This photo (circa 1950-1965) captures an unobstructed view of building #319. It is a local rate ‘stilted post’ design residential building, typical of those found on ‘Front Street’ and ‘Church Square’ sections of ‘Gyambo’/Santa Cruz. Four families accessed their apartment from the three stairs seen on the front of the building. Two families occupied the top floor and two the bottom floor. Typically one of the top floor apartments were assigned to ‘large families’ (three to five children and their parents). The adjacent apartment was deemed appropriate for smaller families (two or less children and their parents). Although rare, there were exceptions made for larger families. For example, The Dyar’s (Ritchie, Jimmy, Tony, Eduardo, Felicia, Emilia, Shelley and Mr. and Mrs. Dyar) occupied the entire top floor of the apartment accessed by the ‘steps’ on the right of the photo. Below them (in the apartment to the left) were the Tate family (Cathleen, and Vonnie?). And in the apartment to the bottom right of the stairs was the Fergus Family.

The Millett’s (Bobby, Billy, Butch, Eleanor and Monica and Mr. and Mrs. Millett) also lived in building #319. They occupied the large apartment on the upper left of the building, (access by the ‘steps’ to the left of the building). ‘T’ Peterkin, his wife and child lived in adjacent small apartment. Below, in the apartment to the left of the stairs lived Mr. and Mrs. Belgrave and their son. The Archibald’s (Herman, Merle and Mr. Archibald) occupied the apartment to the right of the ‘steps’. On the middle ‘steps’ we can identify several families who lived in the four apartments over time including: the Campbell’s (and their famous son ‘David’), the Weeks, the Scotts and another family, also with the Campbell sir name.

The photo was apparently taken after 1968 as these and other buildings were demolished in anticipation of the return of Canal Zone territories to the Republic of Panama. In its ‘hey day’ there was no such ‘open space’ in front of this building. This building faced similar residential quarters where the Joshua’s, Gomez’s, the Robinson’s and other families lived. At the time this photo was taken that building was already demolished. By the early 1970’s all of the living quarters of this design style were also demolished.

Can you name the two of the ‘Gay Crooners’ that lived in this building?

We invite your comments, your participation in the Residential Profile and your contributions of photos with captions to our Photo Gallery.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. john joshua

    Pertaining to the information furnish regarding the occupancy of the first stairs top floor there was a family name Samson living next door to the Dyars. He worked in the commissary. The Gay Crooners were Beres Belgrave and David Campbell.

    1. Ricardo Butch Millett

      Thanks ‘Big Butch’ Joshua
      We could not remember if the Dyer’s shared the upstairs apartment (s) with any other family and appreciate you ‘filling in the blank’. We missed you at the Reunion and know that you carry a great deal of information, knowledge and memories of Gyambo and hope that you will find time to share some of these treasures with us.

  2. Francine Gilling

    The families moved including my auntie, and husband, Mr.& Mrs Lester Joshua. My aunt Edna sold tickets at the theater. They moved to dustbowl, and the other families, the Laury, the Blackmans, the Smalls, move to the middle street, and front street. When I graduated from Paraiso Jr. sr, they began demolishing the rest of the board houses.

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