Panama „Kiss of two oceans“


Panama, Colon Hospital

Postkarte: „Ward in Colon I. C. C. Hospital, Colon R.P.“ („Hospitals consist of departments, traditionally called wards“ ([1])

Panama Kanal, Treidelloks


Postkarte: „Electric Mule towing Ocean liner through Gatun locks, Panama Canal“ (dies sind Treidelloks, Zahnradbahnen, die die Schiffe durch die Schleuse ziehen. Als Konstrukteur wird Edward Schildhauer genannt ([1], [2])).


Treidellok, Pedro Miguel Locks (Links ist das Schiff das durch die Schleuse gezogen wird)


Gatun Locks


Treidellock (Electric Mule)


Gatun Locks im Bau.

Caroline und C. C. J. Wirz


C. C. J. Wirz 1897 und 1914.


Caroline und C. C. J. Wirz 1897.


Caroline Wirz („Mrs. Chas. C. J. Wirz“).

Im Frühjahr 1899 erschienen in der Zeitung „The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser“ mehrmals Anzeigen von C. C. J. Wirz, in denen er die Vermittlung von sogenannten Coolies (Kuli, Tagelöhner, vgl. [1]) anbot. Als Kontaktadresse wurde Queen Road Central in Hongkong angegeben. In keinem weiteren Dokument wird diese Tätigkeit später allerdings erwähnt, aber die klare namentliche Nennung als „C. C. J. Wirz“ sollte als Zuordnung zunächst reichen, zumal seine Frau für 1901 und 1903 Aufenthalte auf den „Philippines“ angibt, so dass ein Aufenthalt in Hongkong glaubhaft erscheint. „My wife and I arrived on the Isthmus on October 10, 1903, by the way of Europe from the far East. […] Soon after our Arrival in Panama [1903] I started a second Hand furniture store, house, room renting and employment agency, and did well for a time.“ (C.C.J. Wirz, 1914) „On October 10, 1903, my husband and I landed at Colon from the Philippines, by the way of Europe.“ (Caroline Wirz) „In May, 1904, General Davis, first Governor of the Zone, and other officials, as well as a number of employees, arrived on the Isthmus. Many of These latter found their way to my Establishment in search of board and lodging, and General Information. When possible I found a place for them, and was useful to them otherwise, for which Services I received very Little cash. As Business conditions were very unfavorable, I entered the Service of the Commission in November, 1904.“ (C.C.J. Wirz, 1914) „We had read in the far off Philippines that the American Government was going to build the Panama Canal, and my husband intended to be one of the canal diggers, and with this object in view, we undertook the Long journey, howewer, as we were ahead of time we started a second-Hand furniture shop, this being something unique then in Panama, and later, when the Americans arrived, we added a Real Estate and Employment Office, and assisted not a few early canal employees to find board and loging, for None of them were overburdened with cash.“ (Caroline Wirz)

Postkarte von Caroline Wirz: Kanalbau in Panama (Gatun Locks, eine Schleuse).


Titelblatt „The Panama Canal 1914 – 1939, Twenty-fifth Anniversary“ (25 Jahre Fertigstellung Panama Kanal)


Bildtext: „The Incas Society was organized under the leaderchip of Colonel William Crawford Gorgas, shown in the Center. It is composed of men who were employed by the Isthmian Canal Commission during 1904. It was the wish of Colonel Gorgas that the Society hold an annual banquet until the last man had left, and this Tradition has so far been pbserved. Only two members, R. W. Glaw and C.A. McIlvaine are still in Service. Other members who has left the Service but now make their home on the Isthmus include Harry Leonard, R.D. Precott, Foster Spier, F.H. Sheibley, R.P. Dixon, G.O. Richardson, C.L. Stockelberg, C.C.J. Wirz, W.A. Torbert, Frank E. Moore, and W.C. Haskins.“ (Quelle: University of Florida – Digital Collections, „There are two societies on the Isthmus which tell of the effects of homesickness of the Americans in the employ of the Canal Commission—the Incas, and the Society of the Chagres. The Incas are a group of men who meet annually on May 4th for a dinner. The one requirement for membership in this dining club is service on the canal from the beginning of the American occupation. In 1913 about 60 men were left on the Isthmus of all those Americans who were there at the time of the transfer of the canal property to the United States in 1904.“ (

C. C. J. Wirz in der Festschrift der Incas Society.


Postkarte von Caroline Wirz gesendet: Krankenhaus in Ancon, Canal Zone.


C.C.J. Wirz, ca. 1914



The Wirz Memorial „A new home for Isthmian Canal Rebekah Lodge No. 1, I.O.O.F. will soon rise on the Balboa Road in Balboa. It is being constructed as a memorial to the late Mr. and Mrs. Charles Clemens Joseph Wirz. He was a former Canal employee who arrived in 1904 and resided in Panama City until his death in 1947. Mr. Wirz bequeathed the lodge $50,000 for the building’s erecrion.“ (Canal Record, Juni 1951) (Anm.: The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Isthmian Canal Lodge No. 1 [1], [2],International Association of Rebekah Assemblies [3]) „Rebekah Lodge To Hold „Open House“ Isthmian Rebekah Lodge No. 1 is holding an „Open House“ at the new Wirz Memorial building at 806 Balboa Road an Sunday. 6 from 3 to 5 p.m. The public is cordially invited to attend the opening ceremonies an dto inspect the building. Tea will be served.“ (Zeitung Panama American, 3. Januar 1952)
In der Zeitung Panama American, 5. Januar 1952 (Seite 6), erschien ein Bild vom „The Wirz memorial on Balboa Road“. „Rebekah Lodge No. 1 Isthmian Canal Rebekah Lodge No. 1 will meet Friday at 7:30 at the Wirz Memorial in Balboa. Mrs. Marie M. Bennett, president will turn the gavel over to Mrs. Louise Merchant incoming president. There will be a social after tre meeting.“ (The Sunday American, 8. Januar 1956) „Christmas Party For Rebekahs Isthmian Canal Rebekah Lodge One of Balboa will have a Christmas party and dinner tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. The meeting will follow at 7:30 p.m. at the Wirz Memorial on Balboa Road.“  (The Panama American, 15. Dezember 1958) „Jehovah’s Witnesses [= Die Zeugen Jehovas] Meetings Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 4:00 pm – Wirz Memorial 806 Balboa Road, Balboa.“ (The Panama American, 27. Juni 1959) „Harnett [& Dunn, Ball Room Dancers Studio] was my dance teacher. About 14 middle-school age kids and myself learned the walz, foxtrot and jitterbug under her direction. This was in about 1960. Her dance studio was on the first floor of a building that had the name Rebecca IOOF at its front. The building was along Balboa Road in the area of the police station.“ ( Neben dem Wirz Memorial auf der Balboa Road war eine Kirche („… Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Balboa … at the church on Balboa Road next the Wirz Memorial.“, The Panama Canal spillway, 31. Oktober 1969)
Literatur: Sahler, G. (2012): Briefe aus Panama ins Bergische Land – Lindlarer Familie korrespondierte mit Verwandtschaft in Übersee; Karl Wirz baute mit am Panamakanal vor 100 Jahren. In: Rheinisch-bergischer Kalender; 83. 2013, S. 84 – 90.