Photo of the Week
August 3, 2014

Last week I posted a great old 35mm color scan of the Presidente Porras ferry boatt and had mentioned that the Porras was not specifically purchased as a replacement for the existing Presidente Amador and Preseident Roosevelt ferry boats but as a tourist boat.  Well I ran across this WONDERFUL old photograph this week while browsing the web.  I found this photo on David Albritton's Flickr photo web site.  I asked David if I could post the photo for my photo of  the week to follow up with last week's photo.  He granted permission and gave me some background on the photo.  David told me the photo was provided by Lou Womack and her comment that went with the photo was "Class of 1953 Seniors field trip on the Presidente Porras".  Thank you David and Lou.  From the looks of the shoreline across the Canal, I would say that the ferry was in Gamboa and probably tied up to the dock that the Porras used in Gamboa.  This is a really great photo.

I have posted two other photos and the corresponding articles below that I scanned from the Panama Canal Review (top 1956, bottom 1960) that are not the best scans because they are from news print paper but are still great showing the cruise ship it was.

Trivia Question:  After reading the last article below, do you know what vessel replaced the Porras as a tour boat?  The Las Cruces which we we all remember and is still being used today by the Smithsonian for shuttles to and from Gamboa and Barro Colorado Island.

Another good article from the November 6, 1959 Panama Canal Review. (Click Here)


Ferry on one of the 35 trips made for tourists so far this year - April 6, 1956 Review

Nearly 10,000 tourists took a good look at Gaillard Cut this dry season from aboard the Panama Canal excursion ferryboat "Presidente Porras." The visitors, who arrived on the Isthmus as passengers aboard a score or more of cruise ships, boarded the "Presidente Porras" either at Gamboa or Pedro Miguel and took a one-way trip through the Cut as part of their tour of the Canal Zone and Panama.During the cruise season, which this year began in December and continued through March, the "Presidente Porras" made 35 scheduled trips with an average of 250 passengers each trip. Twenty-six of the trips were southbound from Gamboa to Pedro Miguel and nine were 
northbound. A total of 6,974 visitors took the southbound trip and 2,360 went in the other direction. In addition to scheduled tourist trips, the "Presidente Porras," was used during the past two months by 175 students from the Canal Zone Latin American schools; 400 students from the U. S.-rate schools; and 850 students from the Republic of Panama for special excursions through the Canal from Gamboa to Pedro Miguel.

April 6, 1956 Panama Canal Review


     When the ferryboat Presidente Porras chugs slowly up the Canal to Gamboa late this month, en route to lay up and eventual sale, she will have no more fervent mourner than Mrs. Arthur J. McLean of Margarita.
     Mrs. McLean was a little girl living on Long Island when the Porras, first as the Frank E. Gannett and later as the Nassau ("we just called it the ferryboat," she says), was on a regular run between Port Washington and New Rochelle. She recalls many pleasant excursions on the now venerable ferry and if she were not in the States on vacation would surely try to make one last trip aboard her.
     When the Budget Committee of the Panama Canal's Board of Directors met here early in May, they decided that the Porras would have to go. They felt that an outlay of half to a quarter-million dollars to put the 33-year-old vessel into safe operating condition was not warranted.
     They ordered an investigation into the possibility of obtaining a vessel to replace her. This replacement must be able to accommodate up to 300 persons and would be used, as the Porras has been, primarily to haul tourists, Panamanian and Canal Zone school children, and other groups on a sightseeing trip through the Cut. As if she knew that this dry season would be the last of her 18 years in the Canal Service, the Porras and her master, Capt. C. S. McCormaek, did themselves proud this year. Altogether, during the fiscal year, they made 90 round trips, carrying 12,500 passengers, while such experts (
PCC Guides) as Fred de V. Sill, Fred Berest, and R. J. Byrne explained the wonders of the waterway to those aboard. 

Taken from the June 3, 1960 Panama Canal Review

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