Tag Archives: red-tank-cz

The Silver Townships- Red Tank – Part II

Image of Edward Aston Gaskin, Educator and Union President of Local 900
Thanks to afropanavision.com

We take this opportunity to introduce a brilliant and tireless educator from Red Tank, Edward Aston Gaskin, to highlight the richness of the cultural and intellectual legacy left by the Silver people of the Panama Canal Zone. The article is brought to you thanks to the work of Vivian Dottin, and you may find it as well as other very interesting articles at Afro-PanaVision.com. 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.

The Silver Townships- A History Unfolds Part I

Image: A rare photo of Red Tank
before it was deserted and dismantled.
The beautifal large Cuipo tree stands sentinal
over this road.

As we continue with our narrative of how the Silver Townships came to be, we must note that these dynamic communities also underwent a great many changes during their life cycle which, in some cases, resulted in their being dismantled all together and in others integration into the country’s governance, culture and economy. Continue reading