Photo of the Week
January 12, 2014

I was scanning though my external hard drive this week and came across this photo that came from an old photo album that I scanned some years ago.  The photo album is called the William's Album, but have no other information about it.  Anyway, this is a great old photo showing the Bas Matachin Mess crew.  These guys prepared many meals for the laborers in the area. Bas Matachin was one of the villages across the Canal from Gamboa.  Most of Matachin is under water or dredge fill today.

An excerpt from John O. Collins 1912 book The Panama Guide talks about Matachin: 

This is the Spanish word for butcher, and this village, or site of it, also appears on Esquemeling's map.  Therefore the current Isthmian-folk etymology that it is a combination of the words "matar" to kill, and "Chino," signifying a wholesale death among Chinese laborers engaged in the construction of the Panama Railroad, is erroneous.  For years this was the point which trains from Panama to Colon passed those going the other way, and it had some local importance on that account, because the wait here often ran as high as half and hour.  In the time of the first French company it was a labor camp, excavation was carried on here, and a few miles below, at the point they called Bas Matachin, the shops were situated.  These shops have since been enlarged and refitted into the present Gorgona Shops.  The Americans also did considerable excavation at this point.  It is the starting place for canoe trips up the Chagres River.  As soon as the Gorgona Shops are moved to Balboa, the cause of existence of Matachin as a camp of canal laborers will have ceased and the village will again sink into a hamlet.  In 1908 Matachin had 2,042 inhabitants, of whom 698 where whites, but its population has greatly decreased since 1909, when excavation at this point was completed.

Another great capture in time.

Home| Photo of the Week | Photo Archives | Main Show Room | Photo Room | Military History    
PC History
| Sign Guest Book | Read Guest Book | Search CZ Images | CZ Web Searcher
Gift Shop | Links