Here we provide an audio guide for the museum
Introduction Part 1
300 acres and more than 200 buildings of the former Clayton
military base have been transformed to become the City of Knowledge.
The City of Knowledge is an innovative community that drives social change through humanism, science and business. A Panamanian, private and non-profit entity is in charge of leading this project: the City of Knowledge Foundation.
From this campus, businesspersons, scientists, thinkers, artists, and community leaders, together with experts from the government, NGOs and international organizations, collaborate to develop initiatives that generate social change.
Introduction Part 2
The City of Knowledge Interpretive Center is located in a house built in 1922 for the commander of Fort Clayton. The original set of buildings on the base, Including this house; was designed by the architect Samuel M. Hitt, the same who completed the Panama Canal Administration Building in Balboa and planned Gorgas Hospital In Ancon.
Introduction Part 3
The houses on Gonzalo Crance Street are connected by sidewalks that lead to their main facades, looking out onto green areas. It is the rear facades that face the street. We invite you to walk along these sidewalks and appreciate the architecture of the old houses, which today are occupied by various organizations and companies’ offices.
The buildings of the original Fort Clayton correspond to the neoclassical period of Zonian military architecture, comparable to what was built in Forts Grant and Amador from 1913. Their current
appearance differs considerably from the original, since they underwent significant modifications over time. The porches disappeared and the openings were shortened to adapt them to new sliding panel windows, the roofs were replaced, and air conditioning systems were installed.
Section 1 Part 1
Before the construction of the Panama Canal, the site where the City of Knowledge is today was a rural area in the Rio Grande Valley, located about six kilometers from the urban area of the city, near the bifurcation of the legendary colonial roads of Cruces and Gorgona
Section 1 Part 2
The ancient landscape of savannas, swamps and hills began to undergo its first major alterations in the mid 19th century with the construction of the inter-oceanic railroad (1850-55). In a place that was in front of the current main complex of the City of Knowledge, where Omar Torrijos Herrera Avenue runs today, a small train station called Rio Grande was established.
Section 1 Part 3
In 1880, the Compagnie Universelle du Canal Interocéanique de Panama began the construction of the canal. The chosen route ran very close to the train line. On the Pacific side, the canal took advantage of the course of theRio Grande, which was straightened to facilitate navigation. When the company opted for a lock canal, it was foreseen that the first one on the Pacific side would be in Miraflores, very close to the Rio Grande station.
Section 1 Part 4
When the French canal company failed, the American government maintained the Rio Grande camp for a while, but by 1909 the site had already disappeared. The photo on this page, taken between 1906 and 1907, shows workers lining up in the camp dining room.
Section 1 Part 5
During the fiscal year of 1908, the Isthmian Canal Commission (ICC) created a new dump between the Grande and Cardenas rivers, where the City of Knowledge is located today, to deposit enormous volumes of excavated soil from the Culabra Cut. This created the Cardenas River Dump, later called the Miraflores Dump, which according to ICC data had a capacity of more than ten million cubic yards. For this, it was necessary to dismantle the town and the Rio Grande station, which disappeared without a trace. The fill changed the topography of the site and raised the ground level.
Section 1 Part 6
In 2011, during the construction of new buildings by the City of Knowledge Foundation, multiple artifacts were found in the subsoil. Observe some of them in the display case: pieces of machinery, rails, railroad ties and nails, horseshoes, bullet casings, glass and ceramic containers. Some of these objects may have been deposited on the site during the filling work carried out from 1907 – 1908, while others correspond to the years when Fort Clayton was created (1920) and its first years of operation.
Section 1 Part 7
Observe the large aerial photograph of Clayton in the 1920s. In the image you can see the great
transformation that occurred long the course and at the mouth of the old Rio Grande.
Section 1 Part 8
Fort Clayton was named in honor of Colonel Bertram Tracy Clayton, born in 1862 In Alabama, at the heart of a distinguished southern family. He fought in the 1898 Spanish-American War, and he was a congressman for Now York between 1899 and 1901 after falling in his reelection campaign, he returned to the army, where he was quartermaster (in charge of logistics and equipment for the
troops) of the armed forces in the Canal Zone between 1914 and 1917. He also served in this position in the battlefields in France, where he was killed during a German bombardment in 1918. He was the highest-ranking graduate of the West Point military academy to die in World War I.
Section 1 Part 9
The original layout of Fort Clayton
consisted of four large barracks for
the troops, 26 residential buildings for officers, sergeants and corporals, a central building for the administration and 11 more structures for stables and warehouses. It also had an airstrip (Miller Field), which was closed years later.
The City of Knowledge interpretive Center is located in one of the base’s original buildings, in the arc of the horseshoe, along with the other 18 buildings that were intended as officers’ residences, most of which have been adapted in recent years for use as offices.
The House Inside
The house is surrounded by a large corridor, called a verandah or porch, which helped keep the interior rooms cooler and drier. It was also a social area to receive visitors informally.
Note that the verandah floor slopes slightly outward, It was designed this way to make it easier for rainwater to run off.
The living room and the dining room were in the central part; on each of its sides there were two rooms with their respective bathrooms.
The wooden furniture used for this setting in the living room and dining room is designs in the United States. In the absence of the original house blueprints and photographs of its interior, photos of the interior of other residences in the Canal Zone were taken as a reference for the staging of the living room and dining room.
The former four bedrooms of the
residence were transformed into a library and a meeting room to accommodate the exhibition of this Interpretive Center.
The House Outside
Designed for the base commander, this is the only house of its kind that was built in Clayton. The commander and his family were the only ones on the base who did not share their residence with other officers.
Originally, it had large wooden windows covered with metal screens to keep mosquitoes out. With the introduction of air conditioning, the original windows were replaced by glass and aluminum ones.
In 2010, the City of Knowledge began the rehabilitation of the building. There were no original plans of the house for this project.
but there were a few photographs of the exterior.
Wood and glass were used to restore its original aesthetics and spaciousness to the windows, but still allowing for the use of modern air conditioning.
Its original roof was covered with shingles, which were replaced by sheets of zinc, possibly when it was remodeled around the sixties. Later, during the restoration in
2011, asphalt shingle sheets were installed, giving it an appearance very similar to the original roofing.
The building was used as the official residence of the Clayton commanders between the 1920s and 1940s.