U. S. Naval Station, Coco Solo
     Panama Canal Zone

            (updated with 2 new photos)

The Coco Solo Naval Reservation was officially established by Executive Order on April 9, 1920, "to the uses and purposes of a naval reservation, to be under the control of the Secretary of the Navy.

Construction of the original Coco Solo Submarine Base began as early as 1919, during which $630,627.39 was expended by The Panama Canal from an appropriation of the Navy Department.

In 1957 (as part of a series of name changes), the U.S. Naval Station, Coco Solo, became the Coco Solo Annex of the U.S. Naval Station, Rodman.  At the same time, the Canal Zone Government "acquired 229 acres of Coco Solo land together with 285 Public Quarters and a considerable number of other buildings and facilities which were excess to the requirements of the Navy."

The complex was transferred in 1968 to the U.S. Naval Security Group Activity, Galeta Island.   --  From www.denix.osd.mil

NOTE:  In the 1960s, there were two separate residential areas for Naval personnel with families.  One section, nearest the Navy entrance, was parallel to the main road that leads to PCC entrance to Coco Solo at the far end.  This housing was allotted to lower-ranked enlisted men while another section was for Officers, NCOs, and upper-ranked enlisted families such as E-7s, E-8s, and E-9s - this was the group we fell into since my father was an E-7, as were most of those in our four-plex (see map below).  Our area was on the far side of Cristobal High School (which had once been used by the Navy) and near the bay.  The four-plexes were laid out in a sort of wide semi-circle with an approximate expanse of lawn 20 - 30 feet deep which abutted a sea wall.  This provided us with a view of the bay and Colon as our building directly faced Colon.  The buildings were built along the same general plan as most of the CZ housing so they included a screened-in elongated "porch".  Since we didn't have A/C when we first moved in (late 1960), we welcomed the breezes from the bay although I more enjoyed the smell of the bay.  The breezes weren't much though and on a hot and humid day, they helped very little.  Eventually the novelty of sea breezes wore off and since these buildings were not built around any plans for central A/C, my father purchased "window" A/C units - one for each of the 3 bedrooms, and a bigger one for the living area and porch area.  I have forgotten what my father used to seal the screens but I do know it wasn't plastic sheeting.  A big problem with having an open screened-in porch was that there was little privacy.  At night, voices would carry and sometimes we would know which couple were fighting with each other or yelling at their kids.  When my father retired, we had to move and so came our moving to PCC Coco Solo. 

Coco Solo - circa 1965
   Coco Solo, circa 1965

   Coco Solo,circa 1930s

   Coco Solo, circa 1930's
Coco Solo Naval Hospital
    U.S. Naval Hospital,
      Coco Solo, 1946

U.S.Navy Post Office -
 included a gym and the
Base Exchange, 1945
Coco Solo Submarine Base - 1917
Coco Solo Submarine Base

Navy Barracks, 1945

U.S. Navy Airship, AKRON,
over Limon Bay, Panama, 1933. 
Lost in a storm over NJ, 4/4/33.
75 on board, only 3 survivors.
   Old military map of Coco Solo


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