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The Panama Canal review (Volume v.8:no.6(1958:Jan.3)) online

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Vol. 8, No. 6

5 cents



The great day's coming

Pacific Area Conversion Starts In March

Nearly all homes in Ancon, Balboa, and Balboa Heights will be converted
to 60-cycle by the end of May. The map gives a general picture of the months
in which vcrious areas will be converted. San Juan Place in Ancon, the Gavilan
area, and much of (he Balboa flats are scheduled for conversion next June.

'Conversion of frequency-sensitive house-
hold electrical equipment to 60 cycle is
scheduled to be started in the Pacific ter-
minal communities March 3 by the Con-
solidated International Electric Company
which was awarded the Pacific Area con-
version contract last September.

Under the schedule submitted by the
contracting firm, the job, one of the big-
gest of the entire conversion project, is
to be completed by about next Septem-
ber. The firm already has personnel at
work and is making plans for an acceler-
ated program.

Gordon B. Merchant has been assigned
to the project a Administrative Super-
visor and John G. Hobbs, Conversion
Engineer, will be in charge of field oper-
ation i.

The Consolidated Electric ha
as igned office and warehousing space in
two buildings on Diablo Road adjacent
to the Storehouse Division yard. The
larger of the two buildings, No. 42-D,
will be used as an office and warehouse,
with the fornvr being located in the north
end of the building which was originally
erected just before the beginning of \\ orld
War II for use in storing tires.

The accompanying map gives a gen-
eral Idea of the aroas which arc to he
i inner led during the first three months.
The anas on the map not indicated for

conversion before the end of May will
be started during June and the con-
tractor's schedule calls for beginning

conversion in Diablo Heights and l.os
Kios in July.

The gerrym of the

map comes from the fact that the con-
version will be done for all houses serviced
from the same feeder before progressing
to another such group. For this reason
there are some places where houses on
one side of a street will be converted
early in the schedule while those on the

opposite side will not be converted until
several weeks later.

During the early stages of the Pacific
Area conversion, 60-cycle current will be
supplied from the Gatun Hydroelectric
plant. It will be possible to substitute
or supplement this with power from the
diesel generating plant at Cocoli. The
first generating unit at Madden Dam
Hydroelectric Station is scheduled for
conversion for 60-cycle operation by May
1, after which that unit will supply the
Pacific side.

The middle of last month the Consoli-
dated Electric personnel began an inven-
tory of the household equipment requiring
conversion. This inventory is final, and
25-cycle equipment not listed during this
inventory will not be converted at the
cost of the Panama Canal Company.

For this reason, householders have
been requested to cooperate fully with
personnel making the inventory and to
check their inventory lists with care.

According to the contractor's sched-
ule, all but a few of the residential
areas in Ancon, Balboa, and Balboa
Heights will be converted by the end
of May.

Since much of the conversion work
will be in progress during the coming
vacation season, employees are being re-
quested to make arrangements to have
someone assume responsibility while their
equipment is being converted if they are
to be away from the Isthmus at that
time. The names and addresses of such
persons should be listed with the con-
tractor well in advance. Forms for such
notifications can be obtained from the
Consolidated Electric Company's office.

Householders can estimate that the
conversion of their equipment will be
made about two and a half months after
the inventory now being taken. How-
ever, a final notice of the exact date of
conversion will be given to individual
householders one week in advance.

Commissary Preview

60-Cycle Equipment Now On Display

Special plans have been made by the
Supply and Employee Service Bureau to
give Pacific side Commissary customers
topnotch service during the Pacific Area
i onversion work.

I ml i plans developed, an employee
who elects to take cash in lieu of

conversion for any piece of equipment
may have a 60-cycle replacement unit

delivered ami ready for use when the old
refrigerator, washing machine, or air-
conditioning unit is disconnected.

\ nle from this special service, the
Commissary Branch will have ample

stocks to meet the requirements of Pad
lie side residents in all types of appliances
and major household equipment.

\ special display of the types <>f

equipment to be on sale was placed
on view during the past few days in
the Housewares \nne\ of the Balboa

Commissary. The display consists of

refrigerators, washing machines, driers,
air-conditioning units, television sets,
record players, ami a wide variety of
appliances, much of which have never
before been stocked because of the

difficulty in obtaining the equipment

for 25-Cyde operation.

Arrangements have been made for per-
sona] calls lo he made by Commissary

personnel at all homes when the con-
tractor's representative has been notified
that the owner will take cash in lieu of

conversion for any equipment. ( Irdera

for replacement may be made at thai
lime, and delivery will be made when
Consolidated Electric returns some two
and a half months later fortheconvorsion.

Under the deferred payment plan re-
cently authorized for Commissary pur-
most of the major electrical equip-
ment can be bought under this plan.


Januaiy 3, 1958

Megaphone Needed

The men in the Engineering Division
who work with blueprints of this length
could use a megaphone. It is one of the
blueprints of the Agua Clara diesel sta-
tion which had to be consulted in con-
nection with the power conversion project.

Reading clockwise, the engineers study-
ing this blueprint are: Numan H. Vasquez,
Joaquin Ponce, Edwin F. Barnes, Milton
W. Canham, and Allen K. Miller.

Incidentally, there is another way of
handling such blueprints: they can be
cut into strips and bound in book form.

New Towing Locomotives
Being Readied For Test

An experiment which can mean savings
of many millions of dollars for the Pan-
ama Canal Company is about ready to
be started at Gatun Locks.

Workmen, under the guidance of a fac-
tory representative, have been busy this
week assembling the two powerful tow-
ing devices manufactured by R. G. Le-
Tourneau, Inc., the Texas firm which has
designed and made much of America's
heavy equipment.

The new locomotives represent the
first basic change in any Canal machin-
ery used to put ships through the water-
way. If the new devices prove successful
it will mean the Company will save much
money, as plans have been made to re-
place all of the existing towing locomo-
tives in the near future.

The 60-ton LeTourneau locomotives
are designed to work in tandem along the
center wall of Gatun Locks and tow ves-
sels which are normally pulled by six of
the existing locomotives. The two ma-
chines have some strange appearing ac-
cessories — big rubber-tired fender pads
to hold ships in tow away from the lock
walls, and long whip booms to pass out
towing lines to approaching vessels.

The locomotives will undergo extensive
tests on the passing-tracks of the center
wall before being moved to the towing-
tracks for work. Meanwhile, Locks per-
sonnel have been assigned to learn their
operation and characteristics to be ready
for their actual use.

Board Of Directors Due Jan. 13
For Annual Meeting On Isthmus

The future of Atlantic side communi-
ties for American employees and their
families will be one of the principal prob-
lems tackled by the Board of Directors
of the Panama Canal Company at the
annual meeting in the Canal Zone this

Because of the effect of the occupa-
tion of the Coco Solo Naval Station
upon long-range plans, already well
developed, for the housing and com-
munity installations to replace those
in New Cristobal, Board members have
scheduled a visit to Coco Solo as the
first order of business and before any
formal meetings are held.

Several of the Board members, includ-
ing Assistant Secretary of the Army
George H. Roderick, Board Chairman,
are scheduled to arrive here Monday
afternoon, January 13, aboard the Pan-
ama liner Cristobal. Other Directors are
to come by plane.

Reservations have been made for the
Directors at the Tivoli Guest House. A
reception and cocktail-buffet in their
honor will be held that night by the
Canal Bureau Directors and Chiefs of the
staff units.

The Board will go to the Atlantic side
Tuesday morning, January 14, for an in-
spection of the housing and other build-
ings at Coco Solo.

Only one formal session has been sched-
uled. This will be held in the Board Room
of the Administration Building on Tues-
day afternoon and evening. In addition
to a consideration of plans for employee
housing and community facilities of a
permanent nature on the Atlantic side,
the formal meeting will be devoted to a
management review, and consideration of
budgetary and fiscal matters.

Members of the Board are scheduled
to leave the Pacific side early Wednes-
day morning for the Atlantic side,
going first to Gatun Locks for a dem-
onstration of the new LeTourneau tow-
ing locomotives. The remainder of the
morning will be devoted to the inspec-
tion of various Canal installations on
the Atlantic side.

A barbecue luncheon has been planned
at Fort San Lorenzo on Wednesday.
Some of the Directors will board the
Cristobal that afternoon and others, re-
turning to the States by plane, will come
back to the Pacific side that afternoon
after the ship sails.

While subject to change, four Directors
are to come to the Isthmus this month
with Secretary Roderick on the SS Cris-
tobal. They are Maj. Gen. Julian L.
Schley, Charles S. Reed, Howard C.
Petersen, and John W. Martyn.

Board members coming by plane in-
clude Maj. Gen. Glen E. Edgerton,
Ralph H. Cake, Robert P. Burroughs,
Ralph A. Tudor, and Ogden R. Reid.

Also coming to the Isthmus for the
January Board Meeting will be W. M.
Whitman, Secretary of the Panama Canal
Company, whose headquarters are in
Washington. Mr. Whitman is expected
to arrive by plane several days prior to
the meeting.

The Directors arriving by Panama
Line will be met at shipside by Governor
Potter and other Board members already
on the Isthmus. The entire party will
return to the Pacific side by special Pan-
ama Railroad motor-car.

The departure dates of the Directors
are not definite in all cases, although
some return on the Cristobal.

Congress woman

,r - <

The House Subcommittee on Panama Canal affairs made a thorough study
of the Canal Zone's health and hospital facilities during its visit last month.
Above is Rep. Leonor K. Sullivan, of Missouri, Chairwoman of Subcom-
mittee, at Gorgas Hospital flanked by Col. Norman H. Wiley, Director,
and Miss Beatrice Simonis, Chief Nurse, with other Canal peisonnel.

January 3, 1958



Breeze-swept onetime Navy base to provide housing
for former New Cristobalites, other Atlantic Siders

Barring the unforeseen, the biggest news
for the Atlantic side at the beginning of the
New Year will be the exodus of several hun-
dred residents from New Cristobal which
will take place during the next few months.

An integral part of this story is the
opening of a new Company-Government
town at Coco Solo which for the several
decades spanning the two World Wars
was one of the bastions of the United
States Navy's forces guarding the Atlan-
tic entrance to the Panama Canal.

Most, but not all, of the New Cristo-
bal residents are expected to receive
housing assignments in the former
Naval Base. In addition to the 175 em-
ployees occupying family quarters in
the New Cristobal and Fort Del.esseps
areas, there are 84 Canal families living
in one-bedroom apartment buildings
who are to be reassigned better hous-
ing. Also, there are a number of new
employees who have not yet received
permanent housing assignments.

As a consequence, the evacuation of
the New Cristobal area will be only the
bigger part of a population shift on the
Atlantic side which surpasses any to take
place there.

Not since the construction of the Third
Locks towns of Margarita, Cocoli, and
Diablo Heights has an integrated com-
munity for American employees become
available for occupancy on such a scale.
While the town of Los Rios the Zone's
youngest is comparable to what Coco
Solo is to become, its residents depend on
facilities in other towns for shopping,
postal service, schooling, and other such
community services.

The extent to which permanent com-
munity facilities will be established in
Coco Solo is still in the planning stage.
Future plans for the townsite will consti-
tute one of the principal subjects for con-
lideration by the Board of Directors at
tin- meeting here next month. If the de-
cision is to develop it into one of the
principal Canal Zone civilian towns,
buildings and other facilities are available
for the ree tabli bmeni of services which
would, in many instances, oui itrip tho e
of mo t othei I !anal Zone towns.

Among the buildings or facilities
available are tennis courts, baseball

diamonds, hobbj shops, swimming

pools ;ind pavilions, and one of the
best (lobs on the Isthmus. Buildings
are also available for refitting or re-
modeling for use as a commissary,
schools, a service center, and a post
offii e,

Whili ndl] be

placed in use ai an early date for the con-
venience "i famili i re iding there, the

• which remodeling
and furnishing will be done for long-range

occupancy as the principal Atlantic side
community is still for determination,
being partly dependent on whether ar-
rangements for permanent occupancy of
the area and facilities can be made.

Meanwhile, all plans have been com-
pleted for the population transfer which
is scheduled to begin about the middle
of this month and which will continue for
several weeks. It is expected that 300 or
more families will move during this period.

In the survey conducted by the Hous-
ing Division last month, 297 question-
naires were returned by employees indi-
cating their desire to move and indicating
their choice of towns and types of quarters.

The tabulation of these showed the
following results:

Present place of residence: New Cris-
tobal, 16(»; Margarita, 90; Gatun, 26;
and others, 15. The latter category in-
cludes new employees or others pres-
ently without housing assignments.

Place of residence desired as first
choice: Coco Solo, 131; Margarita, 129;
and Gatun, 37.

The quarters at Coco Solo do not re-
quire extensive renovation and they can
be made available for occupancy at a
rapid rate. It is planned to move about
six families a day and all available per-
sonnel and equipment will be assigned to

this work during the moving period.
Electric ranges will be installed as the
quarters are occupied.

Although temporary renovations are to
be made immediately, the Canal admin-
istration is considering plans for extensive
improvements in the housing facilities in
the future. Such items under considera-
tion are electric water heaters, tile floors,
and modernization of kitchens. This will
be tied in to the overall study of improv-
ing the livability of permanent quarters.

The abandonment of New Cristobal as
a townsite for American employees will
bring a twinge of nostalgia to oldtimers
of the Canal organization. The rim of
Manzanillo Island has long been a place
of residence for them and their predeces-
sors who built and operated the Panama
Railroad before them. While the name
"New Cristobal" dates back only to
about the time the Canal was opened,
the history of the residential area span
more than a century.

The entire Manzanillo Island became
the property of the Panama Railroad
under the original concession for its con-
struction. The northern end of the island
became a residential area during that

The development of New Cristobal
and Colon Beach as that area appears
today, came since the Canal was
opened. Consideration was given at
the close of the construction period
to the establishment of a permanent
townsite at Mount Hope. This idea
was abandoned, however, in favor of
developing the Panama Railroad sec-
tion along Colon Beach. Consequently,
the swampy area in the heart of the
island was filled and an extensive hous-
ing development was undertaken in
1917. Many additional quarters were
built there during the 1930's.

Since the area was never a part of the
Canal Zone, New Cristobal was never de-
veloped as a town with all facilities for
its population and residents there have
depended upon the Commissary and Serv-
ice Center in "Old Cristobal" for their
shopping and amusements.


The pictures on the opposite page show
a general view of the former Naval Sta-
tion at Coco Solo and some of the build-
ings which will be used by the Panama
( lanal Company-Canal Zone Government

The large picture across the top of the
facing page shows the housing area, with
its palm-bordered streets and walkways.
The base, which was used for both air.
submarine, and supply units during its
beydey as a Naval installation, had ac-
commodations for over 300 families; 280
units were being made available

t i the Company-Government.

Immediately below the large picture
appears one of the two Swimming pools
at the former Navy station. At the
right, in the center of the opposite
page is the former Officers Club, one
of the most handsome and modem
buildings in the area.

Below, at the left of the opposite page,
is one of the buildings which provides
two-bedroom apartment . There are [52
such suite . Iii addition to the two-bed-

room apartments, the Coco Solo base has
128 family quarters in four-family build-
ings, each unit of which has three or
more bedrooms. With the exception of
four quarters, all of the housing is in
four-apartment buildings.

At the right, in the lower TOW, are two

of the public buildings which are being

made available to the Company-! iovern-

ment. The upper of these two was for-
merly used as a commissary and post ex-
change, and has a large second floor room
which was used for sports. This building

would require little remodeling for a Pan-
ama ( 'anal ( 'ommissary and Service Cen-
ter. The lower building is the station's
former hobby shop, which might be used
by groups interested in such activitie .

Water, electric, and sewer sxstems
are in place; the electric svstem had
alrcadv been converted to 60 cwles.
The Coco Solo area is located about
live milis from the Cristobal piers and
four miles In road from the center of


January 3, 1958




Palm Trees and Houses

Officer's Club

Two-Bedroom Apartments

The Commissary above, Hobby Shop below


Mutual Of Omaha Sends
Representative To C. Z.;
Status Of Zone Changed


Very Shocking!

I. D. ("Skeets") McCarry

The designation of the Canal Zone as
a Division of the Home Office of Mutual

of Omaha and the appointment of Ivan
.!. McCarty as Home Office Representa-
tive here, were made last month by the
insurance company which underwrites
group health insurance for Panama Canal
Company-Canal Zone Government em-

The Canal Zone became a Division of
the Home Office on December 10. Mr.
McCarty, who is familiarly known as
"Skeets," arrived December 12 to take
over his new post. An insurance man
for the past 13 years, he had spent sev-
eral weeks here earlier this year.

In hi.s new capacity Mr. McCarty will
service the important Company-Govern-
ment Health Insurance group in the
Canal Zone and will carry out Mutual of
Omaha's objective in providing the best
possible service to their policy holders.

He plans to spiel certain days of the
we -k mi the Atlantic side where he will
be available to answer queries and handle
complaints. The days when he will be
on the Atlantic side and the location of
In nffic there, will be ami .une id lai r.

Mr. McCarty will work cl >sely with
G oup Health Insurance Hoard, a
group of employees which spon
administers the group health plan.

Model Of Miraflores Locks
Sent To Florida Exposition

Mi-Id this month in
Florida <;v\ see in n tne of tie-

world's most famous installati
rat d bj electricity tin- Panama Canal's

nail model \\a - built in the Main-

tenanc > hops in Balboa by

Albert -I. Deutsch, Machinist, who re-
tired from Canal irvice li

UCl 'be model.

nodel of Miraflore Loch
i t i studj the feasibilit;
structing a larger working mode] of the

Locks in the near future.

Alcoholic- can be shocked more easily
than other persons. So can persons with
hardening of the arteries, those with dis-
turbed thyroids, and those with greasy

This is shown by a study on the effects
of shocks by lightning and man-made
electricity reported to the International
College of Surgeons meeting in Chicago
by Dr. C. Kenneth Lewis of the Univers-
ity of Illinois College of Medicine.

The effect of electrical shock on human
beings is dependent on several factors.
These include the type and amount of
current, resistance set up in the body,
path of the current, duration of the con-
tact, conditions surrounding the accident,
and the question of individual suscepti-

Aside from death, electrical shock can
have damaging effects upon the heart
and nervous system, stimulate strong
muscular contraction, inhibit the function
of vital organs, destroy cells and vital
tissue, and cause extensive, latent, dying-
off of burned tissues or cells.

The study showed that accidental con-
tact "with even 1 10 volts of electricity
is often fatal if the victim is wet and
well-grounded," Dr. Lewis reported.

It also showed that alternating current

is considerably more dangerous than di-
rect current of like voltage and amperage.

Currents of low voltage follow a path
of least resistance, but currents of high
tension tend to flow along the shortest

"Injuries produced by electrical acci-
dents are more dependent upon the path
of the current than its intensity, and cur-
rent passing through the left side of a
victim's chest or brain can be more dan-
gerous than that traversing the right side
because of its damaging effect upon the
heart," Dr. Lewis pointed out.


Bureau Award For







Health - - V

Engineering and Construction 6

Civil Affairs - - 6

Supply and Employee Service 5

Marine - — 2

Transportation and Terminals 1

FREQUENCY RATE Disabling injuries per 1.000,000 employee-
hours worked.

Marine Bureau

Engineering and Conslrudion Bureau

Supply and Employee Service Bureau

C. /.. Goit.-Panama Canal Co. (This Month

Civil Affairs Bureau

Health Bureau

Transportation and Terminals Bureau

Numher of Disabling Injuries 7



) 5

10 15

■■■:::■, ,,,:- A










Man-Hours Worked



| Frequency Rale this month
ej Accumulative Frequency Rate this Calendar Year
U 1951-19551956 Calendar Year Average


Jar.ucry 3, 1958

South America

Its west coast was barred from world trade until Canal
provided routes to its storehouse of natural resources

No major area of the civilized world
was more effectively blocked from the
great world trade centers before the
Panama Canal was completed than the
tier of South American countries facing
the Pacific Ocean.

Geographically and topographically,
the area was cut off from the rest of the
world. The Andes formed an almost im-
penetrable barrier to the east and beyond
them for the most part lay thousands of
miles of trackless jungle.

To the north, the Isthmus of Panama

1 3 4

Online LibraryPanama Canal CompanyThe Panama Canal review (Volume v.8:no.6(1958:Jan.3)) → online text (page 1 of 4)