Monday, September 13, 2010

Where Is This?

With the Spanish business signs, it could be from Mexico, Cuba, or the Philippines. The sign on the photographers studio is partly in English, so it was probably a city with a lot of American or British visitation. Does the "THE MARINE STUDIO" indicate U.S. Marines or merchant marines were welcome to come in and have a picture taken. Well, if anyone out there can tell me where it was taken, please leave a comment.
Added 9/14/10. In her comment, Christine H. speculates that this could be Panama. What caught her eye was the streetcar tracks. She noted that Panama, and I assume she's referring to the city on the Pacific side of the canal, had single trolley tracks that were removed in 1941. Coincidentally I had come to the same thought, but for far different reasons. This photo was purchased in the United States, and what Spanish speaking country had more American visitation than Panama. The Canal Zone was a defacto American colony that bisected the country. There were American military bases to defend the zone, American technicians to keep the canal running, American business interests dominated the local economy, and even the Panamanian government had large numbers of Americans in administrative positions. Also, a good explanation for the English photo studio sign. With all those Americans wanting photos to send home...And what got me thinking along these lines. A screening of the John Huston/Humphrey Bogart film Across the Pacific, a 1942 film about a Japanese plot to destroy the Panama canal. Christine H's thoughts are a far more valid explanation than my thoughts, but between us, we may have solved the mystery of just where this photo was taken.


  1. Well, there is a good clue here, but not good enough that I have the answer. It's the streetcar tracks that have been removed. That pretty much eliminates Cuba, because as far as I know they kept the tracks in the street after they eliminated the service. I thought it might be San Juan, Puerto Rico, but they should have still had tracks in the streets and streetcars running on them when this photo was taken. Another clue is that there was only one set of tracks, which means the system probably operated as a loop.
    My vote is for Panama, because they got rid of their streetcar system in 1941, much earlier than most places. But that's still a wild guess.

  2. This photo is in Panama City, Rep of Panama. Some bio on its founder.

    Thomas J. Marine, an American, was born in 1879 and came to the Isthmus of Panama in November 1905 to work as a photographer. He earned Roosevelt medal No. 1046 for two years uninterrupted service on the Canal. In October 1910, he founded the Marine Studio at 343-345 Avenida Central, in Panama City. He gained a wide clientele for his portrait work and also sold postcards and photos of the Canal construction effort from the French days. In 1916, he sold his business to Walter Durling and joined the Canal Zone Postal Service. Marine served at the Ancon Post office until his retirement in December 1935. He remained on the Isthmus and was involved in several commercial enterprises in Panama. His long life came to a tragic end in January 1959, when he was murdered in his home by burglar.

    Vicente Pascual