The Panama Canal, 100 years

SS Ancon, 1914
On August 15, 1914; the steamship SS Ancon made the first official transit of the Panama Canal.  An idea that started in 1534, it would take 347 years to break ground and 33 more years for the Panama Canal to be completed.

Bringing commerce, cultures and people from all corners of the world closer together; the Panama Canal is known as one of the 7 wonders of the world.

The Panama Canal is a freshwater canal and is 43 miles long (80 kilometers). It bisects the isthmus at its narrowest and lowest point, allowing passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

The Panama Canal consists of 3 locks; Gatun, Pedro Miguel and Miraflores. Each lock is 110 feet wide (35.5 meters) by 72 feet (24 meters) long. The locks lift vessels 85 feet (26 meters) to the elevation of Panama and then back down for each ocean, they require 26,700,000 gallons of water to fill from the lowered to the raised position.

Today is not only special day for Panamanians world-wide but for San Diego as well. San Diego was advertised as the first United States port of call after passing through the Panama Canal and sailing north.

This popularity led to Panama-California Expositions in 1915 and 1935 held in Balboa Park. Attracting national attention, with the architecture and landscapes, Balboa Park was transformed to a major cultural center.

Balboa Park, 1914
Take a moment today to celebrate the marvel that is the Panama Canal and the many people who worked tirelessly for decades to build this man-made wonder.

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Today, the House of Panama celebrates our 25th anniversary - August 1, 2014

On August 1, 1989, the House of Panama became an official member of the House of Pacific Relations, a not-for-profit community organization dedicated to furthering cooperation and understanding between national groups in the United States.

Throughout the years we have participated in the several community events and have met thousands of San Diego residents and visitors from around the world. We established a High School Scholarship Fund and have awarded several student awards of over $500.00, our 2014 recipients will be presented at our Lawn Program on August 10. In 2013 we held the first House of Panama Business Expo to connect with Panamanian business owners.

With over 25 years of existence, the House of Panama is still going strong. For the 2015 Centennial Celebrations of the creation of Balboa Park, the House of Panama Board, members, and supporters have focused all efforts to build an International Cottage in Balboa Park. A cottage will continue our dream to share our Panamanian culture and heritage. Consider a donation of $25.00 today to help us fund this dream.

To commemorate our 25th anniversary year, we begin by sharing special memories from our members. Our first highlight article is about Dorotea Lindsay, our founding member.

Thank you, for your support over the past 25 years. You have been critical to our continued success, and we look forward to the next 25 years. Remember to subscribe to our newsletter to receive for the latest member highlights and anniversary event details.

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Member Highlight: Dorotea

To commemorate our 25th anniversary year, today we are highlighting Dorotea Lindsay.

Dorotea is the Founder of the House of Panama. She also held the position of President for the first 4 years. Dorotea has also lived in San Diego for 37 years.

Dorotea in a Pollera (traditional Panamanian Dress) with
her son Paul Lindsay (in a Montuna and Panama hat)

How did the House of Panama start?  
The House of Panama started as a vision to inform others of Panamanian culture. One sunny afternoon while visiting the House of United States cottage, I approached a woman and inquired about the purpose of Balboa Park and cottages.

Noticing my accent, she asked where I was from; I proudly said  I was from Panama. She explained to me that Balboa Park was named for Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the first European explorer to cross the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean. The cottages were the sleeping quarters to host the Captain and Admiral of the first ships that came through the Panama Canal in 1914.

I asked where the House for Panama was; she immediately told me they didn't have a House of Panama and invited me to the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages' meetings. After the meeting, and knowing this was a good thing, I took the initiative to get the paperwork started. Along the way I obtained the assistance of Mrs. Maritza Bowen (the first Vice President) and started the House of Panama.

In 1987, the House of Panama was accepted as a conditional member of the House of Pacific Relations. In 1989, the House of Panama became an official member of the House of Pacific Relations.

What makes the House of Panama special? 
Our diversity, dances, culture and history.

Why should new members join?
To be a member of the only Panamanian cultural museum in the United States is a good thing.

What is your favorite memory of Panama?
Going to school, my church, the festivities and culture.

On Facebook, Share your favorite House of Panama memory. Not on Facebook, Email us your story.

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