Trans-Isthmian Pipeline Project
and the Monte Lirio Bridge
November 6, 1942

The village of Monte Lirio was a typical "bush" hamlet before the railroad work was begun on the Panama Railroad's relocation. It had houses of thatch, or board and thatch, its streets muddy, and no sanitary conveniences.  It drowses on in much that condition now, while near it is the new Monte Lirio, known as Mitchellville, so named after a foreman popular with the workers.  At various points along the line, town sites have been laid out in order that people driven from their homes in the Lake Region may have somewhere to rebuild.  On either side of the train as it passes through this section may be caught pretty glimpses of the jungle, the trees and plants always green, those that dry up in the dry season being so few as to make little impression on the general color-scheme.

One half mile north of Monte Lirio the railroad crosses an arm of Gatun Lake, which reaches up into Panama territory by way of the valley of the Gatun River.  The bridge is 318 feet long and is built in three spans, two of them composed of fixed girders 103 feet long, and the bascule or lift span, which can be raised to let ships pass into the upper part of the lake.

The Panama Guide, John O. Collins, Copyright, 1912

We used to fish around the Monte Lirio bridge for Peacock bass.  When I lived in Fort Gulick, we would launch our boat at the Aquativity Center and run out to the bridge.  It was also the only way to get out into the main Gatun Lake anchorage basin area.  We used to climb on the old bridge to see how it worked.  Interesting...

I was very fortunate to scan these old photos that documented a historic event in Canal Zone history.  PCC Dredging Division took the Dipper Dredge Gamboa behind Monte Lirio to dig a underwater trench to lay the pipeline. The Trans-Isthmian pipeline ran from Rodman to Coco Solo and pumped petroleum / oil through it.  It was originally built and maintained by the U. S. Navy.  Later, PCC used it.  There was a pump station in Gamboa that was part of this pipeline that we explored in the later years after the jungle took it over.  My Father told me he did a few jobs there when he worked for Terminals Division / Bunkering.  The old pipeline still sits at the bottom of Gatun Lake and in the jungles today.  A forgotten past of our Canal Zone history.

Click the thumbnail to view a larger image.


Click map for Monte Lirio's Location


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