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structure that is said to have cost $125,000. It was used later as a hospital for Colombian troops, and from 1904 to 1910 was used by the Americans as a quarantine station. In February, 1910, it was sold for $525, on condition that the buyer would remove it. This was to make way for Ancon Quarry. The house was called “Dingler's Folly."
In 1899 the terminal pier of the Panama Railroad was opened to traffic, and since then the village has been both
a canal and railway settlement. The AmeriPresent and can Canal work required the enlargement of Future of Bal- the marine shops and this was begun in 1905 boa. for the purpose of rebuilding some of the old
French dredges. The dredging and machineshop work are now carried on under the direction of Mr. W. G. Comber, resident engineer, and James Macfarlane, superintendent of dredging.
At this point there is now in progress the erection of terminal docks, and the construction of a dry dock and coal supply station. In the course of 1913 construction of the buildings for the Army and Navy headquarters will probably be begun. While most of the canal villages are looking backward on their glory, Balboa is looking forward to a larger population, more work, and greater importance than it has yet known.
A Canal-Builders' Village.
At the headwaters of the Rio Camacho, there is a broad basin between the surrounding hills, half a mile in width and several miles long, but gradually becoming narrow at either end. At the broadest part of this basin is situated Empire, most of its houses on the low flat ground, but a few built on the sides of the hills. It is taken as the typical Canal village because here are all the features of any of the settlements, many that are not included in some. A road runs across the valley and climbs the hills on either side, and at right angles to it runs another highway connecting the village with Culebra on the south and Las Cascadas on the north. Along these roads the village has built up, although there are a few short side streets. There are four distinct sections of this village-that where the white Americans live; that occupied by local merchants and those natives, Chinese and negroes, not at work on the Canal; the negro settlement; and the European labor camp.
The best part of the village the Americans have naturally monopolized for themselves. Their homes and bachelor quarters are built along the principal streets, and there also are the public buildings. The homes of the betterpaid officials are really handsome structures, all of wood, two stories high, and so openly constructed that the air can blow through and keep them cool.
A typical house has a veranda on two sides, two big airy rooms in front, an open room at the back with only mosquito screen between it and outdoors, used as a diningroom, alongside it on one side a kitchen, and on the other a servant's sleeping-room. Upstairs are bed-rooms, bath, and toilet. The house will comfortably accommodate four or five persons, and the occupants usually number a man and his wife and a child or two. One who receives a salary of $400 a month or more is assigned such a house as this or a better one. Another typical house is a one-story bungalow, with a veranda across the front, two living-rooms, a bed-room, a dining-room, kitchen, and bath and toilet. All the rooms are tiny. They are built for young married people presumably; but more frequently than not they are occupied by a man and his wife and four or five children, because, somehow or other, poor people breed most. One who draws a salary or wage of $200 or less lives in such a house, or perhaps he has one of the four apartments in the fourfamily houses; if so, his accommodations are about the same as those in the cottages. All the houses, large and small, are of this type, unless it happens that there are left some of the three-room cottages provided by the French for their employes, and irreverently called by the Americans, “dog houses."
There are two features of the housing that are rather unique--the broad verandas which are used almost entirely as sitting-rooms (the families practically live there), and the lack of cellars. The houses are built on piers of concrete and sticks, and if one lives on a hillside there is left a good place under the house for the children to play. Altogether the housing effect is good, and the accomodations excellent. Electric lights are furnished.
The commissary is situated in the center of the American village a long low building, neatly divided into de
partments; for this is a general store of the Commissary type known as “country store" in the United and Other States, only better. Here every morning meet Stores. the housewives of the village to select the
food for the day. Here all day long people straggle in to buy food, clothing, and toilet articles, or perhaps to invest in some of the pretty china exposed for sale. The prices are lower than in the States, generally speaking, and the service is just as prompt. You must carry the goods home. Every morning, however, the order boy calls at the house and takes your order for the day, if you choose to buy that way. This order is delivered to the house before noon. But it better to go down to the store, because one meets others there, and if there is any news floating around it is there that one hears it.
The other stores are run principally by Chinese. They are situated outside the American village, and are patronized chiefly by the native, non-Canal worker element, although the Canal worker often finds there articles that are not carried in the commissary. One of these stores is run by East Indians, and is a fancy-goods shop where there are sold very pretty articles of oriental make, such as fans, silks, brasses, and fancy crockery.
The Commission clubhouse, conducted by a secretary of the Y. M. C. A., is the chief center of the village life.
This building is two stories high, roomy, Social Centers, and cool. In the center is a broad lobby,
on one side of this a pool and billiard room, on the other a reading room with magazines and books, behind it a quick-lunch counter. In the annex at the back are barber shop, locker and toilet rooms, baths, bowling alleys, and a pavilion in which soft drinks and ice-cream are served. Upstairs is the assembly hall, with a stage at one end, and here are given moving-picture and other shows, and are held the bi-weekly dances. Also on the second floor are retiring-rooms for women, and a game-room, where mighty battles are fought by bishops, knights, and pawns, to decide the old foolish question as to which king shall live.
A building used as a church and lodge hall stands a little distance away from the main street, and there meet the religious organizations that have no meeting places of their own; and upstairs, over the chapel, such secret societies as are established here. Among these are the Kangaroos, Odd Fellows, Pythians, Red Men, Rebekahites, Knights of Columbus, and Masons.
This is really not a hotel but a mess hall, because one can not rent a room here. It is a long one-story building,
with a broad veranda (on which men who Commission have their coats on may eat), a big room filled Hotel with tables (where eat the coated and coat
less), and a kitchen where the food is prepared. An employe pays 30 cents a meal, and kicks; a tourist pays 50 cents, and says it is excellent. Both are right. The meals are much alike every day, and that is why the regular boarder complains; but they are the biggest thirtycents' worth of food imaginable. Yet they actually cost only 30 cents, because the hotels are self-sustaining. There are two features that wear on the nerves—the heaped up bottles of catsup, chowchow, jelly, pickles, mustard, chutney, mayonnaise, and other delicacies and relishes in the center of the table; and the clatter of dishes that always characterizes a “hash house." But this must be expected in a place where a wholesome meal with an abundance of food costs only thirty cents. The Episcopalians have a church of their own, and so
have the Roman Catholics. They are very actChurches. ive congregations, with something doing three
nights a week. The Empire on Church, the Baptists and other sects meet in the public church and lodge hall, and there are two churches outside the American settlement for negroes,
The baseball park occupies a lot near the center of the village; and here, while the players in the States are tend
ing bar or resting during the winter months, Sports. the Canal Zone nines contend every Sunday
for the championship. There are good games, and no end of enthusiasm. At one end of the village are the tennis courts, and here, too, good games are played, with regular tournament series during the dry season.
At noon and at night the trains pass through on their trip across the continent. Scores of men gather here to
watch the pretty faces that are poked out of The Train the car windows. Some people get on the
trains and others get off, there is an exchange of greetings all around, and then they all go home, in pairs or groups, talking about one another, or discussing the latest news of the Canal Zone and the world, as brought to them by the newspapers. This typical village comprehends all kinds of workingThe engineering and administrative office for the
excavation of Culebra Cut is on the hill on the The Workers. east, at the foot are the shops, at the other
end of the village on the toe of the opposing hill are the offices of the Comptroller and of Disbursements. Here live steamshovel, transportation, and powder foremen-laborers, clerks, officials, engineers, and draftsmen-all classes of Canal workers. All told they number quite five thousand people, making the Canal Zone metropolis.