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PANAMA CITY IN 1857.-Hatched lines show old wall. (1) South bastion, Barracks and Prison. (2) Plaza San Francisco (Bolivar). (3) Plaza Independencia (Cathedral). (4) Bastions of Old Wall (5) Gate and Drawbridge. (6) Santa Ana Church.
The City of Panama.
The new city of Panama dates from Saturday, January 21, 1673, when, in the presence of all the dignitaries of Terra Firma, the Bishop marked the site of the cathedral with a cross, and blessed the place where the new city was to be built. The following year the plans for the walls were completed. Along the sea was built a wall, still standing, from 20 to 30 feet high; across the peninsula, as shown on the map, page 150, another was was built to guard the land side. A drawbridge was thrown over a deep moat that was filled with sea water. It was planned to make the city proof against such raids as Morgan's, and this was accomplished. Two bastions commanded the land side, and one the sea approach. It was cheaper to carry rock from theruins of Old Panama than to quarry it on the tidal flat, and much of the stone in the walls and older churches was brought from the old site. Private residences were built of wood.
Unchecked fires swept over the city in February 2, 1737; March 21, 1756; April 26, 1781; March 7, 1878; and June
13, 1894. These burned everything in their Fires. path; that of 1737 consumed two thirds of the
911 buildings inside the walls; that of 1756 burned the convents of Santo Domingo, San Francisco, and the church of San Felipe Neri; that of 1781 the Jesuit convent and 56 houses; that of 1878 half of the city within the walls, and that of 1894 the whole north side of the walled town, consuming 125 buildings. So it is that there are few old buildings in city. The masonry buildings that have replaced those of wood are of such style, their walls weather so quickly, and they fit in so well with the really old buildings, that one gets an impression of age, which is in fact one of quaintness.
In 1793, the total population of the isthmus was 71,000, not including uncivilized Indians. Of these 7,857 were in
habitants of Panama. In 1870, the census Population. gave Panama 16,106 inhabitants. The di
rectory estimate of 1896 placed the number at 24,159. The census of 1911 gave 37,505.
Electric lights were installed in Panama in 1891. As early as 1890 the plan to bring water to the city from the
Juan Dias River, about eight miles outside Water Sewers, the city was approved, and there was conPavements, fident expectation that this would be done. Lights. But the unsettled political conditions, and
the almost total suspension of the Canal work made the undertaking too expensive. The old method of catching water in cisterns during the rainy season, and using it, eked out by water peddled from door to door by the water vendors who caught it in nearby brooks or took it from wells, was continued until July 4, 1906, when the present system first delivered water. This water is carried from Rio Grande Reservoir near Culebra, on the top of the divide, to Panama in a 20-inch main (until 1912 an 8-inch main), and the same supply suffices for the Canal Zone villages between Culebra and Panama. Every street in the city has a sewer connected with trunk sewers which empty into the bay beyond low-tide mark. Every street is paved with brick or macadam, and all are well drained. The dirtiest slum in Panama is much cleaner than some middle-class streets in large American cities. All the street, sewer, and water in ovements are being paid for by Panama from its water rates. The money for the installation represents a loan from the United States on which interest is paid. There is a well organized fire department equipped with automobile fire engine and hose truck.
Most visitors enter Panama city from the north—that is, by way of the railroad, and the guide assumes that their
acquaintance with the place will begin at that New Section end. By reference to the maps showing the of the City. city in 1854 and again at the present time, one
can see which is the old and which the new sections, and it is evident that the northern part is very new. In fact, is it a creation of the canal-building days. There was no room for much expansion within the walls of the old city, so the new buildings necessary for the larger population were erected outside the walls. To the French period belong the cafes around Plaza Santa Ana, with their boulevard drinkking places; and to that period and the American belong all the other buildings, except the church of Santa Ana itself, to which reference will be found on page 170.
In front of the railway station, which is soon to be replaced with a concrete building in Spanish mission style,
is a triangular plat of ground used as a playground. It is called Railway Plaza at present. On the city side of this plaza is a large three story, fireproof building completed in 1912. It is the International Hotel, and is fitted up with all modern conveniences.
Between the railway station and the Hotel Tivoli is an open square called the Plaza de Lesseps. It is laid off pret
tily in walks converging at the center, where Plaza de there is a tool house, evidence that the work Lesseps. of improvement, begun in 1909, is still in
progress. The rather ragged condition of the grass plats is due to the fact that grass grows very rank during the rainy season, and it would take a dozen men under the direction of an expert gardener to keep this one plaza in condition. Some day there will be erected in the center of this public park a statue to Ferdinand de Lesseps, a power lawn-mower will be continually at work, and the quick-growing palm and royal poincianas will shed a generous shade.
Northward from the park, across the bridge that spans the railway tracks, are the suburbs of Santa Cruz, San Miguel,
Pueblo Nuevo, Calidonia, El Trujillo, GuachaCalidonia and pali, Maranon-all tiny settlements that Other Suburbs. gradually expanded until they merged into
one. Recently this section of the city was paved with macadam, sewers laid, and water mains put in; so tha tall it needs now to make it a desirable place of residence 's a brisk fire, a strong wind, and some good neighbors. The tourist will pass through a part of this section on his way for a drive out the Sabanas Road, or going to Old Panama.
The general direction of Central Avenue is north and south until it reaches Plaza Santa Ana, when it turns almost east and west, its direction through the old city. On the way to this plaza, half the distance between there and the railway station, you pass on the right side of the street a three-story concrete building fainted white, and with a broad concrete portico extending out upon the sidewalk. This very ornate structure, said to be of the late renaissance period in northern Italy, is the clubhouse of the Spanish Benevolent Society. Right next door to it is the American consulate. Two blocks farther is Plaza Santa Ana, so named from the old church that faces upon it, the most interesting place outside the limits of the old city.
Here up to the middle of the old French times was a wide open field, around which seats were built on the oc
casions of great festivals, like independence Plaza Santa day, when bull baiting and other popular Ana. games were played to make the people glad
that they were free. Twenty years ago the square was improved, trees and plants were set out, the walks made formal, and benches placed. The more recent improvements, such as paving with tile, tearing down the iron fence that surrounded the park, and building the pretty concrete benches along the margin have been made since the American occupation. On Thursday nights there is a band concert in this plaza, and then hundreds people, mostly brown Panamans, with a few Americans, promenade. It is a pretty sight.
CHURCH OF SANTA ANA—City of Panama. On the east side of the plaza is the Hotel Metropole, with a balcony from which one may watch the motley crowd in the park. On the north side is the Panazone, a saloon whose name is its chief novelty, composed as it is of the first two syllables of Panama, and the last word of Canal Zone. On the south side are two saloons and restaurants, hold-overs from the Fi ch days, and the Theatre Variedades erected in 1911-1912. Church of Santa Ana page 170.