« PředchozíPokračovat »
for the purpose of carrying air and water mains to the east side of the trench, from the source of supply on the west side.
In Empire are all the features of a canal village, and it is taken as the type described elsewhere in this book (Page 42.)
Culebra means “the snake.” It should have been called Emperador, because it is from this point that the dictator
ship of the Canal Zone is wielded. It is the Culebra capital, the home of the Chairman and Chief
Engineer, of the President of the Railroad, the Governor of the Canal Zone, the resident member of the Fortification Board, and of a dozen prominent officials, including the Assistant Chief Engineer, the Assistant to the Chief Engineer, two Division Engineers, the Electrical and Mechanical Engineer, the Chief Quartermaster, and all the designing engineers.
It was a little hamlet nestling among the hills near the summit of the divide when the Panama Railroad surveyors ran across it in 1850. In 1854, it was the terminus of the railroad and enjoyed a brief prosperity as the place where travelers stayed overnight and paid exorbitant prices for food and bed. Then it sank into insignificance until the French took up the Canal work, when it was made one of the centers for excavation in Culebra Cut. It was a typical Canal village with quarters for officials, labor barracks, storehouses, and Chinese stores. A force of 700 men was at work in the Canal at this point when the Americans took charge in May, 1904, and the village has therefore been a canal-worker's lodge since 1881.
In 1906, the Chief Engineer, John F. Stevens, moved his headquarters from Ancon to Culebra, and since then it has been the real center of the official life of the canal. On the top of the hill is the administration building, a long twostory barrack-like structure, and on the slope towards the canal were erected the quarters of officials and employes.
But since 1909 Culebra has gradually been sluffing away, for it is here that the largest of the celebrated slides is in
movement. The west bank of the canal moves Culebra Slide towards the prism according as the toe of the
slope is dug out at the bottom, and thus gradually there have disappeared in the Cut whole sections of the village, although never so rapidly but that the houses could be removed. In 1910, the work of digging from the top of
this moving mass was begun, in order that by lightening it, the tendency to move forward of its own weight might be ļessened. The village is gradually being rebuilt on the back slope of the hill, as the slide encroaches on the old site.
In 1908, the population of Culebra was 5,516, and it was then the largest of the canal villages. Now it does not number half that many people, and the first place in population has passed to Empire.
Returning now to the east side of the Canal and to the main line of the railroad, the train stops
Paradise, for that is what Paraiso means. The Paraiso original line of the Panama Railroad crossed the divide through the pass now
used by the canal, and Paraiso was the first station beyond the summit. It was just a stopping place until the French took up the Canal work, when they made it one of their district headquarters, established a small machine shop there, and built quarters for officials and laborers. Later this was the site of one of the proposed high level locks.
The Americans enlarged the shop and added to it a shed for hostling locomotives. In 1908, at the time of the reorganization of the work by Colonel Goethals, Paraiso Shop was abandoned, and the trains ceased to stop at the village. (Just think of living where the trains don't stop.) The old shops are now used for the storage of machinery to be erected in the locks at Pedro Miguel and Miraflores.
Just before entering Paraiso the traveler gets a view of one of the prettiest interior valleys to be found in Panama.
Yet it is typical of a large number of similar Prison Site basins among the hills, apparently completely
enclosed, but really drained at some inconspicuous spot by a little creek. This is the site chosen for a penitentiary, if it is ever decided to erect a permanent prison on the Canal Zone. It is likely the matter will be left to the military government that almost surely will be established here after the Canal is opened. Paraiso had 2,622 inhabitants in 1908, the time when it was most populous.
There is a hill back of Paraiso, from the top of which one can see the tower in the ruins of Old Panama. It is said
that from this hill the pirate Morgan caught Hill of the his first glimpse of the city. Whether true Buccaneers or not, this is surely less important than
From "The Cut" to the Sea Pedro Miguel and Miraflores date from French Canal times, and bear respectively the names Saint Peter Michael, and Miraflores, a distinguished Spanish soldier. At Pedro
Pedro Miguel. Miguel the French had two dredges in operaMiraflores. tion, and there they had made emplacements
for their locks. Under the American plan, it is the site of the first flight of locks that will lower ships from the level of Gatun Lake to that of the Pacific. Here is an engine house where as many as eighty locomotives tie up for the night. One of the most interesting sights on the canal is watching these locomotives leave the engine house for their work in the morning. The first one leaves about 6.30 o'clock, and the last is clear of the yards ten minutes later. Pedro Miguel had 1,623 population in 1908.
At Miraflores also the French had a small settlement, ! and this has been continued by the Americans, largely as a labor camp. Here are being constructed two of the locks required in completing the descent to the level of the Pacific, begun at Pedro Miguel. These locks will be the last finished and they are therefore the most interesting sight on the Canal work, because more kinds of work are in progress here than elsewhere.
When the lake is filled and ships are moving through the Canal, the Panama Railroad will be one of the prettiest
in existence. For thirty miles the train will Miraflores skirt the borders of a lake; for nine miles Tunnel. more along the side of Culebra Cut, where Scenic the masts of ships will show up from the Railroad. canal and one will be unable to see the ships
themselves from the car windows; for many miles through picturesque jungle; then it will look down upon the locks at Pedro Miguel, and run along the edge of another lake. Finally, and fitting climax, it will dash
through a tunnel, and when it emerges one will see, straight ahead, Ancon Hill, the eminence that overlooks the Pacific entrance to the canal, while beneath his eyes will be the locks at Miraflores, and the sea-level channel stretching away to the ocean. This is something to think about as the train passes through the tunnel. The tunnel is 736 feet long, 15 feet wide, and 211 feet high above the tops of the rails. It is lined with concrete. It was begun on July 1, 1907, and completed one year later.
This village is the headquarters of the Pacific Division, and the long low building on the knoll east of the railroad
is the office of the Division Engineer, Mr. S. Corozal. B. Williamson. Near it is the residence of
the Assistant Division Engineer, Mr. J. M. G. Watt. It had 661 inhabitants in 1908 and has about a thousand now. The name means a clump of coroso palms. The village is mentioned before the founding of New Panama.
If your train happens to be the one that enters Panama at night, you will see, as it approaches the city, the lights
of what appears to be a scattered village at Ancon. the base of a big hill. These are the lights
of Ancon, the American settlement suburban to the city of Panama. It is named Ancon after the hill on whose terraced slope it is built, and the name means a roadstead or anchorage. It does not appear that there was any settlement here, according to old maps, until the