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AMERICA'S LEGACY IN PANAMA

PANAMA CANAL TREATY TRANSITION

END OF AN ERA

U.S. MILITARY IN PANAMA

U.S. MILITARY IN REGION-History

LIFE AFTER SOUTHCOM

SOUTHCOM TODAY

PANAMA

COMMENTARY

By WHO / By Others

OTHER TOPICS

BASES-LIST/MAP

AMERICA'S LEGACY IN PANAMA

Bases:  Summary

Bases: Then/Now

Panama Canal Construction 

Panama Canal 1914-1999

 

BASES

QUARRY HEIGHTS

FORT AMADOR

FORT CLAYTON

FORT KOBBE

ALBROOK AIR FORCE BASE/ STATION

HOWARD AIR FORCE BASE

RODMAN NAVAL STATION

PANAMA AIR DEPOT (PAD) AREA

FORT SHERMAN

FORT DAVIS

FORT GULICK

GALETA ISLAND

EARLIER MILITARY INSTALLATIONS

Camp Elliott/Gaillard

Camp Otis

Fort Grant

Fort DeLesseps

Fort Randolph

France Field

Coco Solo Naval Base

Camp Rousseau

 

Installation Layouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 52. Surface drains catch water from overhead eaves and direct It away from buildings to culverts.

In addition to drainage considerations, considerable attention was given to the military system of ranks and grades in determining base layouts in the Canal Department. This is especially evident in housing areas. Married Officer and NCO quarters were sited so as to emphasize rank and command structure. Most obviously, Officer Quarters developments were situated on the most desirable topographical locations. Given Panama's tropical conditions, this generally meant the highest ground possible to allow for the best exposure to cooling breezes. At Albrook AFB, the original Quarters 1 (now Quarters 2) was located on the highest point of that installation, with commanding views in all directions. The same is true of Howard AFB, where Quarters 1 is situated on a secluded hill overlooking the entire installation. Surrounding quarters in both cases were reserved for the General's Staff and other high ranking Field and Company Grade officers. Likewise, the layouts of both bases serve to accentuate the military hierarchy by siting higher ranking NCO quarters at dominant locations at the ends of streets in NCO developments. Again, where possible, these quarters occupy the highest points in their respective areas, and enjoy commanding views of the surrounding quarters and the benefits of cooling breezes (Figure 53 and 54).

 


Figure 53. Map of Albrook housing areas showing housing types based on rank

 

Standard Plans

The architectural landscape of both Albrook AFS and Howard AFB is rather homogeneous due to the extensive use of standard plans, especially in housing areas. The following is a brief description of some of the housing, barracks, and hangar standard plans employed at these installations, with special attention given to the characteristics that distinguish one building type from another. Plans are presented by building use and drawing date.141

Housing

Standard Plan No. 3214-1 for Field Officer's Quarters was begun 29 January 1930 and completed 15 May 1930. It depicts the first of three Mission Style housing types found at Albrook. The original design contained 2,644 sq ft of usable space and was executed at a cost of $14,500. The two-story structure features an irregular floor plan, a concrete slab foundation, hollow tile walls clad in stucco at the exterior and plaster at the interior, and low-pitched gable-on-hip roofs. It is interesting to note that the drawings called for either copper or clay tile roofs. The only standing examples of this type, Albrook Buildings 2, 3, and 5, have clay tile roofs.142 While the standard version of Plan No. 3214-1 is similar to Plan No. 3215-1 (see below), it can be distinguished by its 5-bay structural design (Drawing 1).

Standard Plan No. 3215-1 for Company Officer's Quarters was begun 28 January 1930 and completed 15 May 1930. It depicts the second of three Mission Style housing types found at Albrook along Canfield Avenue. The original design contained 2,090 sq ft of usable space and was executed at a cost of $12,478. The two-story structure features an irregular floor plan, a concrete slab foundation, hollow tile walls clad in stucco at the exterior and plaster at the interior, and low-pitched gable-on-hip roofs. Although the drawings called for corrugated metal roofs, all were executed in clay tile. While this plan is similar to Plan No. 3214-1 for Field Officer's Quarters (see above), it can be distinguished by its 3-bay structural design (Drawing 2).

Standard Plan No. 3216-1 for Non-Commissioned Officers' Duplex Quarters was begun 30 January 1930 and completed 15 May 1930. It depicts the third of the Mission Style housing types found at Albrook, located mainly along Sempsey Circle and Hanson Street. The original design contained 2,454 sq ft of usable space and was executed at an approximate cost of $15,900. The three-story structure features an irregular floor plan, a concrete slab foundation, hollow tile walls clad in stucco at the exterior and plaster at the interior, and low-pitched gable-on-hip roofs. Although the drawings called for corrugated metal roofs, all were executed in clay tile. This design features a unique division of quarters by floor rather than by building half (Drawing 3).

Standard Plan No. 625-5555 for Double Non-Commissioned Officers' Quarters Type 3 dates to 25 September 1939. It illustrates the first of five three-story Spanish Colonial Revival Style housing types found at Albrook and Howard. Buildings of this type make up a large portion of the total housing at both installations. The building footprint measures 24 x 44 ft. The structure features a concrete slab foundation, poured and concrete block walls clad in stucco at the exterior and plaster at the interior, and low-pitched hip roofs. While the drawings call for paper-backed copper roofing, all housing of this type was constructed with clay tile roofs. Entry stairs located at the short ends of the building are standard, but the design offers alternative stair locations at the long sides of the building. This plan can be distinguished from similar types in that it was designed for double family occupancy, and it has a three-bay configuration and interim ground floor stair landings with pipe rails (Drawing 4).143

Standard Plan No. 625-5580 for Double Non Commissioned Officers' Quarters Type 8 dates to 25 September 1939. It illustrates the second of five three-story Spanish Colonial Revival Style housing types found at Albrook and Howard. Buildings of this type make up a large portion of the total housing at both installations. The building footprint measures 26-1/2 x 58 ft. The stricture features a concrete slab foundation, poured and concrete block walls clad in stucco at the exterior and plaster at the interior, and low-pitched clay tile hip roofs. Entry stairs located at the short ends of the building are standard, but the design offers alternative stair locations at the long sides of the building (Figure 55). This design appears to be identical to Plan No. 625-9455, Double Company Officers' Quarters Type 6, except that it features a first-floor closet over the center stairs, rather than a half bath. It also has two small window openings over the center stairs, rather than the four present in the Type 6 unit. In general, this plan can be distinguished from similar types in that it was designed for double-family occupancy, and it has a four-bay configuration and spiraling ground floor stairs (Drawing 5).144

Figure 55. The standard end stair 

found on housing constructed from 

the 625-series standard plans.

Standard Plan No. 625-5560 for Single Non-Commissioned Officer's Quarters Type 4 dates to 25 September 1939. It illustrates one of two two-story Spanish Colonial Revival Style housing types found at Albrook and Howard. The building footprint measures 28 x 38 ft. The structure features a concrete slab foundation, poured and concrete block walls clad in stucco at the exterior and plaster at the interior, and low-pitched hip roofs. The drawings call for paper-backed copper roofing, but the surviving examples at Albrook and Howard were constructed with clay tile roofs. This plan can be distinguished from similar types by a secondary stair that drops from the center of the structure rather than being located at the perimeter (Drawing 6). Type 4 units are generally located in dominant locations and intended for higher-ranking Non-Commissioned Officers.

Plan No. 625-6320for Single Field Officer's Quarters Type 5 at Albrook dates to 30 September 1939. It illustrates the second two-story Spanish Colonial Revival Style housing type found in this study. The building footprint measures 42 x 44 ft and the plans were executed at an approximate cost of $17,000. The two-story structure features a concrete slab foundation, poured and concrete block walls clad in stucco at the exterior and plaster at the interior, and low-pitched clay tile hip roofs. This plan can be distinguished from similar types by a secondary stair located at the perimeter rather than dropping from the center of the structure. Albrook Buildings 51, 57, and 60 are the only examples of this type (Drawing 7).

Standard Plan No. 625-6315 for Single Field Officer's Quarters Type 4 dates to 30 September 1939. It illustrates the third of five three-story Spanish Colonial Revival Style housing types found at Albrook and Howard. The building footprint measures 29 x 44 ft and the plans were executed at costs ranging from $24,000 to $29,000. The structure features a concrete slab foundation, poured and concrete block walls clad in stucco at the exterior and plaster at the interior, and low-pitched hip roofs. While the drawings call for paper-backed copper roofing, all housing of this type was constructed with clay tile roofs. This plan can be distinguished from similar types in that it was designed for single-family occupancy, and it has main entry stair locations on adjacent, rather than same or opposite, sides (Drawing 8).

Standard Plan No. 625-9445 for Single Company Officer's Quarters Type 4 at Albrook dates to 30 September 1939. It illustrates the fourth of five three-story Spanish Colonial Revival Style housing types found in this study. The building footprint measures 26 x 35-1/2 ft. The structure features a concrete slab foundation, poured and concrete block walls clad in stucco at the exterior and plaster at the interior, and low-pitched hip roofs. The only example of this type is Albrook Building 50. The drawings call for paper-backed copper roofing, but Building 50 was constructed with a clay tile roof. This plan can be distinguished from similar types in that it was designed for single-family occupancy, and it has entry stair locations on opposite sides and a small center structural bay (Drawing 9).

Standard Plan No. 625-9455 for Double Company Officers' Quarters Type 6 dates to 30 September 1939. It illustrates the last of five three-story Spanish Colonial Revival Style housing types found at Albrook and Howard. The building footprint measures 26-1/2 by 58 ft. The structure features a concrete slab foundation, poured and concrete block walls clad in stucco at the exterior and plaster at the interior, and low-pitched clay tile hip roofs. Entry stairs located at the short ends of the building are standard, but the design offers alternate stair locations at the long sides of the building (Drawing 10). This design appears to be identical to Plan No. 625-5580, Double Company Officers' Quarters Type 8, except that it features a first-floor half bath over the center stairs rather than a closet. It also has four small window openings over the center stairs, rather than the two present in the Type 8 unit.

Standard Plan No. 25-01-01 for Two-Family Non-Commissioned Officers' Quarters at Albrook dates to 10 April 1947. It illustrates the only housing type in this study found to be ineligible for the NRHP due to its lack of architectural and/or historical value. This one-story structure features a concrete slab foundation, concrete block walls clad in stucco, and low-pitched intersecting hip roofs. The drawings call for corrugated asbestos roofing, but those examples at Albrook now have metal seam roofs. Ground settlement along Olte Street is exerting torque on many of these structures. Walls and foundations are cracking and, where forces are great enough, windows are popping out of their frames.

Howard Building 23 on the Weatherly Quad is the only example of a standard Single Field Officer's Quarters Type 6. It resembles the nearby Single Field Officer's Quarters Type 4, with only minor differences in window arrangement. No drawings for this housing type were found.

 

Barracks

Standard Plan No. 3301-1 for 110-Man Air Corps Barracks was completed 6 June 1930. It depicts the first of two early Spanish Colonial Revival barracks types found at Albrook along Broberg Avenue. The original plans specified 21,350 sq ft of usable space and were executed at a cost of $79,732. The structure features a rectangular floor plan, a concrete pile and pier foundation, hollow tile walls clad in stucco, and a low-pitched clay tile gable-on-hip roof with gable end vents and chimney. This design can be distinguished by its six structural bays (rather than the ten shown in Plan No. 3302-1) and three-story layout (Drawing 11).

Standard Plan No. 3302-1 for 200-Man Air Corps Barracks was begun 5 April 1930 and completed 6 June 1930. It depicts the second of two early Spanish Colonial Revival barracks types found at Albrook along Broberg Avenue. The original plans specified 35,467 sq ft of usable space and were executed at a cost of $121,415. The structure features a rectangular floor plan, a concrete pile and pier foundation, hollow tile walls clad in stucco, and a low-pitched clay tile gable-on-hip roof with gable end vents and chimney. This design can be distinguished by its ten structural bays (rather than the six shown in Plan No. 3301-1) and three-story layout (Drawing 12).

Standard Plan No. 12301-1 for 150-Man Standard Barracks was completed September 1939. It depicts one of the two late Spanish Colonial Revival barracks types found at Albrook and Howard. The structure features a rectangular floor plan, a concrete pile and pier foundation, concrete block walls clad in stucco, and a low-pitched clay tile hip roof with ridge vent. This design can be distinguished by its seven structural bays (rather than the ten shown in Plan No. 12336-1) and four story layout (Drawing 13).

Standard Plan No. 12336-1 for 200-Man Standard Barracks was completed November 1939. It depicts the second of two late Spanish Colonial Revival barracks types found at Howard. The structure features a rectangular floor plan, a concrete pedestal foundation, concrete block walls clad in stucco, and a low-pitched clay tile hip roof with ridge vent. This design can be distinguished by its ten structural bays (rather than the seven shown in Plan No. 12301-1) and four-story layout. No drawings for this plan were located.

 

(Footnotes and bibliography are at the end of this section)

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