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We are hard pressed to remember why or who labeled the geographic groupings of ‘Gyambo’ residential buildings such as ‘Sugar Bowl’and ‘Dust Bowl’. We know that the latest group of buildings were named “38th Parallel” to designate the line of separation between ‘White/US rate Gamboa’ and ‘local rate/Black Gamboa”( Adopted from the Korean “38th Parallel”, the line of demarcation between North and South Korea ). Later designations such as “Church Square and “Front Square” were used to name sports teams involved in hometown competition.
This photo circa mid-1970’s, captures a view on what could be called ‘Gyambo’s main street’; officially known as MacFarlane Parkway. It is a time period when the original buildings were being demolished. Newer designed residential quarters were being built to replace the original structures . Note that the first two residential buildings on the right are more modern in design than the original ‘residential quarters in front (Building # 306). This structure was a typical Gyambo/Sugar Bowl residential building. Each of these buildings contained twelve living quarters/apartments that housed Local Rate Panama Canal Company employees and their dependent families. Open spaces below these buildings provided inviting play areas for children, sheltered clothes lines for drying laundry as well as work space for carpenters, auto mechanics and other hobbyists to enjoy working. Cards, Dice games and Domino games also made good use of this recreational space. Please direct your attention to the single story building furthest to the upper right. This was the medical health dispensary where most medical and dental needs were addressed. The dispensary had a dedicated staff of one doctor, one nurse, one receptionist, one dentist and a dental assistant. Together they provided health services to all Gamboa Canal Zone, Panama Canal employees- residents of Gamboa. This public health medical facility provided health care in segregated areas within the building. One section serviced ‘U.S raters’ while ‘Local raters’ were attended to in the other area. There was a covered carport at the left side of the building with an ambulance and a driver on stand-by duty. Patients requiring acute or longer term medical care were transported to Gorgas Hospital.
Gamboa residents viewing this photo might remember that the town’s fire station (not visible) was located right of the dispensary .
The streetlight seen here served as a ‘community time piece’. When lit, it was time for all youngsters to be in their homes. ’Lamp posts’, as we called them, also served as gathering places for adolescent males to engage in social banter as well as highly intellectual exchanges.

We invite your Open Space comments on this narrative, and equally important your active participation by sharing your own photos and explanatory captions in future website editions.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Julio

    The above photo suggest it´s Hse 306. However, plse look again as I think it is Hse 304 as 305 and 306 were demolished whereas the Vargas, Mera, and Navarro had moved to Paraiso.

    That square began with hse 300 and finished 307 in front of Fire Station. The new houses on the Clubhouse square are 313 and 314 as you have the street that separates the two squares.

    1. Victor Mite

      The March 9, 2015 @ 9:35pm comment is correct, this building is 304, it is where Renaldo and Goyo (the kid with no arms) used to live in the middle step section.

    2. Luis E Cubilla (Papy)

      The house in the left corner is 306 followed by the new 305 and 304
      and yes the building at the end is the dispensary.

    3. Cynthia Winter-Pond

      Julio, you and Victor are correct. The building to the left is 304, I lived in 305 on the middle stairs. second floor, next to the Grants Ritchie, Happy and Jacko, The Grahams lived on the first floor. The Melendez and Conliffe families lived in 306. In the photo the dispensary is across the street. Buildings 305 and 306 were torn down.

  2. Carlos Alleyne

    If Julio’s comments are correct, what’s the building at the end of the street ? Looks like the dispensary.

    1. Cynthia Pond

      A Gamboa reunion was held years ago in the Gym. Everyone had a wonderful time. Maybe the committee should plan one.

  3. Eric Brathwaite

    Victor is correct that is 304 on the left corner, 305, 06 & 07 were torn down. Look at the empty space between the building and the Dispensary.

    1. Humberto Pond

      Eric is right that is 304 look at the street indenture between 304 and the new structure tha separates those two blocks.

    2. Humberto Pond

      Eric is right that is 304 look at the street indenture between 304 and the new structure that separates those two blocks. I lived on 300

  4. Antonio Melendez

    When i was born i live on 306 apparment d the melendez

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