Photo of the Week
July 26, 2015

This week's photo is another PCC photo like last week's photo of the week.  This one shows the Cristobal High School and the town of New Cristobal.  There are some numbers on the photo that may date it was taken in 1933.  New Cristobal was a magnificint product of the Canal Zone Government.  There are still some of the houses still there today, but in bad shape.  A photo of Cristobal Elementary is shown below.

I posted a "today" photo of the same area which was almost taken at the same angle in 2006 (click here)

Mini History Lesson:

New Cristóbal's construction progressed from 1917 to 1938, and involved filling in swamp areas beyond Cristóbal which allowed the city of Colón to expand too. As part of this expansion, a new Cristóbal elementary school was built in 1918 and Cristobal High School in 1933. This period coincided with the period of Colon's greatest economic prosperity. During these years the port of Cristóbal employed almost 2,000 employees .

The mid-1950s saw the greatest transformation of Cristobal. This change saw a drastic population shift of Cristobalites to new areas in Margarita and Coco Solo, and the redefinition of territorial boundaries which reduced the extension of the Canal Zone on Manzanillo Island. These changes came about as a result of the construction of the town of Margarita, the 1955 bilateral treaty, and the US Navy's transfer of its Coco Solo Station to the Canal Zone government. Cristóbal's population in 1955 dropped to 562, and New Cristóbal's to 1,130.

Starting in late 1957, in compliance with the 1955 Treaty, five tracts of land totaling 48.5 acres in Cristóbal and all of New Cristóbal were transferred to the Republic of Panama. Cristóbal High School was moved from New Cristobal to Coco Solo, the Colon Hospital was moved from Colon Beach to an area south of Coco Solo and France Field, the Hotel Washington came under Panamanian jurisdiction, and the Panama Railroad stations in Cristóbal and Panama City were relocated. Many of the properties transferred as a result of the 1955 Treaty had been owned by the Panama Railroad for over 100 years.

Photos from the Panama Canal Museum / UF collection used in a display at the Panama Canal Society Reunion in 2013.


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