Disco Time at the Legation’s Cistern Chapel

Sometimes, it takes an entomologist. TALIM Cistern Chapel Jay Nixon

At right, that's Jay Nixon, Board Certified Entomologist with American Pest Management, Inc., sent to TALIM courtesy of the State Department's Overseas Building Operations (OBO).  Jay believes in the top to bottom approach in surveying our more than two century old building for insect problems.

Bottom means bottom.  In this case, checking out the subterranean former cistern, which, in Peace Corps days (the Legation was Peace Corps Morocco's training center in the early Seventies) was affectionately known as the "Cistern Chapel," and served as a disco.  You can just imagine the candlelit place, reverberating with the disco beat, probably with the illicit produce of Morocco's Rif wafting its aroma throughout the venerable building.

TALIM Cistern Chapel 2 Happily, Jay found nothing worse than forty year old graffiti down in the disco.  Here are his pictures (click to enlarge).

I  hope that returned Peace Corps volunteers from that era will read this and supply us with some anecdotes.  This building is witness to History, including that period when the Peace Corps' use of the building staved off potential closure or worse. TALIM Cistern Chapel 3

Jay provided us plenty of expert advice, and spotted some trouble areas that will need our follow up.  As much as we TALIM Cistern Chapel 4 appreciate his qualities as an entomologist, we give him full credit as an archeologist, providing a unique pictorial record of our own 70s Lascaux, the Cistern Chapel, passed over unknowingly by countless visitors to our Legation.  Now its story will be known.

Gerald Loftus


1 thought on “Disco Time at the Legation’s Cistern Chapel”

  1. Greetings from the Director of the Old American Legation Restoration team under Richard Holbrooke; with RIchard Storek and David Wagner in the spring of 1971….. I originated the Cistern Chapel and remember painting the final “personal prints” with Jim and Pat that day…. As soon as the Legation was taken over the place was flooded and termed some sort of evil den by a former Consul General….who know nothing about it…..Regards, John R. Paulas….aka >

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