Photo of the Week
March 20, 2016

The University of Florida - George A. Smathers Library and the Friends of the Panama Canal Museum Collection  will present an exhibition about scouting in the Canal Zone at the 2016 Panama Canal Society Reunion this year.  Lots of work has gone into this exhibition and will certainly be a real treat for those attending this year's reunion.

The Panama Canal Society recently held their March membership meeting at the University of Florida George A. Smathers Library which was a great meeting and very educational.  There was a preview of the scouting exhibition on display with lots of wonderful memories of our scouting lives and memories in our Canal Zone home.  Tours were given to attendees of the facility and collection.

As quoted from a nice booklet published by the Library Press @ UF are these words:


Often heralded as the "gateway to the world," the Panama Canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, merging water, commerce, and culture. Yet its surrounding area, the Panama Canal Zone, was a world unto itself. Extending five miles on each side of the canal, the Zone was controlled by the United States from 1903 to 1979. During that time, many U.S. citizens and their families, working on the construction and operation of the canal, made their homes there.  

Many Canal Zone residents viewed themselves as living a thoroughly American life. An important marker of the American lifestyle in the Canal Zone was scouting. Scouting activities included parades, jamborees, and community-wide fundraisers that brought people together and created a connection to the larger American culture. Perhaps it was also the sense of civic duty, so prevalent in the lives of Canal Zone residents, that fostered a natural connection to the values and activities that scouting embraces.  

While some elements of scout life, like the iconic uniforms and patches, are universal, many things made Canal Zone scouting a unique adventure. From carrying a machete to sleeping in jungle hammocks, Canal Zone scouts have fond memories of their exceptional experiences. Those experiences are highlighted by these objects, images, and stories from the Panama Canal Museum Collection."

In the next few months before the 2016 Panama Canal Society Reunion, I will be featuring old photos of scouting and scouting events in the Canal Zone.

This week's photo is a rare one taken on April 21,1916 on the Island of Taboga during a Boy Scout Outing - Camp.  Just think for a moment that all these scouts are children of Panama Canal Construction Workers.  There are quite a few young boys participating in scouting in the early days of the Canal Zone.

I would like to direct you to the brand-new website that the University of Florida has created for the Panama Canal Museum Collection.  There are lots of important links that are useful to all Zonians, students, researchers, etc. Click this link: 

One important set of links that I just used to look up my wife's grandfather (Roosevelt Medal Holder) was: Click the link "Digital Collection" and it will take you to a page with tons of information.  The link from this page that I used to find my wife's grandfather was: How to use Panama Canal Personnel Records at the National Archives (finding Ancestors). Once on this page, page down until you see #8. Panama Canal: Service Record Cards, 1904 - 1920.  This will take you to a website called Family Search.  Type in your ancestor's name and it will bring up their record card.  This is just one fantastic resource if you are looking for an ancestor from that time period.

There are many other links that you can check out and be amazed at how much information is out there.


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