Photo of the Week
September 21 2003

     Here is a great history lesson that just resurfaced recently.  For many years the black and white Gorgona/Panama sign shown on top has been on display at the Balboa Train Station.  This sign was part of the Locomotive 299 display.  My Dad told me that he remembered seeing this same sign many years ago along the old gravel road that ran over the Mandinga River and towards the old town of Gorgona.  Evidently someone took the sign from this roadside location and brought it to Balboa for display.  This sign is still on display today at the Balboa Train Station.  Canal Zone Images contributor Art Mokray took these two photos recently.
     I always wondered if there were other signs like the Gorgona/Panama sign and now I know there was.  I recently found the rust colored sign below the black and white one at a ebay live auction.  This second sign must have been on the old Empire to Paja road.  One side reads Empire 3 Miles and the other side Zone Line 3.32 Miles.  A good friend and CZ historian told me today on the phone, that he had a sign exactly like these that was on the Zone/Panama boarder, which also had the mileage to Empire.
     As you can see, both signs are identical in construction and probably was cast from the same mold.  There must have been many of these wonderful old signs made and posted along the highways of the early days.  My friend suggested that these signs must have be cast in the Empire or Gorgona foundries. 
     I wish I could have gotten the Empire sign, but the bidding got too rich for my budget and I lost out on it.  I guess I should have gone for broke to obtain it so that it could go into the museum.  I wrote the auctioneer and gave him my contact information with hopes that he would pass it on to whoever the auction winner is.  I was really hoping to contact him/her to make a deal.

I love finding parts of our heritage, but then get so upset seeing these items being farmed out to people that have no roots from our Canal Zone home!!!

"Long Live the Memories of our Canal Zone Home"

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