Quarry Heights was the nerve center for U.S. Military forces in Panama since 1920 and for all U.S. Forces deployed in the Southern Theater since 1947. Transferred to the Army by the Panama Canal Commission in 1914, Quarry Heights served as a troop encampment, military police post, and senior officer housing area for six years. During this time, the Army upgraded the post to make it suitable for use as the headquarters of the ranking military commander in Panama. Subsequently, Quarry Heights was the headquarters location for the Commander, U.S. Army Panama Canal Department (1920-1941); Commander, U.S. Army Caribbean Defense Command (1941-1947); Commander in Chief, U.S. Caribbean Command (1947-1963); and Commander in Chief, U.S. Southern Command (1963-1998). Quarry Heights' role as a military command center ended in 1998, when proprietorship of the reservation was passed to the Republic of Panama.
Quarry Heights Military Reservation is a picturesque historic district composed of buildings which date back to the Canal Construction Era. These buildings, primarily family housing units, reflect an architectural style unique to the Panama Canal area -- a style which incorporated both French and American design elements for living in a hot and humid tropical climate.
Quarry Heights is situated on two man-made terraces created by quarrying on the slope of Ancon Hill. The Hill, which rises 654 feet from the bay at its foot, has been a key geographical reference point in Panama for nearly 400 years. This is due to its proximity to Panama City and its commanding 360-degree view encompassing the Pacific Ocean approach to the Isthmus of Panama and the Panamanian hinterland seven to ten miles to the west, east, and north.
Quarry Heights had its beginning in February, 1909, when the Isthmian Canal Commission began quarrying rock for construction of the Miraflores and Pedro Miquel locks. Locals soon dubbed the area Quarry Heights. The Commission closed the quarry after five years, having removed more than 3.2 million cubic yards of rock. Canal officials transferred the quarry shelves to the U.S. Army in 1914 for use as a Canal Zone Army command post.
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