WHO's SCROLL

   HOUSING AREAS -- ROUSSEAU                                          [p1 OF 2] 

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AMERICA'S LEGACY IN PANAMA

PANAMA CANAL TREATY TRANSITION

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 HOUSING AREAS -- ROUSSEAU 

(1940s-1999/Pacific side/Navy-Army)

Rousseau was constructed in the early 1940s as a Naval hospital, on 77 acres adjacent to the Panama Canal and between Rodman Naval Station and the townsite of Cocoli and across Bruja Road (K-2 road) from the entrance to the later HOROKO golf course.  It was named for Rear Admiral Henry H. Rousseau, an engineer and a personal appointee of President Theodore Roosevelt as a board member on the third Isthmian Canal Commission. He was given responsibility for the design and construction of all terminals, wharves, coaling stations, dry docks, machine shops, and a warehouse associated with the construction of the Panama Canal. 

ROUSSEAU located between Rodman Naval Station and Cocoli townsite.  The T-shaped building was originally the main hospital building. Each of the long buildings were originally hospital wards, later cut into two apartments at each end with a huge laundry area in between.  [Map courtesy of Dino Barkema, photos of Rousseau on his website www.chagres.com]

 

ROUSSEAU, originally a Naval hospital later converted to housing area used by the U.S. Civil Aviation Administration (later redesignated Federal Aviation Administration-FAA).  The larger building in the center of the photo appears to have been the main hospital building (t-shaped in above map).  [Photo by T.A. Strepp (Civil Aviation Administration Area Administrator during the Rousseau era) at Dino Barkema's site; photo courtesy of T.A. Strepp through Dino Barkema. See Notice below for all photos used in this section.]

The hospital complex was constructed about the same time two other hospitals were constructed at Fort Clayton (Building 519) and Fort Gulick (Building 400), as part of World War II construction.  Unlike the other two hospitals, the one at Rousseau was of temporary construction. Each of the long buildings in the above map were originally hospital wards. After the hospital was declared excess to military needs following World War II, the entire hospital complex was converted into 72 housing units in 1947-1948, with each of the long wards (possibly later) converted into two apartments at each end with a huge laundry area in between.  (Others recall about six apartments in each of the longer buildings.)   Through an agreement with the Navy, the Civil Aviation Administration (CAA, later Federal Aviation Administration - FAA) took tenancy over Rousseau in the 1950s. 

(Left)   Rousseau bus stop [Photo by T.A. Strepp (Civil Aviation Administration Area Administrator during the Rousseau era) on Dino Barkema's site; photo courtesy of T.A. Strepp through Dino Barkema.

(Right) Building at right probably R-17 (far right building in above photo) which originally might have been housing for hospital staff (perhaps nurses).  Two floors of small apartments.  Photo by Gregory Kennington, Copyright 2000 Mr. Gregory Kennington. Used with permission from Dino Barkema's site. See Notice below for all photos used in this section.]

 

(Left)   R-17 Building (in background).  [Photo by Gregory Kennington probably taken in 1957 or 1958.  Copyright 2000 Mr. Gregory Kennington. Used with permission from Dino Barkema's site. 

(Right) Other side of the housing units (former long hospital wards).   [Photo by Gregory Kennington. Copyright 2000 Mr. Gregory Kennington. Used with permission from Dino Barkema's site. See Notice below for all photos used in this section.]

 

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NOTICE:  The copyright holders retain all rights to the above photos of Rousseau buildings. Their permission and that of Dino Barkema were granted to WHO for use on this site.  Further reproduction without permission is strictly forbidden.  Top photo of Rousseau bus stop - copyright 1998, 1999, 2000 Mr. T. A. Stepp. The other three photos - copyright 2000 Mr. Gregory Kennington.  Contact WHO for details to secure permission for further use.  All on Dino Barkema's website www.chagres.com.

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William H. Ormsbee, Jr.  2005