Publication: The Panama Canal: Twenty-fifth Anniversary.


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Publication: The Panama Canal: Twenty-fifth Anniversary.
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Panama Canal: Aug. 15 1914-1939: Twenty-fifth anniversary
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Canal Zone
Anniversaries, etc -- Panama Canal (Panama)   ( lcsh )
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Panama -- Panama Canal Zone

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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
    Canal Zone Governors
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Table of Contents
        Page ix
        Page x
    The inaugural journey
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Geological history
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Earlier Canal plans
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    The valiant French effort
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    The Canal is built
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Sanitation and health
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
    Panama Railroad Company
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    The builders of the Canal
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
    The oldtimers
        Page 56
    The operating organization
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
    Home and community life
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
    The Canal and world trade
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
    Some world famous vessels
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
    A trip through the Canal
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
    The third set of locks
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
    The Army and Navy
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
    Historic sites and legends
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
    The Republic of Panama
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
    Facts and figures
        Page 108
    Historical calendar
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

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I9I.4 1-939



August 15, 1914



tutentp=fifth t nnitbersarp

August 15, 1939

Gift of the Panama Canal Museum


~30- ~~-/D

Franklin D. Roosevelt
President of the United States
The President of the United States is invested by law with authority to govern and
operate the Panama Canal and to govern the Canal Zone. President Roosevelt has
visited the Canal Zone on three occasions while Chief Executive. He is the only
President of the United States who has made the transit through the Panama Canal.

Harry H. Woodring
Secretary of War
Supervision of the operation of the Panama Canal is exercised by the Secretary
of War in accordance with an Executive Order of the President of the United States.
Mr. Woodring visited the Canal Zone in 1936 while he was Assistant Secretary of
War and made a detailed inspection of the Canal enterprise and the United States
Army units. Mr. Woodring again visited the Canal Zone for a few days in August

-.r . 1

DEDICATED to the builders of the Panama Canal, who in
bringing the great task to a successful conclusion, justified
the glowing tribute paid them by President Theodore
Roosevelt during his inspection of the Canal construction in 1906
before the success of the venture had been assured, when he said:

. You are doing the biggest thing of the kind that
has ever been done, and I wanted to see how you are doing it.
As I have seen you at work, seen what you have done and
are doing, noted the spirit with which you are approaching the task
yet to be done, I have Felt just exactly as I should feel if I saw the
picked men of my country engaged in some great war. I am weighing
my words when I say that you, here, who do your work well in
bringing to completion this great enterprise, will stand exactly as the
soldiers of a few, and only a few of the most famous armies in all
the nations stand in history. This is one of the great works of the
world. It is a greater work than you, yourselves, at the moment real-
ize. . So you men here, in the future, each man of you, will
have the right to feel, if he has done his duty and a little more than
his duty right up to the handle in the work here on the Isthmus, that
he has made his country his debtor; that he has done more than his
full share in adding renown to the nation under whose flag this
canal is being built."



o11~r-W., c6oetL9~LO



II 6


T IS extremely gratifying to me, as the head of the Canal Administration, to
contemplate the important part which the Panama Canal has played in the
development of the commerce of the world during the quarter century fol-
lowing the historic voyage on August 15, 1914, of the steamer Ancon,
the first commercial vessel to make the complete transit of the Canal.
During the four hundred years following the birth of the idea of a trans-isthmian
canal many gloomy prophecies had been made by those who scoffed at the dream
of severing the continents to provide a short route to India. Even after the effort of
the American Government to build the canal was well under way there were
skeptics of considerable influence who felt certain that the separation of the conti-
nents was a task beyond the capacity of man, that success, even if eventually attained,
would be at too great a cost in men and money, and that in any event the construction
of a canal would never find economic justification because no considerable volume
of world commerce was likely to pass through the canal.
The Panama Canal is a great and lasting memorial to the skill and perseverance
of the great army of men who shared in the glorious task of its construction, and the
successful operation of the waterway for twenty-Five years, during which more than
100,000 ocean-going vessels of the nations of the world, carrying more than half a
billion tons of cargo to and from every corner of the earth, is the answer to the
prophets of gloom of another day.
This booklet, appropriately dedicated to the builders of the Panama Canal, many
of whom still remain and participate in its operation, is offered to the public for
the purpose of affording a brief glimpse of the Canal itself, what it is doing, its histor-
ical background, the manner in which it is operated and such other information as
appears to be of general interest.

The Panama Canal

Balboa Heights, Canal Zone,
August 15, 1939.

Published under the direction of a committee appointed by Brigadier General Clarence S. Ridley,
Governor of The Panama Canal, to arrange suitable ceremonies, as authorized in Public
Resolution No. 5, 76th Congress, approved March 28, 1939, to celebrate the twenty-fifth
anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal to commerce. Prepared by Rufus Hardy,
Executive Department, The Panama Canal.



The Inaugural Journey 1

Geological History 5

Earlier Canal Plans 9

The Valiant French Effort. 13

The Canal Is Built 17

Sanitation and Health 31

Panama Railroad Company 39

The Builders of the Canal 49

The Oldtimers 56

The Operating Organization 57

Home and Community Life 61

The Canal and World Trade 67

Some World Famous Vessels .75

A Trip Through the Canal .81

The Third Set of Locks 87

The Army and Navy 93

Historic Sites and Legends 97

The Republic of Panama 103

Facts and Figures 108

Historical Calendar 109

Photographs Reprints: Pages 9, 12, 14 (top), 15 (top), 16, 18, 20, 40, 41, 42. 98. 99 (map), 102, and 106.
Sergeant W. Roberts. Corozal: Pages 39 and 78.
S. C. Russell, Balboa Heights: Page 96.
U. S. Army photographs: Pages 33, 71. 72. 93, and 94.
U. S. Navy photographs: Pages 76, 77, and 95.
All others official Panama Canal photographs.


The Inaugural Journey

The dream of centuries became a reality on
August 15, 1914 when the S. S. Ancon made
the first commercial transit of the Panama Canal

THERE was unusual activity about the port
of Cristobal early in the morning of Au-
gust 15, 1914, and orders were being barked
in a tone that denoted great nervous tension.
The first trip of an ocean-going vessel from the
Atlantic to the Pacific through the newly com-
pleted Panama Canal was about to be made.
The twin-screw steamer Ancon, operated by
the Panama Railroad Company, had been select-
ed to lead the procession of world commerce
through the Canal, which within less than a
quarter of a century was to swell to more than
100,000 ships of all nations. The honor be-
stowed on the 9,600-ton Ancon was well deserved.
It had served through five years of the busiest
period in building the Canal, plying between
New York and Cristobal, and had carried
thousands of Canal workers between the United
States and their temporary homeland in the
Canal Zone. It had transported shipload after
shipload of cement from New York to Cristobal

for the construction of the locks at Gatun, Pedro
Miguel and Miraflores, through which it was
to pass that day.
Important as the event was to world trade
and world shipping, it was obscured by the
World War in Europe which had just begun, and
the inauguration of the waterway that was called
the greatest man-made wonder since the pyramids
of Gizeh took second place in the news columns
of 25 years ago. Had the Canal been opened
to traffic only a few weeks earlier, it would have
been an international event of such magnitude
that it would have been featured in banner
headlines in newspapers throughout the world.
The great activity about the pier at the Atlan-
tic entrance to the Canal on the historic date
was indicative of the activity all along the line of
the Canal on August 15, and especially at the
big, new locks. Every precaution had been
taken so that no untoward incident might mar
the inaugural trip.

The steamer Ancon was moved slowly past Gold Hill, where dredges were still busy removing the earth and rock of a disastrous
slide which occurred only a few weeks previously. The Ancon inaugurated a new era in world shipping on August 15, 1014,
when it crossed the Isthmus of Panama from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Page one

August 15, 1914 THE PANAMA CANAL August 15, 1939

Soon after the first rays of the early morning
sun had slanted across the harbor the group of
nearly 300 distinguished guests who had been
invited to make the trip crowded up the gang-
plank of the Ancon. Among them were President
Belisario Porras of the Republic of Panama, and
his cabinet; a group of Panama Canal officials
and employees; members of the diplomatic corps
in Panama; United States Army officers and
their wives; newspaper representatives and
Not among those trooping up the gangplank,
however, was Colonel George W. Goethals,
whose outstanding genius in handling men and
equipment had made the
Canal a reality. He had
more important duties
to perform on that day.
Just after 7 o'clock
a sharp blast from the
Ancon's whistle an-
nounced the beginning of
the fifty-mile voyage, "
and the vessel backed
slowly away from the
pier and headed for the
open Atlantic. To mark
the opening of the Canal
to ship traffic, the ves-
sel was to make the trip
from deep water in the
Atlantic to deep water
in the Pacific.
The harbor was fairly
crowded with ships that
morning, some of them
waiting to go through
the Canal for the first --
time. As the Ancon
swung into the channel
blast after blast came -
from the deep-throated
whistles of every vessel
and craft in the harbor,
bidding Godspeed to the Colonel Goethals was not ab{
He is the coatless figure
vessel that would con- the vessel intently as it ap
summate a dream that
had stirred the imagination of man for four
Within an hour after leaving the pier the Ancon
hove to at the approach wall of Gatun Locks
where it would be lifted 85 feet to the level of
Gatun Lake.
As the ship came to a stop near the big lock
gates the group aboard learned why Colonel
Goethals had not boarded the ship. He was
standing coatless on the lock walls, surrounded
by a group of engineers, the pick of the American
nation, watching every movement on ship and
A hail of greeting went up from the festive
group aboard the Ancon when the famous Canal
Page two

*e in

builder was seen, but he was too engrossed in his
work to heed the roar of welcome. Although he
had made the plans for the inaugural transit
down to the minutest detail, he himself was at
the locks watching the movement of every piece
of equipment, some of which, such as the electric
towing locomotives, had caused more than one
old seafaring man to snort in derision.
Something of the anxiety under which Colonel
Goethals labored that day can well be imagined.
Upon his shoulders had been thrown the full
weight of the responsibility for the completion of
the construction of the Canal. He had listened
to a thousand foolish suggestions about how to
build a waterway be-
tween two oceans at
Panama. He had been
nagged by many a crack-
pot in the United States
and elsewhere. Every
man who had an idea
about how a canal lock
or a lock gate could be
constructed, how a
shovelful of dirt might
be moved had offered his
help, advice, and criti-
cism. To all of them he
S listened patiently and
explained that the type
of the Canal had been
prescribed by Congress
and that he could not
change the plans then
There was little indi-
cation from his outward
appearance that this trip
of the Ancon was more
than routine. His asso-
ciates were accustomed
to his habit of puffing at
a cigarette a few times
the Ancon on its first trip. and tossing it aside only
the foreground, watching
hesGatun Locks. to light another immedi-
ately. It betrayed no
underlying tension to them as he did this while
watching the gigantic gates at Gatun swing
wide to permit the passage of the first vessel to
make a commercial transit of the Canal.
Perhaps the best illustration of the precautions
taken to prevent any mishap that day and his
nervous tension over the success of the first voyage
was given in the reply of Colonel Goethals to the
request of a national news service to take photo-
graphs of the event.
"I can see no objection to granting your com-
pany permission to take pictures of the first boat
passing through from any point along the line of
the Canal," he wrote, "provided it can be
arranged without the slightest interference so

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914 THE INAUGURAL JOURNEY August 15, 1939

Every precaution was taken to provide for the safe transit of the Ancon. The emergency dams, which are now operated only occa-
sionally for routine inspection, were fully manned on August 15, 1914. This view of the Ancon in Gatun Locks shows the
emergency dam in the east chamber swung into position across the lock entrance.

far as the passage of the vessel is concerned. For
this reason I did not look with favor upon your
original proposition to take pictures from a
flying boat, as any spectacular program of this
kind would be apt to distract the attention of
employees engaged on the operating work, aside
from the hazardous undertaking itself."
Another precaution made that day, which
now is a routine test operation made only once
or twice a month, was the full manning of the
huge emergency dams, which can be swung over
the locks and dropped into position within the
space of a few minutes to check the flow of water
in event of failure of the lock gates to function
Little more than one hour was required to lock
the vessel from Atlantic sea level up 85 feet
through the three lock chambers to the level of
Gatun Lake. The vessel was moved at "full
speed ahead" through Gatun Lake, then the
largest artificial body of water in the world,
and which only a few months before had been
dense tropical jungleland.
The entrance to the famed Culebra (now
Gaillard) Cut section which begins at Gamboa
was reached about two hours after entering

Gatun Lake. Here again unusual precautions
were taken. The speed of the vessel was slowed
down and nearly an hour was taken for the ship
to reach the scene of the disastrous slide at
Cucaracha which had filled the Canal prism
several months previously and on which dredges
were even then working day and night to keep
open the passageway.
The Ancon was met by the powerful tug Gatun
near the slide area as a measure of protection in
moving the vessel through the slit in the hills
where oldtime Canal construction men had seen
many a steam shovel and dirt train buried under
mountainous slides.
Dredges, tugs, and auxiliary equipment had
been withdrawn to the banks of the Canal and
all work was suspended when the Ancon ap-
proached. But bedlam brooke loose in the deep
cut as the Ancon approached and passed. Every
whistle on every floating craft along the line
screamed a welcome.
The passage through the narrow channel in
the slide area was made without incident and
just before one o'clock the first of the Pacific
Locks at Pedro Miguel was reached. The
vessel was locked through the one flight there and

Page three

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

Auut1,11 H AAACNLAg~t1,13

proceeded through small Miraflores Lake to
Miraflores Locks.
It was at Miratlores Locks that the first and
only real delay in the journey came. When the
lower lock gates were opened, the water at the
lock entrance swirled and boiled, partly by reason
of the mixing of fresh and salt water, and the
Ancon was held in the lower lock chamber about
thirty minutes until the swirling currents be-
came quiescent. The problem of handling
vessels in the currents at the south end of M1ira-
flores Locks was not solved for more than a year
after the Canal was opened.
The trip from Miraflores Locks along the
tidal marsh, lush with jungle growth, to Balboa,
the Pacific terminal of the Canal, was made in
another half hour. Again the noisy salute from
the vessels in the harbor was given to the Ancon
as it steamed past to the open sea. After reaching
deep water in the Pacific, the Ancon turned and
headed back to the harbor off the newly con-
structed town of Balboa.
More than 2,000 spectators lined the piers as
the anchor of the Ancon was dropped. The

historic voyage had been completed. The Pan-
ama Canal had at last become a reality.
The two Panama Canal pilots, Captains
Ralph Osborn and John Constantine, could
breathe a sigh of relief. The strain on the lock
operators whose tasks were new to them was
relieved. The anxiety of Colonel Goethals and
his staff of engineers for the successful completion
of that first trip through the new marvel-the
Panama Canal-was abated.
One of the most striking characteristics of
Colonel Goethals was displayed on that historic
date. Upon completion of the trip which he had
watched at every vital point, he returned home
to a simple dinner. Before 7 o'clock that night,
two hours after the Ancon completed its trip,
the glow of electric lights could be seen from his
office in the Administration Building at Culebra.
He was busy on routine administrative details
which had arisen during the day while he watched
the culmination of more than seven years of
work under his direction and the realization of
a dream centuries old. The Panama Canal was
at last a reality!

Colonel George W. Goethals, Chairman and Chief Engineer, at Miraflores Spillway. This photograph was taken shortly before the
Canal was opened to traffic. Colonel Goethals was well known to all workers along the line of the "big ditch" for he made
frequent trips on his famous "yellow peril," a Panama Railroad motor car, painted yellow, which he used.
Page four

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

Geological History

Nature produced a land on the Isthmus
of Panama with both malign and benign
influences for the construction of a canal


The geological framework of the Isthmus is such that landslides were common occurrences during excavation of the Canal channel.
This landslide occurred a few weeks before the Canal was opened to traffic. This is a view of an unsuccessful attempt to blast
a channel through the slide so that the spoil might be removed by dredges.

THE geological framework of the Isthmus of
Panama bears a close relationship to the
historical background of the Panama Canal
and to its construction, maintenance and opera-
The contour of the land led to its discovery by
Columbus on his fourth and last voyage to the
New World, when he was attempting to regain
some of his lost prestige in the Court of Spain.
He firmly believed that the land he had encoun-
tered on former voyages which frustrated his
attempts to sail to India and the rich Far East
was of comparatively small area. When told by

the Indians on his fourth voyage of "a narrow
place between two seas," he misinterpreted it to
mean a union of water instead of the narrow strip
of land.
This preconceived idea held by Columbus was
to lead many adventurous explorers astray in
seeking some water passage across the vast
stretch of land of the New World. French,
English, Spanish, Dutch, and Portuguese sailors
spent many a weary day tacking along its shores
seeking the hidden straits. Frustrated in their
efforts and finally becoming convinced that they
had discovered a new land, the idea of digging a
Page five


ditch across the Isthmus of Panama began to
form. In 1534 Charles V, of Spain, issued a
royal decree ordering a survey of the route. His
interest waned when he was told by the Governor
of the Region of Panama that no king, however
powerful, could hope to unite the two oceans.
The idea, however, continued to plague geogra-
phers until it germinated into a serious effort on
the part of the French under Ferdinand de Les-
seps, builder of the Suez Canal.
Had Columbus made his voyage some ages
earlier, he might have found the desired passage-
way for at a very recent geologic time the water
flowed evenly over the present strip of land.
Eminent geologists say that the land bridge be-
tween the two Americas alternately rose and
dipped beneath the water no less than twice be-
fore the present Isthmian conditions came into
being. There is ample evidence of these mighty
convulsions of nature that occurred millions of
years ago.
When the land emerged for the third and last
time, it must have formed a flat, monotonous
plain over which immense tropical rivers mean-

dered, gradually cutting themselves into looping
beds. At this stage in the geological history of
the Isthmus the strip of land between the Atlan-
tic and Pacific was from 150 to 200 miles wide in
the narrowest parts.
At some later stage there were violent volcanic
eruptions, accompanied by a great upthrust of
the land, and the lazy rivers became turbulent
mountainous streams which cut deep channels.
These later silted up as the land gradually sank
back to more or less its present formation.
In geological terms, the Isthmus of Panama is
comparatively young and these great upheavals
of nature formed a land with both malign and
benign influences in the construction of a ship
canal. Malign in that some of the water de-
posited formations consist of fine clayey rocks,
containing a high percentage of slippery hydrated
mineral grains, such as minute mica scales, kao-
lin, chlorite, serpentine and other hydrated
materials, that gave rise to gigantic slides along
the route of the Canal. Nature, counterbalanc-
ing this malign influence, produced a land in
which no catastrophic earthquakes have occurred.

Z - L

The famous "flat arch" of the old Santo Domingo Church, which was built soon after the present city of Panama was founded
in 1671, is proof that no earthquakes of a disastrous nature have occurred for several hundred years. However, many minor
temblors occur on the Isthmus of Panama every year.

Page six

August 15, 1914

August 15, 1939


The Isthmus of Pan-
ama is often called, mis-
takenly, a land of no
earthquakes, or a land
out of the earthquake
zone. This fallacy is
disputed by the seismo-
graphic record of any
month. Minor temblors
occur frequently but
none of sufficient vio-
lence has occurred to
shake down the crum-
bling masonry at Old
Panama which has stood
for nearly four centuries,
nor to break the broad, -
flat arch of the convent
of Santo Domingo in
Panama, built soon after
the present city of Pan-
ama was established. "
Dr. D. F. MacDonald,
well-known authority on .
geology, has written at
length on the geology of
the Canal Zone, dealing "/hen fine-grained clayey
t he s.uai plastic flow by unbalanced
especially with the sub- the end product is nud."
jects of earthquakes and in this picture, were force
landslides. He was geol- by the great pressure of si
ogist for the Isthmian
Canal Commission during the construction of
the Canal, and returned to the Isthmus for three
months in 1938 and again in 1939 as consultant
geologist in the studies being made for the
enlargement of the present Canal facilities.
He gives the following explanation of the seis-
mic history of the Canal Zone:
"The Canal is located in an area more or less
subject to earthquakes. However, it is believed
to be in practically no danger from such a source.
The reasoning on which this belief is based is as
follows: Earthquakes are chiefly due to stresses
which set up strains in rocks until rupture occurs.
The elastic rebound from such a rupture causes
earthquakes. If the rocks are strong they with-
stand great strain before rupturing and the
elastic rebound is correspondingly severe. But
the Canal Zone rocks are relatively weak and
they are cut by numerous faults, showing that
many small adjustments have occurred in the
past. Apparently then the Canal Zone rocks
are too weak to permit the build-up of stresses,
the release of which by faulting would give dan-
gerous earthquakes. Many small earthquakes
will undoubtedly continue to be felt in the Canal

I pre.
' Mi
d up

Zone, some of which
might possibly damage
poorly constructed
P houses. However, Canal
Zone buildings, and par-
ticularly the Canal itself,
are believed to be quite
safe from serious dam-
Regarding the great
landslides which added
millions to the total cost
of constructing the
Panama Canal, Dr.
-~ MacDonald says:
--"During Canal con-
struction days, one often
Heard statements to the
effect that 'if slides are
; going to develop, do
nothing until they come
down, then shovel them
out, because that is the
cheapest way to deal
with slides.' Such a view
is absolutely wrong.
are forced idnto a very slow When fine-grained clay-
ssure from deep excavations,
any islands, such as shown ey rocks, of the nature
from the bottom of the Canal indicated, are forced into
ending hills, a very slow plastic flow,
by unbalanced pressure
from deep excavations, the end product is mud
which may ultimately require a one on ten or
even a flatter slope. If the slope had been made
flat enough in the beginning so that plastic move-
ment of the rocks was not induced, the final slope
might have stood at one on three, thus necessi-
tating only half the total excavation necessary
where plastic flow was allowed to take place.
"The slides of Gaillard Cut, which in the days
of their tremendous vitality, unfortunately
gained much undesirable publicity for the Canal,
have passed into decrepitude. An occasional
feeble movement postpones the time when they
will be classed as quite dead."
H. G. Martin, Engineering Geologist of the
Panama Canal, and other geologists, have ex-
pressed the opinion that the reduction of the
Canal to a sea-level waterway would reawaken
these moribund slide areas and precipitate a vast
volume of earth and rock into the prism, prob-
ably necessitating the removal of both Gold and
Contractor's hills, the two towering volcanic
plugs between which the Canal passes at Gaillard

Page seven

August 15, 1914

August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

.:- -_' -- -- -- --
-- -

-. -.4 -- =-- -

No event during the construction period attracted more attention among employees than the blowing up of Gamboa dike on October
10, 1913, letting the penned up water into the Cut and uniting the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific. The heavy charge of
dynamite was set off in Washington D. C., by President Woodrow Wilson.

Such a scene as this was not uncommon during construction days. This destructive landslide occurred on February 6, 1913, and
twisted the railroad tracks as if they had been rubber. Many a steam shovel was overwhelmed by these movements of earth
and rock. However, the slides did not dampen the ardor of the workers who would set to work immediately to dig them out.

Page eight

Earlier Canal Plans

For nearly four centuries plans and
surveys were made for a ship canal be-
tween the Atlantic and Pacific oceans

MANY years be-
fore the Pilgrim
Fathers landed
on the bleak shores of
New England, four logi-
cal routes were already
recognized for a canal
across the Isthmus be-
tween North and South
America and surveys had
been made with the idea
in view of creating a ,._ -
man-made channel be- -
tween the Atlantic and
Pacific oceans.
After the early explor-
ershad learned definitely
early in the sixteenth
century that there was
no junction of the waters
of the two oceans at any
point along the narrow
neck of land connecting
the Americas, the idea
of creating an inter-
oceanic waterway was
conceived. Most of the
early explorations were Charles V of Spain, great gS
ieary ex rats w idea. He became interest
made in areas where the Isthmus was discover
large rivers had their petent survey of the Panal
headwaters rising within
a few miles of each other at the continental divide
and flowed in opposite directions to the Atlantic
and Pacific.
Vasco Nufiez de Balboa, discoverer of the
Pacific, is believed to have been the first to con-
ceive the idea of uniting the two oceans by a
canal. Charles V of Spain, who had been doubt-
ful as to the existence of a strait connecting the
waters of the oceans, initiated the movement to
build a canal in 1523. Four years later he
directed Hernando de la Soma to explore the Rio
Grande and the Chagres. In 1529 Alvaro de
Saavedra, after studies over a period of twelve
years, completed plans for the building of an
interoceanic waterway, but he died before his
plans could be submitted to his king.
A few years after this, Hernando Cortez, con-
queror of Mexico, urged Charles V to dig a canal
across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. In his con-

ed in
ed an
ma ro

quest of Mexico, Cortez
obtained maps from
Montezuma indicating
the narrow neck of land
near the southern end
of Montezuma's domain,
and he ordered some of
'his lieutenants to map
the land and prepare
data on the feasibility of
a ship canal following
S the Tehuantepec route.
The possibility of con-
structing a canal through
Nicaragua was suggested
before 1530, soon after
the Spanish conquista-
dores discovered the
wide spreading Lake
Nicaragua, the waters
of which could be utilized
advantageously as a part
of a Nicaraguan canal.
The reports sent back
to Spain from the new
provinces greatly
aroused the imagination
father of the Isthmian Canal of Charles, and in 1534
digging a caal soon after he ordered the Governor
d in 1534 ordered a co ae- o r n a
ute. of the region of Panama
to make surveys of a
route following the Chagres River, which is more
or less the course of the present Panama Canal.
This was done but the Governor reported that no
monarch could hope to accomplish such a feat
as joining the two oceans.
It was not until nearly a half century later
that the Atrato route, near the Colombia-Pana-
ma border, became popular with the Spanish as
an overland route for their precious cargoes from
Peru and its possibilities for a canal were studied.
At intervals for more than three centuries the
Atrato route was studied and surveyed. The
route was popular chiefly because the headquar-
ters of the broad Atrato river rise only a short
distance from the Pacific coast and flow for many
miles parallel to the Pacific Ocean before turning
eastward to empty into the Gulf of Darien on
the Atlantic coast.
When Phillip II succeeded Charles V on the
Page nine


throne of Spain in 1556, he became interested
for a time in the construction of an Isthmian
canal. He directed the making of a survey of
the Nicaraguan route, and is said to have sub-
mitted the plans for a canal there to the Francis-
can monks who rejected the plans because of the
Biblical injunction that "what God hath put
together, let no man put asunder." This atti-
tude was in harmony with his general policy for
the New World, for Phillip foresaw that if an
interoceanic canal were opened, it would invite
trouble with other European powers. Sir W\alter
Raleigh had the same idea and told Queen Eliza-
beth about that time to "seize the Isthmus of
Darien and you will wrest the keys of the world
from Spain."
Phillip's policy toward a canal was maintained
by Spain for nearly two centuries after his death
and it was not until the latter part of the eight-
eenth century that the question was revived and
surveys were made of both the Tehuantepec and
and Nicaragua routes. The project was given
a great stimulus near the close of the century
when Baron von Humboldt, the famous geogra-
pher, visited the Isthmus and became much in-
terested in the matter. His writings were widely
read in England, France, Spain, and the United
States. In 1814 the Spanish Cortez adopted a
formal decreee for the construction of an Isth-
mian canal and authorized the formation of a
company to undertake the work, but no substan-
tial results were accomplished and within another
decade all of Spain's colonies in Central and
South America established their independence
from the mother country and the possibility of
Spain taking part in the great project faded
away. However, from that time until the United
States Government began construction of the
Panama Canal in 1904, numerous efforts were
made to provide for the construction of a canal,
and only a brief mention of the many surveys
made, the many companies formed or proposed
for the work, and of the concessions granted by
various Central American countries would fill
many pages.
American interest in a canal to join the Atlan-
tic and Pacific oceans was awakened more than
100 years ago while Henry Clay was Secretary
of State. In 1825 a concession was granted to a
group of New York merchants under the name of
the "United States Atlantic and Pacific Canal
Company" to build a canal through Nicaragua.
The company was capitalized at 85,000,000, but
the plans were abandoned after a futile attempt
was made to raise the necessary capital in the
United States and England.
In 1835 President Andrew Jackson sent
Charles Biddle to make an investigation of canal
possibilities through Panama and Nicaragua.
Four years later John L. Stephens, later one of
the builders of the Panama Railroad, was sent to

investigate and make proposals for a canal. He
recommended the route through Nicaragua
which he considered practicable, and estimated
the cost at 825,000,000.
The first comprehensive survey by the French
was made in 1843 by Napoleon Garella. He
favored the Panama route and submitted plans
to utilize the waters of the Chagres River. He
proposed a ship tunnel through the continental
divide and a canal with 34 locks, 18 on the Atlan-
tic slope and 16 on the Pacific. He estimated
the cost of the canal with a tunnel at 825,000,000
and at 828,000,000 with an open cut.
Many surveys and proposals for a canal were
made by the United States Government and by
private companies and individuals in the United
States between the time of the Biddle and Ste-
phens surveys and 1880 when the French Canal
Company undertook the work. Among the
more important of these was a survey made by
Colonel Orville Childs of Philadelphia, from
1850 to 1852 for the American, Atlantic and
Pacific Ship Canal Company in which Cornelius
Vanderbilt was deeply interested. Colonel Childs
made a comprehensive survey and his report
formed the basis of other work there in later
years. Although his report was excellent in
point of detail and accuracy, it was discouraging
to investors because of the colossal extent of the
project disclosed by the report.
Soon after this numerous other explorations
were made by the Government and private com-
panies of the United States, Great Britain and
France. Three general routes were examined,
including the San Bias, Caledonia Bay and
Atrato routes, which derived their names from
the Atlantic terminus of each. No less than
eight separate routes for a proposed San Bias
canal were considered and studied, and proposals
for the Atrato route included several terminal
points on the Pacific from the Gulf of San Miguel
to the mouth of San Juan River in Chirambira
Bay, more than 300 miles farther south.
In 1876 the Interoceanic Canal Commission,
which had been appointed several years before
by President Grant, submitted a lengthy report
on the feasibility of canal routes in Darien, Pana-
ma, Nicaragua, and Tchuantepec. Although
this commission favored the Nicaragua route, it
also submitted plans for canals at other locations.
The report on the Tehuantepec route contem-
plated a canal 144 miles long with a summit
level of 732 feet above sea level and a system of
about 140 locks. The proposed Panama route
was almost identical with that of the present
Canal and upon that report many of the sub-
sequent investigations and reports were based.
Most of the surveys made between thepresent
Canal line and the Colombia border contemplat-
ed the construction of a tunnel through the high
Cordilleras in Darien. Actual plans for the con-

Page ten

August 15, 1914

August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914 EARLIER CANAL PLANS August 15, 1939

Most of these proposed Isthmian Canal routes were surveyed many different times, and several others not shown on this map
were proposed during the four centuries when the question of buildingg a canal was being discussed. 1. Tehuantepec route.
2-7. Nicaraguai, routes. S. The Chiriqui route. O. The Panama Canal route. 10. The San Bias route. 11-15. The
Caledonia and Darien routes. 1t-20. Atrato routes.

struction of such a tunnel were prepared and a
report on its probable cost was made by the
Isthmian Canal Commission in 1901, although
the Commission did not look with favor on the
project. The report expressed the belief that
no route in that territory was available without
the use of the tunnel and stated that "surveys
have shown that there is a possible tunnel loca-
tion on the San Bias route and at least three on
the Caledonia route." The report contained a
profile of the proposed tunnel and estimated the
cost at nearly $100,000,000.
Among the countless proposals made for a
canal during the four centuries, none was more
fanciful, considering present-day ship traffic,
than the ship railway proposed in 1881 by James
B. Eads, whose fame as an engineer rested on

his great work in building the Mississippi River
jetties and making the channel of that river
navigable for vessels of deep draught. The
plan had many supporters, including a number
of well-known engineers.
Eads proposed to construct a railway across
the Isthmus of Tehuantepec capable of transport-
ing, in a specially built ship cradle, ocean-going
vessels of up to 5,000 tons. He estimated the
cost of construction at S75,000,000 as compared
with 8400,000,000, the estimated cost for a Pana-
ma canal, and 8200,000,000 for a canal through
Nicaragua. He estimated the cost of operation
of such a project at approximately S1,000,000
His system provided for the installation of
live huge turntables on which the vessels could

Page eleven

August 15, 1914 THE PANAMA CANAL August 15, 1939

be maneuvered around curves and where ships
could pass each other. In his arguments for the
plan, Eads pointed out that the Athenians had
transported vessels across the Isthmus of Corinth
as early as 500 B. C. and the Turks did the same
through the Middle Ages.
He anticipated that traffic over the ship rail-
way would aggregate 5,000,000 tons in 1883, the

first year the railway would be opened, and in-
crease to 7,500,000 by 1890. He requested gov-
ernmental aid, and legislation to that effect was
reported favorably by the House Committee,
but failed to pass. Eads died in 1887 and after
his death no further efforts were made to carry
the project to conclusion.

The group of engineers who initiated the Panama Canal work under Count Ferdinand de Lesseps. Among the members of the
deLesseps' Canal Commission were some of the most prominent men in the engineering profession of France and other countries.
Back row, left to right: Messrs. Taburus; Marolles; Seyon; Dausak; Boutan; Blanchet, who assisted de Lesseps at Suez; Weiner;
Verbrugghe, a contractor; and Rodriguez.
Second row, left to right: Messrs. Pedro Sosa, official representative of the Colombian Government; Bionne; George M. Totten, who
was chairman of the commission appointed by de Lesseps to make a detailed study of the work; de Lesseps; Dirks, engineer
of the Netherlands, who built the Amsterdam Canal; Wright; and Lucien N. B. Wyse, who obtained the concession to build
the Panama Canal.
Front row, left to right: Messrs. Foutan; Dauprat; Joly De Sabla, well-known financier of Panama; Couvreux, contractor for
dredging work at the Atlantic entrance; Abbers; Gallay; and Marolles.

Page twelve

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939



The Valiant French Effort

An epic story was written by the
French in a gallant struggle against
great odds to build the Panama Canal

THE FIRST definite step towards the actual
construction of the Panama Canal was
taken 60 years ago on the morning of
May 15, 1879, when there met in Paris a dis-
tinguished group of men of several nationalities
to discuss and decide where and how the canal
might be constructed.
The movement to assemble this congress was
initiated by Count Ferdinand de Lesseps, whose
fame as the builder of the Suez Canal just ten
years earlier was world wide. After two weeks of
debate of the many issues involved, the congress

voted in favor of constructing a sea-level canal
across the Isthmus of Panama.
Plans for a Panama Canal had been discussed
in the International Geographical Congress at
Antwerp in 1871 and again in Paris in 1875, and
much interest in the great project had been
aroused throughout France. The following year
(1876) Anthony de Gogorza, an American citizen
then residing in Colombia, obtained a concession
from the Colombian Government in behalf of
himself and General Etienne Tiirr, a personal
friend and great admirer of de Lesseps. When

Inadequate machinery, such as the liny dump cars and the small Belgian locomotive shown here. contributed it the failure of the
French in their valiant effort to link the Atlantic and Pacific. This photo of an old bucket exca:ator at work in Culebra Cut
at the foot of Gold Hill was made in 1896.

Page thirteen


Auut1,1 1 T H AAACNL uut1,13

Gogorza arrived in Paris
with the concession to
make surveys and form
a company to build the
canal, if it was found
feasible, General T irr
organized the Societe /
Civile Internationale du
Canal Interoceanique de
General Tiirr then
sent his nephew, Lucien
Napoleon Bonaparte
Wyse, a young lieuten-
ant of the French Ma-
rines, to the Isthmus
with a party of engineers Count Ferdinand deLesseps
to make the necessary ber 1870 to inaugurate t
surveys and obtain from Canal. He is shown her
Colombia additional Columbus was dedicated.
concessions. The sur-
veys were completed and a concession to con-
struct the canal was obtained from the Colom-
bian Government in 1878. The concession
obtained by young Lieutenant Wyse became
generally known as the "Wyse Concession" and
under its provisions canal work was carried on
from then until 1904.
Under the provisions of the Wyse concession
the route of the canal was to be determined by
an international commission and the meeting
in Paris was opened May
15, 1879, under the
leadership of de Lesseps
in compliance with that
provision. Soon after
the international com-
mission decided in favor
of a sea-level canal and
adjourned its sessions,
the Panama Canal Cor-
pany, or Compagnic
Universelle du Canal
Interoceanique was
formed with de Lesseps
as President, and the
company bought the
Wyse concessions for
$2,000,000. The graves of two young Fr
Although de Lesseps arrived on the Isthmus at
at that time was one of died within a few days of
the idols of France and
his name was exceptionally potent, the Panama
Canal plan met with bitter opposition and was
severely criticized. As a result, the first offering
of stock, amounting to 400,000,000 francs
($80,000,000) could not be sold.
The hostility and criticism of the public was
not new, however, to de Lesseps. Had not he
fought tooth and nail for years to get support for
Suez? Had not he been told that the building of
the Suez Canal was impossible and that the
Page fourteen

he co
re in


Savage winds of the
desert would fill the
channel with sand as
soon as it was scooped
out? In that fight he
had faced the disap-
proval of England, the
most powerful maritime
nation in the world.
Although he was in
his seventy-fifth year,
de Lesseps at that time
was a man of great
n vitality, and to over-
i ei come the hostility to his
plan for a Panama
d on the Isthmus in Decem- Canal, he decided to
instruction of the Panama visit the Isthmus and in-
Cristobal when a statue of augurate the work, at the
same time ordering fur-
ther surveys to be made
by a group of engineers. The engineering com-
mission was headed by Colonel George M. Totten,
builder of the Panama Railroad across the Isth-
mus 30 years earlier, and he knew something of
the difficulties of working in a steaming jungle
where men not infrequently dropped dead at
their tasks. The commission made a thorough
study and returned a comprehensive report in
which it estimated the cost of the work to be
$168,500,000, and that the construction would
require eight years.
This report was hand-
ed to de Lesseps just as
he was leaving Panama
for New York and
France. However scien-
tific and accurate the
report may have been,
the chief of the Canal
Company composed a
note on his voyage to
the United States in
which he stated that the
engineers had overesti-
mated the cost of the
work by $30,000,000 and
expressed the opinion
engineers at Paraiso. They that several million
t the same time in 1889 and dollars more might be
other. saved with prudent man-
Upon reaching New York, de Lesseps an-
nounced that half of the $120,000,000 stock
in the company would be reserved for American
investors. He was given a rousing reception in
New York, Washington, Chicago and Boston,
but no stock was sold. The story was different
when he reached France. He made a triumphful
tour of the country and the $60,000,000 in stock
which was reserved for French investors was
subscribed twice over. The subscription was


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914

-- ---


A famous French artist drew this sketch of an American
ladder dredge during the French construction days. Most
of the work was done under contract by individuals and

closed December 10, 1880, and during the follow-
ing March the company was formed with a
capital of $60,000,000, little more than a third
of the amount which had been estimated as
necessary by his commission of engineers.
The first detachment of workers was sent out
from France in January 1881 and the first two
years were spent principally in research, includ-
ing mapping and surveying. Actual construction
work began during the following year and in
January 1882 a "chantier" or working section
was established at Empire, crest of the conti-
nental divide, and later in the year working
sections were established along the proposed
route at Culebra, Mindi, Monkey Hill, Bas
Obispo, Gorgona, Cristobal and Paraiso.
Between 1882 and 1888 the work went forward
with dispatch and much was accomplished, but
at a great cost of human lives and money. Yellow
fever, malaria and other tropical diseases deci-
mated year after year the ranks of the workers.
Along with the rest perished many a promising
young French engineer who had come to make a
name for himself in one of the greatest projects
ever undertaken by man. Almost unbelievable
today are some of the stories of suffering and
death during those few years.
The total excavation accomplished during the
eight years was estimated at nearly 67,000,000
cubic yards. Notable work was done in Culebra
Cut, under the direction of Phillipe Bunau-
Varilla, and in dredging operations at the
Atlantic entrance, which was let under contract.
During these years great sums of money were
expended and de Lesseps found it necessary to
raise more funds. After seven years of work it
became apparent that it would be impossible to
construct a sea-level canal, and much against de
Lesseps' wishes, a provisional change of plans
was made which provided for a high-level canal
with a system of locks.

The greatest force of workers employed during
these years was in 1884 when more than 19,000
employees were engaged on the Isthmus. The
greatest amount of excavation during any year
was done in 1888 when more than 16,000,000
cubic yards of material were excavated.
After the plans were changed, work was pushed
forward vigorously for more than a year, but the
deplorable state of the company's finances could
no longer be ignored, and in December 1888, de
Lesseps petitioned the French courts to appoint
temporary managers, which was done. After an
examination of the company's books and finan-
cial affairs, the temporary managers reported
that the total expenditures of the company had
been $260,000,000, or more than four times the
original capitalization.
The temporary managers of the company made
a desperate attempt to reorganize the company,
but the faith of the people in the gigantic task
had been shaken, and on February 4, 1889, a
receiver was appointed to liquidate the company
and to form a new one. The task of the receiver

Many of the Belgian locomotives were renovated and used for
light work by the Americans. This old locomotive was in
use in 1910, the picture being taken at the old Empire shops.
was particularly onerous, because of the scandals
which swept the country as a result of the failure.
Thousands of French investors had seen their
life savings swept away in the crash and they
were bitter. The receiver attempted to keep
the work going in Panama, but he was compelled
to reduce the force and finally suspended the
work entirely in May 1889.
One of the first steps taken by the receiver was
to satisfy himself that the construction of the
Panama Canal was feasible and he appointed a
commission of 11 engineers to make a thorough
reexamination of the project. The commission
returned its report in May 1890, submitting a
plan for a lock canal and expressed the opinion
that the work could be finished within eight
years at a cost of $112,500,000.
During this time and until the affairs of the

Page fifteen

August 15, 1914

T August 15, 1939


August 15, 1914 THE PANAMA CANAL August 15, 1939

Much dredging was accomplished by the French, although the equipment then in use would appear antiquated today. This is a
type of floating dredge which was used. The long sea-level part of the channel between Colon and Mindi was the scene of great

old company could be settled and a new company
formed, additional difficulties were encountered
because of the time limitations set in the Wyse
concession. During the years of 1891, 1892,
1893, and the early part of 1894, the legal and
other obstacles blocking the formation of the
new company were cleared away, and the new
company was formally constituted on October
20, 1894, with a cash capital of 60,000,000 francs
($12,000,000), obtained by public subscription,
settlement of suits brought against persons or
companies alleged to have profited unduly from
extravagance of the old company, and from the
sale of stock.
Immediately following the formation of the
New French Canal Company, actual operations
were renewed on the Isthmus with the plant and
equipment left by the old company. From that
time until May 1904 work was carried forward,
mainly in Culebra Cut, with a view to usefulness
under any type of canal that might finally be
built. During this period the force employed
varied from 700 to 4,000 men, touching the high-
est point in 1897.
The accomplishments of the two French Canal
Companies on the Isthmus of Panama under the
great odds faced justly entitle them to the praise
which has been accorded them by engineers and
other competent observers. It was not known
during the period that both yellow fever and
malaria were spread by mosquitoes, and although
the French built and operated fine hospitals on
the Isthmus, even these hospitals became agencies
for the transmission of these dreaded diseases.

Much of the machinery used by the French was
entirely too light for the great task, and although
all of the equipment on the Isthmus became the
property of the United States Government in
1904, most of it was found to be of but little use
in such a major construction project.
Despite these factors, however, much was ac-
complished by the French. The total excava-
tion was 78,146,960 cubic yards, of which
29,908,000 cubic yards were useful in the work
performed later by the Americans. The French
left an extremely valuable collection of maps, sur-
veys, drawings, and records. Meteorological
records over the period of 25 years were kept for
most of the watersheds which feed streams in and
near the Canal. Many of the topographical
maps of the Isthmus were of immense value in
the early work of the surveyors employed by the
United States Government, and some of these
old maps are still consulted today to determine
the topographical outline of certain parts of the
Canal Zone which were changed because of hy-
draulic or dry fills.
The greatest praise is due the French for actu-
ally getting the work started. Theirs was the
first concrete effort to construct a canal to join
the two oceans and the initiation of the project
alone was of immeasurable benefit in completion
of the task both in the matter of creating a favor-
able attitude in the mind of the public and in
the vast amount of preparatory work necessary.
It was the French who gave reality to the dream
of the centuries by actually making the dirt fly.

Page sixteen

August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914


0 6".04 '

The Canal Is Built

The mighty forces of nature were conquered or
harnessed by the Americans within a ten-year
period and the Panama Canal became a reality

T HE decade in American history familiarly
known as the "Gay Nineties" was pro-
ductive of many things, including quaint
fashions and ragtime songs, and some of them
had a vast and enduring influence on the com-
paratively young nation which then had only
recently been recognized generally as a first-rate
world power.
More and more people had followed the advice
of Horace Greeley and the nation's center of
population had rapidly moved westward. The
Cherokee strip of land was opened for settlement
and 90,000 Americans made a dash across the
line for free lands and new homes. Labor riots
were frequent and subjects like woman suffrage
and prohibition were hotly debated throughout
the country.

The political influence of the rapidly growing
western states began to be felt. William Jennings
Bryan made his famous "crown of thorns and
cross of gold" oration. American engineers were
still busy spanning the country with railroads.
The western seaboard and its ports were growing
factors in the nation's commerce and the idea
was born that the United States might need
a "two-ocean" Navy. The people of the United
States were on the move physically and spirit-
ually. They were ready for adventure. They
suffered from growing pains. Enterprise and
action were the order of the day.
It is little wonder that the old question of
constructing a canal to join the Atlantic and
Pacific and cut many thousands of miles from
the route of vessels moving from one to another

Panoramic view of the beginning of a mighty joust with nature, breaking the back of Culebra, which well tells the story of the magni-
tude of the struggle. This is one of the earliest pictures of the construction work under the Americans. It was taken in
Culebra (later Gaillard) Cut in December 1904, when the equipment purchased from the French was still in use.
Page seventeen


Augus 15 94TH AAACAA gst1,13

coast began to engage the attention of political
leaders and of the general public with greatly
renewed interest. There was no end of talk
about the project during this period, and men

Theodore Roosevelt, a vibrant personality, whose aggressive-
ness inspired the building of the Panama Canal. His
part in the achievement was outstanding.
who knew little more of actual conditions than
that a narrow strip of land joined the two
continents expressed their opinions freely and
with conviction. The United States must start
to build the canal which had challenged the
imagination of man for four centuries. Some of
those who insisted upon prompt action claimed
they could put their fingers on a map and show
where the United States could construct a canal
acro. s Nicaragua, Tehuantepec, or the Isthmus of
Panama. Others were certain that American engi-
neers could drive a tunnel through the mountains
in Darien large enough to accommodate the
biggest ships afloat. Still others, who had read
much of disappointing ventures in other earlier
canal projects, were firmly convinced that no
canal could be built and urged that it would be
wiser to forget the idea entirely than to risk a
failure which would cost the country millions
of dollars, much of its growing prestige, and the
lives of many men. But the United States, which
had been interested in an interoceanic canal since
1825 must begin to build it.
The issue was kept very much alive throughout
the decade and when, during the Spanish-Amer-
ican War, the Oregon, one of the finest battleships
Page eighteen

of the United States Fleet, was forced to steam
10,000 miles around South America to reach
Cuban waters, the public demand for a canal
reached its height.
In March 1899, President William McKinley
appointed a commission of nine members com-
posed of competent engineers and economists to
make a thorough study of the various routes,
giving special attention to the Panama and Nic-
aragua routes. The commission was headed by
Rear Admiral John G. Walker. After two years
work it submitted a comprehensive report of its
intensive studies and surveys, not only on the
physical aspects of the proposed Panama and
Nicaragua routes but also of their probable
economic and military value.
The commission estimated the cost of a canal
at Nicaragua at $184,864,000, and of one follow-
ing the Panama route at $144,233,000, which,
added to the $109,141,500 which the New French
Canal Company had asked for its property,
rights and concessions, would bring the total cost
of a canal at Panama to $253,374,500. The
commission evaluated the French Canal Com-
pany's property and rights at only $40,000,000,
and consequently recommended the Nicaragua
route. This great difference in valuation of the

Rear Admiral John G. Walker, U. S. N., retired, was selected
by President McKinley to head the commission which
studied the various routes. He was later appointed Chair-
man of the first Isthmian Canal Commission by President
property and rights was a deciding factor in the
recommendation, but aside from that, the report
indicates that the commission favored the Nica-
raguan route for other reasons also.

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

Augut 15 191 THECANA IS UILTAugut 15 193

The detailed report was submitted to Congress
December 4, 1901, by President Theodore
Roosevelt. However, before Congress could
take action, the French Canal Company notified
the commission that it would sell its property and
rights for $40,000,000, whereupon the commission
submitted a supplementary report in which it
recommended the Panama route.
After an acrimonious debate in Congress over
the relative merits of the two routes, the Spooner
Act was passed, authorizing President Roosevelt
to buy the properties and rights of the New
French Canal Company and to negotiate a
treaty with Colombia for the additional rights

S j- .

1 % .. '7.7- -.-

other lands and waters outside that zone which
might be necessary for the construction, main-
tenance, operation, sanitation and protection of
the Canal. The United States, in turn, agreed
to pay Panama the sum of $10,000,000 on the
date of exchange of ratification and to make
annual payments of $250,000 beginning nine
years after the date of the treaty.
Thus all obstacles to the construction of the
Panama Canal by the United States Government
were cleared away, and at 7:30 o'clock on the
morning of May 4, 1904, Lt. Mark Brooke, Corps
of Engineers, U. S. Army, acting in accordance
with instructions received from the Secretary of



Out of this tangled mass emerged Gatun Locks. When this picture was taken on June 13, 1912, the great gates were in position
but the scene as a whole would convince a stranger that a cyclone, traveling fast, had just passed.

and territory necessary for the work. A treaty
containing such provisions was signed with
Colombia, but it failed of ratification in the
Colombian Senate during the summer session
of 1903.
Later that year the State of Panama revolted
and declared its independence from Colombia on
November 3, 1903. The new nation was soon
recognized by the United States and a treaty
with Panama to provide for the construction of
the Canal by the United States was signed and
duly ratified in the following year. By the terms
of this treaty Panama granted to the United
States a zone of land extending five miles on
each side of the center line of the Canal and any

War, went to the headquarters of the New Pan-
ama Canal Company in Panama City and
accepted, in the name of the United States
Government the transfer of its properties. It
was a brief ceremony and was witnessed by only
a few spectators. A receipt was executed and
authenticated in English, French and Spanish,
and the United States flag was raised. The
receipt itself told the story of the simple cere-
mony which marked the beginning of the Ameri-
can effort to build the Canal which was crowned
with success ten years later when the Canal was
opened. The receipt, now an interesting historical
document, reads as follows:
Page nineteen

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939


Auut 5 91 HEPNMACNA uus 5,13

Theodore P. Shonts was appointed Chairman of the Isthmian
Canal Commission on April 1, 1905, when it was reorgan-
ized by President Roosevelt. He resigned March 4, 1907.
"I, Mark Brooke, officer of the Corps of Engi-
neers of the Army of the United States of Amer-
ica, declare and state the following:
"Today, the fourth of May, nineteen hundred
and four, early in the morning, in my capacity
as representative of the Government of the
United States of North America, I came into the
building situated in the City of Panama, known
in that City by the name of 'Hotel de la Com-
pagnie,' in which are located the central offices
of the New Panama Canal Company, for the
purpose of receiving in the name of my principal,
the Government of the I united States of America,
all the properties, personal and real, of the above-
named company, which are located in the Isth-
mus of Panama.
"After having shown my authority and
instructions, the director of the New Panama
Canal Company made formal delivery to me of
the said properties, personal and real, in the
following manner.
"He delivered the keys of the buildings and
inventories of the properties, called together the
principal employees of the service, and in my
presence gave them instructions to place at my
orders all the material in the storehouses of the
Company, and the storehouses themselves, and
finally, also in my presence, he sent by letter and
telegraph the same orders and instructions to all
the employees of the Company living in Colon
and on the line between that City and Panama.
"In consequence, I declare in the name of the
Government of the United States of North Amer-
ica, which I represent in this act of transfer, that

Page twenty

I acknowledge having received all the properties,
personal and real, that belonged to the New
Panama Canal Company in the Isthmus of
Panama, which have passed into the possession
of the Government of the United States of North
America, my principal.
"This receipt is written and signed in French,
English and Spanish.
Panama, "MARK BROOKE, 2d Lieutenant,
May 4, 1904 Corps of Engineers, U. S. A."
The debate over the selection of a route was a
mere whisper compared with the tumult that
soon arose as to the type of canal to be built and
the method to be employed in its construction.
It is not surprising that this great variance of
public opinion existed, for competent engineers
who had studied the project at first hand were
divided in their views on these questions.
The grave problems involved in the construc-
tion of the Panama Canal were succinctly
described by General Jay J. Morrow, former
Governor, several years after the Canal was
built and in operation. He said:
"The construction of an interoceanic waterway
at the Isthmus was rightly considered a task of
stupendous difficulty. It involved the solution
of many problems-the selection of a route, the

John F. Wallace, a civil engineer with wide experience in rail-
road building, served as Chief Engineer of the Isthmian
Canal Commission from June 1, 1904, until June 28, 1905.
difficulties of sanitation, the decision between a
sea-level and a lock canal, the type of lock canal,
whether to let the work by contract or to con-
struct with forces in government employ, and a
thousand minor questions of administrative and
engineering detail. All these problems were of a


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914

August 15, 1914 THE CANAL IS BUILT August 15, 1939

nature to provoke great variety of opinion and
in some cases obstinate controversy. Criticism of
the methods adopted and predictions of failure
filled the public press during all but the last years
of the construction period."
The first two years of the construction period,
undoubtedly were the most trying. Not only
were the engineering and administrative prob-
lems of great magnitude but the exact boundar-
ies of the new zone itself had to be defined; a new
government had to be established; courts had to
be formed and civil and criminal codes adopted;


during and after the Spanish-American War had
been outstanding, to take charge of the work,
and he and his efficient corps of workers accom-
plished the herculean task.
President Roosevelt was authorized by the
Spooner Act to appoint a commission of seven
members "at least four of whom shall be persons
learned and skilled in the science of engineering,"
to direct the work. Accordingly, the first Isth-
mian Canal Commission, composed of Rear
Admiral John G. Walker, chairman, M1ajor Gen-
eral George W. Davis, William Barclay Parsons,


John F. Stevens was an organizer of great ability, and when he was appointed Chief Engineer on July 1, 1905, he had just com-
pleted construction of the Great Northern Railway. He is shown here at his desk on the Isthmus. He was appointed
Chairman and Chief Engineer of the Commission just a month before he resigned on April 1, 1907.

housing facilities had to be provided; water and
sewerage systems had to be installed; sanitation
methods had to be devised to convert a pestilen-
tial area into a habitable and healthful commun-
ity; equipment and supplies had to be imported;
and an enormous labor force had to be recruited
and brought to the Isthmus.
Foremost among the problems which had to
be solved in the early days was that of making
the Isthmus of Panama healthful. President
Roosevelt recognized this vital necessity and he
appointed Colonel William Crawford Gorgas,
whose work in the campaign to clean up Cuba

Frank J. Hecker, William H. Burr, Benjamin
M. Harrod, and Carl E. Grunsky, was appointed
and confirmed by the Senate.
The Commission visited the Isthmus in April
1904 to establish the government and inaugurate
the work, remaining on the Isthmus for 15 days.
Upon its return to Washington one of its first
acts was to appoint John F. Wallace, a civil
engineer of Chicago with much experience in
railroad work, to the position of Chief Engineer.
Within less than eight months after its appoint-
ment and before active operations had scarcely
begun on the Isthmus, it became apparent that a
Page twenty-one

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939.

Augusl 15, 1914 THE PANAMA CANAL Augusl 15, 1939

President Theodore Roosevelt made an inspection trip of the Canal work in 1906. He is shown here on the observation platform
of a special train. He made this visit in November at the height of the rainy season. The President was hailed with
enthusiasm by the workers, whom he praised highly.

commission of seven members, each an executive
and all called upon to exercise executive func-
tions as a body, was poorly adapted to conduct a
work of such magnitude. The ability and high
moral courage of the individual members were
never questioned, but it was necessary to have a
directing hand for such work.
Some of the members resigned and President
Roosevelt requested Congress to pass an amend-
ment to the Spooner Act enabling him to form
an organization with a centralized executive
power. The measure passed the House of Rep-
resentatives but failed in the Senate. In March
1905, the President decided to use the broader
powers accorded him in the Spooner Act and
appointed a new commission. He also directed
by Executive Order that the Chairman, the Chief
Engineer, and the Governor of the Zone consti-
tute an executive committee.
This new arrangement had hardly become
effective when Chief Engineer Wallace resigned.
He was succeeded by John F. Stevens, an engi-
neer of great ability who also had wide exper-
ience in railroad construction.
At the time Mr. Stevens was appointed Chief
Engineer in July 1905, the work had been in

progress for more than a year, but little had
been accomplished. Just before he left for the
Isthmus Mr. Stevens had a personal interview
with President Roosevelt at Oyster Bay in
which the President told him conditions were
"in a devil of a mess down there." Mr. Stevens
made it plain in the interview that he expected
to be complete boss of the work and stated that
while he could not promise to remain until the
work was finished, he would remain until he had
made certain of its success or was convinced
that the task was impossible of accomplishment.
When he arrived on the Isthmus he found
conditions chaotic. Colonel Gorgas was having
difficulty in making headway with the sanitation
of the Isthmus. The Panama Railroad, upon
which depended the movement of spoil from the
Canal prism, was badly disorganized, and to
satisfy the great clamor arising in the United
States "to make dirt fly at Panama," the engi-
neers were concentrating on the work in Culebra
He immediately recognized the nature of the
great problems involved and set about to remedy
them. He renovated and double-tracked the old
Panama Railroad; built construction camps

Page twenty-two


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1914 THE CANAL IS BUILT A ugust 15, 1939

equipped with roads, water supply and sewers;
erected docks and storehouses; recruited skilled
and unskilled labor; and arranged for an ade-
quate food supply.
This huge task of organizing the forces took
time and the Canal work was bitterly criticized
throughout the United States and elsewhere.
Foreign papers chided "Uncle Sam," for having
undertaken something that could not be finished.
A special correspondent
of the New York World
visited the Isthmus in
1905 and wrote:
"There must be ten
times as many steam
shovels in operation and
one thousand times less
governmental red tape,
else the Canal will not
be completed for 200
Prof. Lewis M. Haupt,
a member of the Walker
Canal Commission in
1899-1901, who had op-
posed the Panama route,
wrote in the London
Standard of September
18, 1905, the following
bitter tirade:
"The average progress Miraflores Locks at the heig
since the canal has The construction of the sy
passed intothe hands of special plants were establi
passed into the hands of of concrete and other mate
the United States has
been less than under the New Panama Canal
Company's administration. At the above rate,
as determined from past experience, some 40
years more will be necessary to finish the high
level canal, assuming that all the engineering
problems are feasible.
"Is it wise to expend over $300,000,000 to dem-
onstrate a fallacy when half of that sum would
create an ample waterway at Nicaragua and
leave a balance in the treasury for internal im-
Even in Panama the work was ridiculed and
on June 19, 1905, the Diario de Panama wrote:
"To excavate 30 millions of cubic yards of
earth on the Isthmus and at Culebra is an
absolute impossibility; it is an error as great as
that of fumigating all the houses in Panama to
destroy mosquitoes or trying to stamp out yellow
fever on the Isthmus. To attempt it is a dream,
an illusion, perhaps simply a case of American
The new Chief Engineer faced such criticism
and others even more biting without flinching.
He had previously been confronted with equally
difficult tasks. He had just completed the con-
struction of the Great Northern Railway
through the Rocky Mountains and his ex-
perience in that great undertaking, handling

ht of

large forces of workers in an unsettled country
and far from a good base of supply, was of untold
benefit to him in his new job. He was inured to
Late in 1906 President Roosevelt, to obtain first-
hand knowledge of the work and conditions and
to refute some of the criticism of the new
project, decided to break all precedents and visit
the Canal Zone.
His visit to the Isth-
mus (it was the first time
a Chief Executive had
S left the continental
United States while in
office) proved to be a
great stimulus to the
force of workers, and his
report on the trip to
Congress did much to
quiet the storm of debate
and disapproval. He
made an address to the
Canal diggers on the
docks in Cristobal on the
eve of his departure
which was attended by
the workers almost to a
man. He told them:
"You are doing the
biggest thing of the kind
the construction work there. that has ever been done,
of locks was spectacular and and I wanted to see
for handling the vast amount how you were doing it.
I am profoundly thankful
that I shall be able to take back to the United
States the message that the nation's picked sons
are carrying themselves so well here that I can
absolutely guarantee the success of the mighty
work which they are doing."
When he returned to the United States he
turned on the Canal critics with a vehemence
that put them to shame. His words were:
"Where the slanderers are of foreign origin, I
have no concern with them. Where they are
Americans, I feel for them the heartiest contempt
and indignation; because, in a spirit of wanton
dishonesty and malice, they are trying to inter-
fere with, and hamper the execution of, the
greatest work of its kind ever attempted, and
are seeking to bring to naught the efforts of their
countrymen to put to the credit of America one
of the giant feats of the ages. The outrageous
accusations of these slanderers constitute a gross
libel upon a body of public servants, who for
trained intelligence, expert ability, high charac-
ter and devotion to duty, have never been
excelled anywhere. There is not a man among
them directing the work on the Isthmus who
has obtained his position on any other basis than
merit alone and not one who has used his posi-
tion in any way for his own personal or pecuniary
Page twenty-three

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939


A characteristic pose of "The Colonel." as Colonel Goethals was known to the thousands of Canal workers. He was appointed
Chairman and Chief Engineer on April 1, 1907, and served until completion of the Canal. When the permanent organization
was formed he was appointed first Governor of The Panama Canal.

One of the most controversial points about the
construction of the Canal during the early days
was that of whether the Canal should be built
on a sea level or on a high level lock plan. To
assist him in arriving at a decision in the impor-
tant matter, President Roosevelt on June 24,
1905, had invited a group of eminent civil engi-
neers of the United States and Europe to consti-
tute an "International Board of Consulting
Engineers" to consider the various plans and
recommendations. A majority report, signed by
most of the European engineers, recommended
the sea level plan. The minority report, signed
by the American engineers, favored a lock canal.
Both reports were referred to the Isthmian
Canal Commission for study and recommenda-
tion, and on February 5, 1906, the Commission
submitted a supplementary report of its own
approving the lock canal.
Both President Roosevelt and William H.
Taft, then Secretary of War, had given the
matter extensive study and had consulted with
Chief Engineer Stevens, and both were convinced
of the superior merits of a lock canal. Accord-
ingly, the President submitted all the reports to
Congress in February 1906 with a short note
stating that he concurred with the views of the

Isthmian Canal Commission. The matter was
hotly debated in the Senate and there was much
doubt as to the outcome. At that time there
was great urgency that some decision be reached
in the matter because a delay of another year
would seriously hamper the work at Panama.
After much urging by some of the Senate leaders,
a vote was taken and the lock type canal was
approved in the Senate June 21 by a vote of 36
to 31. There had never been any doubt that a
majority in the House of Representatives
favored the lock canal, and six days later the
House also approved it.
Comparatively little excavation had been
done during the first two years of American
occupation, only 2,000,000 cubic yards of earth
having been removed in two years time. How-
ever, after the final decision to construct a lock
canal had been reached, great activity was shown
in the excavation work. During 1906 nearly
5,000,000 cubic yards were removed, and from
that time until the Canal's completion in 1914
there was no complaint that the excavation was
Early in 1907, however, the project received
another set back that caused another wave of
criticism from the United States. Chairman T.

Page twenty-four

August 15, 1914

August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914 THE CANAL IS BUILT August 15, 1939

The Isthmian Canal Commission photographed at Culebra in 1908. Left to right: Jackson Smith, Joseph Bucklin Bishop,
Secretary, Colonel W. C. Gorgas, Rear Admiral H. H. Rousseau, Colonel George W. Goethals, Major David DuBois Gaillard,
Jo. C. S. Blackburn, and Major William L. Sibert.

P. Shonts, whose work with the Canal Commis-
sion had been outstanding, resigned to accept a
position in the United States. Before his resig-
nation became effective on March 4 of that year,
Mr. Stevens also requested President Roosevelt
to relieve him of his duties as soon as possible,
and President Roosevelt agreed to do so upon
the condition that Mr. Stevens remain long
enough for his successor to become familiar
with the work.
The resignation of these two responsible men
from the work necessitated a complete change in
the organization and President Roosevelt decided
to use Army engineers to head the work. In
February 1907 he requested the Isthmian Canal
Commission to assign Lt. Col. George W.
Goethals, a member of the Army Corps of
Engineers, to the office of Chief Engineer and
Chairman of the Commission "in order to secure
continuity of engineering control and manage-
ment in the future." This was done and the
new commission composed of Lt. Col. George W.
Goethals, Chairman and Chief Engineer, Col.
William C. Gorgas, Rear Admiral Harry H.
Rousseau, Maj. David DuBois Gaillard, Joseph
Clay Styles Blackburn, Maj. William L. Sibert,

and Jackson Smith assumed its duties April 1,
Col. Goethals arrived on the Isthmus at a
critical stage of the canal work and the fact
that the change from civilian to military author-
ity did not completely disrupt the organization
which had just begun to work harmoniously
was a tribute to Col. Goethals' great administra-
tive skill. He made it plain at the outset to all
workers that they would be judged solely by the
quality and quantity of the work they per-
formed, and they soon learned that he meant
exactly what he said.
The canal work reached the height of
greatest activity during 1908. By that time the
organization had become welded into a smooth
working unit. Men had become accustomed to
the climatic conditions. Yellow fever had been
eradicated and malaria was under control. Men
and machinery were on hand to do the work, and
a great leader had been found.
During that year the peak in amount of exca-
vation, 37,090,000 cubic yards of earth and rock,
was reached. From then until 1912, when the
field of activity in excavation work had greatly
narrowed down, the total amount of material

Page twenty-five

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

Auut 5 11 TEPAAACAA Auus 5,13

excavated during the five-year period was
165,000,000 cubic yards.
While this great task of excavation was being
carried on to completion, other work was pro-
gressing apace. After 1908 the excavation
became a secondary part of the canal work, and
the building of Gatun Dam, which had been
strenuously opposed in Congress and by certain
prominent engineers, the construction of the
great locks, the like of which had never before
been seen and the relocation of the Panama
Railroad were all being accomplished.
It had been planned early in the construction
days to place the two-flight Pacific Locks almost
at the Pacific entrance at La Boca, and the third
flight at Pedro Miguel, and to have dams at
La Boca between Sosa, Corozal, San Juan and
Diablo hills. It was decided in 1908 to change
this plan and to locate the dam and the two
flights of locks at Miraflores. These and other
changes increased the cost of the Canal by

$18,500,000. In January of that year President
Roosevelt approved the Commission's plan to
increase the width of the locks from 100 to 110
feet, thus adding another $5,000,000 to the cost.
Another $13,000,000 was added to the cost when
in October the President authorized the enlarge-
ment of the bottom width of the Canal through
the deepest part of Culebra Cut from 200 to
300 feet minimum.
After all these changes had been made, the
final cost of the Canal was estimated by the
Isthmian Canal Commission at $375,201,000,
and this report was submitted to the House
Committee on Appropriations February 15,
1909, and was embodied in the annual report
for that year. The time limit of nine years,
which had been set by the minority of the Board
of Consulting Engineers in submitting its report
in favor of a lock canal, was accepted in the
Commission's 1909 report. January 1, 1915, was

A special board of consulting engineers, appointed to investigate and report on the Canal work and some of the structures including
Gatun Dam and the Locks, visited the Isthmus in 1909, accompanied by Secretary of War William Howard Taft. The
Secretary of War is standing at the left on the front row and Colonel Goethals is just back of him. Members of the board are,
left to right: Frederic P. Stearns, Arthur P. Davis, Henry A. Allen, James D. Schuyler, Isham Randolph, Allen IIazen,
and John R. Freeman. The board reported that the work was progressing satisfactorily and that all of the structures were
both feasible and safe.

Page twenty-six


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914

Augst 5, 914THECANL S BILTAugst 5, 93

set as the date for completion and the work was
prosecuted to that end. The expenditures came
well within the estimated figure and the Canal
was open to traffic nearly five months ahead of
the date fixed. Had it not been for the disas-
trous landslide which occurred in October 1914,
according to Col. Goethals, the Canal would
have been completed in its entirety by January
1, 1915.
The three outstanding features of the Panama
Canal and the sites which were the centers of

the high hills on both sides of Chagres Valley
with a hill of solid rock foundation located al-
most in the center and through which is cut the
spillway for Gatun Lake. The dam is so immense
that the average visitor does not now recognize
it as a dam at all. It appears to be a natural
feature of the landscape. It is one and a half
miles long on the crest and a half mile wide at
the base. Its crest is at an elevation of 105 feet
above mean sea level. Of the total length of the
dam at the crest, only about 500 feet, or one-

Just nine years after construction was begun by the Americans these two steam shovels met on the bottom level of the great cut and
lifted out the last bucketful of spoil on May 20, 1913. The many puffs of steam seen in this picture indicate the great activity
all along the route at that time.

greatest activity during the construction period
were the Gatun Dam, the locks on both sides
of the Isthmus, and Culebra Cut, later renamed
Gaillard Cut in honor of Colonel D. D. Gaillard
who had charge of the work there and who died
while it was in progress.
Gatun Dam was the largest earth dam ever
constructed. It will be exceeded in size by the
Fort Peck earth dam when it is completed.
Work was begun on Gatun Dam in July 1907,
when the foundations were cleared. The dam
is formed by two separate wings which join

fifteenth of its length is exposed to the maximum
waterhead of 85 to 87 feet when the lake is at
its normal level.
The dam was formed by dumping parallel
ridges of rock along the outer edges and filling
the center or core of the dam with an impervious
mixture of blue clay and sand. The core of the
dam was made by hydraulic fill to an elevation
of 95 feet, and above that to the crest was
dumped a dense clay. During the period of
greatest activity in the building of Gatun Dam
a force of approximately 2,000 men was employed

Page twenty-seven

August 15, 1914


A ugust 15, 1939

Auus 15 1914 TH PAAM CANAL Auut1,13

and approximately 100
train loads of earth and
rock were dumped daily.
Four suction dredges
were employed in form-
ing the hydraulic core.
The completed dam
contains 23,000,000 cubic
yards of earth and rock.
Gatun Dam and spill-
way are the vital keys
of the high level lock
canal. By means of them
the waters of the Chagres
River and its tributaries
are impounded and con-
trolled in the waters of *
Gatun Lake, which at
the time of its formation Thousands of visitors from
work. "Rubber-neck" t
was the largest body level of Culebra Cut to kee
of artificial water in the
world. It is now exceeded in size by the
lake formed by Boulder Dam. Gatun Lake has
an area of 163.38 square miles and is fed by a
watershed of more than 1,300 square miles. Its
shoreline is 1,100 miles long and at normal level

all pa
p then

W the lake contains
183,136 million cubic feet
of water.
All locks of the Canal
are built in duplicate and
all 12 have the same
usable dimensions of
1,000 feet length and 110
feet width. All of the
locks are on bed rock
foundation. Excavation
S. for the triple flight of
locks at Gatun was
begun in September
1906 and approximately
6,000,000 cubic yards of
material were removed.
Work on the sites for the
arts of the world viewed the Pedro Miguel and Mira-
were run along an upper res Locks on the Pacific
m out of the ay. flores Locks on the Pacific
side did not begin until
nearly two years later because of a change in
the plans for the location of the Pacific side
locks. More than 1,000,000 cubic yards of mater-
ial were excavated for the Pedro Miguel Locks,
and nearly 3,000,000 cubic yards were excavated

Gatun Dam and Spillway are important units of the Panama Canal. This is a view of the spillway taken on August 4, 1912, at
the height of the construction work there. The earth dam is so large that it is barely recognizable as a man-made structure,
so perfectly does it blend into the natural terrain.

Page twenty-eight

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914 THE CANAL IS BUILT August 15, 1939

A three-day visit to the Canal was made by President William Howard Taft, while Chief Executive, in November 1910. He had
made several visits previously while he was Secretary of War. President Taft is shown here looking over the work, accompanied
by Colonel Goethals and other officials.

at Miraflores. Into these gigantic maws were
poured more than 4,500,000 cubic yards of con-
crete to form the locks proper, For this work
quarries were established at Porto Bello to furnish
crushed rock for Gatun Locks, and on Ancon Hill,
where Quarry Heights is now located, forthe Pacific
Locks. To handle the enormous amount of con-
crete, crushed rock, sand and reinforcing steel
which made up the great masses of masonry,
special plants were established. At Gatun an
elaborate system of automatic railways and
aerial cableways was installed and operated by
electric power. At both Pedro Miguel and M1ira-
flores the plant consisted of large cranes operated
on the berm (upper level) of the lock excavation
and "chamber cranes" which were used in the
bottom of the pits.
No part of the work attracted more attention
than the excavation of Gaillard Cut. This was
because of its spectacular nature, the amount

of publicity given through the public press,
and the great amount of unfavorable publicity
because of the landslides occurring there. Thou-
sands of visitors were attracted to the Isthmus
during the construction of the Canal and although
a large number failed to see one or another of the
phases of the work, few failed to visit famed
Culebra Cut on the famous "rubber-neck"
special train to watch the fascinating movement
of thousands of workers while the ponderous
steam shovels along the nine-mile ditch alter-
nately dipped their shovels in the mass of broken
rock and earth and lifted the loads to one of the
thousands of waiting Lidgerwood cars.
When the Panama Canal was opened to traffic
the total excavation for the channel exceeded
200,000,000 cubic yards, of which nearly half had
been taken out of Gaillard Cut. Of this amount
29,908,000 cubic yards of the 78,000,000 cubic
yards excavated by the French, was useful to

Page twenty-nine


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914

Augst15,194 TE ANMA ANL Agut 1, 93

the Americans in digging
the Canal. Practically
all of the rock and earth
removed from Gaillard
Cut was dry excavation;
dredging operations did
not begin there until
after the channel was
flooded by the blowing
up of Gamboa Dike on
October 10, 1913.
Although there were
minor landslides during
the French regime, the
major slides occurred
during the period of
greatest activity after
1908. It was estimated A view of the Adinistrat
t o te me tn 00 A view of the Admnzistratr,
that of the more than 100 1910. This is a typical
million cubic yards of was abandoned as a lowi
material removed from
Gaillard Cut that approximately one-fourth was
necessary because of slides. Just one year after
the opening of the Canal to commercial traffic

.. .

ion Bi
site n

part of the famous
Gold Hill gave way and
choked the canal prism,
stopping traffic for sev-
eral months. Since the
opening of the Canal,
there has been an almost
constant movement of
the earth and rock at
points along Gaillard Cut
but only on a few oc-
casions has the move-
ment been of sufficient
volume to interfere with
the movement of ves-
The completed Pan-
ama Canal is more than
tilding in Culebra taken in ama Canal is more than
of the old "capital," which the realization of a
iany years ago. dream, it is an everlast-
ing monument to the
thousands who participated in its construction
and to the engineering and administrative skill
of their leaders.

View of a landslide which filled the Canal prism soon after the water was let into the Cut. These workers are engaged in digging
holes for dynamite which was used unsuccessfully to reopen the passageway. After the explosion, which was one of the heaviest
set off during the construction, the mud and rock settled back firmly into place and hand labor was used to dig a channel.
Page thirty

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939


Sanitation and Health

Unremitting efforts transformed the
Isthmus of Panama from a pestilential
area into a healthful tropical region

T HE narrow strip
of the Isthmus of
Panama, now
known as the Panama
Canal Zone, held an un-
enviable reputation for
three centuries as one
of the most pestilential
sections of the world, and -
this reputation seems to
have had some founda-
tion in fact. When
Columbus landed in 1502
just outside the present
Zone area, and desig-
nated two native settle-
ments as Nombre de
Dios and Porto Bello,
little did he realize that
the first European settle-
ment in the New World
was soon to become so
notoriously unhygienic
that "the chickens and
domestic animals failed '
to procreate, and even
the women about to bear
children moved to Porto
History relates that
the hardy buccaneers Colonel William Crauford C
visiting this region suf- in the construction of lh
fered greater losses from Cuba during and just a
disease than from the stamped him as one of t
arrows of the natives or experts of the age.
the guns of the con-
quistadores. Sir Francis Drake lost many of
his party in this locality from fever, thought
by some to have been a malignant form of mala-
ria, or, possibly, in the light of more recent knowl-
edge, yellow fever; Drake himself died of dysen-
tery on board ship in 1596 between Porto Bello
and Nombre de Dios.
Small wonder then that early attempts to
construct a commercially useful passage across
the Isthmus, first by canoe and trail, then by
railroad, and later by canal, were fraught with
disaster of pestilential origin.
Reliable statistical information is entirely
lacking concerning the existence or nature of
diseases prior to the advent of the horde of
inexperienced travelers who crossed the Isthmus

e Pai
fler I
he gr

from ocean to ocean by
canoe and trail in the
gold rush of 1849. Which
of the diseases encoun-
tered had been brought
by European conquista-
dores and, later, by their
African slaves is a matter
of conjecture; contem-
porary literature relates
only the story of dis-
tressing physical handi-
caps and deplorable
health conditions which
took their toll in fever,
N i scurvy, and dysentery.
1 When, in 1848, three
Americans, Aspinwall,
Chauncey, and Stephens,
contracted to build a
railroad across the Isth-
mus to Panama City,
from the village at first
called Aspinwall and
later named Colon, sani-
tation, even in name,
Scarcely existed; it was
inevitable, therefore,
that the first labors,
begun in 1850, which
was one of the great leaders consisted in the laying
nama Canal. His work in of track through seven
he Spanish-American War miles of lowland jungle,
eatest health and sanitation should be attended by a
high mortality among
newcomers to the tropics;
it is related that of 1,000 Chinese coolies imported
for the project, scarcely 200 remained at the end
of two months. The appalling mortality among
whites, blacks, and Chinese gave rise to the tale
that every railroad tie laid represented the sac-
rifice of a human life, a tale not supportable by
fact since it is estimated that the completed line
required 150,000 ties; probably one death per
50 ties would approximate the truth.
The completion of the railroad in 1855 made
possible a more rapid crossing of the Isthmus,
but had no appreciable benefit upon local sani-
tation; it would not be unreasonable to suspect
that the railroad, unhampered by quarantine
restrictions, facilitated the movement of the sick
and further dissemination of disease.
Page thirty-one

August 15, 1914 THE PANAMA CANAL August 15, 1939

The modern concrete buildings which now house Gorgas Hospital were not built until after the completion of the Canal. This is a
view of Gorgas (then Ancon) Hospital taken in 1910. The hospital has maintained a high reputation during its many years
of service.

The first constructive project to cross the
Isthmus by canal, begun by the French in 1880,
while doomed to failure through physical, admin-
istrative, and financial difficulties, was handi-
capped by pestilential disease to such an extent
that it was estimated that annually one-quarter
of the employees died of malaria, yellow fever,
dysentery, tuberculosis, or other infectious dis-
eases. The high morbidity and mortality rates
for the French canal employees reflected the
conditions prevailing in the local populace at the
same time.
The heritage to the United States after the
French were relieved of their problems in 1904
consisted of a strip of land roughly ten miles
wide and ffty long, closer to the Equator than
is Manila, traversed by small streams and rivers
meandering through jungle highlands and swampy
lowlands, sparsely settled in some areas and
densely populated in the cities of Colon and
Panama. Throughout the entire area persisted
a variety of pestilential diseases in epidemic
form or smoldering in endemic foci and awaiting
the non-immune from temperate climates; dis-

eases toward the local conquering of which no
productive steps had ever been taken.
Lessons in hygiene and sanitation, learned in
the American tropics after the Spanish-American
war, were applicable to the needs of the Panama
Canal; particularly useful was the knowledge
concerning yellow fever obtained from studies
in Cuba.
Though not the cause of most deaths from dis-
ease on the Isthmus, yellow fever, here as else-
where, was the disease to strike terror most
quickly to the hearts of the newcomers. The
epidemiological importance of the disease may
be measured by the records, which indicate that
during the years of greatest construction activ-
ity, 1881-1889, the French lost a total of 1,039
employees from yellow fever out of an average
yearly roll of 10,000. During the same years, the
city of Panama lost 905 from an average popu-
lation of 20,000.
Research and experience in Cuba had demon-
strated conclusively that yellow fever is carried
from the sick to the well by a mosquito and, in
epidemics, by one variety of mosquito only, the

Page thirty-two

August 15, 1939


August 15, 1914


August 15, 1914 SANITATION AND HEALTH August 15, 1939

Stegomyia fasciata, or, as it was renamed, the
Aedes aegypti. Fortunately for sanitarians, but
unfortunately for the populace, this mosquito
lives and breeds close to human habitation,
never, by choice, going far from its place of birth,
a fact giving rise to the belief that certain houses
themselves were infected. The Aedes aegypti
deposits her eggs in standing water in receptacles
close to the abode of her favorite food, and when
the female feeds upon a yellow fever patient, she
in turn passes some of the virus to the next well

proportion to the promptness and thoroughness
with which Aedes mosquitoes are exterminated.
In December 1904, shortly after the formal
occupation of the Zone by the United States, and
before the health organization had begun actively
to function, the annual visitation of yellow fever
occurred. During the succeeding twelve months
there were 246 cases with 34 deaths in the Zone,
but in the year 1906 one case only developed.
In the succeeding years, there have been no
cases of yellow fever except imported cases ad-

An aerial view of Gorgas Hospital located on the slopes of Ancon Hill. Gorgas Hospital was established many years ago by the
French. It was then called Ancon Hospital and so remained until about 15 years ago when it was changed to honor Colonel
William Crawford Gorgas.

person upon whom she feeds and another case of
yellow fever develops unless the bitten person
has been immunized by a previous attack of the
disease or otherwise.
These facts, so long the unknown solution to
a great epidemiological riddle, when once under-
stood, placed in the hands of the sanitarians the
method of prompt and successful combat; the
aphorism "No stegomyia, no epidemic yellow
fever" resolved itself into the sanitarian's order
to protect from mosquitoes all standing water
near habitations and thereby prevent propaga-
tion of the offending mosquito. The intensity of
an epidemic of yellow fever diminishes in direct

mitted by the quarantine service for isolation.
The destruction of Aedes mosquitoes in a city
having a modern water and sewerage system is
relatively easy; the eradication of the pest in
backward tropical settlements, however, was a
problem of first magnitude, because rains for
nine months of the year kept most exposed con-
cave objects filled with water, each collection
supplying ideal conditions for the development
of myriads of Aedes. In the dry season, each
habitation had its man-made receptacles for the
storage of water for household purposes and
these reservoirs, of metal, pottery, or cement,
Page thirty-three

August 15, 1914

August 15, 1939


Auut1,11 H AAM AA uut1,13

The fight against mosquitoes probably will never end on the
Canal Zone, The examination of stagnant water for the
larvae is being made here under the direction of one of the
sanitation experts of the Health Department.
were rarely completely empty and served to
make Aedes breeding continuous throughout the
In very recent years it has been learned that
there exists, perhaps throughout most of tropical
South America, a form of yellow fever in the
transmission of which the Aedes aegypti may at
times play no role, and which disease may have
jungle animals for its natural reservoir rather
than man. Monkeys have been found to be
infected with jungle yellow fever, and several
varieties of jungle mosquitoes have been found
to be infected with the virus. Whether this
jungle yellow fever is of recent origin or has per-
sisted for centuries in tropical America is largely
of academic interest. It is of considerable signifi-
cance, however, that when introduced into
urban populations, in the presence of Aedes
aegypti, the disease may assume its classical
epidemic form.
That malaria is also a mosquito borne disease
was demonstrated forty years ago. Instead of one
variety of mosquito carrier, however, it was
learned that malaria is transmitted by various
members of a large family of mosquitoes, the
Anopheles, whose life habits and' habitats differ
greatly, thereby rendering more complex the
methods of extermination and greatly increasing
the magnitude of prevention measures.
In all tropical and in most sub-tropical coun-
tries, malaria is, a one time or another, an out-
standing cause of sickness and death. On the
Isthmus, since the beginning of history, malaria
has caused more disabling illness than any other
single disease. Several factors contributed to the
continued prevalence of malaria: an almost uni-
versal infection of the native population with
chronic malaria; large collections of naturally
impounded water in lowlands or along the banks
of sluggish streams furnishing economically un-
controllable breeding places for mosquitoes; and,
of greatest importance, the introduction through

Page thirty-four

the centuries, of continuous influxes of suscep-
tible persons.
The sanitarian's attack upon malaria has been
carried on with one practically unattainable
object-the complete riddance of malaria from
the Zone. The plan of attack that has been con-
sistently followed consists of: Anti-mosquito
screening; removal, in so far as possible, of entire
settlements of infected natives to sites outside
the Zone; prompt treatment of all persons suffer-
ing from malaria; attempted medical prophy-
laxis; and attempts at mosquito eradication by
preventing their breeding. That this combined
method of attack has been successful is evident
from the gradual, but yearly demonstrable, dim-
inution in the rate of infection, so that in recent

One of the forms of malaria control which has proved effective
on the Isthmus is spraying open ditches or other places
where standing water provides a breeding place for malaria
carrying mosquitoes. This worker is engaged in this type of
work. During the construction days this was most impor-
tant. This picture was taken in 1910 at Miraflores.

years it has become commonplace to hear the
statement, "This is the best malaria year in
In a campaign against a yellow fever epidemic,
prompt destruction of the Aedes mosquito is of
paramount importance and relatively easy. In a
campaign against malaria, however, destruction
of the Anopheles mosquitoes, in terrain such as

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939


comprises the Canal Zone, is almost humanly
impossible because of the vastness of the natural
as well as man-made collections of water ideal
for breeding. It was practicable to build the
Canal Zone towns at some distance from the
large bodies of fresh water and on drainable
sites, so that by falling in small catchment-basins,
draining others, and by the liberal use of larvi-
cides such as oil and paris green, and especially
by the yearly extension of permanent covered
and open drains, there-
by to abate the mosquito
nuisance for the greater
part of the year. Com-
plete mosquito eradi-
cation, even within the
cities and towns, is not
practicable because at
times during the year, J
principally at the change
of seasons, large num-
bers of mosquitoes fly or
are blown miles from
their breeding places into
the settlements.
Present day protec-
tion from malaria is en-
hanced by the lessened
number of chronically A view of Corozal lospila
infected persons and pitalized on the Canal Z
rfd domiciliary care for cripple
therefore a correspond- who do not require treated
ingly low rate of infec-
tion among the mos-
quitoes. The old, but not entirely correct working
hypothesis, "no Stegomyia, no yellow fever," may
be paraphrased to, "no chronic malaria cases,
no malaria epidemics."
Since the first visit of the white man to the
Isthmus, there has persisted, under the general
term of dysentery, a group of diseases of intes-
tinal origin, which has been of importance in
disabling and shortening the lives of newcomers.
The similarity of symptoms and the vagueness of
recorded descriptions preclude a numerical dif-
ferentiation, historically, between typhoid fever,
amoebic and bacillary dysentery, and the num-
erous diarrhoeas; but their prevalence at the
time of American occupation attests their past
The abatement of those intestinal diseases
which are transmitted mainly through contami-
nated food and water was accomplished by fur-
nishing an adequate and bacteriologically clean
water supply for not only the residents of the
Canal Zone but for the cities of Colon and Pan-
ama. The piping of filtered and chlorinated
water to the entire populace dispensed with
mosquito breeding cisterns and their ready con-
tamination and made possible the installation of
an efficient sewerage system for the disposal of
human wastes.

l whe
es an

With an adequate water supply, a number of
interrelated sanitary nuisances were abated in
the Canal Zone and subsided in the Panamanian
cities. The proper cleansing of streets, dwellings,
and markets; the coincident reduction in filth
conducive to rat and fly breeding; the regulation
and conscientious inspection of the manufacture
and sale of foods; the pasteurization of milk; all
contributed to the reduction of the incidence of
diseases of intestinal origin; and, while these dis-
eases are still present,
They no longer occur in
i sufficient numbers to be
of economic importance.
The careful investigation
of each case frequently
demonstrates a local in-
fection to be from a pre-
viously undetected
human carrier.
On the Isthmus forty
years ago, as elsewhere
in most parts of the
World, smallpox was a
prevalent but prevent-
able disease, not pre-
vented because of igno-
rance, prejudice, or lack
re insane patients are hos- of public funds available
The hospital also provides for general vaccination.
d chronically ill exemployees During the years when
DurCZg the years when
the Panama Railroad
was being built and
during the French Canal work, smallpox not
only temporarily disabled many but was a cause
of death of numerical significance. During the
later days of French construction, some vac-
cination was practiced among their employees, too
limited in extent to affect the Isthmus as a
With the inauguration of American methods
of sanitation, compulsory vaccination against
smallpox included not only the populace of the
Canal Zone, but the inhabitants of the cities of
Colon and Panama, and, in cooperation with the
Panamanian authorities, from time to time, var-
ious distant towns. The vaccination program as
instituted has continued, with revaccination of
the populace every five years, vaccination of
children upon entrance to school, and when
practicable, the vaccination of babies soon after
birth; supplemented by the immunization, when
necessary, of all newly arrived persons from
It is estimated that more than 90,% of the
residents of the Canal Zone and 75C1, of the resi-
dents of the cities of Colon and Panama have
been successfully immunized against smallpox,
leaving a small number of susceptible persons so
diffused throughout the general population that
an epidemic of smallpox cannot be expected to

Page thirty-five

August 15, 1914

August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914 THE PANAMA CANAL August 15,1939

occur. Present day practice of immediate hos-
pitalization, upon detection, of a case of small-
pox, and the revaccination of known contacts,
has been sufficient to quench the infection at the
source and no epidemics have developed.
The medical history cf most tropical countries
would be incomplete without chapters about
beriberi, bubonic plague, Asiatic cholera, and
leprosy. Fortunately for the Isthmus of Panama
and the Canal Zone, visitations from these dis-
eases have been conspicuously absent.
Beriberi, which takes
its toll in thousands in
tropical Asia, rarely -
causes a death on the
Isthmus and no deaths
from beriberi have been
reported among resi-
dents of the Canal Zone
since 1905.
Bubonic plague, which
likewise causes the death
of thousands yearly in
tropical and sub-tropi-
cal countries, and which
exists in this hemisphere
to the north and to the
south of the Canal, has
never been present on Colon Hospital is operated
the Isthmus in epidemic Panama Canal. The ins
form and no cases have Gorgas Hospital but its u
form and no cases have side of the Isthmus.
been known to develop
on the Isthmus since 1905.
Asiatic cholera, the cause of death of uncounted
thousands in the oriental tropics, and which was
present among the forty-niners who crossed the
continent by northern routes to California as
well as by the trans-Isthmian route, and which
is present today in ports from which Canal-bound
ships arrive weekly, appears never to have
visited the Isthmus.
Leprosy, which is present to the north and to
the south of the Isthmus, and which occurs at
high rates in adjacent countries, is present on
the Isthmus in insignificant numbers. A scatter-
ing of cases throughout the Republic of Panama,
present since the days of the conquistadores,
appears, from church records, to have remained
fairly constant in numbers. The total number
of cases has been somewhat augmented by in-
fected persons brought to the Isthmus for rail-
road and canal construction purposes. However
prompt segregation, since 1905, of persons suffer-
ing from leprosy has effectively stemmed the
progress of the disease and secondary cases are
becoming relatively uncommon.
The same vigilance which was observed in the
elimination or control of tropical diseases during
the construction of the Panama Canal is just as
vital today in guarding the health of the Govern-
ment employees and their families, and the
Page thirty-six

by th

present day Health Department is organized to
carry forward the great work which was initiated
by Colonel William Crawford Gorgas and his
efficient corps of medical and sanitation experts.
The Health Department of The Panama
Canal is responsible for the prevention and con-
trol of infectious and contagious diseases in the
Canal Zone and the Panamanian cities of Colon
and Panama, furnishes general medical care to
employees of The Panama Canal and their fam-
ilies, and hospitalizes certain beneficiaries of the
Army, Navy and Public
Health Service.
The Chief Health
/ Officer supervises the
activities of four field
divisions: Hospitals and
I Dispensaries, Sanitation,
Hygiene, and Quaran-
tine and Immigration.
By earnings from cer-
tain interdepartmental
charges, medical and
i hospital services, street
cleaning and garbage
T e collection in Balboa and
SPanama on the Pacific
side a nd Cristobal and
Colon on the Atlantic
se Health Department of the side, shipping agencies
on is not nearly so large as flod in f ge n
is important on the Atlantic for lodging of immigrants
and illegal entrants, etc.,
the Health Department
is approximately 40 percent self-supporting.
The Division of Hospitals and Dispensaries
operates Gorgas Hospital on the Pacific side of
the Isthmus, and Colon Hospital on the Atlantic
side, each of which is a general hospital. The
former hospitalized a daily average of 472
patients in 1938, the latter an average of 82
patients daily. Corozal Hospital, also on the
Pacific side, hospitalizes insane beneficiaries of
the Canal and other insane persons awaiting
repatriation. It also furnishes domiciliary care for
cripples and other chronically ill ex-employees
who do not require treatment. The average
daily number of patients in 1938 was 191 insane
and 116 others. The Palo Seco Leper Colony
cares for the small number of alien former em-
ployees of the Canal who have developed leprosy,
and also, by contract with the Republic of Pan-
ama, cares for all leprous persons found within
the Republic. The average daily number of
patients in 1938 was 113.
This division also operates six dispensaries, in
as many Canal Zone towns, for the treatment of
minor illnesses of those who are able to present
themselves at the dispensaries, and also provides
treatment at home for those not sufficiently ill
to be hospitalized. During the calendar year
1938, 259,248 dispensary treatments were given,

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914 SANITATION AND HEALTH Aug~~st15,1939

and 3,385 were treated in their homes and
aboard ships.
The Board of Health Laboratory, administra-
tively a part of Gorgas Hospital, carries out all
laboratory procedures (except simple analyses
and examinations made in the wards) for the
three Canal hospitals, the Palo Seco Leper Col-
ony, line dispensaries, and the various Army
posts; and also for the health officers of Panama
and Colon, and the Division of Sanitation. It
has an undertaking and embalming department,
which also operates a crematory.
The Division of Sanitation carries out all
measures pertaining to the prevention or control

nishes gratis certain service to school children,
and gives advice to parents concerning serious
physical defects which require special treatment.
District nursing and maternal and child welfare
services are also furnished.
The Quarantine and Immigration Division
inspects ships, crew, passengers, and sometimes
cargo, entering Canal Zone waters, in order to
prevent the admission of communicable diseases
of man or animals, and enforces the immigration
laws of the Canal Zone and of the Republic of
The reader who has not visited the Canal
Zone, and who infers that a garden spot, free

The Filtration Plant at Mliraflores which furnishes a supply of pure water to the communities on the Pacific side. One of the most
important steps in sanitation work during the early construction days was the furnishing of a pure water supply. Previously,
cisterns and open tanks had been used to store drinking water even in the larger cities of the Republic.

of communicable diseases, supervises the sanita-
tion of the cities of Colon and Panama, operates
the street cleaning and garbage collection and
disposal systems of those two cities, and main-
tains the Canal Zone cemeteries. The control of
malaria, and of mosquitoes and other insects, is
a large part of the duties of this division.
Sanitary inspectors are well trained in the iden-
tification of mosquitoes in all their stages, as well
as of other important insects; in the use of the
Wye-level and in drainage construction; in rat
control, fly control, food inspection, and multi-
tudinous other operations of field work.
The Division of Hygiene, through the school
physician, school dentist, and school nurses, fur-

from pestilential tropical diseases, has been
claimed from the jungle, is reminded that a trail
freshly cut through the jungle remains a trail
only so long as it is constantly cleared, and that
negligence or failing effort permits the tropical
underbrush to erase the efforts of man in a single
season. So with sanitation in the tropics; a relax-
ation of quarantine inspections of incoming per-
sons, and diminished vigilance in the continuance
of preventive measures among the permanent
residents, will in a short time permit the return
of infectious diseases which still persist in nearby
American occupation of the Canal Zone has
not been sufficiently long to permit the offering
of an unqualified answer to the much debated

Page thirty-seven

August 15, 1914

August 15, 1939



question as to the adaptability of the white man
through the generations to permanent life in the
tropics. It is evident that white men from tem-
perate climates have lived more than thirty-five
years on the Isthmus, have pursued normal
activities in a normal manner, and have reared
normal children who are now continuing the
duties of their parents, all with no appreciable
diminution in the virility of the race. This fact
must be tempered by the statement that the
Canal Zone administrative organization has pro-
vided for and encourages the periodic return of

the employee and his family to a temperate cli-
mate for vacation and recreational purposes.
The present extremely satisfactory status of
public health in the Canal Zone is the result,
not of the efforts or direction of one man, or the
application of one method of sanitation, or an
accident in the course of events, but rather the
result of unremitting effort and the continuance
of wise policies based upon the utilization of
modern methods of sanitation and a willingness
and readiness to give over antiquated methods
for new, tried or proved, or even experimental

There was little time for building new houses when the
A mericans first arrived, and this building was being used
as a post office at Empire in December 1904.

The new Balboa post office contains all modern mail handling
facilities. The building is specially designed for use in the


Horse and mule drawn vehicles were in use by the Transpor-
tation Division during most of the construction period.
This is a view of the corral in Ancon in 1911.
Page thirty-eight

Present headquarters of the Transportation Division in
Ancon where the large fleet of automobiles and trucks are


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914

Panama Railroad Company

A colorful chapter in the history of transportation
was written by the builders of the Panama Railroad,
now operated as an adjunct of the Panama Canal

T HE history of the Panama Railroad Com-
pany has been closely intertwined with
that of the Panama Canal since long
before the waterway was opened to commercial
The Panama Railroad Company was incorpo-
rated as a purely commercial enterprise under the
laws of the State of New York in 1849 but all of
the stock is now owned or controlled by the
United States Government, and since 1904 the
company has been operated as an adjunct of the
Canal. The company now conducts several
quasi-commercial activities which have a close
relation to the operation and maintenance of the

Canal, including the operation of the trans-
Isthmian railway and a steamship line between
New York and the Isthmus.
The largest of the company's enterprises is the
commissary system which maintains retail stores
in all of the larger Canal Zone communities for the
sale of food, clothing, and household supplies to
meet the needs of the Government personnel and
of the various United States government depart-
ments on the Isthmus. The company also owns
and operates a steamship line between New York
and the Canal Zone. It handles all dock and
harbor activities at the terminal ports of the
Canal and operates coaling plants at Balboa and

A fleet of three modern 10,000-ton liners was placed in service between New York and Cristobal during 1939 by the Panama
Railroad Company. The steamer Panama, the first of the three ships to go into service, transited the Canal on its maiden
voyage from New York on May 6, 1939. It is shown here in Gaillard Cut.

Page thirty-nine

August 15, 1914TH E PANAMA CANAL A ugustls,1939

Cristobal. Various man-
ufacturing units, includ-
ing a modern abattoir,
are operated in conjunc-
tion with the Commis-
sary Division; and the
Mindi Dairy, a branch
of the railroad company's
activities, supplies Gov-
ernment personnel with
dairy products through
the commissaries.
Only a few of the facil-
ities now being operated
are new, although the
company's prime func-
tion when it was organ-
ized 90 years ago was
the construction and
operation of the railway
itself, and for more than
50 years that was its
major activity and chief
source of income.
The Panama Railroad
Company was organized
in 1847 by a small group
of financiers of New
York under the leader-
ship of William H.
Aspinwall, John L.
Stephens and Henry
Chauncey. In 1848

George M. Totten was one of the b
road and served as president

the Government of New Granada granted the
company a concession to build a railway and
wagon road across the Isthmus of Panama.
The grant also provided that no canal could be
constructed across the Isthmus without the con-
sent of the company and the payment to it of
adequate indemnification.
Surveys of the route were made during 1849
by Colonel George M. Totten and John C.
Trautwine, and construction was begun in May
1850 when Mr. Trautwine and a band of about
a dozen Indians landed on the Island of Man-
zanillo, on which Colon and Cristobal now stand,
and felled the first tree. The company was capi-
talized at $1,000,000, and there is little proba-
bility that the project could have been completed
had it not been for the discovery of gold in
California and the great rush of gold-crazed
emigrants across the Isthmus to the new-found
Eldorado. Because of the great danger and
difficulty of an overland trip, thousands of gold
seekers came by ship to Panama and crossed the
Isthmus by the primitive means of mulepack
and river canoes and reshipped to California.
During those years Panama experienced a wave
of prosperity which had not been attained since
the days of the early Spanish conquerors. It
was this lucrative trade which enabled the pro-
moters of the railroad to sell additional stock
Page forty

and carry on the work
S when the original capital
Swas exhausted, with
S only about eight of the
fifty miles of railway
SThe construction of
-'.- the railway was under
the direction of Colonel
Totten and Mr. Traut-
wine, and only their
indomitable courage and
the faith of the promot-
ers enabled them to over-
come the physical ob-
stacles. Great difficul-
ties were encountered in
obtaining a supply of
labor, and time and time
H again the laborers who
were imported were
found totally unsuited
S for the work. Malaria
was commonly believed
to float like a heavy
S vapor over the great
S, mangrove swamps and
the only precaution
S taken against it was the
closing of windows at
builders of the Panama Rail- night. Yellow fever was
of the company for many a scourge of the Isthmus.
There were few houses
and good food was at a premium. Much of the
time the men had to work up to their knees and
hips in muck and water while drenched from
overhead by torrential tropical rains. Mos-
quitoes and sand flies buzzed by the millions and
drove the workers and leaders to distraction day
and night.
It took five years to complete the railway and
when the first train rattled across the flimsy
fifty miles of track in five hours time, on January
28, 1855, it was an occasion for great rejoicing.
However, the work of the builders was not
even then completed. Most of the track was
temporary and it was not until 1858 that the
construction account was closed, with the total
expenditure set at $8,000,000.
There is no means of determining the number of
lives lost during that period. Certainly there was
an enormous toll taken of the workers, and the
total is somewhere between the conservative fig-
ures admitted by the executives of the company
and the many wild guesses made by its critics.
An Englishman made the trip while the rail-
way was under construction at the time when the
journey was made partly on muleback and partly
by rail. He gave a graphic description of the
hardships encountered and wrote that "it has
been said that the number of laborers, principally
Irish, who have perished in making this part of

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

't '

i William H. Aspinwall (left), New York financier, was one of
the founders of the Panama Railroad Company. He was
one of the first to recognize the importance of the west coast,
and a year before gold was discovered in California he es-
tablished a mail steamship line between California and the
Isthmus of Panama.

The first Panama Railroad Station in Panama City (below)
was located right at the water's edge of Panama Bay where
emigrants to California might embark direct into shallow
\ draft boats for ships waiting in the harbor. Great as the
', ', progress that has been made in transportation since that
S time, 1855, the opening of the Panama Railroad across
the Isthmus was a boon to travelers for it provided trans-
.... continental rail service for travelers for 14 years before the
first train ran from coast to coast in the United States.

"-'-- .^ "- ? *. '- '"- '/ -

Page forty-one



Augus 15 94TEPAAACNLAuut1,13

the road, is so great that the cars might, like
that of Juggernaut, pass the whole distance over
their bodies." At one time a force of 1,000
Chinese laborers was imported and despite every-
thing done for their health and well being,
including the importation of their hill rice, tea
and opium, a wave of suicides broke out among
them, which, added to the toll of disease, so
depleted their ranks that it was conceded that
less than 200 survived at the end of a few months.
Contrasted with these gloomy figures is the
statement published by Francis Spies, Secretary
of the Company, a few years after the road was
completed. He stated
that less than one and a
half percent of the 7,000
white laborers perished
during the five years of
Fortunately for the
promoters, the railroad
earned a considerable
amount of money before I
the line was in operation
from coast to coast by
carrying passengers and
freight over the com-
pleted part of the line.
By the time the last
spike had been driven,
the gross revenue on
passengers and freight
amounted to more than
$2,000,000. When the
construction account
was closed in 1858 the
railroad had earned more
than the total construc-
tion cost of $8,000,000
and the net profit for
that period was set at
The first twelve years
of operation were the
most profitable ones for
the company. Income The difficulties encountered
flowed into its coffers in Railroad were almost ins
a steady stream. How bed was laid on swampy
such enormous amounts of money could be
earned by a railway which had less track than a
sizeable railway yard in the United States is best
explained by the great amount of freight, specie
and passenger traffic over the road and the
exceedingly high tariff rates imposed. During
those twelve years more than $750,000,000 in
specie alone was transported, and the company
collected a quarter of one percent on the value
of all precious cargo. More than 400,000 passen-
gers used the road, and the fare was $25 each
way. Even ordinary freight was a great source
of income as shipments were heavy and the rates
correspondingly high.
Page forty-two


It was during these early years that the rail-
road company became engaged in several enter-
prises which have been conducted intermittently
since its inception and which today overshadow
the operation of the railway proper.
During the road construction period it was
found necessary to establish a commissary sys-
tem in order that employees might obtain proper
food and clothing. These stores were operated on
a very small scale until about 1889.
Because of the nature of the business opera-
tions on the Isthmus, the company was forced
to provide harbor facilities for vessels calling at
the two terminals. These
operations were of minor
importance, however,
and consisted chiefly of
S wharfage, lighterage,
tugboat service and ships
In addition to these
activities, the company
soon organized regular
shipping lines to New
York and Liverpool in
the Atlantic, and to
Central American coun-
tries in the Pacific. By
1861 the New York serv-
ice was maintained by
a fleet of seven sailing
ships. The organization
of the Central American
Steamship Line proved
a fortunate venture for
the company, and the
Central American busi-
ness soon became one of
the largest sources of
income. Although the
a i traffic between Cali-
fornia and the east coast
was enormous, the busi-
ness over the road origi-
nating in South and Cen-
the builders of the Panama tral America was nine
ountable. Much of the road- times the freight business
land. to and from California
within three years after the railway began opera-
tions from coast to coast, and in 1860 the South
and Central American business was fifteen times
as great as that from California. The California
business revived soon after the close of the Civil
War and for a time it represented one-third of
the company's business as the tide of emigration
to the west swelled, but it declined again in 1869
when the first transcontinental railroad was
opened to the Pacific coast in the United States,
just 14 years after the first transcontinental train
crossed the Isthmus of Panama.
Although the company's officials seemed to
have the touch of Midas during the first twelve

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914 PANAMA RAILROAD COMPANY August 15, 1939

years, the company re- :
ceived a series of serious
set backs just after 1867.
The concession obtained
from New Granada was
to run for a period of 20
years. During these 1
years the Republic of
Colombia was formed,
and in 1867 Colonel
Totten, then president
of the company, entered
into negotiations with
the new Republic for a .-
longer concession. After
much negotiation the A view of the old Washingto
new contract was signed, in the foreground was ere
which provided that the phens and Chauncey, build
company pay Colombia
$1,000,000 immediately and $250,000 thereafter
annually. It extended the period of the con-
cession for 99 years. The company agreed to
extend its railway service from deep water in

n House in 1905. The monument
cted in honor of Aspinwall, Ste-
iers of the Panama Railroad.

the Atlantic to deep
water in the Pacific and
provide wharfage facili-
ties at the Pacific ter-
It was a severe blow
to the company when
shortly after 1867 the
Pacific Steam Naviga-
tion Company, which
held a monopoly on the
South American trade
rerouted its ships around
South America to force
a rate adjustment across
the Isthmus. The com-
pletion of the first trans-
continental railway
across the United States

at about this time further curtailed the company's
income, and for several years the company's
fortunes sank to a low ebb.
There was no great revival in the company's

A picture of tropical beauty is this view of the entrance of the Hotel Washington which is located on a point of land directly facing
the Atlantic entrance to the Canal. The hotel is a favorite of tourists who spend a few days or weeks visiting the Isthmus of
Page forty-three

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939


Autsj,19 THE PAAACNLAuut1,13

The Hotel Tivoli is located in A ncon on the southern slope of A ncon Hill overlooking the Bay of Panama. It is a wooden structure
and was completed in 1906. President Theodore Roosevelt was its first guest on his visit to the Isthmus thia year. The building
is one of the landmarks of the Pacific side.

business, which had by this time disposed of all
its interests in shipping companies, until the
French Canal Company began operations on the
Isthmus in 1880. It was apparent from the
outset that high rates charged by the company
for the use of its equipment would prove an
insurmountable barrier for the French in their
effort to build a Canal. After lengthy negotia-
tions the French Canal Company obtained a
controlling interest in the railroad company.
An abnormally high price was paid for the stock
and when the deal was finally consummated the
cost to the French Canal Company was approx-
imately $25,000,000, of which more than one
million dollars was paid to the directors as a
'1 he French Canal Company assumed control
of the railroad company in 1883, and under that
regime the railroad was operated as a subsidiary
of the Canal organization. Most of the time the
financial operations of the two units were so
entangled that it was almost impossible to differ-
entiate between them, although the railroad
maintained its separate identity throughout this
period. During the first years of the French
regime, many improvements were made and the

railway itself was brought up to a high standard.
However, after the failure of the French Canal
Company, the property deteriorated rapidly
while the Canal Company was in the hands of a
It was during this period that the Panama
Railroad Company reentered the steamship
business. The present steamship line between
New York and Cristobal was established in
February 1893 upon the expiration of contracts
between the Panama Railroad and the old
Pacific Mail Steamship Company for the opera-
tion of lines between New York and the Isthmus,
and from Panama to Central America, Mexico
and California.
The first steamers were chartered, but the
company later purchased some of them outright.
The vessels included the San Marcos, Alama,
City of Para, Colombia, Newport, Allianca,
Advance, Finance, Saturn, Seguranca, City of
Washington, Orizaba, City of Everett, and Wash-
ington. Some of these old steamers were still in
service when the construction of the Canal was
begun by the United States Government. The
Finance was sunk in New York Harbor in No-
vember 1908 after a collision with the old White

Page forty-four

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939


Star liner Georgic, but
the Allianca and Ad-
vance were continued in
service until about one
year before they were
sold in 1923. -
In July 1905 the com-
pany purchased the
steamships Mexico and
Havana from the old
Ward Line, later renam-
ing them Colon and .- .
Panama, respectively. .-
They were used through-
out the construction
period and sold after the
Canal was completed.
Two vessels which
have rendered extraor- A view of the old Cristobal
dinary service on the run 1906 before the street sh
between New York and
Cristobal and which have been best known
among the Canal workers for the past thirty
years are the steamers Ancon and Cristobal.
They were built in 1902 and for several years
were used in a run from the West Coast to the

own i

Orient under the names
of Shawmut and Tremont.
SThey were purchased for
use by the Railroad
Company in 1908 and
the name of the
Shawmnut was changed to
Ancon and the Tremont
to Cristobal. They were
subsequently rebuilt at
a cost of 81,000,000 and
accommodations w e r e
provided on each vessel
S imfor more than 200 pas-
sengers. Throughout
the construction of the
S Canal these two ships
brought quantities of
emissary taken in Septermber cement and other ma-
n front of it was paved. trials used in the con-
struction of the Canal,
its locks, fortifications, and appurtenances.
When the United States entered the World
War in 1917, four small German vessels, which
had been interned at Cristobal since the out-
break of hostilities, were turned over to the Pan-

The present commissary system provides large department stores for Government employees. This is a view of the Balboa Commissary,
one of the largest in the Canal Zone. The present commissary system had been organized during the operations of the French
Canal Company and was doing a thriving business when the United States Government began construction of the Canal.

Page forty-five

August 15, 1914

August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914 THE PANAMA CANAL August 15, 1939


A view of the old Panama Railroad station in Panama City
taken on November 3, 1906, the third anniversary of the
independence of the Republic of Panama.
ama Railroad Steamship Line for operation and
were renamed General G. W. Goethals, General W.
C. Gorgas, General O. H. Ernst, and General I-. F.
Hodges. In 1918 the Ancon, Cristobal, General
W. C. Gorgas and General O. H. Ernst were taken
off the regular New York-Cristobal run to carry
coal from Hampton Roads and New Orleans to
the Canal Zone and going from there in ballast
to ports in Chile for nitrates which were returned
and discharged in Baltimore and New York.
Two of these cargoes, after arrival in the United
States, were found to be urgently needed in
France and the steamers made the trip overseas
and delivered the cargo. In October and Novem-
ber 1918 the Ancon and the four small ships
were requisitioned by the War Department and
assigned to the transportation of army supplies
to France. In the spring of 1919 the Ancon,
General Goethals and General Gorgas were re-
chartered by the Army for employment as troop
ships, after which the Ancon returned to its
regular run, and the small ships were laid up
and later sold.
The Ancon and Cristobal were decommissioned
this year and laid up in Gatun Lake, being
replaced by three new 10,000-ton liners, the
Panama, Ancon and Cristobal, which were built
at a total cost of more than $12,000,000. The
new ships are the latest and finest type of ocean-
going vessels. They now maintain a weekly
sailing schedule between New York and Cristo-
bal via Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
The reopening in 1894 of the commissaries by
the Panama Railroad Company, which had not
been operated since 1889, closely followed the
reentry of the company into the steamship busi-
ness. The commissary system was reestablished
in 1894 to supply groceries to the heads of
departments of the railroad company and the
New French Canal Company only. The com-
missaries were expanded two years later, the
stock of goods was materially increased and the
Page forty-six

privilege of their use was extended to all employ-
ees of the railroad, all steamship lines touching
at the Isthmus, warships of all nationalities,
diplomatic and consular officers, and officials of
the French Canal Company. By 1904 the com-
missary system had developed into a thriving
business, and in order to supply the needs of the
thousands employed on Canal construction the
system has been continued in operation ever since.
When the United States bought the concession,
rights, and property of the New French Canal
Company in 1904, the stock of the Panama
Railroad Company became the property of the
United States Government. There were then
outstanding 70,000 shares of stock of $100 par
value each. Of these shares, the Canal Company
owned 68,888, and soon after the transfer of this
stock was made, the United States Government
purchased the remaining 1,112 shares of stock
outstanding for $157,118.24, or approximately
$141 a share.
When the first Isthmian Canal Commission
visited the Isthmus in 1904 the condition of the
railroad was deplorable. All the rolling stock
was badly deteriorated and the roadbed needed
reconstruction almost throughout its entire
length. All of the equipment was entirely too

Old wooden shacks which once served as railway stations on
the Isthmus have been replaced by modern concrete struc-
tures. This is the present railway station in Panama City.
It was completed in 1913 just after the railroad was relo-
light to be considered for use in hauling the spoil
from the Canal channel. Belgian locomotives were
in use, and one writer described them as having
the appearance of a watch fob in comparison
with the locomotives then in use in America.
Fortunately, the first two Chief Engineers of
the Isthmian Canal Commission were engineers
with wide experience in railroad construction
and operation. The work of reballasting the
roadbed and laying new and heavier track was
begun under Chief Engineer John F. Wallace and
completed under Chief Engineer John F. Stevens.


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914


The road was double-
tracked all the way and
a large number of neces-
sary sidings constructed.
The system of transpor-
tation which was planned
and completed by Mr.
Stevens was given the
highest praise by the
other engineers who par-
ticipated in the construc-
tion of the Panama
Canal. His magnificent
work in the reconstruc-
tion of the railway and
planning the system of -
rail transportation -
greatly expedited the -
major work of construct-
ing the Canal.
Although the work of
reconstructing the Pan-
ama Railroad was a ma- Many an oldtimer remember
jor engineering feat, the Panama Railroad pier ii
work was of a temporary The pier was demolished
nature because the line
followed the course of the proposed Canal chan-
nel. Therefore, it was necessary to use the origi-
nal track for moving the spoil and to relocate the
line for permanent use after the Canal was com-
pleted. When the line of the Canal was finally
determined it was at first intended to relocate
along the shores of Gatun Lake that portion of
the road which would otherwise be flooded and
to carry the section of the road through the
Cordilleras on a berm along the Canal through
the Cut. This plan was abandoned because of
the landslides in the Canal and an entirely new
roadbed and railway were constructed for almost
the entire distance.
Surveys for the new route were made in 1906
and the work was begun in June 1907. The
principal engineering obstacle in this work was
the necessity of constructing the new roadbed
at a level higher than the water surface of Gatun
Lake, largely through very low country. Across
the flat marsh lands between Gatun to Gamboa
it was necessary to build 167 huge embankments,
from 58 to 74 feet high. The building of such
great fills was made doubly difficult by the un-
stable nature of the soil on which they rested at
most points. There was a crust of hard clay and

rs thi
n Col
and r

Page forty-seven

August 15, 1914

August 15, 1939

sand for a depth of about
20 feet, but between that
and solid rock which was
more than 100 feet be-
neath the surface was a
soft mass of clay and
decomposed vegetation.
Consequently when the
weight of the embank-
ments became very great
the upper crust would
S give way and it then
I became necessary to
counterbalance the em-
bankment by broaden-
ing the bases, which
More than doubled the
work. A total of
--- 16,000,000 cubic yards
--.- of material were finally
used in these embank-
ments, and in the 3-mile
s familiar scene of the old long embankment across
on where they disembarked. Gatun IValley, alone,
placed in 1939. 9,000,000 cubic yards of
earth and rock were used.
The relocation of the line through the moun-
tains from Gamboa to Panama proved almost
equally difficult as many deep cuts and one
tunnel had to be made. It was necessary, over
the entire line, to make 164 cuts, some of which
near the Continental divide were nearly 100 feet
It is not surprising that this work, of building
a new railway across the Isthmus under diffi-
cult circumstances, cost $9,000,000 when com-
pleted, or a million dollars more than the
original railway cost 65 years before. The work
was completed and the new road was transferred
to the Panama Railroad Company for operation
on May 25, 1912.
The Panama Railroad Company was made an
adjunct of the Panama Canal by President
Theodore Roosevelt at the beginning of the con-
struction of the Canal and that status is now
prescribed by law. The organization is under
the direction of a Board of Directors of 13
members, all of whom hold one share of stock
to qualify them as members of the Board. The
Governor of The Panama Canal, who is also
President of the Panama Railroad Company, is
the administrative head of the company.

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

The construction force was assembled so rapidly that sufficient houses could not be provided and old box cars were rolled onto
sidings and converted into quarters. Tents also were pressed into service for both gold and silver employees. It was not until
after 1908 that housing for employees was anywhere near adequate.

-,- ~.

These modern houses, suitable for the tropics, are in the new town of Gamboa, headquarters of the Dredging Division. Under the
present program of construction of quarters, the old wooden structures now in use will eventually be replaced. Many of the
houses still in use on the Canal Zone were built during the French construction days.

Page forty-eight


The Builders of the Canal

The esprit de corps of the Canal or-
ganization has been handed down by
a group of pioneers in its construction

THE spirit of The Panama Canal is nowhere
better exemplified than among a small
group of men who participated in the con-
struction of the Canal and who have continued
in its service and watched the growth of traffic
through this great artery of world commerce.
Their ranks have grown thin but their spirit of
service is just as much alive and just as keen to-
day as when they stepped from the gangplanks
of the old Allianca, Panama, or Advance, in
Cristobal into a life that then offered little
compensation for work under a tropical sun
except in adventure.
Many of the highest,and most responsible posi-
tions in the Canal service are now occupied by

these men who served under the early leaders,
Wallace, Stevens, Goethals, Shonts, Gorgas, and
others. Most of them began their work in minor
positions but worked their way to the top by
their initiative and ability.
Only a few of the men who came to the
Isthmus in 1904 and 1905 are still in service but
there are more than 300 oldtimers who have
three or more years of construction service. In
addition, there are several hundred others who
have retired during the past few years, many to
return to the United States, a land grown un-
familiar to them after years in the tropics.
Others who have retired live contentedly in their
adopted homeland on the Isthmus of Panama,

President Theodore Roosevelt highly praised the pioneers of the Canal construction work when he visited the Isthmus in No.
member 1906. The President is shown here with some of the early leaders. John F. Stevens, Chief Engineer, is at the extreme
left in front. Others, left to right, are: Mrs. Theodore P. Shonts; Joseph Bucklin Bislop. Secretary of the Isthmian Canal
Commission; Dr. Rixey, Surgeon General; President Roosevelt; Mr. Latta, a White House Secretary; Mrs. Roosevelt;
Mrs. Stevens; and Theodore P. Shonts, Chairman of the Isthmian Canal Commission. Standing in front is Donald F. Stevens,
son of the Chief Engineer now an executive of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
Page forty-nine



Augut 1, 194 TE PNAMACANL Agust15,193

many of them to be near their children who are
in the Canal service. Added to these is the ever-
lengthening list of those who have passed away,
no longer to recount their experiences in the fan-
tastic days when the "Big Ditch" was being dug.
An accurate picture of the days between 1904
and 1914 cannot now be painted but it is burned
indelibly into the memory of most of the men
who took part. They watched Culebra Cut
widen and deepen from a puny gash in the hills
at Empire and Culebra to an immense man-made

from bedrock foundation. At last they watched
the S. S. Ancon make its way slowly through the
newly made channel to lead the procession of
world commerce through the completed Canal,
and the titanic task was completed.
When the first American workers began to
arrive on the Isthmus during 1904 and 1905
the work of sanitation was far from complete
and the major problems of housing and feeding
the vast army of workers needed for the work
had not yet been solved. The boat trip from

The oldtimers watched many a construction town spring up and later disappear. This is how the site of the present town of Balboa
looked on January 20, 1914, before the townsite had been laid out. All of this area is a great hydraulic fill. dredged from the
Canal channel.

canyon wide and deep enough to float the biggest
ships. They remember when Gamboa Dike
was blown up and the waters of the Atlantic and
Pacific were joined for the first time.
They saw many a construction town spring up
mushroom-like, only to disappear as rapidly
when the Canal was completed. They heard
the words of commendation from President Theo-
dore Roosevelt and President William Howard
Taft who visited the Isthmus during construction
days. They saw the waters of Gatun Lake rise
and cover more than 160 square miles of jungle
lands. They watched the modern miracles of
Gatun, Pedro Miguel, and Miraflores locks rise

New York to Cristobal offered little in the
way of comfort, and the immediate problem of
the pioneers when they arrived was to find a
place to eat and sleep. Housing conditions were
deplorable during those days, and food, which
was scarce, sold at fancy prices.
During the first eight months of the work ap-
proximately 600 Americans were employed, and
by the end of 1905 there were approximately
2,000 on the rolls. Although many of these had
been sent to the Isthmus by the first two Isth-
mian Canal Commissions, and others had been
employed by one of the four recruiting agents in
the United States, a large number were attracted

Page fifty


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914

Augus 15,1914 HE BILDES OFTHE ANALAugut 15 193

to the work by the spirit of adventure. Many
of them had served under "Teddy" Roosevelt
when the Rough Riders charged up San Juan
Hill in Cuba, and others had hunted the insur-
recto Aguinaldo in the Philippines.
All three Chief Engineers of the Isthmian
Canal Commission, John F. Wallace, John F.
Stevens, and Colonel George W. Goethals, de-
voted much attention to the important problem
of assembling the thousands of workers in many
varied fields of endeavor upon whose services
the success of the great venture would stand or
fall. On a trip to the United States in the spring
of 1905, Mr. Wallace devoted much of his atten-

Although the Isthmian Canal Commission ob-
tained by the purchase of the French Canal Com-
pany's property and rights more than 2,000
houses, practically all of them were dilapidated.
These were hastily renovated but they were not
sufficient, and box cars were rolled onto sidings
and fitted into living quarters. Tents were
pressed into service and as late as October 1906
an official report stated that "At Gatun we have
326 silver men and 83 gold men in tents."
Some of the employees who arrived in 1904
were housed in one of the old Ancon Hospital
ward buildings and food was supplied by opera-
tion of a bachelor's mess. However, during

No contrast of conditions during the construction period and today could be more vivid than that furnished by the Balboa of 25
years later. Landscaping and modern concrete houses have replaced the dreary mud flats. This general view shows the Admin-
istration Building at the right and the modern port of Balboa in the background.

tion to the employment problem. When Mr.
Stevens was appointed Chief Engineer in 1905
he brought to the Isthmus with him Jackson
Smith, who had been connected with construc-
tion work in Jamaica, Ecuador, and Mexico
and had wide experience in recruiting and han-
dling labor in the tropics. He immediately es-
tablished an organization for the employment
of both skilled and unskilled labor.
During the first few years, preference in em-
ployment was given to bachelors because there
were no houses available for families and one of
the conditions of employment was "An em-
ployee will not be permitted to take his family
to the Isthmus until he has first gone there and
secured quarters for them."

1905 the need for the ward for hospital use forced
the employees to make provisions for quarters
in Panama City and various groups established
clubs and messes in rented space. One famous
club in Panama City in those days was the "Par-
rot Club," which required that each member own
a parrot. The few families who came to the
Isthmus during those first two years lived tem-
porarily in Panama or Colon until the frame
quarters left by the French could be renovated.
The food problem was one of grave concern
to the Canal authorities and to the employees.
Very little produce of any kind was raised on the
Isthmus and exorbitant prices were charged.
There were not adequate means of refrigeration,

Page fifty-one

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914 THE PANAMA CANAL

7. I PT,

-iCe~R pj^B

Jy.~~;- KlHAi
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''"V9 ur


The Incas Society was organized under the leadership of Colonel William Crawford Gorgas, shown in the center. It is composed
of men who were employed by the Isthmian Canal Commission during 1904. It was the wish of Colonel Gorgas that the Society
hold an annual banquet until the last man had left, and this tradition has so far been observed. Only two members, R. W.
Glaw and C. A. Mcllvaine are still in service. Other members who have left the service but now make their home on the Isth-
mus include Harry Leonard, R. D. Prescott, Fostsr Spier, F. H. Sheibley, R. P. Dixon, G. O. Richardson, C. L. Stockelberg,
C. C. J. Wirz, W. A. Torbert, Frank E. Moore, and W. C. Haskins.

which is of much greater importance in the trop-
ics than in the temperate zones.
To these grave problems affecting the prime
necessities of life was added that of suitable rec-
reation. The men were 2,000 miles from home
and in a strange environment. The cities of
Colon and Panama were not then the modern
cities of today and offered little to amuse a
home-sick young man accustomed to home and
friends. Those who were at work in construc-
tion camps along the 47-mile line were even more
isolated, for the modern highway and motor car
were not then known, and most of them had
to content themselves with a "Saturday-night
fling" in one of the two cities.
All of these conditions were materially im-
proved during the first few years after the
construction of the Canal was started. A pro-
gram for the construction of new quarters was
Page fifty-two

carried forward on a large scale in 1906, 1907
and 1908 and the report for the fiscal year 1908
reported that 491 new buildings had been con-
structed during the year, bringing the total
number of buildings up to 3,313. The report
also stated that 12,000 plumbing fixtures had
been installed at a total cost of $1,000,000.
The Panama Railroad erected a cold storage
plant, bakery, laundry and wholesale warehouse
at Cristobal, and ample refrigerating facilities on
the Panama Railroad steamers were provided.
By 1908 a number of refrigerated cars were
placed in service on the Panama Railroad, and
from that time forward both refrigerated and
ordinary supplies were furnished daily to all
settlements where work was in progress.
Four Y. M. C. A. clubhouses, which were the
first centers of community activities, were es-
tablished at Culebra, Empire, Gorgona and

August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914 THE BUILDERS OF THE CANAL AuRust 15, 1939


The Society of the Chagres was organized among employees who had been awarded the famous Roosevelt medal and two bars
indicating six years of continuous service during the construction period. This is a picture taken at one of the Society's famous
picnics, which was held in 1925 on Taboga Island. Only a few of these men are still in service.

Cristobal during the early construction years.
These four clubhouses, built by the Commission
but partially supported by membership fees, were
the forerunners of the present excellent system
of clubhouses, motion picture theaters, gymna-
siums and playgrounds, and soon became popu-
lar gathering places. Others were later added.
Entertainments of a wide variety were provided
and more were added from time to time. Out-
door sports, such as baseball and tennis, soon
became popular among the American residents
and well before the close of the construction
period the pattern of life on the Isthmus assumed
in many respects the appearance of an ordinary
community in the United States. The Club-
houses were co-sponsored jointly by the Y. M. C.
A. and the Canal Commission until 1917 when
the arrangement was discontinued by mutual
consent and the present system of the Bureau of
Clubs and Playgrounds established.
Thus the hardship and privations of the first
few years of construction were gradually amelio-
rated but not until some time after the Canal was
opened to traffic and the permanent towns es-
tablished was the Canal Zone a place in which
one would willingly choose to live. However,
on April 1, 1914, when the permanent organiza-
tion was established, there were many employees
who had already served three, five, eight or ten
years, and many of them remained. The Pana-
ma Canal had become their life's work. It was
their career.
Every effort was made to stabilize the force
and such great progress was made during the

seven years of construction under Colonel
Goethals that when the Canal was completed in
1914, a great majority of the employees con-
sidered their work a lifetime profession and the
transition from a construction force into one for
the operation and maintenance of the Canal was
made without confusion or delay.
Soon after Colonel Goethals was appointed
Chief Engineer he recommended that a special
medal be designed and presented to all American
employees who had been employed for two years
in the work. This idea was approved by Presi-
dent Roosevelt and was received with enthusiasm
among the employees. The medals for two
years of service, with bars for each additional
two years of service, were struck from bronze
recovered from old machinery left on the Isth-
mus by the French. On one face of the medal
was carried the likeness of President Roosevelt
for whom the medals were named, and on the
obverse face the seal of the Canal Zone. The
Roosevelt medals were highly prized by the em-
ployees and many an old-timer, because of them.
resisted an impulse to tell the boss abruptly, "I
quit." According to the record, there were
issued 7,391 Roosevelt medals; 3,883 first bars
(indicating four years of service); 1,865 second
bars (six years); 636 third bars (eight years); and
41 fourth bars (ten years).
Throughout the time Colonel Goethals was in
charge of the work and while he was Governor
of The Panama Canal he gave particular atten-
tion to the welfare and happiness of the employ-
ees. He.provided means for all employees from
Page fifty-three

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

Auul1,11 H AAM AA uut1,13

the highest to the low-
est to voice any com-
plaint which they might
have with the assurance
of having them adjusted
promptly. He himself
listened to thousands of
complaints and no one
could have been more
patient in such matters.
He usually set aside
Sunday mornings for em-
ployees to have a per-
sonal interview with him
if they felt aggrieved
over some subject or
wished him to adjust
even personal differ-
ences, and whether they
came from a group of
American foremen re-
questing better terms of
employment or a com-
mon laborer complaining
of ill treatment by his
boss, all were patiently
heard. When the com-
plaints seemed justified,
they were investigated
and the necessary steps
taken for adjustment. Perhaps no one is more fa
Outstanding among Panama Canal, past and
the oldtimers who came Executive Secretary. He
to the Isthmus in the ear- construction period and
liest days of construction under all seven governors.
and made their way to the top is C. A. McIlvaine,
Executive Secretary. Perhaps no one on the
Isthmus is more intimately familiar with Canal
affairs, both past and present, than Mr. McIl-
vaine. Mr. Mcllvaine, who was first employed
December 28, 1904, is a native of Ohio. He was
first employed as a clerk, and served as clerk or
secretary in the administrations of Chief En-
gineers John F. Wallace and John F. Stevens,
and of Col. George W. Goethals, Chairman and
Chief Engineer of the Isthmian Canal Commis-
sion. When the permanent organization was
formed, he was appointed Executive Secretary
and he has served in that capacity under all
seven Governors of The Panama Canal.
Another "04" man who holds a responsible
position is Robert W. Glaw, Paymaster, who is
a native of East Dubuque, Ill. Mr. Glaw was
first employed as a clerk on October 11, 1904,
just two months before Mr. Mcllvaine joined
the service.
Two of the men who came to the Isthmus dur-
ing 1905 are W. H. Kromer, Comptroller, and
C. M. Lupfer, Chief Clerk. Both were em-
ployed as clerks and both were natives of Penn-
sylvania. Mr. Kromer was born at Bath, Pa.,
and was employed November 25, 1905. Mr.
Page fifty-four

has se

Lupfer was born at
Blaine, Pa., and was em-
ployed August 2, 1905.
I Edward H. Parmelee,
SGeneral Storekeeper, is
a native of Hartford,
Conn., and was em-
ployed as clerk Decem-
ber 18, 1905.
Dr. Troy W. Earhart,
Chief of the Surgical
SClinic of Gorgas Hos-
pital, and J. J. Mc-
SGuigan, District Attor-
Sney of the Canal Zone,
both entered the Canal
service in 1906, as did
Chief of Police Guy
Johannes, and Samuel
Grier, Superintendent of
the Transportation Di-
Svision. Mr. McGuigan's
native home is Wilkes-
Barre, Pa. He was em-
ployed as a clerk January
23, 1906. Dr. Earhart
was born at Mulberry,
Ind., and came to the
Isthmus as an interne
May 19, 1906. Chief
r with the operations of the Johannes, who served
ent, than C. A. Mcllvaine, through the construction
nearly ten years during the days as a policeman, was
served as Executive Secretary employed November 19,
1906. His home is Bal-
timore, Md. Mr. Grier is a native of Ireland. He
was first employed as a machinist on March 3,1906.
The Supply Department of The Panama Canal
is headed by Roy R. Watson, Chief Quarter-
master, and J. H. K. Humphrey, First Assistant
Chief Quartermaster. Both came into the Canal
service within less than a month of each other
early in 1907, and both have watched the mad
scramble for living quarters for more than 32
years. Mr. Watson was born at Mattoon, Ill.,
and was first employed as a clerk for the Isthmian
Canal Commission on March 9, 1907. Mr.
Humphrey is a native of Charles City, Iowa, and
was originally employed as stenographer on
January 20, 1907.
Three other men who hold high positions with
The Panama Canal, who were employed during
1907, are Courtenay T. Lindsay, General Mana-
ger of the Panama Railroad, Frederick DeV. Sill,
Director of Admeasurement, and Crede H.
Calhoun, Chief of the Division of Civil Affairs.
Mr. Lindsay was born in Glendale, S. C., and
was first employed as a stenographer May 28.
Mr. Sill entered the service August 1, 1907, as
rodman. He is a native of Cohoes, N. Y. Mr.
Calhoun was born at Liberty Mills, Ind., and

August 15, 1939


August 15, 1914

August 15, 1914 THE BUILDERS OF THE CANAL AuRust 15, 1939

entered the service as
postal clerk on Septem-
ber 12, 1907.
George W. Green!',
Municipal Engineer, was
born at Muncy, Pa. He
was employed as rod-
man with the Central
Division on January 13,
1909, and has served con-
tinuously in the Munic-
ipal Division since it
was formed. A. Lyle
Prather, now Receiving
and Forwarding Agent,
began work with the
Canal Commission on
July 24, 1909, as drafts-
man. He is a native of
Coffeyville, Kansas.
Four of the men who
served more than three
years during the con-
struction period and who
hold responsible posi-
tions are Frank H. Wang,
General Counsel; Ralph
Z. Kirkpatrick, Civil
Engineer; John G. Clay-
bourn, Superintendent of
the Dredging Division; Robert W. Glaw, Paymaster
and A. C. Garlington, now in service, in point oj
in October 1904, only a f
Electrical Engineer. Mr. begun and has served con
Wang is a native of
Fort Edward, N Y. He entered service Janu-
ary 10, 1910, as a postal clerk, and served many
years as Assistant Chief of the Division of Civil
Affairs. Mr. Kirkpatrick, who is a well known
student of the history of the Isthmus, was also
employed January 10, 1910, as draftsman. He

,is t)
nw m

served many years as
Chief of the Section of
Surveys. He is a native
of Bardolph, Ill. Mr.
Claybourn is a native
of Albert Lea, Minn.
He was employed as
rodman on August 17,
1910. Mr. Garlington
was born at Newberry,
N. C. He was first em-
ployed as operator in the
Electrical Division on
November 26, 1910.
These are only a few
of the men who par-
ticipated in the major
work of the construction
of the Canal. There are
many others who also
hold responsible posi-
tions in the Canal serv-
ice today. All of them
have made the Pana-
ma Canal service their
life's work and today
their interest in its
growth and develop-
ment is as great as when
they arrived on the
he oldest American employee Isthmus more than a
ice. He came to the Isthmus quarter of a century ago.
months after construction was From such men has
ursly since that time. From such men has
been transmitted to the
younger men of the Canal organization of to-
day the esprit de corps which made the construc-
tion of the Canal a success and by means of
which the gateway between the Atlantic and
Pacific oceans was thrown open to world com-



a l. l.

i .

This dilapidated building was used as a police station in
Empire during 1904 but it soon became necessary to provide
a larger and better building.

This modern, concrete structure is now used as a police
station in Gatun. Living quarters are provided in the
building for some of the bachelor officers.
Page fifty-five

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939


The Oldtimers

HERE are more than 300 officers and employees of The Panama Canal and Panama Rail-
road Company who served three or more years during the construction of the Canal from
1904 to 1914, who were in the service of the Canal or Railroad on July 1, 1939. In addition
to these, there are several hundred others still in service who began their work for the Canal
before it was opened on August 15, 1914.
The following list gives the names of those who served from three to ten years during the
construction period and who have served continuously with the Canal or Railroad since that time.

Harry Crawford Adams

Cecil Clare Bailey
Julius F. Bashner
Lewis Beals Bates
Newton Ambrose Becker
Marshal Pierson Benninger
William Edward Benny
Samuel Blackburn Bewley
Charles Alexander Blair
Max Reinhardt Boggs
Charles Benjamin Bordt
Frederick Peter Brugge
Clarence Leon Bryan
Crede Haskins Calhoun
Lawrence Clifton Callaway
Vern Daniel Calloway
Percy Calthirst
Charles George Calvit
James Marcellas Carpprow
Byron Thomas Carr
Ralph Arlington Cauthers
John Geronold Claybourn
Joseph Wilbur Coffin
John Owen Collins
Rolla Allen Compton
Charles F. Conkerton
Charles Patrick Conlan
Varney Thomas Cornwell
Ernest Charles Cotton
Karl Phillip Curtis

John Milton Davis
Laurel Henry DeVore
Harry Charles Dion
Theodore M. Drake
George Alexander Dryden
Walter Carleton Dugan
Oscar D. Dunn

Troy W. Earhart
Thomas J. Ebdon
John Frederick Everett
Ora Moore Ewing
Mark Dee Farr
John Lindsay Ferguson

Arthur Leopold Fessler
Frank Fitzpatrick
Edward Ellsworth Fluharty
Albin Bertel Forsstrom
Stephen Eugene Foster
Archie Wright French
Florita Dolores Frost

A. C. Garlington
Harry F. Gannon
Leon Warren Giavelli
Robert William Glaw *
Olen Ernest Granberry
George Wanton Green
Samuel Grier
Thomas James Gross
Frederick Grunewald

Ezra Peter Haldeman
Robert Spencer Hammond
Thomas William Harrison
Lewis Frederick Hauss
James Patrick Heenan
Lawrence West Hennen
Homer Luke Higley
Cooper Hollowell
Albert Martin Horle
Morris Byrd Hostetter
Henry Herbert Hudson
Mercer Blanchard Huff
William George Hull
James H. K. Humphrey
Claude Johnson Huson

Paul Gustav Illwitzer

James Everett Jacob
Guy Johannes
James J. Johnson
George Akin Jones
William Absalom Jones
Patrick Robert Joyce

Raymond Frederick Keene
George Augustus Kelly
Robert Guy Kilcorse

John Merson King
Leon Andrew Koperski
Wilson Henry Kromer

Courtenay Tew Lindsay
George Cleveland Lucas
Robert Harry Luce
C. M. Lupfer
Arthur Taylor Luther

Peter Leo Malone
Cary Benjamin Marshall
Roy Garnett Mason
Benjamin D. McConaghy
Harvey A. McConaughey
Alexander McGeachey
Joseph J. McGuigan
Cloyd Almont Mcllvaine*
Alfred Henry Mohr
John Anton Morales
Denis Edward Mullane
John Joseph Murray

Edward Thomas Nolan
George Marion Nolte

Elmer Ferdinand Ohlson
Joseph Harvey Orr

Sada Alice Page
Charles John Parker
Nereus English Parker
Edward Hosmer Parmelee
Claude Peters
Maurenus Peterson
John Franklin Phillips
Frank Leidy Piper
William Patrick Pittman
Alvin Lyle Prather

Edward Sydney Randolph
John Edwin Rathgaber
Frank Voorhis Raymond
Pee Wee Reese
Burton Riebe
Aloysius Peter Ridge

Stacey Clifton Russell
Francis Lucien Sala
Bruce Gordon Sanders
Frederick DeVeber Sill
James H. Smith
Milton Alvin Smith
Randolph Earl Snediker
Edward Spearman
Foster Henry Speir
Frederick Detlef Sprecken
Thomas Owen Staples
Sherlock Bristol Stevens
William Arnott Stevenson
Joseph Henry Stilson, Jr.
John Clifford Stone
William Henry Stone
Theodore Sundquist
Joe Mark Swain

Lewis Arthur Taber
Richard Granville Taylor
William David Taylor
August Thomas
Charles Edward Thomas
Hugh Manson Thomas
Lawrence Albert Toll
Lewis Townsley

James Thomas Wallace
Frank H. Wang
John Abram Ward
William Henry Ward
Frank Washabaugh
Roy Russell Watson
Edwin Latimer Weber
Edward Francis Welch
Henry John Wempe
Fred Leonard Wertz
Fred Giles Whaler
Dennis Prien White
K. M. Wikingstad
James Randolph Williams
John Reynolds Wilmcr
William Henry Witmer, Jr.
Armand Coombs Wood

* Continuously in service since 1904.

Page fifty-six

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

The Operating Organization
The basic principles upon which the Canal
enterprise is operated have proved well
founded in the 25 years of successful operation

THE Panama Canal was built to expedite
the movement of ships and cargo between
the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and all
the diverse activities of the many departments
and divisions of The Panama Canal and of the
Panama Railroad Company, which is operated

I .



as an adjunct of the Canal, are performed with
this object in view.
The various units of the Canal organization
are closely interrelated, and every effort is made
to effect the close coordination of their operation
and activities. The magnitude of the task of

. i


Governor Clarence S. Ridley and his staff. This picture was taken on the steps of the Administration Building at Balboa Heights
on April 22, 1939. Front row, left to right: C. A. Mcllvaine, Executive Secretary; Colonel Glen E. Edgerton, Engineer of
Maintenance; Brigadier General Clarence S. Ridley, Governor; Colonel H. C. Pillsbury, Chief Health Officer.
Second row, left to right: Captain E. R. Norton, Superintendent of the Mechanical Division; Captain Thomas A. Symington,
Marine Superintendent;Lt. Colonel W. D. Styer, Assistant Engineer of Maintenance; Roy R. Watson, Chief Quartermaster.
Back row, left to right: F. H. Wang, General Counsel; A. L. Prather, acting General Manager of the Panama Railroad; John
G. Claybourn, Superintendent of the Dredging Division; W. H. Kromer, Comptroller; E. A. Erbe, Administrative Assistant.
Page fifty-seven


" "1-

Zf It

August 15, 1914THE PANAMA CANAL August 15, 1939

directing and coordinating such an organization
can be readily appreciated when it is remembered
that the Canal Zone comprises an area of 552
square miles and that within that area are some
14,000 employees engaged in various tasks
directly or indirectly connected with the opera-
tion of the Canal and the government of the
Canal Zone, in addition to the military and naval
personnel, aggregating about 15,000, engaged in
the defense of the Canal.
In 1912, Congress, anticipating the early com-
pletion of the Panama Canal, authorized the

being as a separate and independent agency of
the United States Government on April 1, 1914,
at which time it superseded the construction
The administration of the Canal enterprise
involves three major functions which fall
naturally into the following classifications:
1. The operation and maintenance of the
Canal proper which involves primarily the actual
passage of ships through the Canal, the mainte-
nance of the waterway, and the operation and
maintenance of the locks.

The Administration Building at Balboa Heights was completed in 1914, the year the Canal was opened. It is located on Ancon
Hill, overlooking the town of Balboa and the Pacific entrance to the Canal. The principal offices of most of the Departments
and Divisions of The Panama Canal and Panama Railroad Company are in the Administration Building.

President to discontinue the Isthmian Canal
Commission and the construction organization
when in his judgment the construction of the
Canal should be sufficiently advanced toward
completion. At the same time the President was
authorized to maintain and operate the Panama
Canal and to govern the Canal Zone through a
Governor of The Panama Canal and such other
persons as he might deem competent to discharge
the various duties connected with the care,
maintenance, sanitation, operation, government,
and protection of the Canal and Canal Zone.
President Wilson, acting under the authority
vested in him by Congress, issued an Executive
Order in January 1914, to establish a permanent
organization for the operation of the Panama
Canal. This organization, which has come to be
known as "The Panama Canal," came into

2. The governmental functions, including
police and fire protection, post offices, schools,
customs, quarantine, public health, immigration,
vessel inspection, water supply, sewers, construc-
tion and maintenance of streets and highways,
and many other similar activities which in the
United States are performed by various national,
state, county, and municipal agencies.
3. The operation of auxiliary business enter-
prises for shipping and for Canal personnel.
These enterprises cover a wide field and include
the operation of fuel oil and coaling plants, store-
houses for foodstuffs, ship chandlery and other
essential supplies, marine and railroad repair
shops, terminal facilities for transshipment of
cargo and passengers, a railroad line across the
Isthmus, a steamship line between New York
and the Canal Zone, and a system of commis-

Page fifty-eight


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914

August 15, 1914 THE OPERATING ORGANIZATION August 15, 1939

series. Also included is the construction, main-
tenance and rental of quarters for employees of
the Government on the Canal Zone.
It was necessary, in creating an administrative
organization, to provide for the efficient perform-
ance of these three major functions and the
many duties incident thereto. The far-sighted
wisdom with which this was accomplished is
attested by the fact that no fundamental change
in the organization has been necessary in a
period of twenty-five years.
The organization for the administration of the
Canal enterprise includes six major departments.
They are the Executive Department, the Depart-
ment of Operation and Maintenance, the Ac-
counting Department, the Health Department,
the Supply Department, and the Purchasing
Department. In addition to these departments,
there is the Panama Railroad Company, a cor-
poration wholly owned by the United States but
existing as a separate and distinct entity. This
separate corporate existence of the Panama Rail-
road Company, involving as it does some differ-
ences in management, lends itself readily to the
exercise of some of the more definitely commer-
cial functions necessary to the smooth and effi-
cient operation of the Canal, particularly the
conduct of the necessary auxiliary business
Each of the six major departments is under
the direction of the Governor, who is responsible
to the President of the United States and subject
to the supervision of the Secretary of War. In
order to achieve consistency of policy and effi-
ciency of operation, the Governor is also made
the President of the Panama Railroad Company.
The Executive Department, under the direc-
tion of the Executive Secretary, is charged
with the supervision, under the direction of the
Governor, of all matters relating to post offices,
customs, police and fire protection, schools,
libraries, clubs and playgrounds, custody of
files and records, personnel administration, and
the administration of the estates of deceased and
insane employees. These multiple duties are
assigned to various divisions and bureaus within
the Executive Department according to the
nature of the work.
There are a number of agencies in the organ-
ization which perform specialized functions.
Among these are the Collector, Paymaster, Gen-
eral Counsel, and Real Estate Section. The
names of the first three of these agencies are
descriptive of their functions. The fourth, the
Real Estate Section, handles all real estate oper-
ations of the Panama Railroad on the Isthmus,
including any real estate operations carried on
for The Panama Canal.
The Department of Operation and Mainte-
nance is under the immediate supervision and
direction of the Governor, assisted by the Engi-

neer of Maintenance. As its name implies, it is
charged with the operation and maintenance of
the Canal. The department is made up of the
Marine, Mechanical, Dredging, Electrical, Munic-
ipal Engineering, and Locks Divisions and the
Section of Office Engineer, Section of Surveys,
and the Plans Section. The functions of these
divisions include all matters relating to traffic,
the operation and maintenance of aids to
navigation in the Canal and adjacent waters,
the supervision of ports and waterways, the
employment, training, and supervision of
pilots, the admeasurement of vessels for the
purpose of determining tolls, the inspection
of vessels, the operation of shops, drydocks
and wharves, and dredging in the harbors and
other waters of the Canal. The planning and
designing of buildings, the construction of drain-
age ditches, streets, roads and bridges and the
installation and operation of power plants and
distribution systems also falls to this department.
The Plans Section, which reports to the Engineer
of Maintenance, is charged with the study and
investigation of financial, physical and operating
features of all divisions of The Panama Canal
and Panama Railroad Company.
The task of keeping the accounts of all
the many activities of The Panama Canal
and the Panama Railroad Company on the
Isthmus falls to the lot of the Accounting Depart-
ment. The head of that department is the
Comptroller who serves as auditor, budget
officer, and financial advisor to the Governor.
Matters relating to sanitation and quarantine
and all matters relating to the operation of
hospitals and dispensaries in the Canal Zone are
in charge of the Health Department, of which
the Chief Health Officer is the head. The super-
vision of immigration is also the responsibility
of this department.
Some of the auxiliary business enterprises
necessarily carried on in the Canal Zone are
operated by The Panama Canal and others by
the Panama Railroad Company. However, the
supply and personal service enterprises, whether
Canal or Railroad functions, are under the
control of the Supply Department. This depart-
ment is under the supervision and direction of
the Chief Quartermaster who acts in this capac-
ity for both The Panama Canal and the Railroad
Company. Through its several divisions, it
orders, stores and distributes the material and
supplies for use of The Panama Canal, the Pan-
ama Railroad and their employees, for other
Government departments on the Isthmus and
their employees, and for the supplying of vessels
transiting the Canal. It operates hotels, a
printing plant, a huge dairy, and commissaries
which supply the employees living in the various
Canal Zone communities with those items which
they would ordinarily purchase in numerous
Page fifty-nine

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

Auut 5 91 HEPNMACNA uus 5,13

different types of stores
and shops in a normal
community in the United
States. The mainte-
nance and construction
of buildings, the assign-
ment of quarters, and
the care of grounds, and .
the provision of motor
transportation for the
entire organization are
also handled by this
Most of the auxiliary
business units were
originally established -
during the construction J ,
of the Canal. It may be - -- -
difficult for a person not
familiar with the prob- The Administration Buildin
lems of operating the the administrative and ex
SCanal on the Atlantic side
Canal to visualize the tration Building is the Cri
fact that the baking of a
loaf of bread or the sale of a package of needles
may have some relation to the movement of
ships between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
The Canal Zone is a community in virtual isola-
tion from the United States and is 2,000 miles
from the main base of supply. There is a vital
necessity, therefore, for the Canal enterprise to
conduct many activities in the Canal Zone
which in the United States would be provided
by private enterprise.
The same conditions that apply in furnishing
supplies needed by the Canal employees also
prevail in furnishing of provisions and facilities
for the repair and supply of ships. Most vessels
which use the Canal are many thousands of
miles from their home ports or from any port
offering adequate facilities for ship repairs and
supplies, and provisions had to be made by the
Canal to supply these needs of shipping. The
terminal facilities provided for vessels in Canal
waters are among the best to be found anywhere.
One of the largest drydocks in the world is
located at Balboa and a smaller one at Cristobal.
In conjunction with these, large shops located
adjacent to the drydocks are equipped to pro-
vide all types of ship repairs. The largest of
these shops is located at Balboa. The industrial
area of the Mechanical Division on the Pacific
side covers about 25 acres of ground, of which
15 acres are under roof. However, the marine
repair work represents only a small proportion
of the work done by the Mechanical Division,
as it is charged with the repair and upkeep of the

g in
. A

large amount of machin-
ery used by The Panama
Canal and the rolling
stock of the Panama Rail-
road Company. This
work comprises i ore
than three-fourths of the
work done by the Me-
chanical Division, a unit
of the Department of
Operation and M/lainte.
The need for frequent
and speedy contact be-
tween The Panama
__ Canal organization on
the Isthmus and many
of the Governmental de-
partments in Washing-
Cristobal provides space for ton is obvious. To facil-
ve offices of The Panama itate such contacts the
lso located in the Adminis-
l post ofice. Washington Office of

vaThe Panama Canal is
maintained. That office has many duties, one
of the most important being its function as liai-
son agency.
The Washington Office is also headquarters for
the Purchasing Department and the Chief of the
Washington Office is the General Purchasing
Close cooperation is maintained between the
various units of the Canal enterprise, the United
States Army and Navy forces on the Canal Zone,
and the officials of the Government of the
Republic of Panama. Some of the work on the
Canal Zone has a direct relation to similar work
in the neighboring cities of Panama and Colon.
An outstanding example of this interrelation of
work is that done by the Municipal Division and
Health Department. The Health Department
has immediate supervision over the sanitation
and health regulations in the Canal Zone, as
well as in the cities of Panama and Colon. The
Municipal Division furnishes the water supply
to all the communities on the Canal Zone, both
civilian and military, and to the cities of Pan-
ama and Colon. The furnishing of a supply of
pure water and maintenance of an adequate
sewer system were important factors in the
sanitation of the Isthmus during the construction
days and were as important to the improvement
of the general health conditions as to the elimi-
nation of yellow fever and the control of malaria.
The maintenance and extension of this impor-
tant municipal work has the same importance

Page sixty


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914

Home and Community Life

The Americans on the Canal Zone have
established typical American standards of

living and recreation in a tropical setting

4 ;;.rT;

Communities of the Canal Zone join enthusiastically in Independence Day celebrations. A joint celebration was held in 1939
and this shows the crowd at the Balboa Stadium watching some of the field and track events of the day. Even the most strenuous
athletics are indulged by young Americans on the Zone.

COMMUNITY and home life on the Canal
Zone does not differ widely from that of
the average town or city in the United
States, and when the government employee
leaves his work he frequently pursues the same
pet hobby or avocation which he might follow
in a normal community anywhere.
Interest is keen in all civic affairs and any
movement for the advancement of community
welfare or civic improvement always finds ready
support. Social and recreational activities follow
much the same pattern as in any community
from Maine to California. Church, club and
fraternal work, charities, and the work of patri-
otic organizations all form an integral part of
Canal Zone life. Those who wish to pursue their
studies in art, music, archaeology, geology,
astronomy, or other similar subjects may do so
in a group or individually.
Outdoor sports attract many devotees because

nature has provided romantic and ideal settings
on the Isthmus of Panama. The great variety
of outdoor sports includes such a wide range as
hunting, fishing, boating, swimming, horseback
riding, automobile tours, baseball, golf, tennis
and a multitude of supervised games and sports
for children and adults on the public playgrounds
which are provided by The Panama Canal.
The administration of The Panama Canal has
always fostered the development of various com-
munity interests. Convenient sites are made
available for churches, lodge halls and clubs.
There are clubhouses and playgrounds in all of
the larger Canal Zone communities for all
employees which are operated and managed
by the Bureau of Clubs and Playgrounds. The
Panama Canal Library, with the main branch
at Balboa Heights, and branches elsewhere.
provides reading material comparable to that
found in cities with populations many times
Page sixty-one

August 15,1914THE PANAMA CANAL August 15, 1939

larger than that of the Canal Zone. There
are five civic councils in the larger Canal Zone
communities of Balboa-Ancon, Pedro Miguel,
Gamboa, Gatun and Cristobal. The civic councils
were formed several years ago with members
elected by the popular vote of the American em-
ployees. The civic councils hold regular meetings
and discuss and investigate various civic problems
and improvements of community interest.

truly American community of an area not many
degrees from the equator. Thanksgiving and
Christmas turkeys are carved with the same
enthusiasm when the thermometer reads 90
degrees as they are in the North with a blizzard
raging outdoors. Santa Claus may not come to
the tropics with his sleigh and reindeer but
glistening-eyed youngsters look forward to his
visit as much as their cousins to the North.

Patriotism is a keynote in the isolated American community of the Canal Zone. This is a view of the flag-raising ceremony of
the Independence Day celebration in 1939. Participants in the ceremony included military and naval units on the Canal
Zone and Boy and Girl Scouts.

The furtherance of these civic interests and
the provision of adequate facilities for recreation
and sport is important in the tropical climate.
These were among the many problems which
were considered when the construction of the
Canal was begun, and it has often been said that
the old-fashioned community celebrations of
Independence Day on the Canal Zone and the
game of baseball were important contributions
to the building of the Canal. Americans from
practically every State in the Union are to be
found in the Canal Zone and they have made a
Page sixty-two

The centers for much of the recreation on the
Canal Zone are the clubhouses and public play-
grounds. All of the clubhouses have large read-
ing rooms with comfortable chairs for lounging.
All are equipped with facilities for billiards, pool,
card games, and most of them have bowling
alleys. Restaurants are operated in all of the
clubhouses where the employee and his family
may get a full meal or an ice-cream soda.
All of the nationally-known magazines and
newspapers from many cities of the United
States are on sale. Also on sale are tobaccos,

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914 HOME AND COMMUNITY LIFE August 15, 1939



The principal centers of community life in the various communities are the clubhouses. This is a view of the Ancon Clubhouse.
Clubhouses were established during the early construction days and were then sponsored jointly by the Isthmian Canal Com-
mission and the Y. M. C. A. They are now operated by The Panama Canal.

cigarettes, candies, and such an odd assortment
of knick-knacks as picture postcards, photo-
graphic supplies and many other articles. The
motion picture theaters are operated in conjunc-
tion with the clubhouses and the latest Holly-
wood productions are shown within a few weeks
after they have had their New York premieres.
The movie theaters are open on all sides to pro-
vide the maximum ventilation and coolness.
Swimming is a sport enjoyed by old and young
on the Canal Zone. The sandy beaches in and
near the Canal Zone are always crowded on
sunny afternoons and holidays. The clubhouse
swimming pools are popular all day long the year
round with men, women and children. Members
of the Red, White and Blue Troupe, who are
trained by the instructor of the Bureau of Clubs
and Playgrounds, have won world-wide fame, and
many of them have gained fame on college and
university swimming teams in the States and on
the United States Olympic teams. The Red,
White and Blue Troupe of swimmers has given
its interesting aquatic exhibitions to many a
famed visitor to the Canal Zone.
The playgrounds in all of the larger commun-
ities provide supervised play for children and
recreation of all kinds for adults, and all of it
is continued throughout the entire twelve months
of the year. On the playgrounds are provided
space and equipment for gymnastics, baseball
games for boys and men, soft ball, tennis and

other games. In the well-equipped gymnasiums
are basket ball, hand ball and volley ball courts;
kindergarten rooms; and qualified instructors are
in attendance throughout the day to supervise
games for children from pre-school ages to
junior college students, and gymnasium classes
for both adults and juniors.
The more important structures and areas
maintained for activities of purely recreational
purposes and physical education include 9 gym-
nasiums and playsheds; 11 baseball and 16 soft
ball diamonds; 5 cricket fields; 3 modern swim-
ming pools; 17 tennis courts; 2 ocean beaches;
various small play areas for children; and an
astronomical observatory at Miraflores which
serves students of Canal Zone schools as well as
other members of the community interested in
astronomy. The observatory is a unit of the
Bureau of Clubs and Playgrounds, but its oper-
ation is under the direction of the Canal Zone
Astronomical Society, one of many similar groups
formed on the Canal Zone to pursue some special
These are some of the activities relating to the
general welfare of employees which the adminis-
tration of The Panama Canal directs or which
it actively encourages. In addition to these
there are many others which are conducted by
individuals or private groups, and all of these
have the cooperation of the Canal administration.

Page sixty-three

August 15, 1914

August 15, 1939


August 15, 1914 THE PANAMA CANAL August 15, 1939

There are several churches of various denomi-
nations on the Canal Zone and this work is
supported by the individual members, although
the sites for the buildings are rent-free on the
Canal Zone. Most of the national and inter-
national fraternal organizations have chapters or
lodges on the Canal Zone and these carry forward
the same beneficent and fraternal work as that
of the parent organizations.
An outstanding example of the organized
charity is that of the Canal Zone chapter of the
American Red Cross. Practically all of the
charity work done by
the Canal Zone chapter -
is among the poor and
needy residing in the
Republic of Panama,
and the Canal Zone ,
chapter works in cooper- '
ation with a branch of
the Red Cross in Panama.
An annual membership
drive is held which meets
with a ready response
from both American and
native employees. There
are several other organi-
zations on the Canal
Zone which also do much
charitable work of var-
ious kinds.
Boy Scout and Girl
Scout work on the Canal
Zone is done under the
supervision of trained
men and women, and all
branches of Scout work
conducted. There are
nearly 50 groups of Boy
and Girl Scouts with ap-
proximately 750 mem-
There are a number of Mrs. C. S. Ridley, wife of th
patriotic and veterans' receiving a bouquet of fl
organizations on the Schloming after the recent
Canal Zone. The Ameri- training ship in Balboa.
can Legion has three large posts, the membership
being made up of personnel of The Panama
Canal, various military units on the Canal Zone,
and civilian residents in the Republic of Panama.
Among other patriotic and veterans' organiza-
tions which actively participate in the community
life on the Isthmus are the American Legion
Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars, United
Spanish War Veterans, Daughters of the Ameri-
can Revolution, and others. All of these serve
to keep alive the American traditions in the little
community separated by more than 2,000 miles
from their homeland.
Nature has abundantly provided for the
recreation of the residents of the Canal Zone.


Fishing is one of the most popular sports on
the Isthmus of Panama and the blue waters of
the Caribbean and Panama Bay are famous
throughout the world for the variety and abun-
dance of fish. On the Atlantic side and even
under the backdrop of Gatun Spillway itself are
found the sporty tarpon. Most famous among
the game fish in Panama Bay are marlin and
sailfish, although there is a great abundance of
smaller species, such as corbina, red snapper,
amber jack, mackerel, and numerous other
varieties. Several books have been written on
the fishing in Panama
waters and there is never
a year in which several
luxurious yachts do not
visit Panama for a few
days or weeks of fishing
in the Pacific around
S Panama and Pearl Is-
fr Clands. There are large
I. tnum ber of small fishing
boats which are owned
by employees of the
SCanal Zone or their
friends in Panama City
and at every week-end
throughout the year the
little fleet puts out to sea
for the thrill of angling
for the elusive black
marlin, the sailfish or
other specimens of deep-
sea variety.
The mountains and
tropical forests of Pan-
ama are a hunter's par-
adise. Both in the air
and on the land game
is plentiful. During the
winter season, duck
hunting is popular, for
ernor of The Panama Canal, the marshes in the low-
s from Commodore HI. M. lands provide perfect
Ication of the Sea Scouts land refuge for thousands of
migratory ducks from
the United States, including teal, pintails, and
others, in addition to several native varieties of
duck. In the mountains are many wild turkeys
which are hunted during the four-month dry
season, and along the open savannas are multi-
tudes of doves, wild pigeon, partridges, jack
snipe and other game.
Wild game animals in the forest in and near
the Canal Zone include such a wide variety as
deer, mountain lion, wild boar, peccary, conejo
and others. There are several hunting clubs
which maintain their own kennels and import
hunting dogs from the States, who soon take to
the ways of jungle hunting with a vim. Deer
hunting is the most popular sport, but the

Page sixty-four


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914

August 15, 1914 HOME AND COMMUNITY LIFE August 15, 1939

sportsman who wishes
to go farther afield soon
finds an abundance of
other wild game.
Most persons unfa-
miliar with the tropics
picture the residents al-
ternately toiling in a
steaming heat and sip-
ping cool drinks. How-
ever, the restless Ameri-
cans who first came to
the Isthmus of Panama
soon found that they
could indulge in spirited
sports in the tropics
without harm, and even Perfect form in diving is
the most strenuous famous Red, White and
sports have their enthu- sport enjoyed the year arc
siastic followers.
Aside from the many playgrounds and recre-
ation places provided by The Panama Canal for
the employees and their families, there are many
other places for games and sports, which are
supported by the personnel. There is no lack of
golf on the Isthmus. The most famous course on


the Canal Zone is that at
Gatun where an 18-hole
course is built along the
top and on the slopes of
the huge Gatun Dam.
There is another course
at Miraflores, beside the
Miraflores Locks, where
the golfer may watch
the mighty ocean liners
pass through the Canal
locks between wood and
chip shots over the
difficult course. Another
course is located at Fort
Amador, a United States
ited by this member of the Military Reservation at
Troupe. Swimming is a the Pacific entrance to
on the Canal Zone. the Canal, and a fourth
course on the Canal
Zone is on the military reservation at Fort Davis
on the Atlantic side of the Isthmus.
One of the most popular spots on the Isthmus
is the Panama Golf Club with its 18-hole course
just outside the city limits of Panama City. Its
membership is made up of residents of the Canal

Golf is one of the leading outdoor sports on the Isthmus. It is played throughout the year. This is a view of the rolling Panama
Golf Club course overlooking No. 10 tee. The clubhouse is located on a high hill overlooking Panama Bay. The club mem-
bership is composed of Panamanians and Americans and it provides one of the many points for social contact between the
two peoples.
Page sixty-five

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

Villages to the cool, blue mountains of the Sierra
ridge or to the wide, sandy beaches along the
Pacific are crowded on Sundays and holidays
throughout the year. Many of the Panama
Canal employees own homes in the interior and
spend much of their spare time there.
Home life on the Canal Zone is much the same
i .as that in the States. Social gatherings are fre-
Siquent and bridge and other card games are
popular. Most homes have radios, for the geo-
graphical isolation of the Isthmus operates to
disadvantage in denying the opportunity to see
and hear concerts, lectures, plays and similar
types of recreational and educational activities.
S, The radio offers a partial compensation for the
lack of these activities, and musical and educa-
tional programs from the States, England and
European cities are brought to the homes by
this method.
Youngsters are given early training. These boys and girls
are future stars of the Red, White and Blue Troupe and
perhaps future Olympic or university stars.

Zone and Panama. The golf course is one of the
finest in Latin America. The fine modern club- .
house is a social center and a meeting place for
residents of both sides of the line which divides
the Canal Zone from the Republic of Panama. X
There are two social clubs in the Republic of -
Panama whose membership is divided among
the American residents of the Isthmus and
Panamanians. They are the Union Club of Pan-
ama City, and the Strangers Club in Colon.
These also are popular meeting places for Pan-
amanians and Americans and provide for social
contacts among the two peoples.
Automobile tours have become increasingly A record sailfish catch for one day was made by this trio of
popular on the Isthmus and the roads to the sportsmen in Panama Bay, one of the finest fishing spots
interior of Panama, through picturesque native P in the world. The total catch weighed 813 pounds.

Page sixty-six

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

The Canal and World Trade

The opening of the Panama Canal had a
vitalizing effect on commerce and trade between
the nations of the American continents

THE IDEA first contemplated four centu-
ries ago of constructing a canal to join the
two great oceans was inspired by the desire
to move commodities from the Atlantic to the
Paci'ic with greater speed and facility. Four
hundred years ago important items of trade
included pungent spices from the East Indies,
worth almost their weight in gold, lustrous silks
from China, gold and silver from the rich Mexican
and Peruvian mines, and cochineal from Mexico
and Central America to dye the royal robes of
Although cargoes of these precious materials
have been shipped through the Panama Canal
during the last 25 yeats, they have formed an
insignificant part of the more than one-half billion

tons of cargo that has been moved through the
Canal since it was opened to sea-borne traffic.
They are relatively unimportant items in today's
world trade, and more prosaic articles, such as
oil, lumber, cotton, wheat, canned goods, fresh
and dried fruits, nitrates, iron ore, automobiles,
and manufactured articles of a wide variety,
many of which were unknown to the arrogant
courts of Europe during the sixteenth century or
of no interest to them, now make up the bulk
of the millions of tons of cargo transported
through the Canal annually by the commercial
fleets of the world.
The primary function of the Panama Canal is
to facilitate the movement of commodities

The 5,000-ton cargo vessel Steel Exporter made the 100,00th transit of the Panama Canal by a commercial vessel of more than 300
net tons on October 10, 1938. The Steel Exporter, here shown entering Pedro Miguel Locks, is a ship of American registry. It
was bound from west coast ports to Europe with a general cargo of dried fruit and canned goods. Cargo ships make up the
bulk of Canal traffic. Page sixty-seven
Page sixty-seven

August 15, 1914TH E PANAMA CANAL Aug~~st 15, 1939

between the oceans and the manifold activities
of the Canal enterprises are all fashioned and
operated with that end in view.
It is only natural that the Panama Canal has
had a great influence on world commerce. New
trade routes have developed, and many countries
which were isolated trade areas before its opening
have been brought within the radius of great
world markets. Ships have been saved thousands
of miles in distances, and the consequent econ-
omy in the movement of commodities proved
a great stimulus in the development of agricul-
ture, manufacturing and mining in many new
areas. In turn, the development of such areas into
thriving, prosperous communities as well as the
fluctuations in world commerce have an im-
portant effect on the volume of shipping through
the Canal.
It would require a book-length report to
describe in detail the effect the Panama Canal
has had on world commerce. It is only possible
in a brief article to point out some of the out-
standing movements of cargo and to describe
some of the fluctuations in cargo movement be-
cause of changing economic conditions.
Up to July 1, 1939, 104,417 ocean-going vessels
had transited the Canal from one ocean to the
other. On these were transported 498,790,675
tons of cargo. In addition 8,199 commercial
vessels of less than 300 tons net have transited,
carrying cargo which aggregated 286,525 tons
over the 25-year period, making a grand total
of 499,077,200 tons of cargo moved through
the Canal since it was opened. The half-billion

ton mark was exceeded during the month of July,
about one month before the twenty-fifth anniver-
sary of the opening of the Canal on August 15.
Although the great majority of these vessels and
the major proportion of this cargo was in move-
ment over well defined trade routes between the
larger ports of the world, hundreds of ships have
transited with cargo for the farthest outposts of
civilization and to wayports of world trade. This
enormous traffic is composed of vessels of practi-
cally all nationalities and the half-billion tons of
cargo was composed of practically every item
used by mankind, including the exotic luxuries
as well as all the common necessaries of life.
Unsettled economic conditions during and for
a few years after the close of the World War
disrupted trade routes, and traffic through the
Canal did not reach a normal level until nearly
ten years after the Isthmian waterway was
opened. It was not until 1920, six years after
the opening of the Canal, that the number of
transits exceeded 2,000 and not until 1921 that
the amount of cargo exceeded 10,000,000 tons in
any one year. However, from that time until the
full effect of the world-wide depression was felt
in shipping, there was a gradual increase in the
flow of traffic and the movement of commodities.
The peak was reached in the fiscal year 1929 when
6,289 vessels transited the Canal and more than
30,000,000 tons of cargo were transported, which
nearly equalled the total number of vessels and
total amount of cargo which moved through the
Canal during the first five years following its
opening in 1914.

Traffic statistics covering ocean-going vessels for each fiscal year since the Canal was opened to navigation:

Fiscal year ended June 30- trnsts Pnaet n anagel Tolls Tons of cargo

1915 ----------------------------------------- 1,058 3,507,000 $4,366,747.13 4,888,400
1916' ----------- -----..-- 724 2,212,000 2,403,089.40 3,093,335
1917 ------------------ 1,738 5,357,000 5,620,799.83 7,054,720
1918 -------- ------- --------------- ---- 1,989 6,072,000 6,428,780.26 7,525,768
1919 -------------------- 1,948 5,658,000 6,164,290.79 6,910,097
1920--- ------------------.-------.. -----..-- 2,393 7,898,000 8,507,938.68 9,372,374
1921------------------------------------------- ---- 2,791 10,550,000 11,268,681.46 11,595,971
1922 ---------------------------------.------. 2,665 10,556,000 11,191,828.56 10,882,607
1923 -------------------------------------- --- 3,908 17,206,000 17,504,027.19 19,566,429
1924 -------------------------------- 5,158 24,181,000 24,284,659.92 26,993,167
1925- ------------------------------------ --- 4,592 21,134,000 21,393,718.01 23,956,549
1926 ------------------- 5,087 22,906,000 22,919,931.89 26,030,016
1927------------------------------------------ 5,293 24,245,000 24,212,250.61 27,733,555
1928----------------------------------------- 6,253 27,229,000 26,922,200.75 29,615,651
1929 -- ---------------... 6,289 27,585,000 27,111,125.47 30,647,768
1930 -------------------------.--- 6,027 27,716,000 27,059,998.94 30,018,429
1931-------------------------------------------- 5,370 25,690,000 24,624,599.76 25,065,283
1932 ..--- ----------------------..... ..- 4,362 21,842,000 20,694,704.61 19,798,986
1933 -------------------------.... .. 4,162 21,094,000 19,601,077.17 18,161,165
1934--------------------------------------- 5,234 26,410,000 24,047,183.44 24,704,009
1935 -----------------------...._--_--_-- 5,180 25,720,000 23,307,062.93 25,309,527
1936 ---... .----------._. ------------ .. 5,382 25,923,000 23,479,114.21 26,505,943
1937- --.......- -- -_ 5,387 25,430,000 23,102,137.12 28,108,375
1938 --_ ------------------------... __.. 5,524 25,950,383 23,169,888.70 27,385,924
1939---------------------- -------------------. 5,903 27,170,007 23,661,021.08 27,866,627
Total ___--------.. __-------_----- _--- 104,417 469,241,390 453,046,857.91 498,790,675
I Canal opened to traffic August 15. 1914. 2 Canal closed to traffic approximately seven months of fiscal year because of slides. 3 Comparable
Panama Canal net tonnage prior to 1939 is estimated, being based on revised measurement rules which became effective March 1, 1938 (tonnage
figures are now approximately 92.5 percent of the tonnage under measurement rules in effect before that date.)
Page sixty-eight


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

All but a small percentage of the traffic through the Panama Canal is moved over ten main trade routes. The following
table gives the amount of cargo which was moved through the Canal over these routes during the fiscal year 1939:

United States Intercoastal:
Atlantic to Pacific ---------
Pacific to Atlantic -----------

Total _-------- ----
United States and Far East (excluding
Atlantic to Pacific ---------
Pacific to Atlantic ----------

Total_ _-------------
Europe and West Coast of United States:
Atlantic to Pacific -----------
Pacific to Atlantic ------------

Total -------------
Europe and West Coast of Canada:
Atlantic to Pacific ---------
Pacific to Atlantic -----------

East Coast United States and West Coast
of South America:
Atlantic to Pacific_----------
Pacific to Atlantic_------------

Total ------------------------
Europe and South America:
Atlantic to Pacific_-----------
Pacific to Atlantic_-----------


Tons of cargo












Tons of cargo

Europe and Australasia:
Atlantic to Pacific------------------ 542,770
Pacific to Atlantic-_---------------- 759,794

Total ------------------------ 1,302,564
United States and Australasia:
Atlantic to Pacific---------- 378,468
Pacific to Atlantic------------------ 86,999

Total------------------- 465,467
United States and Hawaiian Islands:
Atlantic to Pacific--_ --------- 137,880
Pacific to Atlantic_---------- 361,857

Total------------------------ 499,737
United States and Philippine Islands:
Atlantic to Pacific----------------- 277,399
Pacific to Atlantic--------------- 918,937

Total ------------------------ 1,196,336
Miscellaneous Routes and Sailings:
Atlantic to Pacific ------------------ 1,664,800
Pacific to Atlantic--------- 2,135,855

Total ------------------------- 3,800,655
Total traffic, all routes:
Atlantic to Pacific --------- 9,011,267
Pacific to Atlantic ------------------ 18,855,360

Total ------------------------. 27,866,627

Page sixty-nine

2897 238

August 15, 1914 THE PANAMA CANAL A UgUst 15, 1939

Of the main routes the most important is that
between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the
United States. It was anticipated long before
the Canal was opened that the traffic over this
route would be heavy. The trade between the
two coasts did not reach the higher levels until
several years after the World War when idle
tonnage of vessels built by the Government and
intercoastal vessels which had transferred to the
more profitable European trade were returned to
their regular runs. These factors, coupled with

of cargo, passed through the Canal. Since that
time there has been a general improvement in
world trade which has been reflected in a greater
movement of shipping through the Canal.
During the fiscal year 1939 there were 5,903
vessels, carrying 27,866,627 tons of cargo, both
figures approaching the records established just
ten years before.
Although there is a wide variety of commodi-
ties shipped from the west coast to the eastern
seaboard ports, the great bulk of the shipments

Traffic did not reach a normal level through the Canal until more than five years after it was opened, chiefly because of the disrup-
tion of trade routes during the World War. However, landslides kept the Canal closed for more than half the fiscal year 1916.
This picture of a disastrous slide in Gaillard Cut was taken on October 5, 1915.

the large shipments of oil from the California
fields, were the principal factors in bringing the
traffic to the high levels reached between 1923
and 1930 reaching the highest point in the fiscal
year 1924 when there were 1,704 transits of
tankers. Tanker traffic was an important com-
ponent of the cargo shipments through the Canal
during that period, but there has since been a
gradual decline and during the past fiscal year
there were only 580 transits of tankers.
During the ten-year period just ended there
was a great decline in the movement of ships and
commodities on all trade routes through the
Canal; the lowest point being reached in 1933
when only 4,162 vessels, carrying 18,161,165 tons
Page seventy

is made up of mineral oil, wheat and other
cereals, lumber, canned food products, food prod-
ucts in cold storage, and fresh and dried fruits.
Of these one of the most important items is the
lumber shipped from the great forests of the
Pacific slope. The tonnage of cargo shipped from
the west to the east coast of the United States is
approximately twice as great as that which
moved from the Atlantic to the Pacific seaboard.
This is also generally true of all the other trade
routes; however, the value of the cargoes is more
nearly equal, as most of the westbound cargo is
made up of finished manufactures. Manufac-
tures of iron and steel constitute the greatest
part of the commodities shipped from the Atlan-

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914 THE CANAL AND WORLD TRADE August 15, 1939

tic to the Pacific coast of the United States via
the Canal. Other commodities which are
shipped in large quantities over this route from
east to west include automobiles, machinery,
paper and paper products, coal and coke, and
various chemicals.
An outstanding example of the fluctuation in
the movement of commodities over the various
trade routes caused by changing economic con-
ditions is found on the important route between
European ports and the west coast of North
America. There was a sudden rise in the amount
of shipping over this route during the fiscal year
1939, and in several months there were more
vessels plying this route than on the United States
intercoastal run. Many of the ships transited
the Canal to the Pacific in ballast and returned
laden with wheat and other cereals, canned
food products, fruits, lumber and other produce
of the west coast.
An illustration of the changes wrought by the
opening of the Canal in the movement of a par-

ticular commodity is the enormous amount of
wheat now shipped through the Canal from the
great wheat fields of western United States and
Canada. Although there were a few small ship-
ments of Canadian wheat through the Canal
during the World War, the first solid shipload of
Canadian wheat on this route passed through
the Canal in 1921. Since that time there has
been a fairly constant flow of such shipments.
During the same year (1921) 697,000 tons of
wheat were moved from the Pacific to the
Atlantic, most of which was destined to Euro-
pean ports. Wheat shipments increased greatly
after 1921, and reached their peak in the fiscal
year 1928 when shipments totaled 3,035,000 tons.
There followed a gradual decline in this trade
until 1938, when wheat shipments aggregated
only 700,000 tons. The great revival in this
trade during the past fiscal year was one of the
outstanding movements in Panama Canal traf-
fic, there being 1,539,474 tons of wheat moved
from all Pacific ports to Atlantic destinations.

Millions of dollars were spent in providing the finest harbor facilities for ocean traffic at the ports of the Panama Canal. This is
an aerial view of the Mechanical Division shops and drydock in Balboa where practically every type of ship repair can be
made. The drydock is one of the largest in the world.
Page seventy-one

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914 THE PANAMA CANAL August 15, 1939

Practically all of the wheat shipped through the
Canal is destined to Europe.
Perhaps no large area benefited more from the
opening of the Panama Canal than the west
coast of South America. Until the Canal was
opened to traffic, vessels had to make the long,
costly trip around South America to reach the
rich potential markets in Chile, Peru and Ecua-
dor, as well as the Pacific ports of Colombia.
A small portion of this trade was brought to
Panama and transshipped across the Isthmus to

tries were enabled to buy fertilizer containing
this important component at a much lower price
than hitherto obtained. During the World War
the importance of obtaining nitrates became so
great that several of the Panama Railroad ships
were diverted to this trade during the period
when commercial shipping was disrupted. The
shipments of nitrates since about 1921 have been
more or less regular and the fluctuations which
are shown from year to year are mainly the
result of changes in economic standards through-

. T h r ~ -l .

Cistobal Harbor, once little more than an open roadstead, is now one of the world's finest ports. The large covered piers, in the
center of this aerial view of the Atlantic port, are provided with adequate facilities for cargo handling. A large coaling plant
and oil-handling plant provide for refueling.

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

Atlantic ports on the west coast of South and
Central America. All commerce along this west
coast was greatly stimulated by the opening of
the Canal which provided a ready outlet for the
valuable mineral deposits and other natural
Among the first vessels to transit the Canal
during 1914 were those loaded with Chilean
nitrates, and this commodity has been one of the
leaders in the cargo lists in each of the 25 years
of operation. A ready access to a great source
of nitrate also had its effect in the United States
and Europe as farmers throughout those coun-

out the world. In 1921 the tonnage of nitrate
shipments to Atlantic ports was greater than any
other commodity. Since that time, however,
several other commodities, including mineral oil,
lumber, ores and manufactures of iron and steel
have exceeded it in tonnage, although nitrate
shipments have remained, with few exceptions,
at a fairly constant figure of above 1,000,000
tons annually.
Iron ore and copper shipments through the
Canal from South America, which did not be-
come important until after the World War,
have become during the past few years leading

Page seventy-two

August 15, 1914 THE CANAL AND WORLD TRADE August 15, 1939

Ships may refuel at either of the two Canal ports. This is a
picture of the U. S. Army transport Mt. Vernon bunkering
coal at the Cristobal coaling plant.

commodities in point of tonnage. This trade
showed a continuous growth until the full
effects of the world-wide depression were felt in
the iron and steel industry and in the year 1933
shipments of ore from South America through
the Canal aggregated less than 100,000 tons, as
compared with more than 600,000 tons during
the previous year. Heavily laden ore ships
began to move through the Canal in a steady
stream after the slump of 1933 and in no year
since has the tonnage been less than 1,000,000.
In the fiscal year 1938 ore shipments aggregated
more than 2,000,000 tons, and during the past
fiscal year the total tonnage of ores was 1,991,690.
Although iron ores and nitrates compose the
bulk of shipments from South America through
the Canal over the trade routes to the United
States and to European ports, many other com-
modities are shipped from the west coast ports
which have a great influence on the prosperity of

There are wide fluctuations from year to year in the number of ships of the various nationalities and the amount of cargo carried
by the ships of each nation. The following table shows the amount of cargo carried by ships of ten leading maritime nations
during each of the past five fiscal years and the percentage of total cargo carried by ships of each nationality in the five-
year period:

Nationality 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 Percent-
United States_ --- 10,825,573 10,700,535 9,844,254 9,892,619 9,909,380 37.9
British - ----------- -- 5,776,021 6,181,571 7,179,136 6,417,016 6,801,556 23.9
Norwegian -- --------- 2,463,675 2,717,860 3,506,109 3,433,571 3,408,078 11.5
Japanese_ ----------- 1,446,049 1,697,880 1,789,178 1,877,502 1,710,303 6.3
German 1,300,991 1,305,090 1,496,084 1,518,593 1,468,996 5.2
Swedish -- 782,548 855,409 775,800 763,049 1,008,245 3.1
Danish --------------- 555,981 627,407 757,379 865,235 727,552 2.6
Netherlands ____439,168 511,620 700,725 749,642 675,105 2.3
French ___ ------------ 570,034 544,343 542,539 567,288 501,752 2.0
Panamanian --------------. 121,758 654,610 627,812 415,561 371,721 1.6
All others ---------------------------- 1,027,729 709,618 889,369 885,848 1,283,939 3.6
Total-------------------------- 25,309,527 26,505,943 28,108,375 27,385,924 27,866,627 100.0

Page seventy-three

certain areas there. Among the products
shipped in large quantities every year are skins
and hides, mineral oil from Ecuador and Peru
to Europe, fruits, coffee, raw cotton, beans,
ivory nuts and cereals.
Although the greatest number of ships and
the greatest amount of cargo moving through
the Canal follow four principal routes, viz.,
United States intercoastal; United States and
West Coast of South America; Europe and the
West Coast of North America; and Europe and
the West Coast of South America, a considerable
proportion of the traffic every year is over the
routes between the United States and Hawaii,
the Philippines, the Far East, and Australasia,
and between Europe and Australasia.
An important aspect of the commerce on these
routes is that the overwhelming proportion of the
cargo on the United States-Far East route is
moved from the Atlantic to the Pacific, whereas
on almost all other routes the reverse is true.
During the past year approximately 90 percent
of all cargo moved on this route was shipped
from United States ports to the Far East. The
trade balance between the United States and
Australasia, as indicated in cargo tonnage over
that route, is approximately twice as great from
the United States to Australasia. This condition
is accounted for by the fact that a large portion
of the raw products of Australasia, particularly
those of New Zealand, is shipped to Europe.
Cargo movement between Europe and Aus-
tralasia shows little fluctuation from year to year,
approximately 1,000,000 tons having been moved
annually over this route during the past 20 years.
The amount of cargo shipped from Australasia
to Europe is much greater than from Europe
to Australasia. The principal commodities
moved over this route are refrigerated meats,
dairy products, wool, sugar, skins and hides.

August 15, 1914 THE PANAMA CANAL August 15, 1939

Shipments of lumber through the Panama Canal from the west coast constitute one of the leading commodities in the trade moving
from Pacific ports to Atlantic destinations. This shows two freighters meeting in Gaillard Cut, the one in the foreground
bound for Atlantic ports with a heavy deck load of lumber from the great forests of the Pacific slopes of the United States and

mostly from New Zealand, and copra from the
South Pacific islands.
The trade routes between the United States
and the Philippine Islands and between the
United States and the Hawaiian Islands account
for less than one-tenth of the total amount of
cargo shipped through the Canal, but this trade
is very important in the Philippines and Hawaii.
Sugar makes up almost all of the shipments
from the Philippines to the United States.
Sugar and canned fruits constitute the bulk of
the shipments from Hawaii. The amount of
cargo shipped from the two groups of Islands in
the Pacific to the United States is from three to
five times as much as the cargo shipped from the
east coast through the Canal to the Islands.
Although practically every type of vessel
passes through the Canal every year, cargo
vessels constitute the largest proportion. Approx-
imately 85 percent of the ships transiting the
Canal are freighters. In addition to the vessels
which carry only general cargo, almost all of the
passenger vessels, with the exception of a very
few passenger ships on special cruises through
the Canal, also are freight carriers and most of
them depend more on revenue derived from this
source than on revenue from passenger traffic.
American and British vessels carry more than
half of the cargo shipped through the Canal.
During the past fiscal year the number of
British vessels transiting and the amount of
cargo carried by them more nearly approached
the number of American vessels and cargo
carried by them than any year since 1920. This
great increase was caused principally by the
increased movement over the trade route between
Europe and the west coast of North America.
All but about five percent of the cargo shipped

Page seventy-four

through the Canal every year is carried on
vessels flying the flags of the United States,
Great Britain, Norway, Japan, Germany, Den-
mark, Sweden, the Netherlands and France. Of
these the largest group are those of American
registry, and the second largest group are of
British registry.
Normally the yearly traffic through the Canal
is composed of ships of about 25 nations.
During the fiscal year 1939 the flags of
21 nations were flown on commercial vessels
transiting the Canal. Segregation of the ocean-
going traffic through the Canal during the fiscal
year 1939, by nationality, is presented in the fol-
lowing table, which shows the number of transits
and tons of cargo:

Number Tons of
Nationality Number Tons of
of ships of cargo

Belgian ------------------- 1 12,483
British-------------- 1,502 6,801,556
Chilean---------------------- 26 62,904
Danish---------------------- 200 727,552
French----------------------- 107 501,752
German- 361 1,468,996
Greek..------------- 117 666,471
Honduran ------------------ 37 23,208
Italian----------------------- 59 179,468
Japanese---- 261 1,710,303
Latvian------------- 1 4,870
Netherland_--------- 312 675,105
Norwegian-------------------- 704 3,408,078
Panamanian ------------------ 193 371,721
Peruvian--------------------- 6 8,339
Philippine Islands_----- 5 37,057
U.S.S.R. -----------------_ 8 19,926
Swedish--------------------- 157 1,008,245
United States---------- 1,788 9,909,380
Venezuelan ------------------- 2 2,300
Yugoslavian ------------------ 56 266,913

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

Some World Famous Vessels

The ships of the Seven Seas make
the two modern harbors of the
Panama Canal their ports of call


This gallant old ship battled the icy wastes of Arctic seas and tropical storms in the Caribbean before it came to an inglorious
end on the salt mud flats of Cristobal harbor. The Roosevelt was the flagship of Admiral Peary on his voyage to the Arctic
when he discovered the North Pole. It was later converted into a tug and was used several years in towing barge loads of
lumber from the west coast through the Canal to Atlantic ports.

AILING vessels, palatial yachts, grim tugs,
whaling fleets, and ships on scientific expe-
ditions or explorations all have been a part
of the great stream of traffic which has moved
through the Panama Canal or visited the termi-
nal ports during the quarter century since the
interoceanic waterway was opened in 1914.
One of the famous craft which visited Canal
waters a short time before the Canal was opened
was the Polar ship Fram, on which Captain
Roald Amundsen made his Northwest Pas-
sage survey. The Fram was en route to San
Francisco where Captain Amundsen was to join

the ship for an Arctic expedition. It had been
hoped that the Fram could transit the Canal but
slides which occurred in 1913 prevented this.
The Norwegian schooner finally was dispatched
around South America.
One of the first steam-propelled vessels to
transit the waterway (before it was opened to
commercial traffic) was the Panama Canal tug-
boat Reliance. Its trip was notable because it
marked the completion of the first circumnavi-
gation of the South American continent.
The Reliance made one of the strangest voy-
ages in the history of the sea-10,500 miles to

Page seventy-five


August 15, 1939

move three barges a distance of less than 50
miles. The tug and barges were at the Atlantic
terminus of the Canal and were needed in the
rush to complete construction work on the Pa-
cific side. It was decided to send them around
South America to avoid the great expense of dis-
mantling them and shipping them by railway
across the Isthmus.
The Reliance, one of
the finest and fastest sea-
going tugs in the world
when it was built, made
the long and perilous
voyage without serious
incident, but sank twice
in later years. In Decem-
ber 1916 it went down in
Cristobal Harbor, taking
with it the captain and
a member of the crew.
Raised from a depth of
42 feet and recommis-
sioned a few months
later, the ill-fated craft
sank a second time 35
miles from Cristobal on
August 2, 1918, and in A transit of the United S
this casualty the chief full force is an impressive
engineer and two sailors carrier Saratoga in Mirao
lost their lives. The
Reliance had towed the British sailing bark
Westgate to sea and was returning to Cristobal
when it keeled over, filled and sank. In both
tragic accidents the tug went down so rapidly it
was impossible for all members of the crew to
be saved.
Among the most interesting types of sea-going
craft to visit the Canal are the whaling fleets
which operate in the Pacific from the coast of
Mexico to Antarctica. In September 1914 only
a few weeks after the Canal was opened, a fleet
of four Norwegian whalers transited. They
were returning to Norway after a whaling expedi-
tion to the coast of Mexico for eight months, and
their cargo of 20,000 barrels of oil was valued at
$300,000. The largest of the ships was equipped
with apparatus for dissecting and flensing the
whales and rendering the blubber. Numerous
other whaling ships, many with factories aboard,
have transited the Canal or visited one of its
ports since then.
Among the many vessels on scientific expedi-
tions which have visited Canal waters, one of the
best known was the nonmagnetic ship Carnegie of
the Carnegie Institute, Washington, D. C. This
unusual vessel visited Canal waters in 1915,
1918, 1921 and 1928 in the course of its many
voyages in making magnetic and electric surveys
of the oceans. The vessel was built of wood and
practically all of its metal fittings were of non-
magnetic metal.
Many tales of grim tragedies at sea have been
Page seventy-six


brought to the ports of Balboa and Cristobal,
but few have been so harrowing as that of the
S. S. lWilliam A. McKenney, a freighter en route
from Seattle, Washington, to its home port in
Boston. While off the coast of Lower California
the vessel ran into a terrific storm and almost
foundered. Fourteen men were swept from the
decks when the ship was struck by a gigantic
wave, so high that the
Water poured down the
stack and put out the
furnace fires. The ship
staggered into Balboa
S on August 20, 1928,
-badly battered and with
a sharp list. It was
believed that the only
thing that saved the
William A. McKenney
from sinking was its
deckload of 1,000,000
feet of lumber, which
broke the weight of the
The largest and best-
equipped expedition ever
Fleet through the Canal in sent to the Antarctic
. This is the U. S. airplane was that of Rear Admi-
Locks. ral Richard E. Byrd,
whose ships passed
through the Canal. The flagship City of New
York and the Eleanor Boling both transited the
Canal en route to Dunedin, New Zealand, the
rendezvous of the expedition's ships and men.
All four ships of the expedition returned to the
United States by way of the Panama Canal when
the explorations in Antarctica were completed.
The most renowned vessel of the United States
naval service, the frigate Constitution, transited
the Canal in December 1932 and attracted much
attention and more visitors than any one of the
multitude of interesting ships which have visited
in Canal waters. "Old Ironsides" was towed
through the Canal in 9 hours and 23 minutes.
The trip through the Canal was made while the
famous 44-gun frigate was en route to the West
Coast for exhibition after it had been refitted.
It remained in port at Cristobal and Balboa for
several days, and was drydocked in Balboa.
Thousands of visitors thronged the ship and
20,000 letters were mailed on the Constitution
from the Canal Zone. The battle-scarred veter-
an returned and transited a second time after
being exhibited in West Coast ports.
On the mud flats in Cristobal Harbor may be
seen an abandoned old tug that made history.
It is the Roosevelt, on which Admiral Robert E.
Peary made his trip to the Arctic to discover the
North Pole in 1909. The vessel was built in
1905 under Admiral Peary's personal supervision,
and was named in honor of former President
Theodore Roosevelt.


August 15, 1914

A 151914 SM WR FMI V A 1 1939

"A /.A



"Old Ironsides" in Gatun Locks. This historic vessel of the United States Navy transited the Panama Canal in December 1932 en
route to west coast ports for exhibition. Thousands of visitors flocked to see the famous old frigate Constitution when it visited
the ports of Cristobal and Balboa.
Page seventy-seven

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939



6A a



August 15, 1914 THE PANAMA CANAL August 15, 1939

After the discovery of
the North Pole the
Roosevelt made another
voyage of exploration to
the Arctic under Admiral
Peary's command, and
later it was used for
several years by the
Bureau of Fisheries. Its
sale to a private compa-
ny for use as a towboat
followed and for several
years the famous vessel
was engaged in towing
big barge loads of lumber
from Puget Sound
through the Panama
Canal to the East Coast. The largest warship of an-
The story of that period H. MA. S. Hood which I
The story of that period displacement tonnage of
was one of ignominy and in tolls.
disaster. The Roosevelt,
pride of Peary, had to be rescued several times
at sea by Panama Canal tugs, once in 1926 after
it had lost its propelleriand drifted helplessly

y kin

for several days in the
Pacific Ocean.
The gallant ship that
battled the icy wastes of
S the far North and tropic
storms in the South
made its last fateful voy-
age in January 1937.
It had brought the for-
mer U. S. Navy collier
/ Jason in tow from Cali-
fornia, transited to Cris-
tobal, and then headed
north in the Caribbean,
only to be forced to put
back to Cristobal for
repairs. With its tow it
d to transit the Canal was pointed north again in
0ed tons and pai $22s,400 January, one of the
worst seasons of the year
in the Caribbean Sea,
but again trouble developed and the tug turned
to Cristobal after eight days of battling heavy
seas and a roaring trade wind. The Canal tugboat

The largest vessel of any kind to transit the Panama Canal was the North German Lloyd trans-Atlantic liner Bremen. In this
view of the big ship in Gaillard Cut, the Bremen gives the appearance of completely filling the channel. Tugs were used to
assist the Bremen as it moved through the Cut. The transit was made without untoward incident.
Page seventy-eight


August 15, 1914

August 15, 1939

I .
____ r .

August 15, 1914 SOME WORLD FAMOUS VESSELS August 15, 1939

Tavernilla, sent to assist the old tug, took the
Jason in tow, while the Roosevelt again limped
back to Cristobal. The vessel was leaking so bad-
ly that it had to be beached soon after arrival.
One ill-fated ship which transited the Canal
and which created much attention and notoriety
while in Canal waters was the motorship Baden-
Baden. It was originally built as a yacht but
later was converted into a rotor ship and made
one trip across the Atlantic Ocean powered by
rotors, invented by Anton Flettner, a German.
However, it was found that the rotor principle
for motive power was not successful and the ship
was later converted into a freighter. The ship
was involved in much litigation while in Canal
waters. The ship's crew libeled the Baden-Baden
for wages. Other suits were filed, and within an
eight-month period no
less than four libel suits --
were filed against it in
Canal Zone courts. The
vessel was finally sold,
the libel cases settled, .
and its name changed to
M. S. Rio Nozara, after
which it was placed in
service along the Pacific
coast of Central America.
In October 1931 the
Rio Nozara sailed for
Colombian ports in the
Atlantic to get a load of
salt. It ran into heavy
weather and foundered
with the loss of five
men, including the two An oil tanker in Miraflores
owners who refused component of Canal traf
to abandon the ship American ports goes to Ei
to abandon the ship.
Eleven members of the crew put to sea in a life-
boat. After drifting for four days the lifeboat
was sighted by a Pan American Airways pas-
senger plane and the survivors were rescued by
the U. S. S. Swan, airplane tender from the Fleet
Air Base at Coco Solo.
The British barkentine Success, which was
used during the first half of the nineteenth cen-
tury for transporting prisoners from England to
Australia and Tasmania, was towed through the
Canal in December 1914 on its way to the Pana-
ma-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. The
barkentine was launched in 1790 at Moulmein,
near Rangoon. It was built entirely of Indian
teak. It was converted to a prison ship in 1802
and was so used for about 50 years.
The United States Fleet has made several
transits of the Panama Canal, the last two trans-


its being made in 1939. A transit of the main
body of the Fleet is an impressive and spectacular
sight for visitors and residents and provides an
excellent test of the facilities and personnel of
the Canal under stress of emergency conditions.
During the last three transits of the Fleet all
commercial traffic was temporarily halted as the
powerful battleships and other war vessels were
sent through in a steady procession.
Naval vessels of all the leading nations of the
world have transited the Canal since it was
opened. The largest warship to transit the
Canal was the British battleship Hood, which also
holds the record of having paid the highest toll
charges of any ship to transit the Panama Canal.
The Hood transited in July 1924. It has a
displacement tonnage of 44,800 and paid $22,400
in tolls. Other notable
British warships which
have passed through the
Canal were H. M. S.
Nelson, which transited
in February 1931, and
H. M. S. Renown which
brought the Prince of
SWales (later King Ed-
ward VIII) to the Isth-
mus in March 1920. The
Renown returned in Jan-
uary 1927, at which
time the Duke and
Duchess of York (now
wich King George VI and
Queen Elizabeth) visited
the Isthmus.
s. Tankers are an important Thousands of troops
Much of the oil from South were transportedthrough
e. the Panama Canal dur-
ing the World War and for a few years after-
wards from Australia and New Zealand to
the European front and home again. The
last of the famous "Anzacs" were not returned
home until 1920, the last of the troop ships
returning to New Zealand that year through the
These are a few of the ships of the seven seas
which have transited the Panama Canal. Few
ports in the world are visited by as many inter-
esting ships as the terminal ports of the Canal.
Among the thousands of vessels which transit
the Canal every year or visit the ports of Balboa
and Cristobal are many which have a story and a
history, less notorious perhaps but no less inter-
esting than the pirate ships and sea rovers which
once sailed the Spanish main in the vicinity of
the Isthmus of Panama.

Page seventy-nine

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

If i= ''
f 3 .. .,l.,-U -- 11^ -' Z_

'- -- '- ," ... *.' .',,, ^t ^" "'-..

Like a page out of a storybook is this old school building
which was used in Gorgona, one of the principal construc-
tion day towns, during 1904.

Canal Zone school buildings now are modern concrete structures, and provide maximum facilities for educational work from
primary grades to junior college. This is a view of the patio and one wing of the Cristobal high school. The Canal Zone
school system has been highly praised by leading educators of the United States who have made extensive surveys of school
work on the Zone.

Page eighty

-< '

A Trip Through the Canal

The efficient operation of the
Panama Canal is accomplished
without bustle or confusion

VISITORS making their first trip through
the Canal often comment on the absence
of noise, bustle, and confusion, particu-
larly while passing through the locks. It is a
fact that, although the matter of taking an
ocean vessel through the Canal is far from being
a simple operation and involves the services of
many men, the use of intricate machinery, and
the application of many operating rules, even a
light sleeper may doze peacefully in his state-
room with the assurance that he would not be
disturbed by screaming whistles or bellowed
There is no mystery back of the quiet transit,
simply remarkable planning. Everything is in
readiness many hours before a vessel is sighted

at Cristobal or Balboa and everyone along the
line of the "big ditch" who has duties to perform
in connection with the transit knows well in
advance at what hour the ship will arrive at a
given point in the Canal, and at no time during
the transit is the ship "lost" to the workers
along the shores.
For a brief glimpse of what transpires on ship
and shore, let us follow an ordinary passenger-
cargo ship which transits the Canal from the
time it is one day out of port in the Atlantic
Ocean until the pilot leaves the ship at the
Pacific entrance.
At least 24 hours out of Cristobal the master
of the vessel computes the distance from port
and the approximate time of arrival. This infor-

Gaillard Cut is one of the most impressive sights on the Isthmus of Panama. This is a view of the great man-made channel looking
south toward Pedro Miguel Locks. A dredge is at work in the foreground. Rarely does a visitor miss seeing the big dredges
at work along the channel during a transit of the. Panama Canal.
Page eighty-one

August 15, 1914THE PANAMA CANAL August 15, 1939

nation is sent by radio to the Captain of the
Port at Cristobal and during the next few hours
all arrangements are completed for the transit.
Customs and quarantine offices are notified, and
the night before the vessel is scheduled to arrive,
a Panama Canal pilot is assigned to meet the ship.
When the transit schedule for the day is made up
for ships bound from the Atlantic to the Pacific,
a definite assignment of the hour for the ship to
begin its journey through the Canal is made and
before the ship begins transit all routine arrange-
ments are completed for the entrance of the
ship into the port of Cristobal and its clearance
from the port of Balboa at the other end of the
Canal. If the vessel is transiting for the first

aboard the ship have an excellent view of the
Gatun Locks on the approach from Cristobal
and they appear as three giant steps up to the
level of Gatun Lake, 85 feet higher. There are
three sets of twin locks on each side of the Isth-
mus, but those on the Atlantic side are in a
continuous flight, while those on the Pacific side
are in one step at Pedro Miguel, and two steps
at Miraflores, a mile nearer the Pacific entrance.
The locks of the Panama Canal are enormous
structures. Each chamber is 110 feet wide and
has a usable length of 1,000 feet. The trend of
shipbuilding has been toward building larger and
still larger ships and it is notable that plans for the
size of the locks were increased no less than three

Tourists get a magnificent view of Gatun Locks on the approach from the Atlantic entrance. Here ships are lifted 85 feet above
sea-level to the level of Gatun Lake. There are three steps in the twin locks at Gatun, in continuous line, providing for simul-
taneous lockages in both directions.

time, admeasurers will board the ship in Cris-
tobal to measure it en route to determine the
amount of tolls to be paid.
Promptly at the given hour the ship, with a
Canal pilot directing its navigation, is moved
into the channel and slowly steams toward a
narrow slit in the verdant tropical jungle.
While the vessel is making the voyage to Gatun
Locks the tourist aboard ship will have his best
opportunity to see the tropical jungle in all its
glory for the rank mangrove swamp grows down
to the water's edge on the way to Gatun and
forms an apparently impenetrable mass of vege-
tation. Here also is an opportunity to see a part
of the old French canal channel. The old channel,
once designed for ocean-going vessels, is now
choked with silt and vegetation but it is still
sufficiently wide and deep to be navigable by
small launches.
The dredged channel through which the ship
passes from Cristobal to Gatun is 500 feet wide
and 42 feet deep at mean low water. Those

times, and even now larger locks are being
planned to accommodate ships as large or larger
than the Normandie and Queen Mary, the only
two ships which are too large to pass through
the present locks.
When the vessel approaches Gatun Locks a
large arrow on the approach wall in the center
is moved to indicate to the pilot aboard ship
whether the east or west flight of locks will be used,
and its position signifies whether the ship may be
brought into the locks immediately or must wait
for a clear lock. This arrow is operated from an
electric switch in the lock control tower more
than a mile away. At the same time news of the
approach of the ship to the locks is sent by
teletype to all stations along the Canal and to
both terminals.
From the time the ship stops momentarily
near the approach wall until the last towing line
is disengaged at the opposite end of the flight of
three locks, its movements will be directed
jointly by the pilot aboard ship and the lock

Page eighty-two


August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914

Au ut 1, 9 4A TR P T R UG H AN LA g st 1, 1 3

master on the walls, who is in communication by
telephone with the lock operator in the control
As the ship nears the locks, rowboats are sent
out with towing lines and these are tossed
aboard ship and made fast. These lines are
then attached to the powerful electric towing
locomotives which run on both tracks. The
electric towing locomotives or "mules" are
strange appearing objects, and each has enor-
mous pulling power. They are used in towing

.- ;sili-

by means of hand signals and there is no shout-
ing or confusion. After the ship is within the
lock chamber, the lock master ashore speaks
quietly into a telephone and as if by magic the
gigantic gates swing together, there is an upward
surge of water, and within a few minutes the
ship is raised about 28 feet to the next level as
if it were a toy.
The operation of the Panama Canal locks is
the most fascinating part of the trip for the
average visitor. Every mechanical operation is


Many settings of tropical beauty are seen along the Panama Canal by the thousands of persons who visit the Isthmus annually.
This is a view of Miraflores Locks through a frame of tropical foliage. The ship is the U. S. S. Pennsylvania, flagship of the
United States Fleet.

the ship through the locks and keeping it in
position so that it will not be damaged and so
that it will not damage the mechanism of the
locks. The number of towing locomotives used
depends on the size and general maneuverability
of the ship. When the S. S. Bremen, third largest
ship afloat, made the trip through the Canal in
February 1939, fourteen locomotives were used.
After the towing lines on both sides of the
ship are made fast the vessel is drawn slowly
into the lower lock chamber. This maneuver is
directed jointly by the pilot and the lock master

controlled from a tower on the wall between the
two lock chambers. The lock operator has no need
to look out to see the position of the ship or to
watch the water level in the lock chambers. He
is advised of the ship's position by telephone
and every movement of the gates, the fender
chains and even the water level in each lock
chamber is shown in miniature on the control
board before him.
Although the mechanical operation of the
locks is controlled by a system of electric switches
and appears simple, there is engineering genius

Page eighty-three

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939

Augus 15,1914THE PNAMACANA Augut 15 193

involved in its operation and the gargantuan
apparatus which it controls. Each leaf of the
gates, which appear to swing as easily and
smoothly as an ordinary door, is a steel struc-
ture, 7 feet thick, 65 feet
long, from 47 to 82 feet
high, and weighs from
390 to 730 tons. Each
leaf is divided horizon-
tally into two separate
compartments, the lower
compartment being
watertight so that it c 0
practically floats in the
water and relieves the
stress on the bearings by Cross section of lock chambi
which it is hinged to the wall. B. Connections bi
lock wall. C. Lateral culvert. D.
The upsurge of water into lock chamber. E. C
which the tourist has gallery. G. Gallery for
watched from aboard operators. Water may b
watched from aboard either the side or center
ship comes from an intri- through the lateral culve
cate system of tunnels floor of each lock chamber
and culverts. Under
each of the side and center walls runs a tunnel
through which a train could pass. From each

er and
'e let
rts ai

of these are several smaller culverts from 33 to
44 square feet in area of cross section which
extend under the floor of the lock and feed water
up through the floor of the lock through holes.
The large culverts are
controlled at various
points by means of large
valves, and each of the
smaller culverts extend-
ing from the middle wall
S A feeds water in both direc-
:' tions, which permits the
B passage of water from
one twin lock to another,
thus effecting a saving
Walls. A. Culvert in center in water.
Center and lateral culvert. Another means of sav-
opening from lateral culvert ing water is the use of
in side wall. F. Drainage intermediate gates. All
Swires. H. Passageway for
into the lock chssagewafor except one pair of locks
into the lock chamber from
culvert, the water flowing have intermediate gates
id up through wells in the so placed as to divide
the locks into chambers
600 and 400 feet long,
respectively. It is possible to use one of the
smaller compartments when the size of the vessel

A general idea of the lock structures and the great tunnels through which water is fed by gravity flow to fill the lock chambers and
raises ships from one level to another is given by this cross-section view of Miraflores Locks under construction. A modern
locomotive could be driven through the tunnels in the side and center walls.

Page eighty-four

August 15, 1939

August 15, 1914



August 15, 1939

permits and time and water are saved thereby.
These are not often used although a large pro-
portion of the traffic through the Canal is made up
of small vessels, since the demands of traffic have
never been sufficient to cause a shortage of water.
There are numerous safety devices in all of the
mechanical parts of the locks and the protection
of the lock gates consists of fender chains which
are placed on the upstream side of the guard
gates, intermediate and safety gates at the lower

is performed and the water and the ship are
raised again. When the third operation is com-
pleted the vessel is 85 feet above mean sea level
and gates open into Gatun Lake and the towing
locomotives pull the vessel clear of the locks and
the towing lines are disengaged.
During the time the ship has been locked up
to Gatun Lake level the passengers have had an
opportunity to see much of the workings of the
giant locks and some of the surrounding territory.

The dying forest in Gatun Lake presents a weird appearance as ships glide along the glassy surface. A striking contrast to the dead
trees are many little islands covered with a thick carpet of velvety green vegetation. When Galun Lake was first filled, orchid
hunters reaped a rich harvest from tree tops.

end of each flight of locks. There are 24 fender
chains in all and each weighs more than twelve
tons. They are raised and lowered by means of
a hydraulically operated system of cylinders by
which the chain is paid out gradually if struck
by a vessel. In addition to this safety feature,
double gates are provided at the entrances to
all locks and at the lower end of the upper lock
in each flight, the guard gate of each protecting
the lower gate from ramming by a ship which
might possible get out of control and break a
fender chain.
Entering the lower lock at Gatun the ship is
raised 28 feet to the next highest level and when
the water in the lower and middle lock chambers
has been equalized the gates between the two
chambers are opened and the vessel is towed into
the middle chamber. Again the same operation

If it is a bright sunshiny day perhaps those
aboard ship will see golfers playing over the long,
smooth fairways of the 18-hole golf course on the
top and along the slopes of Gatun Dam. On the
left stands the town of Gatun where the employ-
ees at the locks and their families live.
After leaving Gatun Locks, the vessel may
steam across the 24 miles of the lake at full speed,
for the channel through the lake is' from 500 to
1,000 feet wide, and from 45 to 87 feet deep. The
trip through the lake area is a fascinating part of
the trip through the Canal for the traveler realizes
that the ship is passing high above what was
formerly a dense jungle. The lake area just out-
side the channel gives evidence of a radical
change wrought in nature by the multitude of
gray, dead trees that stretch their arms skyward
up through the water. Dotted across the lake
Page eighty-five

Auus 15 94TEPNM AA uut1,13

Although the bulk of the Canal traffic is made up of ocean-going commercial vessels, more than 17,000 transits of the Canal have
been made by noncommercial vessels. The United States Fleet has transited the Canal in full force on several occasions. This
is the U. S. S. Houston in Gaillard Cut.

are numerous small islands that appear like
emeralds on the still, murky water, each covered
with a thick mat of green vegetation.
Under the waters over which ships now sail
serenely ran the trails over which pack trains
made their way bearing the gold and riches of
Peru and other colonies on their way to Spain.
Under the waters also are the sites of several
towns which played most important parts in the
construction of the Canal and which teemed with
activity from 1882 to 1914. The Canal channel
follows almost exactly the route of the Panama
Railroad before it was relocated above the level
of the lake. The channel is now well marked by
floating buoys and other aids to navigation.
The vessel enters the renowned Gaillard
(formerly Culebra) Cut when it reaches Gamboa,
24 miles across the lake from Gatun. It is here
that the waters of the mighty Chagres River
join the main body of the lake. At Gamboa is
located the Dredging Division and much of the
equipment, including dredges, barges, floating
cranes and launches are to be seen along the shore.
There is a feeling that one is entering a narrow
canyon as the ship passes from the wide expanse
of Gatun Lake into Gaillard Cut. The first few
miles of the Cut are navigated through a territory
of comparatively low hills, which rise gradually
to the continental divide. Shortly before reach-
ing Pedro Miguel on the left bank of the Cut the
famous slide area is passed. Here the visitor
more than likely will see one or two large
dredges at work, scooping up earth and rocks
and loading it into barges, for there is still some
life left in the slides which once were a great
menace, but the movement of earth is now so
slow that it is always under control.
Page eighty-six

It was through this nine-mile stretch that the
greatest amount of excavation was necessary in
breaking through the range of mountains.
Approximately half of the total excavation made
for the Canal channel was made in this section,
which was once a beehive of activity with
hundreds of trainloads of dirt and rock being
moved out daily while the sides of the Cut
swarmed with men and machines.
The character of the territory adjacent to the
Canal changes gradually between Gamboaand the
slide area, but after passing between Contractor's
and Gold hills there is an abrupt change and
the ship comes into view of the Pedro Miguel
Locks with a startling suddenness. However,
the operators of the Pedro Miguel Locks are not
startled for they were advised when the vessel
left Gatun Locks and when it passed Gamboa
and the Canal signal station farther on at La
Pita Point, so that they knew almost exactly
when it would come into view.
The operation of placing the ship in the lock
which took place at Gatun Locks when the vessel
was magically lifted upwards 85 feet is repeated
at Pedro Miguel, except the ship is herelowered
30 feet into the small Miraflores Lake which
separates the one flight of locks at Pedro Miguel
from the two flights at Miraflores by a distance
of one mile. The ship is lowered the remaining
distance to the level of the Pacific Ocean at
Miraflores Locks, and the remaining three miles
of the journey to Balboa is made through a low,
swampy land.
The journey of 47 miles is completed in about
seven hours by the average ship. The trip, how-
ever entrancing it might have been to the
tourists, was a routine matter to the small army
of workers who were responsible for the safe transit,

August 15, 1939


August 15, 1914

The Third Set of Locks

The facilities of the Panama Canal
will be increased to care for expected
increase in traffic for many generations

CENES reminiscent of Canal construction
days will be witnessed on the Canal Zone
during the next few years during the con-
struction of a third set of locks for which
$277,000,000 was authorized to be appropriated
during the 76th Congress.
Again giant steam shovels will bite their way
through earth and rock in making the excava-
tions for the new locks and necessary channels.
Old construction towns, abandoned for more
than 20 years, will reawaken and hum with life
and activity. Gold and Contractors Hills will
again tremble from the detonation of dynamite
set off near them, and long trains filled to capac-
ity with spoils from the newly dug channel and
lock sites will be moved daily.
The new locks will be wider, longer, and deeper
than the ones which have now been in operation

for 25 years. They will embody new details of
design and operation, and will be located at a
distance from the present locks in order to pro-
vide additional safety from a defense standpoint
and to provide many of the advantages in opera-
tion which would be afforded by two canals. It
is anticipated that the work will require at least
six years for completion, and certain phases will
be comparable in scope with the construction of
the Panama Canal.
The general physical characteristics of the
new locks will be very similar to the present ones
which were designed more than 30 years ago
and which have successfully met the test of
actual operation since their completion. However,
the new locks will embody many improvements
on the present ones and the designs will be made
in accordance with the latest developments in

Map showing the approximate location of the proposed third set of locks and bypass channel on the Atlantic side. The new
Gatun Locks will be built in a continuous flight of three steps.
Page eighty-seven


A ugust 15, 1914THE PANAMA CANAL August 15, 1939

Map showing the approximate location of the proposed third set of locks and bypass channels at Pedro Miguel and Miraflores
on the Pacific side. Both sets of Pacific Locks will be west of the present locks and the bypass channels will enter Mira-
flores Lake.

engineering practice and advantage will be
taken of recent developments in metallurgy,
hydraulics, concrete production, and excavating
equipment. These designs will embody methods
to provide for faster operation and ample pro-
visions for defense from attack or sabotage.
In outlining the proportions of the new locks,
consideration has been given to the trend of
shipbuilding during the past few decades and it
is intended to provide locks of sufficient width,
length and depth to accommodate the largest
commercial vessels or warships that may be
built for several generations. The proposed
dimensions are 1,200 feet long, 135 feet wide
and 45 feet deep.
It is estimated that the addition of the third
set of locks and approach channels will increase
the capacity of the Panama Canal to meet the
needs of commercial traffic for many years. It is
impossible to predict with reasonable accuracy
the growth of traffic, but it has been estimated
that the capacity of the existing locks will be
reached by 1961, and that if the growth of
traffic is in accordance with normal expecta-
tions the addition of the new locks will sufficiently
increase the capacity of the Canal to care for
traffic for another century or more.

Studies relating to the problem of increasing
the capacity of the Panama Canal were insti-
tuted two years ago by a small group of engineers
and consultants under the general direction of
Governor Ridley and under the immediate super-
vision of Col. Glen E. Edgerton, Engineer of
Maintenance, with E. S. Randolph, Designing
Engineer of The Panama Canal, in direct charge
of the work. During the past year the studies
were intensified and a number of expert consult-
ants were employed from time to time to advise
as to various phases of the work.
The question of enlarging the capacity of the
Canal by the addition of a third set of locks is
not a new one. Even before the construction of
the Canal was begun in 1904, this subject was
given much consideration. The builders of the
Canal recognized that the time would probably
come when increasing ship traffic might chal-
lenge the capacity then provided, and the present
locks were built in the most advantageous loca-
tions and in such a manner that an additional
flight of locks might be built alongside them
with comparative facility.
However, it is now recognized that the new
locks should be as far removed from the ones
now in use as is economically consistent and

Page eighty-eight

August 15, 1914


August 15, 1939