Photo of the Week
March 11, 2001

Here is a real classic post card that I recently came across.  The narration on the back of the card reads:

Cristobal Commissary, Cristobal Canal Zone - Located at the end of "Front Street," the corner of which forms one of the boundaries between Colon City, Panama and Cristobal, Canal Zone, is the modern shopping center for Zonians of the Cristobal area.  the store covers two floors and offers a complete general line of merchandise.

I remember as a kid we used to sit in the club house section of the commy downstairs and have a cold pop while waiting for the train back to the Pacific side. My mother loved shopping in Colon and would make frequent trips over on the train.

The old commissary burned down during 1964 the riots.  Below is a photo of a U.S. soldier looking out over the smoldering commissary from a window in the Masonic building.  The Masonic building was a key defensive position for American troops at Cristobal.  Rioters tried unsuccessfully to burn it down too.
LIFE Magazine, January 24, 1964

Another important piece of our Canal Zone history!

Additional info about the post card above submitted after: 

More notes for your Cristobal Commy postcard (top of page).  It was produced in 1947 and it had to have been taken in February as the (white) triangular flag on the pole in the foreground is the Carnival Flag.  In those days, Carnival was big doings.

I've also attached some photos showing the destruction of the Commy in 1964 as well as damage to the Masonic Temple and the YMCA. (Click the links below) These photos were sent to my mother Marie (Kleefkens) Fraser by her brother and sister-in-law, Lewie and Jibby Kleefkens. 

Andrew W. Fraser

Other great photos of the '64 riots aftermath of the Cristobal Commissary.
Photos provided by The Kleefkens Collection

Aftermath 1 Aftermath 2 Aftermath 3

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