Tag Archives: Muller-Building-in-Panama

The El Polvorín Disaster

Last Honors to James Thompson, native of Jamaica,
who survived the El Polvorín Disaster. The photo displayed
on September 28, 1930, shows his funeral bier which
is mounted on his Fire Department’s fire engine.

Middle and bottom photos are frantic scenes of
a blaze on “N” Street being responded to by the
efficient and prompt Panama City Fire Department in 1930.


From the moment the Westindians made Panama their home every little boy of normal curiosity wanted to grow up to be a Bombero. Everyday conversations from the very beginnings of their Panama experience as well as the lyrics to their music were dotted with the mighty exploits of the legendary Bomberos– the brave firefighters of Panama City and Colon. These men also came to be affectionately known as the Camisas Rojas, from their distinguishing red shirts. Continue reading

Casa Muller “Mullah” Building

Muller or Miller Building.

Casa Muller or Muller Building
circa 1972, just before it was demolished.
Image thanks to Sr. Justo Pardo Villalaz

The grand Hotel Tivoli located in Ancon, CZ
had comfortable accommodations for visiting American
and other white foreigners visiting the Zone.
Image thanks to Panamaliving.com

In 1976 a news article by Earl V. Newland appeared in a leading local newspaper that he dedicated to the descendants of the first member of the Müller family. This man had passed through Panama en route to California smitten by the “gold fever” that had spread throughout North America when, as we know, in the middle of the nineteenth century gold was discovered in the Mother Lode country of that great western state.

Mr. Muller was little impressed with what he finally saw in California after, more than likely, not finding any of the shiny metal. He promptly returned to Panama, however, where he eventually managed to find his fortune. In Panama he did find his first rare treasure, a wife, as he married not long after his return. His name was Oscar Muller. Continue reading

The Housing Exoduses- City Living Not Much Better

An original image of Muller Building,
one of the largest rental buildings built to
house Westindian working men and their families
in downtown Calidonia, very close to the entrance to
the Zone. There is a post office branch right in front
(Correos Nacionales)
Image thanks to czbrats.com

These deplorable living conditions within the Westindian community on the Zone, the study further explained, gave rise to a series of problems owing to the decline in morale and efficiency of the group- problems of poor health and exposure to contagious disease. Following the revelations from the findings in this study housing on the Zone became a topic of careful consideration even when the dwelling units were quite limited in number by treaty restrictions to a small portion of employees. Continue reading