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Public Domain and/or any and all Copyrights © preserved for the authors and providers Checked the link again in January 2008 and it was dead -- something to be said for cashing data when it is found so as not to lose it. Here is the google of it in 2008.
Fort Amador and Fort Grant, Panama They might also disturb the effect of the long low straight line which the causeway now makes and which is a striking note in the picture, and they would ... https://188.8.131.52/denix/Public/Library/NCR/note7.html - 50k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this .
A HISTORY OF FORT AMADOR AND FORT GRANT
The Former Panama Canal Zone
Republic of Panama
"I want to make a town there that will be a
credit to the United States government."1
Colonel George W. Goethals, Chief Engineer of the Panama Canal,
Congressional members of the Committee on Appropriations, 1913.
Researched and Compiled by:
Suzanne P. Johnson,
Cultural Resources Specialist
Consultant to Graves+Klein
Richard M. Houle
Chief, Engineering Division,
Directorate of Engineering and
Chief, Plans and Property Branch,
Directorate of Engineering and
Don Carlos/John Klein/James Mattern
This publication, a Legacy Resource Management Program
demonstration project, was prepared for United States Army South
(USARSO) through the Directorate of Engineering and Housing,
United States Army Garrison-Panama, by Graves+Klein, Architects,
Engineers of Pensacola, Florida. The purpose of the project is
to document the available records and provide a brief history of
Fort Amador and Fort Grant.
Any information or additional sources of documentation would be
greatly appreciated and should be forwarded to:
Suzanne P. Johnson
Cultural Resources Specialist
Chief, Engineering Division
HQ US Army Garrison - Panama
Unit 7151, BOX 51
APO AA 34004-5000
The Transformation 3
The Legal Documents 5
The Fortifications 6
Fort Amador 9
Fort Grant 16
The Landscape 17
Towards the end of the construction of the Panama Canal, plans
were made for the establishment of several "harbor defense
installations,"2 to guard the entrances to the Canal. The
Pacific entrance would be protected by Forts Grant and Amador.
Until World War II, when airpower began to play a significant
role in U.S. defense, these Coast Artillery Posts comprised the
major defense of the canal.
Long before the United States became a major presence on the
Isthmus of Panama, representatives of other nations found the
islands of the former Fort Grant in the Bay of Panama to be both
a natural defense site and a refuge. English pirates, such as
Sir Francis Drake, Captain Cook and Henry Morgan, after raiding
Spanish galleons hid out on Perico or Taboga Islands, Taboga
being "that favorite anchorage of buccaneers."3
In 1852, after crossing the Isthmus, Captain Ulysses S. Grant,
along with a number of sick and "one company of troops to act as
nurses,"4 spent several days on Flamenco Island recuperating from
the treacherous journey and awaiting ship passage to California.
By noon, December 31, 1999, the Panama Canal and its support and
defense systems, including Fort Amador, will revert to the
Republic of Panama. Following final implementation of the Panama
Canal Treaty of 1977, a unique American experience will come to
an end. Forts Amador and Grant will remain as a physical legacy
of the United States contribution to the cultural heritage of the
Republic of Panama.
During the construction phase, the question of whether or not the
Panama Canal should be fortified was debated by the American
public, Congress, and the world at large. The Treaty to
Facilitate the Construction of a Ship Canal (more commonly
referred to as the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty) established that "the
[Panama] canal shall never be blockaded, nor shall any right of
war be exercised nor any act of hostility be committed within
it." Ships of all nations were to have equal access to the
canal, during both war and peacetime, and in order to guarantee
equal access, the United States was "at liberty to maintain such
military police along the canal as may be necessary to protect it
against lawlessness and disorder."
Having decided to fortify the Panama Canal with defense sites, a
Joint Army-Navy Panama Canal Fortification Board was established
by the Secretary of War on October 10, 1909. This Fortification
Board, members of which included Brigadier General Arthur Murray,
Chief of Coast Artillery, and Major William G. Haan, Coast
Artillery (and for whom Batteries Murray and Haan at Fort Kobbe
were named), presented its findings and recommendations to the
Secretary of War on April 22. 1910. A second committee, which
included Major-General Leonard Wood (Chief of Staff), Brigadier-
General Bixby (Chief of Engineers), and Brigadier-General E.M.
Weaver (Chief of Coast Artillery), testified before the House
Committee on Appropriations in January of 1913.
It was recommended that the defense of the Panama Canal be two-
part, including "the protection by heavy fortifications at the
entrances in both oceans [and] by field works about the locks and
a mobile force of troops with a minimum strength of 7,000 men."5
One of the areas specifically recommended by the Board as a
defense site was "the filled area in Panama Bay, known as the
Balboa Dump"6 along with the adjacent group of islands in the Bay
In its report, the Board recommended "that ten 14-inch rifles,
twelve 6-inch rifles and twenty-eight 12-inch mortars together
with necessary magazines be installed at strategic points on the
islands."7 It was predicted that these armaments would be "of
more powerful and effective types than those installed in any
other locality in the world."8
The Board went on to recommend the construction of a causeway
connecting the off-shore islands of Naos, Perico and Flamenco
back to Fort Amador, which itself rose out of the coastal tidal
flats, and "where quarters for eight companies of Coast Artillery
(872 men) were to be constructed."9
One of the major challenges facing the engineers responsible for
constructing the Panama Canal was digging the Culebra Cut (later
renamed Gaillard Cut) through the Continental Divide. In
addition to the mud slides, disposing of the excavated material
from this man-made channel posed both a tremendous problem and a
In 1907, the "Balboa dump" was created out of coastal swampland
and mangrove stands. Train loads of material excavated from the
Cut, which was over ten miles away, were brought in and dumped
from three main rail lines at the future site of Fort Amador. As
the infill project progressed, three distinct `fingers' of land
mass were formed. Between the `fingers' were deep trenches,
which today make an interesting landscape feature at Fort Amador.
In 1908, a plan to further extend the "Balboa dump" was proposed
and approved. The extension involved forming a dike, or
breakwater, connecting the new mainland area with Naos Island,
the first of four islands in the Bay of Panama under U.S.
Construction of the breakwater was similar to that of Fort
Amador. A single railroad line was laid, over which train loads
of excavated material were brought in. Begun in 1908, the track
was extended until it was connected with Naos Island in 1912.
In all, by September 1914, when the projects were completed, more
than 2,141,536 cubic yards of waste from Culebra Cut had been
deposited. As further protection, rock quarried from the nearby
Ancon Hill [Quarry Heights] was used to protect the sloped sides
of the dike.
In addition to creating a connected land mass for the Pacific
defense sites. the breakwater provided protection to the Pacific
channel entrance to the canal from the destruction caused by silt-
bearing tidal currents.
THE LEGAL DOCUMENTS
Fort Amador and Fort Grant Military Reservations were officially
"set apart and assigned to all the uses and purposes of a
Military, Reservation,"10 and their limits were defined, by
Executive order #3130 on July 25, 1919. Although their
jurisdiction ultimately fell under the control of the Secretary
of War, both reservations were locally "subject to the civil
jurisdiction of the Canal Zone authorities in conformity with the
Panama Canal Act."11
One of the earliest naval installations set aside in the Canal
area was the Balboa Naval Radio Station. The land for the
installation was separated from Fort Amador "for the exclusive
use of the Navy."12 The name of the naval station was changed
shortly after to the Fifteenth Naval District Headquarters.
Today the reservation is referred to as U.S. Naval Station - Fort
Executive order #4047, dated July 8, 1924, formally established
the boundaries of the forts, which initially included about 70
acres, with later expansions resulting in a total area of about
Forts Amador and Grant were assigned names by Secretary of War
Henry L. Stimson in January of 1912, in advance of construction.
Fort Amador was named in honor of Dr. Manuel Amador Guerrero, the
first-President of the Republic of Panama, at the suggestion of
the United States Minister to Panama.
Seventy years old at the time of his inauguration as President,
Doctor Amador was a highly respected physician dedicated to
establishing a public school system in the new Republic.
Fort Grant, which included the Causeway, the attached islands of
Culebra, Naos, Perico and Flamenco, and the off-shore islands of
San Jose, Panamarca, Changarmi, Tortolita, Torola, Taboga,
Cocovieceta, Cocovi, and Venado in the Bay of Panama, was named
in honor of General Ulysses S. Grant, United States Army, and
President of the United States from 1869 to 1877.
While Dr. Amador's connection with Panama is quite clear, Grant's
is not as well known. On July 5, 1852, (then) Captain Ulysses
Grant, in command of a company of the Fourth Regiment of
Infantry, left Fort Columbus, New York, for his new duty station
at San Francisco. Their route took the regiment by sea to the
Atlantic coast city of Colon, where they disembarked and crossed
the Isthmus of Panama to Panama City. There, a ship waited to
carry the troops on the final leg of their journey to San
Based on information filed by the accompanying U.S. Army Surgeon,
Charles S. Tripler, the crossing was disastrous. First, the
local contractors, who had agreed to furnish mules to the
regiment once they reached the town of Cruces, attempted to
renege on their agreement when a higher price was to be gained
from forty-niners also making the crossing on their way to the
gold fields of California. Grant is credited with renegotiating,
as one of his quartermaster duties, the contract for
transportation by mule to Panama City.
Then 'malignant cholera' broke out among the men, as well as the
women and children accompanying them, many of whom were already
weakened by `diarrhoea.' Of the nearly 8OO who started the
journey, 150 died on the Isthmus.
Local archivists and historians have encountered their greatest
challenge in researching the early fortifications of the Panama
Canal area installations. In large part this is due to Army
Regulation #348, issued locally on November 18, 1918, as Panama
Canal Department General Order #48, "The taking of photographs or
other views of permanent works of defence [sic] will not be
permitted."12 This stringent level of secrecy was considered
necessary by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and The Panama
Canal which were responsible for the construction and security of
In September of 1911, while the breakwater was still under
construction, fortification construction, which included
batteries, gun emplacements and magazines, was begun.
The defense sites were designed to protect the Pacific entrance
to the canal and the first set of locks at Miraflores against an
enemy naval attack. Also, "as at any fortified place from which
a fleet may have to issue in the face of an enemy's fleet,"13 the
defense sites protected the clearly vulnerable ships transiting
the canal until they could reach deep water.
The railroad line, which had been installed to aid in the
construction of the breakwater, remained in place and was used to
transport ammunition to supply the guns located on the islands'
Of the eight batteries constructed at Fort Grant, three were
located on Naos Island. Battery Burnside, named in honor of
Major General Ambrose E. Burnside (Third U.S. Artillery), was
mounted with two 14-inch rifles on disappearing carriages, and
had a range of 18,400 yards. Battery Buell, named in honor of
Major General Don Carlos Buell (Assistant Adjutant-General,
U.S.A.), was mounted in the same manner as Battery Burnside.
Battery Parke, named in honor of Major General John G. Parke
(Corps of Engineers, U.S.A.), was equipped with two 6-inch rifles
with a range of 6,000 yards.
The guns, mounted on disappearing carriages, were constructed "on
an unsinkable and steady platform, and they [could] be provided
with unlimited protection and accurate range-finding devices."14
In addition to these fixed batteries, the defense sites at Naos
Island were equipped with 12-inch mortars "of a new and powerful
Battery Newton, located on Perico Island, was named in honor of
Major General John Newton (Chief of Engineers, U.S.A.). Battery
Newton was equipped with one 14-inch rifle with a range of 18,400
yards, mounted on a disappearing carriage.
Flamenco Island, the most heavily fortified of the islands, was
equipped with four batteries. Battery Carr was named in honor of
Brevet Major General Joseph Bradford Carr (U.S. Volunteers).,
Battery Merritt for Major General Wesley Merritt (U.S.A.);
Battery Prince in honor of Brigadier General Harry Prince (U.S.
Volunteers).- and Battery Warren for Major General Gouverneur K.
Warren (Corps of Engineers, U.S.A.).
Batteries Carr, Merritt and Prince were manned with four 12-inch
mortars each. Construction of the batteries was begun in early
1912, and was completed (with equipment installed) by 1917.
Battery Warren was equipped with two 14-inch rifles on
disappearing carriages. These rifles "commanded the entire area
of seaward approach,"16 with the exception of a small blind spot
on Taboga Island's southern side. The battery "included space
for ammunition storage, control and plotting rooms, and a
communications system. During construction of Battery Warren, an
elevator was installed in a vertical shaft which was sunk 200
feet from the summit to connect with a horizontal tunnel which
entered from the mortar batteries on the north side of the
As a side note, before the construction of the batteries at
Flamenco (or "Deadman's") Island could begin, two cemeteries
located there were moved in August of 1911 to Ancon Cemetery near
Ancon Hospital. Many of those buried there were "soldiers who
had died of tropical diseases while making the hazardous crossing
of Panama en route to posts in California."18
Although Fort Amador's primary function was to provide housing
for the Coast Artillery units to manning the fortifications at
Fort Grant, two batteries were constructed on the southern tip of
the post. Batteries Birney and Smith, which were identical, were
mounted with two 6-inch rifles on disappearing carriages.
Although ineffective against a naval attack on the Canal, they
were capable of firing on small vessels, such as a screening
force, minesweepers, submarines, or landing craft."19
Construction of Batteries Birney and Smith was begun in 1913 and
completed in 1917. Battery Birney was named in honor of Major
General David B. Birney, U.S. Volunteers. Battery Smith was
named in honor of Major General Charles F. Smith, Third U.S.
Infantry. The defense of the Pacific entrance to the Panama
Canal was completed with the installation of fourteen
searchlights "to facilitate night firing"20 at Forts Amador and
On December 22, 1913, Fort Amador and Fort Grant Coast Artillery
Posts were initially manned. Among the first to arrive was the
81st Company, Coast Artillery, followed by the 45th (107 men) and
the 144th (105 men) Companies on September 18, 1914. Additional
troops arrived in 1915, including the 40th and 116th Companies;
in 1916, the 8th, 73rd and 87th Companies arrived for duty at
Although the guns were fired on a regular basis, between 1929 and
1939 "shortages of funds and personnel resulted in many of the
big seacoast guns being placed in caretaker status... In the
years immediately preceding the U.S. entry into World War II all
guns were rehabilitated, tested, and placed in service status."21
By 1939, "the growth of air power as a weapon of war forced the
Panama Canal Department to increase its air defenses, thus
necessitating more and bigger airdromes, and also compelled it to
expand its ground defenses to provide adequate anti-aircraft
artillery coverage of vital installations."22 The battery
fortifications at Forts Grant and Amador, planned and constructed
to defend primarily against a naval attack, were deemed obsolete
and plans were made for them to be dismantled and salvaged.
Battery Warren at Flamenco Island was last fired on December 8,
1944. Both guns were removed and scrapped in 1948. It was later
"converted for use as a site for HAWK missiles which [were] part
of the Panama Canal defenses. Much of the underground area [was]
used in connection with the operation of the missile battery."
The four guns of Batteries Birney and Smith at Fort Amador were
dismounted in 1943 and disposed of. "The concrete emplacements
were subsequently covered with earth and the area used for the
erection of family quarters. Quarters No. 85 and No. 86 stand on
the site formerly occupied by Battery Birney, while Quarters No.
87, No. 91 and No. 184 are in the general area of Battery Smith."
Fort Amador construction falls into three approximate eras: the
Post Canal Construction Era (1912 - 1937), the World War II Era
(1938 - 1946) and Contemporary Era (1946 to the present).
POST CANAL CONSTRUCTION ERA (1912 -1937)
Buildings erected to accommodate the work force during the
construction of the canal were of a temporary nature.
Predominant building materials, intended to last only until the
completion of the Canal, included wood and sheet metal.
Following the completion of the canal, permanent communities were
planned. Chief Engineer Goethals strongly believed that U.S.
citizens living in the Panama Canal Zone should live in beautiful
communities - communities which would contribute to the quality
of life for their residents. To achieve that end, an architect
was hired to prepare both an overall plan for the permanent
communities - civic and military - and to design individual
Early architectural plans for Canal Zone communities were
prepared by Mr. Austin W. Lord of the New York firm of Lord,
Hewlett, and Tallent. Mr. Lord, who preferred to work out of his
office in New York, was assisted by several on-site Isthmian
Canal Commission (ICC) architects.
Mr. Lord chose Itallanate Renaissance as the primary
architectural style for the permanent buildings in the Canal
Zone. Details of the Itallanate style include interior
courtyards, large, often arched windows and verandas - features
which capture breezes to cool the buildings' interiors - as well
as heavily bracketed roofs. It was also a style popular in the
United States in the early Twentieth Century.
In addition to determining the overall architectural style to be
incorporated into the new structures, Mr. Lord decided on
building materials - reinforced concrete with hollow concrete
block stuccoed on the outside and red clay roofing tiles which
would last for decades in the harsh tropical climate.
After completing the architectural plans for about a dozen
individual buildings (including the Administration Building in
Balboa) for the ICC, Mr. Lord removed himself from the project.
Unsatisfied with the fact that Mr. Lord preferred to work out of
his New York office, Chief Engineer Goethals was not disappointed
with this turn of events.
The early decision regarding style and materials made by Austin
Lord were continued by subsequent ICC architects.
The ICC architect, Samuel M. Hitt, was responsible for the
architectural aspects of the designs at Fort Amador and other
installations, while Mr. T.C. Morris, an assistant engineer, was
charged with the more technical aspects of "details and designs
of foundations, reinforced concrete, and analyses for size,
dimensions of beams, columns, floors, etc."25
Barracks designs - for Fort Amador as well as for other
installations - were also "made in accordance with types
furnished by the Quartermaster Corps, United States Army; and the
types of quarters were determined by a board of officers
consisting of Col. William F. Blauverl, Lieut. Col. Charles F.
Mason, Maj. B.T. Clayton, Maj. William E. Cole, and Capt. R.E.
Wood."26 The Board took into consideration the design program
already formalized and approved by the ICC.
Typical Facade with Architectural Elements Identified
1) Copper screened louvers
2) "Media Aguas"
3) Large copper screened porches
4) Reinforced concrete exterior
5) Living quarters located above ground floor
6) Clay Tile
7) Maids Quarters, launder, and storage areas
on ground floor
The Isthinian Canal Commission also employed several landscape
architects, the first of whom was Mr. William L.Phillips, who had
"special charge of the details of townsites, streets, parks,
The design elements and construction methods at Forts Amador and
Grant are typical of the excellent Post Canal Construction Era
ICC architecture. Foundation and structural elements were cast
in concrete due to concern for building degradation from the
tropical climate and termites. Living quarters were raised to
the second level with storage, maid quarters, and later, garages
placed on the ground level. The solid, reinforced concrete walls
also rendered the buildings ratproof - a Sanitation Department
regulation for the prevention of the spread of bubonic plague.
Sub-floors and interior partitions were also of concrete, with
wood reserved for doors and window frames, media aguas, roof
framing, and floors. Copper screened windows and porches allowed
for air circulation within the buildings, while at the same time
keeping out mosquitoes - the carriers of Yellow Fever and
Due to the heavy rains that occur in the region, intermediate
roof projections, referred to locally as 'media aguas,' served
the purpose of keeping water away from windows and blocking the
harsh mid-day sun from interiors.
Full-length porches allowed the off-shore breezes to circulate
Over the years, many of these buildings have undergone
alterations and additions in keeping with the times. With the
advent of air conditioning, many oversized screen porches were
enclosed to provide additional living areas. Casement windows
were reduced in size and wood frames were replaced with aluminum.
The result of many of these changes was to further remove the
building occupants from the surrounding environment. While some
of the alterations to these structures reflect the original
design theme, others have, unfortunately, strayed from the
original design intent of the Isthmian Canal Commission
The first of the Post Canal Construction Era buildings to be
erected at Fort Amador were barracks, family quarters, the
headquarters building, a wagon shed and a wood stable.
Constructed in 1915, Building #1 was Headquarters for the Coast
Artillery Post. The front and rear porches were originally
enclosed with copper screen.
Construction of the two-story band barracks building (Building
#2) was begun in December of 1916, and was completed around June
30, 1917. The building contained a band practice room, an
office, and three storage rooms for instruments and music on the
first floor. Sleeping quarters for thirty men were located on
the second floor.
The first set of company barracks completed at Fort Amador
(Buildings #3 through #9) were turned over to the Coast Artillery
on September 28, 1914.
Construction of the two-story, raised Bachelor Lieutenants'
Quarters (Building #30) was begun in March of 1917, and was
completed around June 30, 1918.
The first floor of the Six-set bachelor officers' quarters
contained a public porch and two private porches, two "Sitting
Rooms," a library with built-in bookcases, a "Billiard Room," two
bedrooms, an "Alcove," a service pantry, a kitchen, and a dining
room. The second floor included four bedrooms, four "Sitting
Rooms" and an "Inspector's Room" with a private porch.
Originally designed to accommodate six single officers, Quarters
#30 was converted sometime around 1959 into four units of family
Seven sets of four-family, two-bedroom Non-commissioned Officers
quarters were completed in 1915. In the photograph example, the
original porches have been infilled, and the original windows and
doors have been replaced.
The first sets of four-family (three bedroom) Lieutenants'
Quarters were begun in October of 1916, and were completed by
June 30, 1918. In this photograph example also, the original
porches have been infilled, and the original windows and doors
have been replaced.
The first sets of two-family (four bedroom) Captains' Quarters
were begun in November 1916, and were nearly completed by June
Unlike the four-family quarters, these two-family (three bedroom)
quarters were divided horizontally, with one family residing on
each floor. The ground, or basement, floors contained two
"Chambers" and two "Trunk Rooms".
The first sets of single-family four bedroom Commanding Officers'
Quarters were begun in October of 1916, and were completed by
June 30, 1917.
Quarters #1 represents the most drastic example of alterations to
a single building at Fort Amador. At an unknown date, this
building was converted from a two-family Field Grade Officers'
Quarters into single-family quarters, and became the official
residence of the Commanding General, United States Army South
Following the 1979 return of Building #1 to the Republic of
Panama, the Commanding General's quarters was redesignated
Two sets of single-family, two-bedroom Non-commissioned Officers
quarters, Building #'s 452 and 453, were completed at an unknown
date, but most likely between 1917 and 1925. Unlike the other
family housing units at Fort Amador, these one-story structures
contain elements of the Tropical Caribbean French architectural
style constructed during the Panama Canal Construction Era. The
buildings are raised off of the ground by wooden piers, both the
interior and exterior walls of the buildings are of wood frame
siding, and the roof is of corrugated iron. Quarters #453 was
demolished in 1978.
Administrators of the Panama Canal Zone and the military
reservations located within the Zone recognized that "opportunity
for diversion in the Canal Zone [was] limited. The community
[was] not self-governing and lack[ed] political interests. There
[was] no industrial activity outside of the canal work, and
initiative and ambition [found] little outlet but in the day's
work. The employees live[d] in houses owned and controlled by
the Government and [could] not develop permanent and personally
owned homes in the Canal Zone."28
Concern for quality of life issues prompted both the Isthmian
Canal Commission and The Panama Canal to construct clubhouses and
other recreational facilities which were open to all U.S.
citizens residing on the Isthmus. Military personnel also had
access to the Army and Navy Y.M.C.A. in Balboa.
Construction of the Band Stand at Fort Amador was begun in May of
1917, and was completed by June 3O, l9l8. Military bands gave
concerts regularly at installations and clubhouses throughout the
Panama Canal Zone.
Service facilities at Fort Amador and Fort Grant included a
commissary, a post exchange, a gymnasium and a theater. Schools
and medical clinics were available within a few miles.
The Non-commissioned Officers' Club, constructed in 1934, was
demolished after being turned over to the Republic of Panama in
In 1936, Fort Amador's 18-hole golf course was laid out and a
Club House was constructed.
Constructed in 1932, the Post Theater included a stage and a
projection booth on the second floor.
WORLD WAR II ERA CONSTRUCTION (1938 - 1946)
World War II Era construction was in reaction to the anticipated
increase in the number of troops required for Canal defense.
Typically constructed with wood framing, these structures were
intended to last only a few decades. With a few exceptions,
emphasis was placed on function rather than aesthetics.
Casa Caribe, the six-unit Distinguished Visitors' Quarters, was
constructed in 1939. Typical of the World War II Era , the two-
story, raised structure is of wood frame construction.
The present Fort Amador Officers' Club was constructed in 1941 as
a bowling alley.
With an increasing emphasis on sports, a baseball field was laid
out on the Parade Ground at Fort Amador. The baseball field was
named McCardell Field in January of 1957, in honor of Major
Norman C. McCardell, U.S. Army Caribbean Special Services, who
died on December 7, 1956, at Gorgas Hospital at the age of 39.
CONTEMPORARY CONSTRUCTION ERA (1946 TO THE PRESENT)
Contemporary Construction Era buildings were designed by District
architects and engineers of the Corps of Engineers. The design
of these generic structures was intended to be international -
that is, the buildings could be constructed at any military
facility in the United States or in the world. Little emphasis
was placed on environment or locale. The structure would protect
the user from the cold climate of Alaska or the torrid heat of
the Philippines - whichever were required. Purely functional,
little emphasis was placed on aesthetics.
Fifteen sets of two-family, three-bedroom Capehart quarters were
constructed in 1960. The Capehart quarters display a drastic
departure from the previous Canal Zone architecture.
Ten sets of two-family, four-bedroom quarters were constructed in
1960. Three of these quarters are located at the beginning of
Four single-family, three-bedroom Field Grade Officers quarters
were constructed in the 1960's. Unlike typical contemporary
construction, the design of these concrete family housing units
managed to successfully recapture the feeling of the Tropics.
The ground floor provides space for a car and a maid's living
area. The elevated living area provides an openness to the
Fort Grant originally included the Causeway, the connected
islands of Naos, Culebra, Perico and Flamenco, and several
islands in the Bay of Panama. In addition to the defense
Batteries located on the islands, several support facilities were
Legislative Enactment Number 1O provided, in 1904, for the
establishment of quarantine regulations for all ports and harbors
of the Panama Canal Zone. For a few years the Pacific quarantine
station was located on Culebra Island. It was moved around 1915
when Forts Grant and Amador became active defense sites.
Originally an engineering storehouse Building #352 at Naos Island
currently houses offices and laboratories of the Smithsonian
Tropical Research Institute.
The Perico Island barracks building, which served as a sub-
barracks of the Coast Artillery, was off-limits to the general
public. Located between the beach and the railroad track, the
two-story building was constructed in 1917.
In addition to providing sleeping space for 150 enlisted men, the
building contained a post exchange on the ground floor and a
separate kitchen and toilet wing.
The installations' beautiful beaches and vistas attracted
visitors from other posts and communities. Recreational
facilities included fishing piers, several beach houses, and
swimming areas protected by shark netting.
The Fort Amador Beach Club, located on the causeway, "was a
favorite eating place for high school kids who wolfed their
burgers ('the best hamburgers in town'), then went for a walk on
the beach before returning to class."29
In 1912, the President sent to the Panama Canal Zone two members
of the Commission of Fine Arts to evaluate the aesthetics of the
canal and of the Canal Zone communities. Daniel Chester French
was an American sculptor of note, whose commissions included the
Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Frederick Olmstead, Jr.,
studied landscape architecture under his father, Frederick Law
Olmstead, whose design for Central Park in New York City has been
In their report dated July 26, 1913, and addressed to the
President of the United States, French and Olmstead remark on the
aesthetics of the Pacific entrance to the canal, and on Fort
Grant in particular:
"... there are points of interest as one approaches the canal
from the Pacific with which it would be unwise to attempt to
compete by any structure built for artistic reasons alone. The
shore itself, with its rugged range of mountains, is inspiring,
and the islands to the south really will ,guard the entrance, as
three of them are to be occupied by forts with heavy guns. The
second one, Perico, is the most unusual and picturesque.
Naturally a wooded mound, rising abruptly out of the sea, the top
has been flattened for a fortress, and a spiral roadway
encircling the island leads up to it from the causeway which
connects this island with its neighbor, Naos."30
The report goes on to accurately predict that the causeway would
"come to be a favorite drive for the people of Panama."31
French and Olmstead disapproved of the plan to plant palm trees
along the causeway, their reason being that "if the trees were
planted near enough together to shade the road effectively they
would completely shut out from the ships entering or leaving the
canal the view of the city...
They might also disturb the effect of the long low straight line
which the causeway now makes and which is a striking note in the
picture, and they would tend to make the shore continuous with
the island, and thus destroy the effect of its being an island."3
In addition to the construction of the buildings themselves, the
Isthmian Canal Commission was responsible for site development at
Fort Amador, including site planning, roadways, utilities,
landscape and street lighting.
For aesthetic and maintenance reasons, all utilities were run
underground. The streetlights were decorative cast-iron posts on
top of which were mounted 14-inch polycased globes.
A large variety of native and imported planting materials have
been used at Fort Amador, including: Rubber trees, Royal Palms,
Banyan trees, Banana trees, Norfolk Island Pines, and Mango
A view down Simonds Avenue exemplifies the typical planting
schemes for residential areas at Fort Amador.
Many individuals and agencies provided assistance in producing
this brochure, including John T. Lovo (Lieutenant Colonel, U.S.
Army, Retired); Dolores De Mena, Historian, United States Army
South; Julio C. Campos, Plans and Property Branch, Directorate of
Engineering and Housing-Panama; Julio Cordovez, Assistant to the
Chief, and Cesar Tovar, Engineering Division, Panama Canal
Commission; the Panama Canal Commission Technical Resources
Center; and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
1. Abbot, Willis J. Panama and the Canal in Picture and Prose.
New York: Syndicate Publishing Company, 1913, p. 144.
2. Land Holdings of the Armed Forces and the Federal Aviation
Agency in the Canal Zone. Published jointly by HQ USARSO, HQ
USAFSO, and HQ USNAVSO, 1 September 1970, p. 1.
3. Kilbey, C.W. Panama Potpourri. New York: Vantage Press,
1968, p. 36.
4. Edwards, Albert. Panama: The Canal, the Country. and the
People. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912, p. 406.
5. Bishop, Joseph Bucklin. The Panama Gateway. New York:
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1915, p. 393.
6. Ibid, p. 393.
7. De Mena, Dolores. "Short History of Fort Amador". Various
fact sheets. Office of the USARSO Historian, Fort Clayton,
Republic of Panama, p.l.
8. Ibid, p. 409.
9. De Mena, p. 1.
10. Annual Report of the Governor of the Panama Canal for the
Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1919. Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1919, p. 24.
11. "Military Reservations: Canal Zone." U.S. War Department,
1942, p. 24.
12. Land Holdings of the Armed Forces, p. 2.
13. Bishop, p. 410.
14. Ibid, p. 409-410.
15. Ibid, p. 409.
16. USARSO Pam 870-1. "The Fortifications of the Panama Canal,
Part 1: The Defenses of the Panama Canal." United States Army
South, Republic of Panama, 1 May 1973, p. 49.
17. Ibid, p. 51.
18. De Mena, p. 1.
19. USARSO Pam 870-1, p. 48.
20. Ibid, p. 9.
21. Ibid, p. 20.
22. U.S. Adjutant-General's Office. Acquisition of Land
in the Panama Canal Zone: History of World War II. No publishing
information, circa 1946- 1950, p. 14.
23. USARSO Pam 870-1, p. 51. 24 Ibid, p. 48.
24. Ibid, p. 48
25. Annual Report of the Governor of the Panama Canal for the
Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1915. Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1915, p. 260.
26. Annual Report of the Governor of the Panama Canal for the
Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1916. Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1916, p. 12-13.
27. The Canal Record, Volume VI. Balboa Heights, Canal Zone:
The Panama Canal; June 18, 1913, p. 361.
28. Annual Report of the Governor of the Panama Canal for the
Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1931. Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1931, p. 72.
29. De Mena, p. 1.
30. Senate Document Number 146: Message from the President of
the United States Transmitting a Report by the Commission of Fine
Arts in Relation to the Artistic Structure of The Panama Canal.
Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1913, p. 11.
31. Ibid, p. 11.
32. Ibid, p. 11.
Abbot, Willis J. Panama and the Canal in Picture and Prose. New
York: Syndicate Publishing Company, 1913.
Annual Historical Supplement FY82. 193d Infantry Brigade
Annual Report of the Isthmian Canal Commission. (1905 - 1909)
Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.
Annual Report of the Governor of the Panama Canal. (1915 - 1935)
Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.
Bennett, Ira E. History of the Panama Canal: Its Construction and
Builders. Washington, D.C.: Historical Publishing Company, 1915.
Bishop, Joseph Bucklin. The Panama Gateway. New York: Charles
Scribner's Sons, 1915.
Canal Record. (Volumes I - II) Ancon, Canal Zone: Isthmian Canal
Commission Printing Office.
Canal Record. (Volumes VIII - XXII) Balboa Heights, Canal Zone:
The Panama Canal.
Core, Susie Pearl. Trails of Progress or The Story of Panama and
Its Canal. New York: The Knickerbocker Press, 1925.
Edwards, Albert. Panama: The Canal, the Count[y. and the People.
New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912.
Executive Orders Relating to the Panama Canal (March 8. 1904, to
December 31, 1921 ). Mount Hope, Canal Zone: The Panama Canal
"Fort Amador (Includes Fort Grant), Panama Canal Zone: Master
Plan Analysis of Existing Facilities". Regn, Col. Elmer M.,
compiler for the USARSO Command Review Board, March 1972.
Haskin, Frederic J. The Panama Canal. Garden City, New York:
Doubleday, Page & Company, 1913.
Land Holdings of the Armed Forces in the Canal Zone. Published
by the Panama Area Joint Committee, Headquarters Caribbean
Command, Quarry Heights, Canal Zone. 1 July 1956.
Land Holdings of the Armed Forces and the Federal Aviation Agency
in the Canal Zone. Published jointly by HQ USARSO, HQ USAFSO,
and HQ USNAVSO, 1 September 1970.
Laval, Jerome D. Images of an Age: Panama and the Building of the
Canal. Fresno, California: Graphic Technology Co., 1978.
Letter of the Secretary of War, Transmitting the First Annual
Report of the Isthmian Canal Commission. Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1904.
Lindsey, Claude, compiler. Index to the Reports of the Chief of
Engineers, U.S. Army, 1913 - 1917. Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1921.
Master Plan Building Information Schedule: Fort Amador, Panama
Canal Zone (Includes Fort Grant). DA FORM 2368-R. April 1973.
Master Plan Building Information Schedule: Fort Amador. Panama.
Directorate of Facilities Engineering, 193d Infantry Brigade
(Panama). DA FORM 2368-R. April 1973.
McCullough, David. The Path Between the Seas. New York: Simon
and Schuster, 1977.
"Military Reservations: Canal Zone." U.S. War Department, 1942.
Myke, compiler. Panama! as a matter of fact... Panama City,
Republic of Panama: Poligrafica, S.A., 1986.
Nicolay, Helen. The Bridge of Water: The Story of Panama and the
Canal. New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc., 1940.
"Population Reports Fiscal Year 1963" File. Plans and
Property Branch, Engineering Division, Directorate of
Engineering and Housing - Panama
"Proposed Five Year Modernization and Rehabilitation Program for
Barracks and Messing Facilities to Meet Volar and MCA Standards."
Prepared by Kemp, Bunch and Jackson, Architects, Inc.
(Jacksonville, Florida); Administered by Army Engineer District,
Mobile Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Alabama; for USARSO, Canal
Zone, Panama. 15 March 1972.
"Quarters Schedule." [Family Housing types, designations and
sizes, identified by installation and building number] Compiler
and date unknown.
"Reservations - Military - Naval: Descriptions and Executive
Orders." File copies of Executive Orders, maintained by real
estate office (Plans and Property Branch, Engineering Division,
DEH-Panama; Building 374, Corozal, ROP), no date.
Senate Document Number 146: Message from the President of the
United States Transmitting a Report by the Commission of Fine
Arts in Relation to the Artistic Structure of The Panama Canal.
Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1913.
Scanlan, Tom, assistant editor. Army Times Guide to Army Posts.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Stackpole Company, 1966.
Sullivan, Charles J., compiler. Army Posts & Towns: The Baedeker
of the Army. Plattsburg Barracks, N.Y.: Burlington Free Press
Printing Company, 1926.
"Survey Report for Consolidation of Real Property Maintenance
Activities at Military Installations for the Panama Canal Zone."
Regn, Col. Elmer M., compiler for the USARSO Defense Real
Property Maintenance Activities Consolidation Committee for
Panama Canal Zone, in compliance with directions from the Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Defense (Installations and Housing), June
U.S. Adjutant-General's Office. Acquisition of Land in the
Panama Canal Zone: History of World War II. No publishing
information, circa 1946 - 1950.
"U.S. Army South." Office of Public Affairs, USARSO Public
Affairs Public Information Paper. October 1989.
USARSO Pam 870- 1. "The Fortifications of the Panama Canal, Part
1: The Defenses of the Panama Canal." United States Army South,
Republic of Panama, 1 May 1973.
Various fact sheets. Office of the USARSO Historian, Fort
Clayton, Republic of Panama.
Photographs supplied by:
[AF] - Courtesy Office of the Historian, 24th Wing, U.S. Air
[DEH] - Directorate of Engineering & Housing
[G+K] - Graves + Klein, Architects, Engineers
[PCC] - Photo located at Panama Canal Commission, supplied by the
U.S. National Archives [USARSOJ - Courtesy Office of the USARSO
"Fort Amador - circa 1915" [PCC/423]
"A View Across the Golf Coarse - Fort Amador" [G+K]
"Building #38 - Fort Amador" [G+K]
"Residential area - Fort Amador" [G+K]
"Housing - Fort Amador" [G+K]
"Fort Amador, Fort Grant, the Causeway and the Islands" [G+K]
"Aerial View of Fort Amador - circa 1925" [Courtesy of USARSO
"Balboa 'dump' leading to the Breakwater, July 1911 [PCC/406]
"Fast Balboa and the Breakwater, June 7, 1912" [PCC/ 409]
"The Breakwater, October 19, 1912" [PCC/412]
"The Breakwater, November 7, 1914" [PCC/415]
"Pacific Terminal and the Breakwater, July 1923" [PCC/418]
"Dr. Manuel Arnador Guerrero" (Laval, Jerome D. Images of an
Age: Panama and the Building of the Canal. Fresno, California:
Graphic Technology Co., 1978; Keystone-Mast Collection,
University of California-Riverside]
"Ulysses S. Grant" [Painting by L. Hart Dorragh; Courtesy of the
West Point Museum, United States Military Academy, West Point,
"Drawing of Typical Battery Fortification" [DEH, G+K]
"Guns Guarding Canal Entrance" [Photo by Underwood and Underwood
from Panama and the Canal, Willis Abbot, Syndicate Publishing
"Battery Buell, Naos Island, a typical position for disappearing
carriage rifles" [DEH]
"Entrance to Battery Burnside on Naos Island" [DEH]
"Fort Grant Map" [G+K]
"Culebra and Naos Islands, January 1913" [PCC/195]
"14-inch RWY Gun at Culebra Island, Fort Grant - 1932" [USARSO]
"Perico Island from Flamenco Island, January 1913"[PCC/194]
"Batteries Carr, Merritt and Prince" [USARSO]
"Battery Buell Tunnel Entrance" [G+K]
"Troops At Fort Amador" (1954) [DEH]
"MP Patrol, Fort Amador, 1923" [DEH]
Batteries Birney and Smith [DEH, G+K] [Pam 870-1 (1973)]
"Mine Storehouse Ventilator"[G+K]
"Fort Amador" Map [G+K]
"Fort Amador" Map [G+K]
"Fort Amador - Quarry Heights in Background" [DEH]
"Typical Facade with Architectural Elements Identified" [G+K]
"Media Aguas" [G+K]
"Buildings #1 through #9 - circa 1915" [PCC]
"Headquarters Building (#1), Side Elevation" [DEH, G+K]
"Headquarters Building(#1)," [DEH]
"Headquarters Building (#1), Front Elevation" [DEH]
"Headquarters Building (#1), Floor Plan" [DEH]
"Six-set Lieutenants' Quarters, Media Agua Detail" [DEH]
"Two-family Captains' Quarters, Window Detail" [DEH]
"Band Barracks (Building #2)" [DEH]
Typical Barracks Buildings #3 through #9 [DEH, G+K]
Storehouse Building Plan (Building #33) [DEH]
Storehouse Building (Building #33) [DEH]
Administration building (Building #46) [G+K]
"Building #45, constructed in 1915, was an administrative
Administration building (Building #46) [G+K]
"Warehouse (Building #52)" [DEH]
"Service Station (Building #53)" [G+K]
"Six-set Lieutenants' Quarters (Quarters #30), Front" [DEH, G+K]
"Six-set Lieutenants' Quarters, Side Elevation" [DEH, G+K]
"Six-set Lieutenants' Quarters, Section" [DEH, G+K]
"Six-set Lieutenants' Quarters (Quarters #30), Floor Plan" [DEH]
"Building #413" [DEH]
"Four-family Lieutenants' Quarters, Representative of Buildings
#'s 15, 16, 26, 27, 28, and 29" [G+K]
"Two-family Captains' Quarters, Floor Plan, Building #'s 17, 18,
19, 23, 24, and 25" [DEH]
"Two-family Captains' Quarters, Front Elevation Building #'s 17,
18, 19, 23, 24, and 25" [DEH]
"Two-family Captains' Quarters, Window Detail" [DEH]
"Commanding Officers' Quarters, Front Elevation, Building #'s 20-
22, 37-42" [DEH, G+K]
"Building #38" [G+K]
"Commanding Officers' Quarters, Rear Elevation" [DEH, G+K]
"Commanding Officers' Quarters, Typical Section" [DEH, G+K]
"Quarters #1, Commanding General's Quarters" [DEH]
"Building #452, Front" [G+K]
"Building #452, Rear" [G+K]
"Alligator Hunters" [DEH]
"A Day at the Beach [DEH]
"Band Stand (Building #50) [DEH, G+K]
"Band Stand (Building #50) [G+K]
"Gymnasium (Building #57)" [G+K]
"Building #64 (former NCO Club)" [DEH]
"Golf Club House (Building #59)" [DEH]
"Fort Amador Post Theater (Building #121)" [DEH, G+K]
"Fort Amador Officers'Club (Building #136) [G+K]
"Guest House (Building #77)" [G+K]
"Building #105" [G+K]
"McCardell Baseball Field" [G+K]
"Fort Amador Post Chapel was constructed in 1915 (Building #1
"Street Scene Ft. Amador, 21 September 1953" [DEH]
"Typical Capehart Quarters" [G+K]
"Two-family Housing constructed in 1960" [G+K]
"Former Culebra Island Quarantine Station" [DEH]
"Building #84, Field Grade Officers' Quarters, Typical of
Buildings of P's 81, 82, 86, and 87" [G+K]
"Building #84, Field Grade Officers' Quarters Elevation, Typical
of Buildings of P's 81, 82, 86, and 87" [G+K]
"Building #84, Field Grade Officers' Quarters Plan, Typical of
Buildings of P's 81, 82, 86, and 87" [G+K]
"Fort Grant Map" [G+K, DEH]
"Causewav 1953" [DEH]
"Building #352, Naos Island" [DEH]
"Building #352 Side Elevation, Naos Island" [DEH]
"Building #352 Front Elevation, Naos Island" [DEH]
"Mine Storehouse Building #359, Naos Island" [G+K]
"Mine Storehouse Building #359, Side Elevation, Naos Island"
"Mine Storehouse Building #359, Partial Elevation, Naos Island"
"Building #332 Side Elevation, Naos Island" [DEH]
"Building #332 Elevation/Section, Naos Island" [DEH]
"Mine Boat House - Naos Island [G+K]
"Gas Station - Naos Island" [DEH]
"Guard House Building #398, Naos Island" [DEH]
"Former Barracks Building, Perico Island" [DEH]
"Fort Amador Beach Pavilion" [DEH]
"Plan of Beach House - Naos Island" [DEH]
"Former Beach House" [DEH]
"Swimming Shelter" [DEH]
"View of the Causeway and Islands" [G+K]
"Original Streetlamp in foreground; View to Panama City in back-
"Typical Landscape at Amador" [G+K]
"Royal Palms Lining Simonds Street" [G+K]
"Balboa Yacht Club at Fort Amador" [G+K]
"Flying JN-4s 'Jenny' over Fort Amador" [AF]
The Balboa Yacht Club opened on May 29. 1916, with a dance for
members and guests. In addition to sponsoring dances, the
clubhouse held aquatic meets, swimming, canoeing and motor boat
Affectionately known as the "Jenny," these planes, flown by a
generation of pilots, were the mainstay of the early