Bits & Pieces

July 11, 2010

A Few Old Photos

Mystery Canal Zone Building

Bob Karrer, who lived in the Canal Zone several years, states that the Mystery Building (red circle) about which we have been inquiring is the old Abou Saad Masonic building which was destroyed in the 1920s by a truck that ran into it.  He claims he is 100% certain that this is the case. I have doubts because this building seems too big to be destroyed by a truck.  He told me he would send me a photo of this building, but I have not heard from him for quite a while.

Update 7/15/2011 - Mystery Building I.D. Confirmed

You may recall that several months ago I was trying to identify a building that showed up on an old photo of the Administration Building and Ancon Hill.  Bob Karrer identified it as the old Abou Saad Temple of the Shriners.  I recently sent a copy of the photo to my cousin Frank Albert Baldwin, who has lived, since birth, most of his life in the Canal Zone.  He called me to confirm that this was indeed the Abou Saad Temple.  He said it was a large building of wood construction.  He added that by the time he was old enough to be aware of it, it was already abandoned and in great disrepair.  This must have been in mid 1920s because, as you will see in the story "The White Wave" below, the photo of sailors going on shore leave around 1925-27 includes a view of the Mystery Building on Ancon Hill.
The Abou Saad Shriners Temple (Mystery Building) Circa 1920s
Photo: Bob Karrer

Some 19th Century Photos

Having received a group of 19th century photos of Panama (sample below), I passed them on to my BHS Classmates so they could enjoy them.  Fred Sill added the following information about the photographer and the circumstance by which he found himself in Panama during that period of time.
La Merced Church in Casco Antiguo around 1890. Central Avenue is on right.
Panoramic view of Panama city from Ancon Hill around 1890
Colombian troops on parade at Cathedral Plaza, 1890s. Central Avenue on left
of Cathedral.  Cabildo building on extreme left of photo.
Hi, Louis...


Muybridge was an English photographer who ended up on the West Coast of the USA, and caught the eye of Stanford (Governor of in "Stanford University") who had seen some of Muybridge's work in stop-motion photography, and got Muybridge to take shots of his (Stanford's) horses to prove once and for all that a running horse, at a given moment, had all four feet off the ground.  And he proved that they did.

Muybridge also shot and killed his wife's lover.  He was acquitted, but was "persuaded" to get out of town for a spell --- and that's where PANAMA comes in.  While in Panama (and also Guatemala) he shot lots of photos.  I saw an exhibit of some of them in Washington DC a few years ago.  The the photo of troops in cathedral plaza had the curious caption along the lines "I was welcomed when I got to Panama by the army", or something like that.  Don't believe it!  He obviously shot the photo from his room in the Hotel Central.

I have tried to find a book with his photos taken in Panama.  None available, up to now.  Not even a catalogue to cover his Washington DC exhibit.  But there's some good stuff on Google

Fred Sill

- Luis R. Celerier
Longview, Texas