Photo of the Week
August 14, 2016

I was going through the hundreds of original photos taken by Panama Canal Construction worker Ralph Sartor today and found an interesting little study.  There was a three sided monument built by the Panama Railroad Company (in what was then called Aspinwall later to be called Colon) to commemorate the three men who pioneered and completed the 1855 Panama Railroad.  These three men William H. Aspinwall, John L. Stephens and Henry Chaucey.  On each side of the three sided monument are there names and a bust of each.  John L. Stephens who is shown in the photo above was the man who surveyed the route that the railroad would eventually be laid.  Stephens was also instrumental in negotiating with the government of Columbia to have access to the land for the railroad. Unfortunately Stephens never saw the completion of the railroad as he contracted a disease and died in 1852.

I found this photos to be interesting as they show different times in a timeline back during Ralph Sartor's days in Panama.  The photo above and directly below shows the statue next to the Colon House on Colon Beach.  This area of swamp that was the area first filled and built on in 1850. It was a pleasant area because of the constant on-shore wind from the bay.  The bottom photo shows the brand-new Washington Hotel where the monument was relocated to at the time of the hotel's completion.  Across the street is the old Christ Church.

I was looking on the Internet to see if the monument is still by the Washington Hotel, but it isn't.  I see on the Google Earth aerial that there is a building on this lawn now.  I also found a photo of the monument that looks like it is on the side of the road by the entrance to Colon, but couldn't be certain of that.  If anyone has any current photos of the monument and it's location, please let me know. 


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