Photo of the Week
December 16, 2018
Here we go with another chapter of that lot in Balboa which once stood the old YMCA. When the YMCA building was torn down (exact date unknown at this time but had to be early to mid 1930s) a new wooden building was built in the foot print of the old YMCA. The caption on this photo states it is building 836 and is the East Balboa Annex Grade School.
During the 1920's and into the early 1930's the Canal Zone school system was having some serious growing pains with the constant increase of grade and high school students. The concrete building which we all know as the Balboa Elementary School below the Administration Building was originally built in 1917 for grade school students on the first two floors and high school students on the third floor. Well .... the grade school students were slowly pushed out of the school building and had to be located elsewhere. Research I have done mentioned four old wooden buildings in the Balboa area that housed the displaced grade school children. These building were not close together and created hardships for all concerned. The Canal Zone Government finally decided to build a new High School next to the Canal Zone Jr. College building in Balboa that all us Pacific side Zonians attended. This week's photo is one of those four old wooden buildings that would serve as a grade school until relief was had.
Note worthy of this photo and very interesting is the Royal Palms in front of the building. These are the remain palms from the days of the YMCA, but have been reduced from the original twelve to six.
The street (Wight St.) to the right of the building is still in use in 1939 but will disappear in the early 1950s when the new Balboa Flats were to be built. Wight St. would then be on the left of the building taking the place o the old Owen St. The trolley tracks are still seen across the street from the building. Note the Civil Defense bunker under the building.
I read in the 1959 CZ
phone book that this building was being used as a CZ Jr. College men's dormitory
during that time. In the 70s, I remember the building being called
the "Penn State Hilton" which housed Penn State students
studying in the Canal Zone. I
understand that it is a Merchant Marine school today.
Evidently the old
building was and still used all these years as a place of
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