Object of the Day

Colon Market, 1939

The reverse of this photograph reads “MARKET COLON ROEP 2-28-39”. However, this object lacks anymore information. Please help us learn more about this fascinating market scene.

2003.088.002.007_0001If you can, please share with us in the comments section!


  • Fred Sill

    Interesting to note that the vendors appear to be mostly Chinese. They are more than likely children and grand-children of the Chinese who had the “Chinese Gardens” in the Canal Zone area, supplying the commissaries with fresh vegetables. The “Chinese Gardens” were also allowed to sell their excess produce on the side to anybody driving by. Their story goes back to the construction days (even back to the French construction effort) when it was clear that the workers needed more fresh vegetables than the small farms in Panama could provide. They were also an exception to the rule about no private enterprise being permitted in the Cana Zone area.

    Former Zonians from the Pacific Side may remember “Mr. Chan”, who was in charge of the restaurant of the Balboa YMCA in the 50s and 60s. He had gone to Panama during the construction, and ran a general store in Culebra. Since he spoke English, plus four or five Chinese dialects, he became the unofficial liaison between the Canal health inspectors and the Chinese farmers, few of whom spoke English. He’d accompanying sanitary officials on their inspection tours translating instructions — “no manure to be used for fertilizer, everything to be washed before being sold, etc.”.

    And some of us may remember his bright young daughter, Beverly, who in the 1980s was the librarian of the Canal Zone library, located in the former Albrook air terminal.

  • bkarrer2013

    I see they didn’t permit dogs to come in. When we were at Gulick 1967-70 Sara, Luz Maria Arrocha (our maid) & our two kids used to go down there off & on to shop for fresh veggies & fish. It’s great that this photo has a date. It was lot less formal in attire when we used to go there… never saw a straw Panama hat for sure. Bob Karrer


    From: The Panama Canal Museum Collection at UF [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] Sent: Friday, May 23, 2014 1:14 PM To: bkarrer@comcast.net Subject: [New post] Colon Market, 1939

    ufpcmcollection posted: “The reverse of this photograph reads “MARKET COLON ROEP 2-28-39″. However, this object lacks anymore information. Please help us learn more about this fascinating market scene. If you can, please share with us in the comments section!”

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