Once a Zonian: The Americans who called the Panama Canal home


When the Panama Canal Zone, built by the United States in the early 20th century, was transferred from American control back to Panama in 1999, most of the tens of thousands of American personnel and their families went back to the United States. They had lived in an isolated tropical idyll, complete with American-style homes, schools, churches and supermarkets — some of them for generations. But every year, many Zonians gather for a reunion and reminisce about what it meant to live in that strange, artificial community.

Producer: Martha Hawley

Broadcast: December 7, 1999

The documentary won a silver medal in the category of community portraits at the New York Radio Festivals in 2000.