Object of the Day

Panama Viejo, 1940

Our record indicates that this photograph was taken in the 1940s by  T-sgt Rob’t Forsyth. What memories do you have from Panama Viejo?


What memories do you have from Panama Viejo? If you can, please share with us in the comments section below!


  • Fred Sill

    A trip out to Old Panama was occasionally a Sunday drive for our family in the 1940s, and they kindled my interest in Panama’s amazing history. As kids, we had all been told about the city’s being sacked by the English pirate Henry Morgan in 1671, and there it was right before our eyes. (Also, my dad enjoyed visiting a friend who had an alligator farm in the ruins, providing raw material for shoes, belts, and handbags.) Later, as a teenager, I’d drive out there to look for old stuff along the shoreline, which was, in those days, just behind the trees on the right hand side of the photo. I mostly found old rusty spikes, bits of tile, pieces of glazed pottery, lead musket balls — that sort of stuff. Panama deserves credit for protecting it from the urban sprawl, clearing out the shacks which had been built amongst the ruins, identifying the monuments, and building a staircase for visitors to climb to the top of the church tower.

  • Diane L. French

    This picture is how I remember Old Panama. The first time my father took me there was when I was around eight years old in 1952. My father told me the history of Old Panama which made it more interesting to see it. I have wonderful pictures of each time we went there. This is where we would take any of our family who came to visit us in Pamama. I do remember when I was young seeing Ilama’s at Old Panama that were tied to a tree. I have pictures of my father feeding them. My father didn’t want me to get too close to them saying they would spit at you. My father in-law use to go to Old Panama hiring a Panamanian there to dig for him finding old swords that we used by the pirates who raided the city. He also dug up pottery, coins etc. My son has couple of them right now. I use to cllimb the staircase that lead to the top of the church tower every time I went to Old Panama. Can’t believe it is still standing the ruins after all these years..

  • Edie

    Our family enjoyed visiting Old Panama on many occasions from the 1950s – 1980s. We would climb around the ruins and visit the river and beach behind. In my teens, there was a fellow who would bring small ponies for people to rent and ride around the area. They were mean little ponies and I remember one of them galloping away with me – my last pony ride! There was a small shop that sold Panamanian handicrafts on site.

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