" guarding the canal. I was assigned a military 3/4 winch truck, to get back to some of the "remote bush sites", during the rainy season. Enjoyed my military career, met Panamanian girls, at the YWCA dances, in Colon on week nights. Always courteous, entertaining and in many cases "Beautiful". Ah, thanks for the opportunity to relive many rewarding moments in the "Republic of Panama", and in the "Canal Zone"!! God Bless You! In Christian Love,

Stanley Karpinski

Lance Rahn
5736 Carb Drive
Fort Worth, TX


I started off married life living in Arriajan, in a one room apartment just at the end of the checkpoint road. My wife and I lived there from June of 1964 until we left in April of 1968. I was in air police stationed at both Howard and Albrook. I remember very well the scenic beauty of Panama and especially Rio Hata, the beach. El Valle was the high point of our travels in Panama and we always found the people to be friendly and helpful.

I enjoyed all your pictures of places we used to frequent.

I just wonder if the apartment building is still there. There was a bojio just down the street.

Dora Davenport de Benedetti
Calle 78 San Francisco-Cocomar 100
Panama City, Panama


I am a 95 year old canal Zone lover , as I did all my school in Balboa - USA American father - I visualize my walking to school from the train station - my going up the building for lunch or at the clubhouse - going to the commissary - going to the pool at the YMCA - I wish there is some one from my time that maybe would remember me. I remember Charlie De Young makes me feel a little nostalgic young - Evelyn Joyner - Helen Bejarano - Carmen Hele - a Bruland girl.  How nice to remember Mr.Grieser - had something to do with the swimming pool- remember Dolores Asparragen - Florentina 0ller, my friend. A wonderful idea - it is always nice to remember where you lived as a child - where you went to school and grew up. I have forgotten names - and even places in the CZ - but memories are coming back - my first grade teacher , Miss BOYD - the music teacher, very tall and thin - I cant forget all those stairs up the building where I went for lunch quite often - very good mashed potatoes.

Tom Holmberg
116 Country Run Cir
Powell, TN   37849



Your pictures bring back alot of memories. I haven't been back "home" in over 20 yrs and this pics remind me of "home". I stumbled onto your site while helping my daughter do a report on Panama for one of her middle school classes.

Thanks for the memories.


6948 Spanish trail
Pensacola, FL



My father was stationed at Ft Clayton 1984-1986, we lived in Gamboa from 1985-1986. I have 4 sisters Candy, Cookie, Coffee, Christy, and myself Cherry. I have very fond memories of a few people. Tony, Gilbert, Luis, Domiciano, Sunny, Max, Gabby, Mitchy, Ricardo, Risheeda, Planeo, Eddie and his twin sisters, Mr. Fallett and his wife, and my swimming teachers at the pool. if there are any of you that may have been in Gamboa at this time and think that you may remember myself or my sisters contact me it would be great to get back in touch with people from that era of my life.

Larry O'Tooleet
Beverly, MA


Hello Bill,

I have visited your site often. It was helpful in getting ready for a trip back to Panama this past January (2006). You've done a wonderful job with your site, chronicling the life of the Panama Canal Area (formerly the Canal Zone), from its early days; through the near century of American operation; to the present. It is through your site, I have actually been able to experience more of the Panama Canal than I had as a young man there.

I lived in Panama in 1974 and 1975 while in the Army; for several months on Fort Clayton, at building 520 which was a barracks then (and now the American Embassy) while I worked in Building 519 (now being built out as the Department of Social Services); and then for the balance of my tour, living in Panama City on Avenida Balboa looking out from my balcony at the Bay of Panama. Panama is a beautiful country.

The former Canal Zone has changed significantly from the quiet perfectly manicured place it once was. Panama has faced some challenges in managing this important strip of land in some respects, but has done an incredible and laudable job of the management of the operation of the Canal; and is making enormous strides in general. Fort Clayton is now in large part, Ciudad del Saber (City of Knowledge), and I can think of no better use for an old military base than to be transformed into a place of higher learning. The Panamanians are now focused on another resource, tourism, and doing an excellent job at getting that up and running. In the not too distant future, I expect that the Panama Canal Area, since it will be a central focus of tourism, will become a perfectly manicured place once again; different than it once was, but beautiful. My wife and I stayed for a few days at the Country Inn looking out at the Canal and at the Amador Causeway. (I was very moved when I happened upon Torrejos’ Mausoleum So many exciting changes are taking place there. And, then we spend a few days at the Gamboa Resort looking out at the Chagres River. The resort is beautiful, but the old town of Gamboa needs some attention. We only spent 8 days in Panama, and I could not re-visit everything I knew from my youth. I cannot stay away from Panama though, and will return for a longer visit in the next couple of years. Like many of those who have lived in Panama, I could see myself retiring there.

I am grateful for this site. I will continue to visit it often, weekly at the very least to see the picture of the week and the accompanying article. A couple of very pleasant years of my youth were spent in Panama, and your site returns me to those days. Thanks and congratulations on a wonderful work. It is so apparently a labor of love.

Larry O’Toole