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?
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