Photo of the Week
February 22, 2009 

I love this old color post card that is probably late 40's early 50's vintage. I hope the  600 pixel size is large enough for all to see the best part of the photo.  The best part of this photo is the town of Diablo, which is basically still in the Third Locks Construction housing phase.  The newer concrete housing has not been built yet and Diablo has not evolved into how most of us Zonians knew Diablo.  In addition, Section I is in full swing on the left  boarder of the photo.  Section I was always a cool place to go and rummage for stuff. I remember my Dad spending hours there getting screws, bolts and nuts from all the discarded stuff.  Then there is the Balboa Harbor that we all knew and sitting at dock is the Aircraft Carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt.  There is a totally different view there today.  All the buildings and docks have been removed and made ready for a full container port.  It is so funny that Uncle Sam or the Isthmian Canal Commission excavated all this area and built the Pier 18 which is on the opposite side of  the Carrier FDR.  The new authority has filled all the area that the Americans excavated in order to expand the docks into a container port.  Go figure!  The long buildings in the foreground that were part of the Panama Railroad shops and Balboa Shops are now all gone.

What a great capture in time and a great view for our Canal Zone memories.

See below for after posting comments and additional photo.

Photo and comment submitted by Bob Newell:

Thought you may be interested in this 1956 photo of the FDR after being fitted with an angled flight deck. She was too wide for the locks so she was on a goodwill tour as she went around South America.


Post publication post from CZ Images visitor:

The photo of the U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt was taken in 1957. I had the opportunity to go on board for a tour while it was in Balboa. The FDR only had propeller driven planes on board because its flight deck was too short for jets, as I remember. I also remember more than the usual number of sailors and midshipmen in town, especially at the YMCA.
Bill Lane
Former resident of Fort Gulick (1955), Curundu (1955), and Quarry Heights (1955 - 1958)


Thanks for posting the picture of Diablo Heights.  In the picture to you can see the  Diablo Heights Elementary School, where I was going (1949) about the time the picture was shot.  There was the big athletic playing field we enjoyed during lunch and recess behind the school building.

And down at the end of the field was a big mangrove swamp that constituted the canal bank along Diablo.  Now there was no chain link fence( as there would be today), and during recess as 11 and 12 year old boys we inevitably drifted down to the swamp for adventure.  There was an abandoned ‘canoe” that had been fashioned from an auxiliary airplane fuel tank bisected lengthwise.  It was all too exotic and exciting and I played hooky one afternoon by staying down at the swamp after recess until the bus came to take us home to Fort Clayton.

Thanks for the memory jog.

Tom Russell

Thanks to all for submitting comments and photos.






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