Photo of the Week
March 11, 2007
Y.M.C.A.s in the the former Canal Zone have always sparked and interest with me. I was surprised when I came across this old colorized post card recently. The post card is captioned "Army and Navy Y.M.C.A., Cirstobal, C.Z. I have never seen this building before as I was under the impression that the old Construction Days Clubhouses served all the construction towns as Y.M.C.A.s as well. The next photo below is that of the Cristobal Club House / Y.M.C.A. that as I mentioned most of the big towns had. The photo of the week above must have been a pre-clubhouse/Y.M.C.A. building.
tried to find out more information about the Canal Zone Y.M.C.A.s and couldn't find too much until I referred to my 1910 John O. Collins book, The Panama Guide. John O. Collins writes, "In six of the Canal Zone villages the Government maintains public clubhouses for its white American employees. The buildings contain waiting, reading, and game-rooms, billiard-room, bowling alleys, and dance-hall that is also used for public entertainments. When the policy of establishing these clubhouses was determined upon the only trained conductors of such institutions in the United States were the secretaries of the Young Men's Christian Association. The Association was called upon to take charge of the Canal builders' social centers for the dual reason that it had the machinery and men ready, and that it makes a good impression in the United States to have Government functions under the guidance of an organization definitely opposed to such social evils as alcoholism and gambling. It is a disadvantage that the clubhouses are furnished free (although ten dollars a yare is charged for each person using them regularly, as a maintenance fee) because it is human nature to feel less interest in things given that in the thing striven for."
The photo below shows the more modern
Cristobal Y.M.C.A. in the late 1940's or early 1950's. Most of us
Zonians remember this building. It still stands today.
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