Tag Archives: CZ

Out of Work and Desperate

A refuge at times- the Silver Club House.

A refuge at times- the Silver Club House- would help me reflect on how I would solve my out of work problem.

The thought of Pug still being my lover was a constant worry to me in those days. For Pug was a better love detective than I once believed. I had thoughts of replacing her quickly as I walked the streets of Colon. I discovered that I could do that when I lived in Magnolia Building back in Calidonia. Her name had been Maria Elena but now she was out of my mind. The girls I had been meeting at Abel Bravo school in Colon, however, were a different story and a real challenge to me as they were quite good looking. Even so, I had gone out with very few of them. In fact, my return to Colon from Bocas Del Toro had been a major challenge as I was an adult by now with a baby. Those fifteen year-old dreams in Magnolia Building of Panama City only came to haunt me for it made me remember my primary school days which would never return again. But, girls were secondary to my biggest headache- I was out of work and desperate. Continue reading

Social Control and the “Silver” Schools

Gold Roll school at Gatun 1912.


Silver Roll school at Empire 1912.

Images are of gold roll (top ) and “silver” schools (bottom)
between 1910 and 1912. Note the marked contrast.
The black children have no playground equipment in their yard.

Images thanks to www.czimages.com

As the Canal activities expanded and the growth of the Silver townships became a bigger factor in the evolution of the Canal Zone, methods of social control of the ever larger West Indian population in and out of the Zone became a greater issue to Canal authorities. One manifestation of this need to control was in the educational system for the
Westindian children. Continue reading

The Silver Townships- Red Tank- Part I

Red Tank around 1920.

The Red Tank sign today in front of the area that was once Red Tank, CZ in Panama.

The ruins of what was once Red Tank, CZ in Panama.

The origins of the town of Red Tank are, to this day unclear- not at well documented for a town that was established during the days of the construction of the Panama Canal, 1904-1914. Former surviving residents recalled there was a big water tank, painted with red lead, on a hill behind what later became the town. From this undoubtedly came the name of Red Tank, a Silver Roll community.

One account mentioned the town of Pedro Miguel Tank, a very brief distance south of the town of Pedro Miguel on a Panama Railroad timetable (schedule) as early as 1904. The recollections of the “old” people, however, are, perhaps the best and, unfortunately, the only testimony we may have left of the existence of this former very bustling Silver Township that swelled to a population of 2,200 between 1931 and 1941 (numbers were taken from the Panama Canal Company Review of 1953).

It was a town, however, as with so many other Black Canal Zone towns, that, once their usefulness had been reached they were simply “dismantled,” the families uprooted and moved somewhere else and the site of the town either flooded by the Canal waters or, as in the case of Red Tank, used as a “dump” site. By 1953 the last residents of Red Tank, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Moseley were moved to Paraiso to resettle along with many of their former Red Tank neighbors who had been moved before them. Mr. Moseley, a Canal employee for over 40 years, according to this account, had been the Salvation Army Red Tank representative for the last 3 years.

In our next post concerning Red Tank, however, we will introduce the real “substance” of Red Tank, its people, and, more importantly, its gifted people which Red Tank seemed to produce in abundance. Return with our chronicle as we profile the story of Edward Aston Gaskin, a profile in brilliance and courage.

Images: Township of Red Tank (around 1920)

Thanks to Mr. Charles Chevalier

Middle and Bottom photos of part of the ruins
of Red Tank today thanks to
Mr.Art Mokray

This story continues.