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Only employes of the American Government on the Isthmus are permitted to buy goods at the Panama Railroad commissaries, and only coupons representing cash are received in payment.
There are not many good eating places in the city, because most of the people live in their own homes, and the balance, being nothing but bachelors, get along as best they can with the thirty-cent meals at the Canal and railroad mess halls, or in private eating clubs. One can always get a good meal in pleasant environment at the Strangers' Club, but few visitors are so fortunate as to have guest cards. Coach Rates The rates for coach fare in Colon are given in Colon and the following table expressed in American cur Vicinity. rency. Panaman currency has the same fi
value as American, but the Panaman coin 1j twice as large as the American.
Two. Three Four. One coach, per hour..
1.00 1.25 1.50 Between any two points in Cris
.50 Between any point in Cristobal and any point in Colon, in- One way...
.30 cluding Colon Hospital. Round trip .20
.50 Between any point in Cristobal and any point in Colon beyond One way...
. 15 .30
50 or east of Colon Hospital.. Round trip
.30 .50 .65
.75 Between Mount Hope Pumping One way... . 10 . 20 .25
.30 Station and I. C. C. corral... Round trip
.50 Between Mount Hope pumping station and any point in Cristobal or in Colon south of 11th
1.10 1.25 SHOPPER'S GUIDE.
Page International Banking Co......---- .Front & 7th St.....
224 Panama Banking Co........ ...Bolivar and 7th St........ 219
Books, Periodicals, Souvenirs, Etc. Beverhoudt...
Front Street, near 11th...... Irvin & Thomas....
13 & 59 Front St........ Lince & Co..........
Front St., Opp. Station...... 238 Panama News Co......
In P. R. R. Station....... 258 Panama Gem and Curio Co...... 54Front St.
262 Panama Guide... All Book Stalls.
298 Trotts' Novelty Shop...
-33 Front St. opp. Station... 267 Vibert & Dixon.... .Front St. opp. Station
250 Waterman Pens..
287 Drugs, Perfumes, etc. French Drug Store...
.Front St. opp. Station......... 215 Colgate & Čo..
296 Mueller & Co.........
.Front St. opp. Station........ 315
Hotels and Restaurants.
268 Photographs, Developing. City Photo Studio..
.24 Front St. near 7th... 266 Kodaks..
289 Plumbing. Central American Plumbing and Supply Co...... .66 Bolivar St..
216 Provisions. Ullrich & Co.......
218 Sewing Machines. Singer Sewing Machine Co.... Front St..
248 Shoe Repairing Pan-American Shoe Factory.... Bottle Alley & Sth St.. 265
Steamship Companies. Compagnie Gle. Transatlantique.near P. R. R. office.
278 Hamburg-American Co..
.Beach near P. R. R. office.. 274 Harrison & Leyland Lines... Panama Railroad Co. P. R. R. Station..
280 Royal Mail Co.
Pier No. 3......
272 United Fruit Co....
.near P. R. R. office....
Vacations in States. Illinois Central Railroad Co....
282 Watches, Jewelry, Optical Goods, Etc. J. L. Kerr.....
Front & 11th St....
265 Mindi. At this point the Mindi River flows into the bay, and here also the French Canal Company had begun to construct a viaduct for the relocation of the Panama Railroad, required by the construction of the canal. The stone piers for the viaduct may still be seen in the fields on the east side of the railway tracks. The section between Colon and Gatun through which the train is now passing was one of the most difficult for the builders of the Panama Railroad to construct their line through, because it is low, marshy land. The old line ran a few hundred feet west of the present line up to Gatun, but it was necessary to abandon this in 1909 on account of the construction of Gatun Dam, which runs across the old location of the railway. On the left, as the train nears Gatun, may be seen a large dyke of earth paralleling the railroad track. This was constructed for the purpose of holding material from the hydraulic excavation of the canal immediately north of Gatun Locks.
As the train enters Gatun (name probably derived from "gato”, (cat,) as applied to the smooth-running river that joins the Chagres at this point) one may see on the right the walls of the locks rising above the level of the surrounding country, and beyond them the long low mound which is Gatun Dam. The steel towers seen on either side of the lock walls support the cableways on which concrete is handled from the mixers into the forms. The first stop is at New
Gatun, and here, by looking out of the winNative Town. dow, one may get an idea of the two sections
into which every large village of the Canal Zone is divided—the “native'' and the “American" sections. The native section is not inhabited exclusively by natives of Panama, but largely by West Indian negroes and European laborers. It is the part in which one finds the saloons, small retail stores, and the lodging-houses and apartments which are so generally preferred by the negro laborers to the quarters furnished free by the Government. The “native" town is the center of the non-American life. Beyond it is the American settlement, a series of frame houses, all of one type, varying in size according to the salary of the official or employe who occupies them. Here are the family and bachelor quarters for Americans, the mess hall, lodge hall and church, post office, commissary store, and administrative offices.
Hold on to your hat when you alight at Gatun because this is the breeziest place on the Isthmus. The tourist
will do well to go direct to the building on Locks, Dam, the hill, in which is the office of the Division Channel. Engineer of the Atlantic Division, Lieut.
Col. Wm. L. Sibert, and the administrative staff under his direction. From the veranda of this building the best view of the canal that an be obtained from any one point is afforded. Looking nortivard one can see the waters of Limon Bay, the masts of s:ipping in the harbor of Cristobal and Colon, and, nearer, the dredges at work in the Atlantic entrance to the canal. Looking into the valley the locks are seen, and beyond them the dam in process of construction. The plans of the locks and dam are referred to in the section of this book devoted to the canal. The method of construction can be seen from the veranda.
The locks are placed in a hill on solid rock, and are three parallel concrete chambers forming three distinct steps for the purpose of lifting ships from the sea level to the lake section or lowering them from the lake to sea level. The dam is composed of two long mounds or toes of rock and earth running parallel to one another and, on the natural level of the ground, about 1,200 feet apart. Between these mounds an impermeable mass of sandy clay is pumped by suction dredge. The water flows off, allowing the impermeable core to remain between the rock toes. About half way across the valley the spillway is being constructed through a hill for the purpose of regulating the surface of Gatun Lake, in order that the water in flood-time may not
rise so high as to threaten the destruction of the dam. On procuring permission from the office, the tourist may walk down to the locks and cross the chambers upon one of the construction bridges, or, if he is ambitious and willing to undertake a fruitless climb, he may descend into the locks themselves. From the construction bridges one gets a very good idea of what the locks are like, for he sees them in all stages of construction, from the completed walls to those now in process of building, and from the completed gates at the south end to the gates now being erected. (See
Gatun was 'not always a brand-new village perched on a'hill overlooking the valley. Says The Canal Record:
The old village of Gatun, which lay on the river flats below the present town was abandoned in 1908, and the site is now covered by 30 feet of rock and earth under Gatun Dam. At the time it was abandoned, the village contained a church, priest's house, school, a
dozen small shops, and ninety or more small houses of all descriptions, from the bamboo hut with palm thatch to the typical sheet iron roof shanty. Most of the buildings were moved to the new townsite, now known as New Gatun. The railroad line also ran through the dam site and as soon as the present line into Gatun was opened, this likewise was abandoned, and the station building was razed. By the middle of 1909 the last vestiges of the old village had disappeared before the encroaching work on the dam.
The antiquity of the place is uncertain, because none of its buildings were of masonry. In his narrative of the pirate Morgan's march to Panama in August, 1670, Esquemeling says: “The first day they sailed only six leagues, and came to a place called De los Bracos. Here a party of his men went ashore, only to sleep and stretch their limbs, being almost crippled with lying too much crowded in the boats. Having rested awhile, they went abroad to seek victuals in the neighboring plantations; but they could find none, the Spaniards being fled, and carrying with them all they had.”
The location on the river corresponds to that of Gatun, for six Spanish leagues equal about nine miles, and even if the situation of De Los Bracos is not identical with old Gatun the narrative indicates that the region thereabouts was somewhat settled. It is also known that the Spaniards had erected a fort on a hill 120 feet above the river, overlooking the town, which was probably one of the outposts they had established at various points along the isthmian trade routes. Evidences of the old fort are found to-day, and the site is shown on the original land-map made for the Panama Railroad in 1855. At that time the village had about one hundred buildings of all kinds. Writing of it in 1861 Otis says it was a village composed of forty or fifty huts of cane and palm. In the early days of the California immigration it was the first stopping place in the canoe journey up the Chagres, where "bongo-loads of California travelers used to stop for refreshments on their way up the river, and where eggs sold four for a dollar, and the rent for a hammock was two dollars a night."
In 1881 the French chose Gatun as the site for one of the canal residencies, erected machine shops there, and built a number of quarters for laborers, calling the new section, “Cite de Lesseps. This continued as a center of the work of excavation until 1888, when all operations ceased, not to be resumed here until 1904.
When the Americans arrived in 1904, Gatun was the center of a comparatively large river trade. Bananas and other produce from the Gatun, Trinidad, and Chagres Rivers, were brought there for transhipment by rail, and for sale. Once a week, a shipment of from seven to nine carloads of bananas was made, and on the shipping day, as many as a hundred canoes would tie up at Gatun.
The Lake Villages. From Gatun the original course of the railroad lay through the bottom-land along the Chagres River. But on account of the forming of Lake Gatun, the reservoir for the upper level of the canal, the line now leaves the river course, and turning eastward makes a detour around the east side of the lake region. Just before the old line was abandoned The Canal Record printed the following article: