THE PANAMA GUIDE
JOHN O. COIl INS
I. C. C. PRESS
MOUNT HOPE, C..Z'" r-
This Guide Book answers most of the questions that
I have been asked during the past four years regarding
Panama and the Panama Canal. It is a compilation
from reliable sources. Only a few of the many books on
the Panama Canal are reliable, and in my text I have
quoted only these: "Panama" by Albert Edwards, "Pan-
ama" in Porter's Progress of the Nations Series, "Old
Panama" by Dr. C. L. G. Anderson, the Panama Govern-
ment's school history by Sosa and Arce, the annual reports
of the Isthmian Canal Commission, and "The Canal
Record" are especially commended to those who wish a
deeper knowledge of Panama and the Canal than this
guide book can give.
JOHN O. COLLINS.
List of Advertisers.
Announcement, Panama Guide ... 298
Arroyo & Co.. ............ ... ............. ........ 32
A Trip-Panama Canal_........-- ....... ------ ...... 213
Bertoli Brothers .___ -......- .. .......----- ---------- 233
Brandon & Brothers ....... ... ....--..------ -........ ........ 220
Bucyrus Steam Shovel Co ............ ......... 291
B. V. D. Co ...................... .------ -----. .. 296
Central American Plumbing & Supply Co.............. 216
Central Drug Store --. ....................- 212
Central HoteL -.. ............. . . ..---- 244
Colgate & Co--..---............... ....-- .- .. 208
Dupont Powder Co.- ............................... 292
Ehrman & Co .. ---... ......- ...... ... -------..... 244
French Bazaar .-- -.......... ...............-................. ...-. -..... 254
French Drug Store.-.............................. 215
French Line Steamers.__.......-.... ................. 278
Garcia, Balbino.... .. ...... ......................... 230
Garcia, J. J -. ---..... ...... ...... 240
General Electric Co- .- ... ............................ ............. 294
Globe-Wernicke Co.......................... ..... ..... 288
Hamburg-American Line .................... ..- .... .... 274
Illinois Central Railroad.. --.. ..- ---... .. .......... 282
International Banking Corporation ......................... --.... 224
International Correspondence Schools.............. 263
International Hotel ............. ...-......... ............. 256
International Pharmacy ........--- ......... ............... 211
Kerr, J. L.................... .... ..... -------..-. ............ 264
Keystone National Powder Co.. ...... ........................ 290
Kodaks.................-- .............- .... . 289
La Caraquena............................... .... ....................... 214
Lacroisade, E. -. -----...........---- -.............. 217
La Ultima Moda_- -................................ ........................ .................. 222
Lince & Co..- ..--. .......................... --- .... ..... 238
Lindo, Albert. .. .............................................. 258
Lyons, Em anuel .............- .................. ..................... ... ...... 228
M aduro, Jr, I. L.............................................................. 236
M isteli ............ S 2........2................ ............. 226
M ontecristi Hat Store......... ........................... ... ............. 231
Morrice's Garage ..............-- .. .... .... --... ........... 260
M iiller & Co .. ...................... . ................... ....... 315
National Navigation Co .. .......... .. ......................... ......... 270
Pacific Steam Navigation Co....................... 276
Panama Banking Co..._. .................. ................ 219
Panama Gem and Curio Co............................... ...... 262
Panama Hardware Co..........--- -... ----- ----- --- - 234
Panama Rail Road Co.. .........-.. .... ......... ........... ..... 80
Pan-American Automobile Co.---.-- ...... ............ 252
Pan-American Shoe Factory._--.--................... 265
Peruvian Steamship Co ..................... .....-.......... .. 269
Piza, Piza & Co- ....................... .......... ............. 210
Porter, F. E.. ---- --........................----- ........ 245
Po Yuen & Co .................................... ... 246
Richards, H. Ale .... .- ................. .. .................... 266
Royal Mail Steam Packet Co...-- ........ ..... 272
Singer Sewing Machine Co........... ..... --- - -- 248
Terrell Land and Development Co......... .................. 268
Three Stars.... .................... ......... ..... ... .. .......... 242
Trenton Iron Co .................................. ... ............................. 281
Trott's Novelty Shop- .................. ... ------ 267
Ullrich & Co., Frank .............. . ................... 218
Vibert & Dixon............................. ..... .......... 250
W ashington Hotel.. .... -.. ................... .... ............. ....... 280
Waterman (L. E.) Ideal Fountain Pen ........... ....... ..... ......- .. 287
Western Wheeled Scraper Co.........- .. ........................ 286
Wheeling Mold & Foundry Co...... ............. .............. ............ 284. 285
The Master Builder.
Everywhere one goes on the Isthmus he will hear: "The Colonel said,"
and "The Colonel did," and many other references to "The Colonel."
"The Colonel" is Geo. W. Goethals, Chairman of the Isthmian Canal Com-
mission, Chief Engineer of the Canal, President of the Panama Railroad,
Governor of the Canal Zone, resident member of the Panama Canal Forti-
fication Board in charge of construction, and, combining all these officials
in one, he is the autocrat of the Canal Zone.
No one is more careful than Colonel Goethals to give due credit to his
predecessors and coworkers for their share in the success of the Panama
Canal. It is not an invidious comparison, therefore, to say that no one
so much as he personifies that success.
A virtual despot over a little kingdom of 50,000 workers, he shows every
day the decision, resourcefulness, and tact that mark a great executive.
Some of his coworkers disagree with him in questions of policy, but they
all pay tribute to his ability. With the mass of the workers he commands
the respect that only able and honest men can win, and such sympathy
as is accorded only to very human men.
He is six feet tall, every inch bone and muscle. No one on the force
works harder thanhe. His day begins ordinarily at 7 o'clock in themorn-
ing when he takes one of the early trains from Culebra for his tour of
inspection. The afternoon is spent in his office at Culebra, and often he
works there until his bedtime, 10 o'clock.
On Sunday mornings he holds court at Culebra to hear the complaints
or petitions of the workers under him. There is no laborer that cannot
get an audience with the despot, no tale so petty that it cannot find in
him a patient listener. The knowledge that this is true has a restraining
influence on men who might take advantage of petty authority, inspires
every worker with confidence, and promotes general satisfaction.
Colonel Goethals' administration began in April, 1907, and since then
there have been disbursed under his direction about two hundred and
twenty million dollars, without one suspicion of favoritism or of the
aggrandizement of himself or any of his subordinates. His record of
wise, honest service is quite unique.
Now that his fame is secure, many men are flattering him, great uni-
versities have conferred degrees upon him, and many who have watched
his work in Panama hope that his country may one day have his serv-
ices as its President. But no tribute that may fall to him will be counted
so great as this-
The men who have worked with and under
him believe him Able, Wise, and Just.
Geo. W. Goethals (Colonel, Corps of Engineers, U. S. A.). Born Brook-
lyn. June 28, 1858. College of the City of New York. Cadet Military
Academy, June 14, 1876, second lieutenant Corps of Engineers, June 12,
1880; first lieutenant, June 15, 1882; captain, December 14, 1891; major,
February 7, 1900; lieutenant-colonel, March 2, 1907; colonel, December
3, 1909; Heutenant-colonel volunteer service and a chief of engineers, May
26, 1898, to December 31, 1898; General Staff, August 15,1903, to March
4, 1907; graduate Army War College, 1905. For several years instructor
in Civil and Military Engineering at West Point; in charge of construction
Mussel Shoals (Tennessee River) canal; member of Board of Coast and
Harbor Defense. Chairman of the Isthmian Canal Commission, and
Chief Engineer of Panama Canal since April 1, 1907. Governor of Cana
Zone; President of Panama Railroad; Member of Panama Canal Forti-
fication Board in charge of construction.
From Colon to Panama.
Along the route the tourist travels in crossing the Isth-
mus today, white men have been traveling for nearly four
hundred years. Long before Jamestown was settled the
Chagres River was a highway whose name was khown to
all the adventurers of Europe, and now when Jamestown is
untenanted it is again to become a great highway, for the
Panama Canal follows its valley half across the Isthmus.
From the car window the tourist may see the valley up which
men of our race have toiled for four centuries, and within
two miles of the place where the railroad crosses the river
(at Gamboa) is the village at which the river journey ended
and the portage began on the old route to Panama. There
was another way, all overland, from Porto Bello and Nom-
bre de Dios to Panama, and the map of the Republic of
Panama in this book shows the general route of the old trails.
Elsewhere you will find further reference to the river, the
trails, and the old cities, as the fortified places were called.
In this place it is proposed only to follow the line of the rail-
road from Colon to Panama, telling briefly the story of each
village along the route.
This city or overgrown village bears the Spanish name
of Christopher Columbus, although for many years it was
known as Aspinwall, the Panama Railroad officials having
chosen to -all it by that name. But the Colombian Govern-
ment insisted on Colon, and in 1882 when the French began
to fill in the portion of the town near the canal entrance,
they called their settlement Cristobal, so the joint town,
American and Panaman, is called Cristobal Colon. The site
was nothing buta coral reef backed bymangrove swamp when
Columbus sailed past here on his fourth voyage, in November,
1502, and it remained little more until the railroad builders
began their work in May, 1850. That was only twenty
years after the first railroad was built in the United States.
It would be wrong to conceive of Colon as having had
an uneventful history merely because it is a city young in
years, and even today bears the marks of a construction
camp. As the Atlantic terminus of the Panama Railroad it
has been a place of international importance ever since the
first train crossed the Isthmus. A less prepossessing site
for a city could scarcely be imagined, and yet its growth was
natural, since it was necessary to locate the docks at this
point. It is situated on the Island of Manzanillo, which
was formerly cut off from the mainland by a narrow strait
known as Folks River. The island itself was a coral reef
upon which mangrove trees had taken root and grown up
into a tangled mass, catching silt and gradually transform-
ing the reef into a swampy island. Upon this the first shan-
ties and stores were built by the railroad pioneers in June,
1850. In November, 1851, two steamers, unable to land their
passengers for California at the mouth of the Chagres River,
disembarked them at Colon, whence they were hauled to
Gatun on the railroad, there to take canoes for the river
journey. From that time Colon became the center of the
California transit trade on the Atlantic side, and the village
grew rapidly and was very prosperous until the completion
of the transcontinental railroad in the United States in 1869,
when it declined and once more became only the railroad
In Otis' handbook of the Panama Railroad, published
in 1862, there is a picturesque description of the city of Colon
(Aspinwall), which was then at the height of its prosperity
as a stopping place for people making the journey to and
from California. There were hotels and shops, and ware-
houses, half a dozen steam and sailing-vessel lines made it
a port of call, and the railroad colony was already firmly
established in not unattractive surroundings, of which the
Upon the sea beach at the north end of the island you will first
observe the hospital of the Railroad Company, a couple of large airy
buildings surrounded by generous tiers of piazzas, about which a
general air of tidiness and comfort prevails. Although built for the
exclusive use of the company, strangers requiring medical aid are
permitted to avail themselves of its advantages. A little to the left
is a long wooden building, which contains the lecture-room, library,
and clubroom of the employes of the company. A well-selected
library of several hundred volumes, and the standard periodicals and
journals, may be seen here; there are also materials for a snug game
of billiards, backgammon, or chess. Three or four neat little cottages
come next along the line of the beach, the residences of the principal
officers of the company, with little garden plats in the rear and an -
occasional coco tree throwing pleasant shadows over them. A little
farther on is a fine corrugated iron dwelling, the residence of the
COLON TO PANAMA.
Royal Mail Steam Packet Company's agent; next to this is seen the
general rendezvous of the Railroad Company's officials (usually known
as the mess house) imbedded in a grove of coco and banana trees.
Within fifty yards of the rolling surf, the sea breeze ever laying
through the surrounding foliage, it would be difficult to find a more
desirable tropical residence. Still farther on to the right are the
buildings of the terminus, car repositories, etc., and machine shops
whose tall chimneys send up steady columns of smoke, while the ring
of many hammers breaks cheerily unon the ear.
First the city built up along the reef near the sea, then
back into the swampy land behind the reef. The French
added to it in the early 80's by dredging material from their
canal channel and depositing borrowed rock and earth upon
the swampy land, making a foundation for their employes'
village, now a village of American Canal workers, known as
Cristobal. When the American Canal builders came here in
1904, Colon had ten thousand people, and about nine thou-
sand of them lived in shanties built on piles. At high tide
the houses were surrounded by water, so that no one could
walk along the streets back of Front Street without danger
of falling into the mire. Since then the town site has been
filled in, and the Panamans and the Panama railroad are
paying for the work. Colon is clean, well drained, and
healthful today, although it doesn't look it. It has 18,000
inhabitants, and thereare 2,000 in Cristobal. In 1870 Colon
had 8,246 inhabitants, and in 1896, 13,203.
Colon has suffered from several destructive fires, the more
important being that of 1885, referred to on page 127, and
that of March, 1911, when ten city blocks were burned and
1,200 people left without shelter.
The sightseer in Colon should begin where the settle-
ment itself began in 1850, at the north end of the island,
known as Colon Beach. On the site where
Washington now is being erected the new Washington
Hotel. Hotel, a modern structure of reenforced con-
crete and hollow tile, the first eating house was
built for the railroad employes; and around it grew up the
railroad village. It was not an attractive place in the old
days, except that the waves were then breaking on the reef
just as they are now, and coconut palms were waving before
the breeze; and yet to it came to live and give their life's
work the men and women who built the Panama Railroad,
and were identified with its early history. The eating
house later gave place to a large frame structure which in
time was itself enlarged. This was recently moved to a site
behind the Episcopal Church, where it now remains in its
-original character as an employes' eating and lodging house.
On a plat of grass in front of the old hotel, on a site now oc-
cupied by one corner of the new Washington, a monument
was erected to the founders of the railroad, Aspinwall, Steph-
ens, and Chauncey. It is a shaft of red granite on a base of
red stone with the busts of the three founders cut on the
shaft near the base. It is to occupy the center of a flower
bed at the entrance to the new hotel; that is, on the side
looking towards Colon, where it will be nearly hidden by
plants and ferns, a merciful eclipse, since the monument
is very ugly.
The new hotel accommodates 175 people, having 88 bed
rooms, and contains all the baths, toilet rooms, writing
and lounging-rooms, dining-rooms, kitchen with modern
cooking apparatus, electric lights and fans, and other con-
veniences that distinguish a thoroughly up-to-date hotel.
It is run by the Panama Railroad, that is, by an agent of the
United States Government, just as the Tivoli, at Ancon, is
conducted by the Canal Commission. The architecture is of
the Spanish Mission style modified to suit the local condi-
tions. Broad verandas look out upon the sea and between
the hotel and the sea wall is laid out a garden, where palms,
ferns, and other tropical plants have been planted At the
east end, the sea wall is blocked out to provide a swim-
ming pool, open on the sea side, 125 by 100 feet and from
3 to 9 feet deep; a baffle wall has been constructed in
front to protect it from rough water. There is a breeze
here all the year round, and the Washington Hotel will be
as cool in July as Bar Harbor, and no warmer in winter time
than it is in July. Like the other Government hotels, it
will have no bar, but in other respects will be the same as a
good hotel at an American summer resort.
The gray stone building in modified Gothic style, im-
mediately west of the hotel site, is Christ Episcopal Church,
which was built by contributions from the
Christ Panama Railroad Company and missionary
Church, societies. It was dedicated in 1865 and, except
Hospital, for a few years, when it was used as a Colom-
Quarantine. bian arsenal, barracks, and storehouse, has
been a place of worship ever since. At first
under the jurisdiction of the Protestant Episcopal Church
of the United States, its government was changed to the
Anglican Church in 1883, when thousands of British ne-
COLON TO PANAMA 11
groes came from the West Indies to work on the Canal, and
again in 1907 it passed to the American Episcopal Church,
when the American canal work had been established. Both
whites and blacks worship here, but the majority of the
members are negroes.
Beyond the row of railroad employes' quarters, in the
enclosure about half a mile west of the church, also front-
ing on Limon Bay, is the Panama Railroad and Isthmian
Canal Commission hospital with 525 beds, and modern
means for treating all kinds of illness. This hospital has
grown from a small field hospital established by the Panama
Railroad Company in 1851. Immediately beyond it is the
quarantine station at which persons from plague and fever
ports must remain to complete their period of six or seven
days' isolation before being allowed to cross the Isthmus
or enter the city of Colon.
On the beach between the site of the hotel and the piers
of the Panama Railroad Company is the office headquarters
of the railroad whence the superintendent and his sub-
ordinates direct the conduct of the railroad and steamship
line on the Isthmus. Adjoining the line of piers immedi-
ately south of the office building and the hotel site is the
Colon freight office of the railroad company. It was built
in 1864 and rebuilt after the fire in 1885. This building has
COLON TO PANAMA.
also served as quarters from time to time for Colombian
troops, and within its walls in November, 1993, were con-
centrated the American residents of Colon and the half
hundred marines sent there to defend them from the mas-
sacre threatened by the commander of the Colombian troops
that had recently landed on the Isthmus.
Other buildings in Colon worthy of mention are the
masonry structures of the Panaman Government-one a
public school, and the other a municipal
Other building; the frame building on the water
buildings, front near the railroad station, which is the
home of the Strangers' Club; the brick house
adjoining it, in which the Isthmian poet, J. K. Gilbert, wrote
his poems, now collected in the book, "Panama Patchwork,"
and the concrete block railway station. Owing to encour-
agement by the railroad company, which owns nine-tenths
of the land in Colon, there is a distinct tendency on the
part of merchants and others to build concrete structures.
A Masonic hall is to occupy the block immediately back of
tho commissary building; the railroad is erecting a three-
story building on Front Street, which is to be used as stores
and) living apartments; and other concrete buildings are in
process of erection
14 PANAMA GUIDE.
Across the Canal Zone line in the village of Cristobal
are the cold-storage and manufacturing plants of the Com-
missary system, a modern fire-station house,
Cristobal. and the old French Canal headquarters, on
Cristobal point. One of these buildings was
built for Charles deLesseps, son of the Canal promoter,
and was occupied by him and other canal officials during
the French regime. It is now used as offices for the Com-
missary system and other branches of the Canal adminis-
tration. Occupying a little knoll on the point is situated
the statue of Christopher Columbus, in heroic
Columbus bronze, in the attitude of protecting an Indian
Statue. girl crouching by his side. It is said that he
is supposed to be explaining away the terror of
the girl, but Ferdinand de Lesseps said upon the occasion
of his visit in 1880 that he was learning from the Indian
"the secret of the straits," and in turn was explaining to her
its profound importance. This statue was presented to
Colombia in 1868 by the Empress Eugenie, and was set up
in the railroad yard in Colon in 1870, but upon request of
Lesseps it was removed to Cristobal point. The con-
struction of the docks at this point will again place it in a
railroad yard, and it is proposed to remove it once more,
this time to set it up in the garden in front of the new
Washington Hotel on Colon Beach.
COLON TO PANAMA.
COLiUMBUS STATUE AND LESSER'S HOUSE-CRISTOBAL.
Construction work in progress in front of Cristobal is:
that for a system of five piers enclosing ten docks which will
be the Atlantic terminal docks for the Pana-
Terminal ma Canal. Each dock will be capable of berth-
Docks. ing ships 1,000 feet long, and the space between
the piers (300 feet) will be sufficient to allow
two ships to enter and dock at one time without danger
Across the bay from Cristobal is the canal settlement
of Toro Point, where live the men who are constructing.
the breakwater at the entrance to the canal
Toro Point. and those who are building the fortifications,
which are to guard the west side of the en-
trance. The fortificattions for the east side will be on Mar-
garita Island, about \ mile north of Manzanillo Island on
which Colon is situated. In what may be considered the-
back yard of the city ait situated the Panama railroad shops,
where the railroad equipment is erected and repaired.
Farther south along the line of the railroad are the-
unloading docks for canal supplies, the dry dock and marine
S shop at Mount Hope, and the main store-
Mount Hope. house for canal and railroad supplies. Here
hops, tore- also, on the tast side of the railroad, covering
house, ceme- the knoll opposite the warehouse, is the Mount
terry. Hope Cemetery, which has been the burying.
16 PANAMA GUIDE.
ground of Colon and Cristobal from their beginning. Its
origI ---- narind
/ha t " ,
ha .. ,'
COLON TO PANAMA.
Only employes of the American Government on the Isth-
mus are permitted to buy goods at the Panama Railroad
commissaries, and only coupons representing cash are re-
ceived in payment.
There are not many good eating places in the city, be-
cause most of the people live in their own homes, and the
balance, being nothing but bachelors, get along as best they
can with the thirty-cent meals at the Canal pnd railroad
mess halls, or in private eating clubs. One can always get
a good meal in pleasant environment at the Strangers' Club,
but few visitors are so fortunate as to have guest cards.
Coach Rates The rates for coach fare in Colon are given in
Colon and the following table expressed in American cur-
Vicinity. rency. Panaman currency has the same face
value as American, but the Panaman coin is
twice as large as the American.
One. Two. Three Four.
Onecoach,per h ur......................... .75 1.00 1.25 1.50
Between any two points in Cris- One way... .10 .20 .25 .30
tobal...................... Round trip .20 .35 .45 .50
Between any point in Cristobal
and any point in Colon, in- Oneway... .10 .20 .25 .30
eluding Colon Hospital....... Round trip .20 .35 .45 .50
Between any point in Cristobal
and any point in Colon beyond Oneway... .15 .30 .40 .50
oreastof Colon Hospital..... Round trip .30 .50 .65 .75
Between Mount Hope Pumping One way... .10 .20 .25 .30
Station and I. C. C. corral... Round trip .20 .40 .45 .50
Between Mount Hope pumping
station and any point in Cris-
tobal or in Colon south of llth One way... .25 .50 .65 .80
street...................... Roundtrip '.50 .85 1.10 1.25
Name Location Page
International Banking Co..-- ....Front & 7th St..._-........- 224
Panama Banking Co. ................Bolivar and 7th St............. 219
Books, Periodicals, Souvenirs, Etc.
Beverhoudt ...............................Front Street, near 11th.....
Irvin & Thomas. ---------.............. 13 & 59 Front St.._--.....
Lince & Co......--...-.....................Front St., Opp. Station..... 238
Panama News Co.-.......-...............-In P. R. R. Station ........... 258
Panama Gem and Curio Co.........54' Front St ................... 262
Panama Guide--...........--... ..... All Book Stalls.................... 298
Trotts' Novelty Shop ...........-....33 Front St. opp. Station... 267
Vibert & Dixon.....-........................Front St. opp. Station....... 250
Waterman Pens............................... ...............--- ..............- 287
Drugs, Perfumes, etc.
French Drug Store.......................Front St. opp. Station........ 215
Colgate & Co.................................... -................................ 208
18 PANAMA GUIDE.
Name Location Page
Dry Goods and Notions.
B. V D Co.... -...................... ...... .... ............ ......... ... ......... 296
Mueller & Co.-...................-...........Front St. opp. Stati6n........ 315
Hotels and Restaurants.
W ashington ........................-....Colon Beach...... ............. 280
Terrell (Fla.) Lands..---.................. Florida .......---.................. 268
City Photo Studio --.................. ..24 Front St. near 7th-......... 266
Kodaks .............. ..................... .. -----..................---- 289
Central American Plumbing and
Supply Co............... ...... ......66 Bolivar St....................... 216
Ullrich & Co.......... ............... ....Front St........................ .....- 18
Singer Sewing Machine Co ..... Front St............................. 248
Pan-American Shoe Factory........Bottle Alley & 8th St......... 265
Compagnie Gle. Transatlanrique..near P. R. R. office..-........... 278
Hamburg-American Co....... .....Beach near P. R. R. office. 274
Harrison & Leyland Lines .........................
Panama Railroad Co..... .......... P. R. R. Station -.................. 280
Royal M ail Co................................Pier No. 3 -............................ 272
United Fruit Co.............................near P. R. R. office-.... ...
Vacations in States.
Illinois Cent,'ai Railroad Co.............................- .. .......... 282
Watches, Jewelry, Optical Goods, Etc.
J. L. Kerr.......................... ............. Front & 11th St ................ 265
At this point the Mindi River flows into the bay, and
here also the French Canal Company had begun to con-
struct a viaduct for the relocation of the Panama Railroad,
required by the construction of the canal. The stone piers
for the viaduct may still be seen in the fields on the east
side of the railway tracks. The section between Colon and
Gatun through which the train is now passing was one of
the most difficult for the builders of the Panama Railroad
to construct their line through, because it is low, marshy
land. The old line ran a few hundred feet west of the pres-
ent line up to Gatun, but it was necessary to abandon this
in 1909 on account of the construction of Gatun Dam, which
runs across the old location of the railway. On the left,
as the train nears Gatun, may be seen a large dyke of earth
paralleling the railroad track. This was constructed for the
purpose of holding material from the hydraulic excavation
of the canal immediately north of Gatun Locks.
COLON TO PANAMA.
As the train enters Gatun (name probably derived from
"gato", (cat,) as applied to the smooth-running river that
joins the Chagres at this point) one may see on the right
the walls of the locks rising above the level of the surround-
ing country, and beyond them the long low mound which
is Gatun Dam. The steel towers seen on either side of the
lock walls support the cableways on which concrete is handled
from the mixers into the forms. The first stop is at New
Gatun, and here, by looking out of the win-
Native Town. dow, one may get an idea of the two sections
into which every large village of the Canal
Zone is divided-the "native" and the "American" sections.
The native section is not inhabited exclusively by natives
of Panama, but largely by West Indian negroes and European
laborers. It is the part in which one finds the saloons, small
retail stores, and the lodging-houses and apartments which
are so generally preferred by the negro laborers to the quarters
furnished free by the Government. The "native" town
is the center of the non-American life. Beyond it is the
American settlement, a series of frame houses, all of one
type, varying in size according to the salary of the official or
employee who occupies them. Here are the family and
bachelor quarters for Americans, the mess hall, lodge hall
and church, post office, coirmissary store, and administra-
Hold on to your hat when you alight at Gatun because
this is the breeziest place on the Isthmus. The tourist
will do well to go direct to the building on
Locks, Dam, the hill, in which is the office of the Division
Channel. Engineer of the Atlantic Division, Lieut.
Col. Wm. L. Sibert, and the administrative
staff under his direction. From the veranda of this build-
ing the best view of the canal that can be obtained from
any one point is afforded. Looking northward one can see
the waters of Limon Bay, the masts of shipping in the har-
bor of Cristobal and Colon, and, nearer, the dredges at work
in the Atlantic entrance to the canal. Looking into the
valley the locks are seen, and beyond them the dam in pro-
cess of construction. The plans of the locks and dam are
referred to in the section of this book devoted to the canal.
The method of construction can be seen from the veranda.
The locks are placed in a hill on solid rock, and are three
parallel concrete chambers forming three distinct steps for
20 PANAMA GUIDE.
the purpose of lifting ships from the sea level to the lake
section or lowering them from the lake to sea level. The
dam is composed of two long mounds or toes of rock and
earth running parallel to one another and, on the natural
level of the ground, about 1,200 feet apart. Between these
mounds an impermeable mass of sandy clay is pumped by
suction dredge. The water flows off, allowing the imper-
meable core to remain between the rock toes. About half
way across the valley the spillway is being constructed
through a hill for the purpose of regulating the surface of
Gatun Lake, in order that the water in flood-time may not
CONSTRUCTION OF CONCRETE WALLS OF GATUN LOCKS.
rise so high as to threaten the destruction of the dam. On
procuring permission from the office, the tourist may walk
down to the locks and cross the chambers upon one of the
construction bridges, or, if he is ambitious and willing to
undertake a fruitless climb, he may descend into the locks
themselves. From the construction bridges one gets a very
good idea of what the locks are like, for he sees them in all
stages of construction, from the completed walls to those
now in process of building, and from the completed gates
at the south end to the gates now being erected. (See
Gatun was not always a brand-new village perched on
a hill overlooking the valley. Says The Canal Record:
The old village of Gatun, which lay on the river flats below the
present town was abandoned in 1908, and the site is now covered by
feet of rock and earth under Gatun Dam. At the time it was
andoned, the village contained a church, priest's house, school, a
COLON TO PANAMA.
dozen small shops, and ninety or more small houses of all descriptions,
from the bamboo hut with palm thatch to the typical sheet iron roof
shanty. Most of the buildings were moved to the new townsite, now
known as New Gatun. The railroad line also ran through the dam
site and as soon as the present line into Gatun was opened, this like-
wise was abandoned, and the station building was razed. By the
middle of 1909 the last vestiges of the old village had disappeared
before the encroaching work on the dam.
The antiquity of the place is uncertain, because none of its
buildings were of masonry. In his narrative of the pirate Morgan's
march to Panama in August, 1670, Esquemeling says: "The first day
they sailed only six leagues, and came to a place called De los Bracos.
Here a party of his men went ashore, only to sleep and stretch their
limbs, being almost crippled with lying too much crowded in the
boats. Having rested awhile, they went abroad to seek victuals in
the neighboring plantations; but they could find none, the Spaniards
being fled, and carrying with them all they had."
The location on the river corresponds to that of Gatun, for six
Spanish leagues equal about nine miles, and even if the situation of
De Los Bracos is not identical with old Gatun the narrative indicates
that the region thereabouts was somewhat settled. It is also known
that the Spaniards had erected a fort oi a hill 120 feet above the
river, overlooking the town, which was probably one of the outposts
they had established at various points along the isthmian trade routes.
Evidences of the old fort are found to-day, and the site is shown on
the original land-map made for the Panama Railroad in 1855. At that
time the village had about one hundred buildings of all kinds. Writing
of it in 1861 Otis says it was a village composed of forty or fifty huts
of cane and palm. In the early days of the California immigration it
was the first stopping place in the canoe journey up the Chagres,
where "bongo-loads of California travelers used to stop for refresh-
ments on their way up the river, and where eggs sold four for a dollar,
and the rent for a hammock was two dollars a night."
In 1881 the French chose Gatun as the site for one of the canal
residencies, erected machine shops there, and built a number of quar-
ters for laborers, calling the new section, "Cite de Lesseps." This
continued as a center of the work of excavation until 1888, when
all operations ceased, not to be resumed here until 1904.
When the Americans arrived in 1904, Gatun was the center of a
comparatively large river trade. Bananas and other produce from
the Gatun, Trinidad, and Chagres Rivers, were brought there for
transhipment by rail, and for sale. Once a week, a shipment of from
seven to nine carloads of bananas was made, and on the shipping
day, as many as a hundred canoes would tie up at Gatun.
The Lake Villages.
From Gatun the original course of the railroad lay
through the bottom-land along the Chagres River. But
on account of the forming of Lake Gatun, the reservoir for
the upper level of the canal, the line now leaves the river
course, and turning eastward makes a detour around the
east side of the lake region. Just before the old line was
abandoned The Canal Record printed the following article-
The villages between Gatun and Matachin will be covered by
the water of Gatun Lake. They have never been important in the
sense of size, or as the center of any peculiar type of life. In fact they
are little more than jungle hamlets, yet they have a distinct place in
American history, because they were known to European civilization
many years before Jamestown was settled or Massachusetts Bay
was an English colony.
In The Canal Record, November 29,1911, there was republished a
letter in which attention was called to the fact that the names of some
of these villages appeared on the map published with Esquemeling's
narrative of the Buccaneers in 1678. Most of them antedate that
time, for they were not named by the English who plundered with
Morgan, but are spoken of in Esquemeling's book as places already
known, and invariably they bear Spanish names. It is probable that
most of them date from the early days of navigation on the Chagres
River, when it was one of the most-used routes for commerce across
the Isthmus. Among these are Ahorca Lagarto, Barbacoas, Caimito,
Matachin, Bailamonos, Santa Cruz de Juan Gallego, and Cruces
(Venta Cruz). .
As early as 1530 Spanish ships sailed down the coast from Nom-
bre de Dios and entered the Chagres, whence their goods were
transferred to canoes and taken up the river as far as
The River Cruces, a distance of 36 miles from the river mouth,
Route. near the point where Culebra Cut begins. From Cru-
ces they were taken overland to Panama. At times
of high water, when the stream could be navigated readily by shallow
boats, this was the easiest route across the Isthmus, although the
trails from Nombre de Dios and, after 1586, from Porto Bello, were
kept open and were much used by pack trains. The harbor at the
mouth is not so safe as those at Nombre de Dios and Porto Bello, and
yet that the trade by this route was not inconsiderable is attested by
the fact that the entrance to the Chagres was guarded by a fort (San
Lorenzo). The river hamlets were of the type of the settlements that
grew up along the highways during the days of travel by coach and
saddle, and their people probably subsisted as much by the trade they
drove with travelers as by the products of their own fields. Yet
Esquemeling speaks of cultivated fields, so there was undoubtedly
some farming along with the travel trade.
The river trade became steadily less after the reign of Philip II,
because Spain's monopoly was gone, and the all-water route to Peru
by the Strait of Magellan was found less dangerous. But this was
because the trade itself was less, for the Chagres route continued in
use up to the time of the completion of the Panama Railroad in 1855.
Since then the villages in the lake region have been "way stations,"
with two brief periods of prosperity-one when the French were
working near them, and the other when the Americans were carrying
on their operations. (See reference to abandonment of Isthmian
route, page 119.)
The region in which these lake settlements are situated w
probably not be under water before August, 1912, but the railroad
track was torn up in February, and therefore the native hamlets
and American canal settlements are being moved, the houses torn
down to be erected again elsewhere, or in the case of shacks merely
abandoned in the jungle. It is difficult to persuade some of the
inhabitants that the inundation will ever take place. One o Id bush
COLON TO PANAMA. 23
settler, after receiving repeated warnings heedlessly, ventured it as
his opinion that the Lord had promised never again to flood the earth.
Such people as these will be assisted in their moving, because the
present hamlets will be isolated when the railroad is torn up and in
case of a sudden rise in the river, with the backing up of water after
the Gatun spillway dam is raised, it would be difficult to rescue them.
In this blotting out of the river hamlets and of one of the world's
historic trade routes, nothing of value will disappear-only a few
shabby hamlets, and a hundred or more isolated huts in the jungle-
while the river route will give way to the canal, an4 the railroad to a
straighter and better line outside the lake area above all danger of
In the hamlets and the jungle there are three distinct types of
buildings, in addition to the quarters for Canal employes. Of these
the most picturesque and primitive is the open hut
Jungle in the jungle, which consists of a palm thatch raised
Hamlets. about eight feet above the ground on bamboo poles.
Here a bush family has its incongruous being, for
this jungle home is often within sight of the railroad trains, and
within it one sees plantain being fried in a modern kettle over a mod-
ern brazier, while the drinking water is dipped with a gourd from a
square, 5-gallon-capacity oil-can. A little more advanced type of
dwelling is the pretty hut made of closely set bamboo sticks, some-
times plastered with mud, and with the broad overhanging thatched
roof, in which lizards and bugs rustle about day and night. There
are none of the more substantial native huts, found in some of the
villages in the interior of Panama, built of clay blocks and covered
with overhanging pantile roofs. The third type of house, although
more modern, can scarcely be considered an advance on the bamboo
hut. It is built of lumber and covered with a corrugated-iron roof.
Old residents of the Isthmus say that this type is due to the easy
pilfering of lumber and roofing iron, left in storehouses and on isolated
buildings by the French canal builders, and that it was unknown
before 1885. Usually these buildings have been arrested in dissolution
by patches of soap boxes or tin flattened out from old cans, which
gives them a motley look. The village stores are little better than
this latter type of dwelling. Here and there one sees in a settlement
of such nondescript houses, the trim little cottages built by the French
and more recently used by the Americans; and the more airy and
well screened quarters of the American canal period. These, however,
are late additions. The original villages were jungle settlements
existing because of the isthmian transit.
The next settlement of any importance up the river from Gatun
is Bohio. Between these two villages are three hamlets-Lion Hill,
Tiger Hill, and Ahorca Lagarto-none of them num-
Bohio. being over half a dozen huts and without any appa-
rent reason for existing except that some bush negroes
or natives happened to settle there. The two first mentioned are
essentially railroad camps that have existed since 1851, when they
were successively the terminus of the road. Ahorca Lagarto, how-
ever, is on a bend in the river, and may well have been a resting place
for the cramped travelers in canoes. Of the origin of its name Otis
says: "Ahorca Lagarto, 'to hang the lizard,' deriving its name from a
landing-place on the Chagres near by; this again, named from hav-
ing, years back, been pitched upon as an encampment by a body of
24 PANAMA GUIDE.
government troops, who suspended from a tree their banner, on which
was a lizard, the insignia of the Order of Santiago." In 1908 it had
sixty-two inhabitants, of whom three were white, two yellow, and the
Bohio appears to have been another bush hamlet in 1862 when
Otis wrote. Until recently it has been called Bohio Soldado (Soldier's
Home.) The French made it the site of one of their district head-
quarters in 1882, erected a machine shop on the west bank of the river
and did considerable work there under the old sea-level plan for a
canal, which was excavated to this place to a sufficient depth for
light draft boats. Here as well as at any place can be seen today the
plan of the sea-level canal, which included the main channel and two
large diversions or drainage ditches one on each side of the canal
Under the French plan for a lock canal, Bohio was the site for
the first dam, and the excavation for the locks at this point can be
seen in one of the hills on the opposite side of the river from the
railroad. As it has existed during the American regime the village
has been a relic from the French period. Such surveys, investiga-
tions, and excavation as were necessary here were done by men oc-
cupying the French houses. In recent years Bohio has been the
center of a small local trade in vegetables, brought in from the
jungle by canoe and pack animals, in exchange for groceries and
liquors sold in the Chinese and native shops. At the time of the
official census in 1908, it had 526 inhabitants, of whom 447 were
colored and native, 69 white, and 10 Chinese.
At Bohio the Americans carried on investigations in 1904
and 1905 to determine whether that location would be used for
locks and a dam, and in 1909 excavation by hand and with steam-
shovel was carried on to remove a small hill and part of a dump made
by the French, which stood in the canal prism. Across the river,
where the machine shops were situated in the French days, and where
they carried on work for the lock emplacement, the edge of a hill is
now being removed by a contractor. The work at this point is
typical of all that between Gatun and Culebra Cut, consisting as it
does of the excavation of small elevations in the canal channel
and the toes.of the hills that project into the prism.
Near Bohio are the hamlets of Pefias Blancas and Buena Vista,
both on the river, and each merely a collection of huts of various
descriptions. Frijoles (beans) is the next railway
Frijoles. station, a village of 784 inhabitants in 1908, of about
a thousand when it became a center for relocation
work on the Panama Railroad, now being rapidly deserted. Here
for many years an old Frenchman ran a distillery in which he made
rum of such good quality that he boasted that it was sold in Colon
to rectifiers who made it into "genuine French cognac." One of
the familiar sights of this hamlet is the village washing-place, a pool
near the railroad tracks, formed by the swirling of the water in the
Frijolita River at a point where it is turned at right angles to its pre-
vious course by the interposition of a bank of clay and rock. The
method of washing clothes among the lower-class natives and West
Indians can be observed here. This also is locally known as the
place where one may buy bananas of peculiarly delicious flavor.
COLON TO PANAMA. 25
Frijoles is mentioned in Otis' guide book published in 1862,
but the next village, Tabernilla (little tavern), although it appears
on the Harrison-Arosemena map, is not. It was one
Tabernilla. of the centers of the French works, and there was a
small field repair shop at this point, with a few build-
ings that served as quarters for the working force. During the
American occupation it became a village of over two thousand in-
habitants (2,079 in 1908), because here is situated the largest dump-
ing ground on the canal work. The location was chosen in 1906
because it is on the main line of the railroad, outside of the canal
prism and afforded a plot of ground two miles long and almost as
wide for wasting of spoil. In all about sixteen million cubic yards
of material were wasted here, all of which will be below the level
of the lake. The dump was abandoned at the close of 1910, and im-
mediately the village population decreased, the people remaining
there being largely employes with families who could not procure
quarters elsewhere. These are now being moved because the dem-
olition of the place is under way.
Between Tabernilla and San Pablo the railroad crosses the Chag-
res River at Barbacoas. The original bridge was built of wood, but
early in the history of the railroad it was replaced
Barbacoas by a bridge of six wrought-iron through-plate-girder
Bridge. spans ranging from 101 to 109 feet in length, sup-
ported upon seven masonry piers. This bridge is
mentioned by Otis in 1862, and is said to have been one of the first
of its type ever constructed. It was not built however to carry
such heavy rolling stock as that placed on the road by the Americans,
and so the three channel spans were replaced in 1908 by heavier
girders, while the floor system of the three remaining spans of the
old bridge were reinforced.
San Pablo (St. Paul) was originally a plantation worked by
Catholic priests. It was a railroad station in 1862, was a laborer's
camp in the French days, and during the American
San Pablo. occupation has been a small canal village. It also
is being demolished, and the last excavation in the
lake region is now in progress there. Across the Chagres River
from San Pablo is Caimito, one of the names found on Esquemeling's
map. It was a canal labor camp in the French time and also under
the Americans until the work at that point was finished Of this
class, also, is Mamei, likewise a railroad station in 1862, and little
more than that today, although it was the location of several quarters
for Canal workers a few years ago.
Gorgona bears the name given by Pizarro to an island off the,
coast of Colombia, near Buenaventura, because he found around it
such treacherous currents. It may be that this name
Gorgona.* was adopted arbitrarily, or that the Chagres River
travelers found in the river at this place some eddies
that reminded them of the currents at Gorgona Island. Of this place
Otis says: "The native town of Gorgona was noted in the earlier days
of the river travel as the place where the wet and jaded traveler was
accustomed to worry out the night on a rawhide, exposed to the in-
sects and the rain, and in the morning if he was fortunate regale
*Gorgona means sea-fan. The island off Colombia was named after th e
zoophyte. The whirlpool took its name from the island which it is near.
For Balboa Hill see page 207.
himself on jerked beef and plantains. In the French time large
shops were situated here, at the point where the American shops
now are, known as Bas Matachin.
SCENE ON THE CHAGRES RIVER AT GORGONA.
Gorgona should not be classed with Gatun and Bohio as a purely
jungle hamlet, because it appears to have been a settlement of some
size long before the railroad was built. It was one of the places at
which the river travelers stopped for the night, and all about it were
cultivated farms. At the time of the first Canal Zone census in
1908 its inhabitants numbered 1,065 whites, 1,646 blacks, and'39
Chinese a total of 2,750. The population has increased owing to
the expansion of work in the shops. The site of the shops and the
lower parts of the village will be covered by the water of Gatun Lake,
and therefore, the shops will be moved in about a year to the site
reserved for the permanent marine shops at Balboa.
This is the Spanish word for butcher, and this village,
or the site of it, also appears on Esquemeling's map. There-
fore the current Isthmian-folk etymology
Matachin. that it is a combination of the words "matar,"
to kill, and "Chino," signifying a wholesale
death among Chinese laborers engaged in the construction
of the Panama Railroad, is erroneous. For years this was
the point at which trains from Panama to Colon passed
those going the other way, and it had some local impor-
tance on that account, because the wait here often ran
as high as half an hour. In the time of the first French
company it was a labor camp, excavation was carried on
here, and a few miles below, at the point they called Bas
Matachin, the shops were situated. These shops have since
COLON TO PANAMA.
been enlarged and refitted into the present Gorgona Shops.
The Americans also did considerable excavation at this
point. It is the starting place for canoe trips up the Chagres
River. As soon as the Gorgona Shops are moved to Balboa,
the cause of existence of Matachin as a camp of canal laborers
will have ceased and the village will again sink into a ham-
let. In 1908 Matachin had 2,042 inhabitants, of whom
698 were whites, but its population has greatly decreased
since 1909, when excavation at this point was completed.
One other point in the lake region, on the abandoned
line, is worthy the tourist's knowledge. In all but one
spot the location along the river was good,
Black Swamp. and that spot lies about five miles south of
Gatun and is known as the Black Swamp.
It is simply a swamp over which it was difficult to construct
a railroad line, because the weight of the embankment and
of the rails and rolling stock was so great as to displace
the light, water-impregnated material underneath. On
this account the road sometimes sank into the swamp.
This was particularly true when the Americans placed the
new heavy rolling stock upon the railroad in 1905, and from
that time until 1908 this section of the line required con-
In the effort to form a fill over which the trains could
pass safely a number of old French dump-cars were thrown
in bottom-up and thousands of tons of earth and rock were
dumped there, only to sink into the swamp and afford but
temporary relief. In 1908, however, the railroad engineers
succeeded in constructing a trestle and filling it with cinder
and other light material which successfully withstood the
traffic up to the time when the railroad was abandoned
in January, 1912. There is no subject on the Isthmus to
which the chronic liar turns with greater joy than to the
Black Swamp. The tourist will make a mistake in inter-
rupting him or indicating in any way that he disbelieves
the tales. Almost invariably they are untrue, but almost
as invariably they are interesting. Soundings made in
1908 showed that the solid bottom beneath the swamp is
185 feet below the surface. It is an interesting comment
on the stories that the watershed of the Chagres will not
hold the water impounded by Gatun Dam, to know that
this swamp has remained here, four feet above the level of
the river, ever since the railroad was constructed in the
middle of the last century.
The Relocation Country.
Returning now to Gatun from a side trip that the tour-
ist will hardly take, and yet which must be considered be-
cause of the historic interest of the old river towns and the
former route of the railroad, the traveler takes the train
over the new line of the Panama Railroad, known as the
From Gatun to Pedro Miguel the country through
which the railroad runs is "new;" that is, it is jungle little
touched by the transit life until January, 1912. There
were settlers in the bush all along the river, but they make
little impression on the jungle, merely planting a few vege-
tables, and making trails from their homes to the main
trails. The village of Monte Lirio was a typical "bush"
hamlet before the railroad work was begun, its houses of
bamboo and thatch, or board and thatch, its streets muddy,
and sanitary conveniences none. It drowses on in much
that condition now, while near it is the new Monte Lirio,
known as Mitchellville, so named after a foreman popular
with the workers. At various points along the line, town
sites have been laid out in order that people driven from
their homes in the Lake Region may have somewhere to
rebuild. On either side of the train as it passes through
this section may be caught pretty glimpses of the jungle,
the trees and plants always green, those that dry up in the
dry season being so few as to make little impression on the
One half mile north of Monte Lirio the railroad crosses
an arm of Gatun Lake, which reaches up into Panama terri-
tory by way of the valley of the Gatun River. The bridge over
this arm of the lake is 318 feet long and is built in three
spans, two of them composed of fixed girders 103 feet long,
and one of a bascule or lift span, which can be raised to let
ships pass into the upper part of the lake.
The point where the railroad crosses the Chagres River
is known as Gamboa (a fruit like the quince). The bridge
is built on a curve and spans an opening 1,300
Gamboa and feet wide. The channel span is a 200-foot
Gamboa riveted truss, and it is connected with the
Bridge. banks by 14 through-plate-girder spans, each
80 feet long. From the bridge one catches a
glimpse of the northern entrance of Culebra Cut. A new
townsite has been laid out at the northern end of the bridge.
Pending the use of the relocated line between Gamboa
COLON TO PANAMA.
and Paraiso, after the opening of the Canal, the trains
leave the relocation here, back down across the dike that
separates the excavation in Culebra Cut from the Chagres
River, and run up the old line of the railway to Pedro
Miguel. There is nothing of interest on the east side of
Culebra Cut between Gamboa and Paraiso, except the
jungle and glimpses of its primitive life, because all the
canal villages are along the old line of the railroad on the
west side of the canal. A paragraph will tell about each
one as the tourist catches glimpses of them while his train
The Culebra Cut Villages.
(For facts on work in this section see page 88.)
Obispomeans "bishop." There are two hills at this point,
one of them higher than the other, called Haut Obispo, while
the lower is called Bas Obispo. The OLispo
Bas Obispo. River flows into the Chagres at this point,
and here in days before the railway was built
was a hamlet of bush people. As explained at greater length
in the section of this book on the canal, the Obispo Valley
is utilized as the canal route to a point near the divide at
Culebra. The hamlet was situated on the trail from Gor-
gona to Panama, was made a railroad station, and when
the French began work was turned into a labor camp, with
small shops. Excavation continued here on the sea-level
plan until 1887, when the emplacement for locks was begun.
Under the Americans the excavltion was continued and
Bas Obispo became a typical canal village. In 1908, it had
1,744 inhabitants; but its importance and size have dwindled
rapidly since 1910, when the excavation was practically
completed at this point.
This village will always be associated in the minds of
Canal workers with the greatest accident that has occurred
on the canal. In December, 1908, the work
Bas Obispo in Culebra Cut at this point had reached a
Explosion. stage where it became necessary to dig out
the side of the rock hill that rises above the
canal on the west bank. To this end, 53 holes were drilled
along the edge of the hill, and into them was packed 44,000
pounds of 45-per-cent dynamite. It was planned to set off
this charge after the men had quit work at 5 o'clock on the
evening of December 12. The last hole was being tamped
at 11:10 o'clock on the morning of the 12th, when one of
them exploded, setting off the others. The side of the hill
was thrown forward into the canal, as had been planned,
but beneath it were buried several men on their way home
to lunch, while many others were struck by flying rocks.
In all twenty-six people were killed, and a dozen were per-
Situated upon a hill at Bas Obispo is the camp of the
Marine Corps, Camp Elliott. It is a tribute to the spirit
of this corps of the service, that the pretty
Camp Elliott. little settlement was laid out, streets made,
and some of the buildings erected by the men
of the command. A battalion of marines is stationed here.
In the course of three years this camp will be abandoned
for one at the Pacific entrance to the canal.
STEAM SHOVEL AT WORK IN CULEBRA CUT.
Every American in Panama delights in displaying his
knowledge of Spanish to the tourist. Invariably this knowl-
edge is only sufficient to enable him to get
Las Cascadas. into trouble with a coachman and require a
policeman to extricate him; but he supposes
that the tourist knows nothing of this, and is duly com-
placent. Your guide is of that type. Right along he has
been telling you the English translation of the Spanish
names and will continue to do so. Las Cascadas, for in-
stance, means "the waterfalls" or "cascades." Here the
Obispo River formerly tumbled over a precipice forty feet
high on its way to the Chagres, and here still tumbles down
the water collected by the diversion canal on the west side
of Culebra Cut. This village dates from the French times,
when it became the site of a labor camp. Under the Ameri-
cans it continued as one of the centers of'canal life. Here
were established an engine-house, where forty locomotives
COLON TO PANAMA.
tie up for the night to be cleaned out and made ready for
* their morrow's work, and an air-compressor plant to supply
air to the drills in the north end of Culebra Cut. It does
not appear on the maps prior to 1880 and was not touched
by the old trail that ran through Obispo on its way to Pan-
ama. In 1908; Las Cascadas had 2,425 inhabitants-957
whites, 1,424 blacks and 44 others.
In 1911 the labor camp near Las Cascadas was turned
over to the United States Army for a temporary post, and
quarters were hastily devised to accommodate
Camp Otis. a regiment of infantry hurried down from
the States for no particular purpose that
was apparent. It was named Camp E. S. Otis, in honor
of the Major General of that name.
This village was originally called Emperador, and some
American who knows even less Spanish than your guide,
translated it Empire. It really means Em-
Empire. peror. At this point, prior to the opening
of the railroad, the trail from Gorgona
to Panama crossed the line of the present canal and the
headwaters of the Obispo River, and made off through the
hills to join the Cruces trail to the city. Emperador was
a stopping place for pack trains. Here the French made
their first excavation in Culebra Cut, January 20, 1882, in
the presence of a large assemblage of officials of the Canal
Company and the State of Panama. The Bishop was pres-
ent and blessed the work, and some champagne was opened
to baptize it. The largest of the French villages was made
here, shops were opened for the mounting and repair of
equipment, and the place was made the headquarters of
the Division Engineer. On the hill overlooking Culebra
Cut are several houses erected by the French, now used by
their successors on the job. The old French quarters were
occupied by the Americans, and the machine shop was re-
built. In this shop are now repaired all the steamshovels
working on the canal and railroad. On top of the hill is
the office of the Division Engineer, Lieut. Col. D. D. Gail-
lard, and the homes of the Resident Engineer, Mr. A. S.
Zinn, and other canal officials. From the observation plat-
form in the Division Office, may be obtained the best single
view of Culebra Cut, showing how it winds like an elongated
letter "S," following the contour of the ground in order
to minimize the amount of excavation. A closer view may
be obtained from the suspension bridge over the Cut, built
COLON TO PANAMA.
this moving mass was begun, in order that by lightening
it, the tendency to move forward of its own weight might be
lessened. The village is gradually being rebuilt on the back
slope of the hill, as the slide encroaches on the old site.
In 1908, the population of Culebra was 5,516, and it was
then the largest of the canal villages. Now it does not num-
ber half that many people, and the first place in population
has passed to Empire.
Returning now to the east side of the Canal and to the
new main line of the railroad, the train stops at
Paradise, for that is what Paraiso means. The
Paraiso original line of the Panama Railroad crossed
the divide through the pass now used by
the canal, and Paraiso was the first station beyond the
summit. It was just a stopping place until the French took
up the Canal work, when they made it one of their district
headquarters, established a small machine shop there, and
built quarters for officials and laborers. Later this was the
site of one of the proposed high level locks.
The Americans enlarged the shop and added to it a shed
for hostling locomotives. In 1908, at the time of the reor-
ganization of the work by Colonel Goethals, Paraiso Shop
was abandoned, and the trains ceased to stop at the
village. (Just think of living where the trains don't stop.)
The old shops are now used for the storage of machinery to
be erected in the locks at Pedro Miguel and Miraflores.
Just before entering Paraiso the traveler gets a view of
one of the prettiest interior valleys to be found in Panama.
Yet it is typical of a large number of similar
Prison Site basins among the hills, apparently completely
enclosed, but really drained at some incon-
spicuous spot by a little creek. This is the site chosen for
a penitentiary, if it is ever decided to erect a permanent prison
on the Canal Zone. It is likely the matter will be left to the
military government that almost surely will be established
here after the Canal is opened. Paraiso had 2,622 inhab-
itants in 1908, the time when it was most populous.
There is a hill back of Paraiso, from the top of which
one can see the tower in the ruins of Old Panama. It is said
that from this hill the pirate Morgan caught
Hill of the his first glimpse of the city. Whether true
Buccaneers or not, this is surely less important than
From "The Cut" to the Sea
Pedro Miguel and Miraflores date from French Canal
times, and bear respectively the names Saint Peter Michael,
and Miraflores, a distinguished Spanish soldier. At Pedro
Pedro Miguel. Miguel the French had two dredges in opera-
Miraflores. tion, and there they had made emplacements
for their locks. Under the American plan,
it is the site of the first flight of locks that will lower ships
from the level of Gatun Lake to that of the Pacific. Here
COLON TO PANAMA.
is an engine house where as many as eighty locomotives
tie up for the night. One of the most interesting sights on
the canal is watching these locomotives leave the engine
house for their work in the morning. The first one leaves
about 6.30 o'clock, and the last is clear of the yards ten
minutes later. Pedro Miguel had 1,623 population in 1908.
At Miraflores also the French hao a small settlement,
and this has been continued by the Americans, largely as
a labor camp. Here are being constructed two of the locks
required in completing the descent to the level of the Pacific,
begun at Pedro Miguel. These locks will be the last finished
and they are therefore the most interesting sight on the
Canal work, because more kinds of work are in progress
here than elsewhere.
STREET IN CANAL ZONE VILLAGE-PEDRO MIGUEL.
When the lake is filled and ships are moving through
the Canal, the Panama Railroad will be one of the prettiest
in existence. For thirty miles the train will
Miraflores skirt the borders of a lake; for nine miles
Tunnel. more along the side of Culebra Cut, where
Scenic the masts of ships will show up from the
Railroad. canal and one will be unable to see the ships
themselves .from the car windows; for many
miles through picturesque jungle; then it will look down
upon the locks at Pedro Miguel, and run along the edge of
another lake. Finally, and fitting climax, it will dash
through a tunnel, and when it emerges one will see, straight
ahead, Ancon Hill, the eminence that overlooks the Pacific
entrance to the canal, while beneath his eyes will be the
locks at Miraflores, and the sea-level channel stretching
away to the ocean. This is something to think about as
the train passes through the tunnel. The tunnel is 736
feet long, 15 feet wide, and 211 feet high above the tops of
the rails. It is lined with concrete. It was begun on July
1, 1907, and completed one year later.
This village is the headquarters of the Pacific Division,
and the long low building on the knoll east of the railroad
is the office of the Division Engineer, Mr. S.
Corozal. B. Williamson. Near it is the residence of
the Assistant Division Engineer, Mr. J. M. G.
Watt. It had 661 inhabitants in 1908 and has about a
thousand now. The name means a clump of coroso palms.
The village is mentioned before the founding of New Panama.
ENTRANCE TO ANCON HOSPITAL GROUNDS.
If your train happens to be the one that enters Panama
at night, you will see, as it approaches the city, the lights
of what appears to be a scattered village at
Ancon. the base of a big hill. These are the lights
of Ancon, the American settlement suburban
to the city of Panama. It is naqed Ancon after the hill
on whose terraced slope it is built, and the name means a
roadstead or anchorage. It does not appear that there
-was any settlement here, according to old maps, until the
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place was chosen by the French Canal Company in 1881
as the site for its general hospital.
The terracing of the slope was then begun, and many
of the buildings one sees there to day were constructed by
the French and used by them all during their
Ancon twenty-three years of canal work. In the
Hospital. light of the time the hospital was well run,
the main difference beiqg in the knowledge
of the mosquito theory as applied to malaria and yellow
fever. When the Americans came to Panama in 1904 some
of the beds in the wards were standing in cups of water to
keep the ants from crawling upon the patients, and in this
water mosquitoes of both the stegomyia and anopheles varieties
ANCON HOSPITAL GROUNDS
More about this hospital will be found in the chapter
on Social Conditions and Forces, page 51. It is under the
superintendence of Lieut. Col. Charles F. Mason of the
Army Medical Corps, has a staff of 33 doctors and 90
nurses, and will accommodate easily 1,300 patients, and by
crowding can be made to accommodate 700 more. (See
pages 51, 64, 211.)
To the tourist, the most interesting things about the
hospital are the pretty grounds, the pajamaed patients
sitting on the screened balconies or strolling about the
grounds, and the many varieties of tropical plants. These
plants have been catalogued by Colonel Mason, and most
of the trees and shrubs are labeled. A list of them will
be found on page 211.
The atmosphere of the hospital dominates Ancon,
because, of course, that is the principal industry of the place.
Well, do you know, there are some well-bathed
Some Ancon Americans working in that hospital who have
People. never seen Gatun Locks except from the car
windows, have an idea that Culebra Cut is
the name of a choice piece of meat sold only to high offi-
cials, and believe that the United States is constructing
a sea-level canal in Panama!
The Administration Building, on one of the knolls at the
foot of the hill, is the only good building erected by the
Americans in Panama. It is of concrete block,
Administra- and was originally designed to be the residence
tion Build- of the Governor of the Canal Zone. This
ing. plan was abandoned in 1906 on account of the
cost of maintaining such an establishment.
Here are the administrative offices of the Department of Sani-
tation, the Department of CivilAdministration, and the Secre-
tary of the Commission, the publication -office of The Canal
Record and the Official Handbook. The view from the upper
balcony of this building is probably the best that can be ob-
COLON TO PANAMA
stained of the Bay of Panama, the city, and the near by hills
without a toilsome climb up Ancon Hill itself.
Supreme The office of the Supreme Court is in
Court. Ancon, immediately back of the Post Office
The Hotel Tivoli was built for the threefold purpose of
furnishing quarters to employes who had arrived on the
Isthmus and had no quarters assigned to
Hotel Tivoli. them, for the use of persons whose business
with the canal administration forced them to
come to the Isthmus, and the recreation of employes, whose
chief dissipation is a trip to the city about once a fortnight.
To further this latter end, a dance hall containing 3,200
square feet of space was constructed, and an organization
of employes known as the Tivoli Club is given the privilege
of holding a dance here the second and fourth Saturdays
of each month. The building was begun in August, 1905,
and opened to the public on January 1, 1907, although a
part of it was used in November, 1906, for the entertain-
ment of President Roosevelt, on the occasion of his visit
to the Isthmus.
It is situated on a knoll named after the Tivoli Hill of
Rome, and overlooks the city of Panama and part of the
bay. It is built in three sides of a rectangle, the main part
being the base, and the two wings the sides. The open court
in front is occupied by a carriage-way and flower-bed. In
1912 an addition was made, which increased the sleeping
accommodations from 180 guest-rooms to 220, and the din-
ing-room accommodations from 400 to 700 persons. The
building is 314 feet long, wings 156 feet deep, and court-
yard in front 193 feet across and 91 feet deep. This hotel
has lately become more for transients than for people resi-
dent on the Isthmus, because the tourist trade has increased
so rapidly in the past two years. Yet it is still the place
where bachelors from the canal villages come to get a dif-
ferent kind of meal from that served in the messes, where
concerts are given by the official band once each month
to balconies crowded with canal workers, and where the
best dances on the Isthmus are held.
Ancon Hill is 664 feet high above mean tide. After
one climbs half way to the top it seems like six thousand
feet, and by the time he has reached the
Ancon Hill. summit it feels like six million. The climb
is worth while, however. Start about day-
break, spend half an hofr on the ascent, an hour on the
top, and half an hour on the descent, and you will be home
in time for breakfast, and none the worse for the trip. It
is a rapid ascent that tires one. From the top there stretches
such a view as can not be equaled on the Isthmus, and I
am told that it can not be surpassed anywhere. Out to sea
is the waveless bay, dotted with islands; farther away are
Taboga and its sister peaks rising out of the water, with their
little settlements at the base of the hills;- and towards the
east the long line of the coast stretches away to Darien.
Behind are the hills, at one's feet the city of Panama and the
COLON TO PANAMA.
entrance to the canal, and northward the eye can follow
the valley of the Rio Grande to the point where the line
of the canal is lost in the foothills of the cordillera. This
view so charmed the first American Canal builders that
there was talk of building the village of Ancon on top of the
hill and providing moving stairs for the ascent.
Rock for the concrete at Miraflores and Pedro Miguel
Locks is quarried from the side of Ancon Hill, where a series
of benches or inclines has been excavated
Ancon Quarry. from 180 to 375 feet above sea level. The rock
is loosened by dynamite, and then excavated
by steam-shovel, and loaded upon cars which run down
to the crusher-plant which is situated below the 180-foot
level. There the cars dump into a hopper, from which
the large rock passes by gravity to a crusher capable of taking
a piece of rock 36 inches in cube, and the smaller rock passes
to four secondary crushers, which also crush the product of
the large crusher. From the secondary crushers the rock
passes to storage bins, whence it is loaded by gravity upon
cars, which convey it to the locks.
The name Balboa, as applied to the village at the Pacific
entrance to the Canal, dates from April 30, 1909, when,
at the instance of the Peruvian Minister to
Balboa. Panama, the Hon. Alfonso Pezet, Colonel
Goethals issued a circular directing that
the old village of La Boca be called Balboa.
La Boca (the mouth) was the name applied to the ham-
let which grew up at the mouth of the Rio Grande, where
there was a crossing of the old trail that runs from Panama
to the villages west of that city. The French, as the Ameri-
cans have done, used the valley of the Rio Grande as the
southern end of their canal line, and in 1881 they began
to erect shops here at which their dredges from Scotland
and Belgium (all but one erected on the isthmus) could
be set up. The shops were well equipped for the time and
the work they had to do. Naturally a village sprang up,
composed of the shop and dredgemen.
On the side of Ancon Hill overlooking the Pacific en-
trance, Jules Dingier, Director General of the canal work,
erected a spacious house in 1885, but soon
La Folie after his wife and two children arrived here
Dingier. they died from yellow fever, before the house
was ready for occupancy, so he did not live
there, returning to France in June, 1885. It was a big frame
structure that is said to have cost $125,000. It was used
later as a hospital for Colombian troops, and from 1904 to
1910 was used by the Americans as a quarantine station.
In February, 1910, it was sold for $525, on condition that
the buyer would remove it. This was to make way for Ancon
Quarry. The house was called "Dingler's Folly."
In 1899 the terminal pier of the Panama Railroad was
opened to traffic, and since then the village has been both
a canal and railway settlement. The Ameri-
Present and can Canal work required the enlargement of
Future of Bal- the marine shops and this was begun in 1905
boa. for the purpose of rebuilding some of the old
French dredges. The dredging and machine-
shop work are now carried on under the direction of Mr.
W. G. Comber, resident engineer, and James Macfarlane,
superintendent of dredging.
At this point there is now in progress the erection of
terminal docks, and the construction of a dry dock and coal
supply station. In the course of 1913 construction of the
buildings for the Army and Navy headquarters will probably
be begun. While most of the canal villages are looking
backward on their glory, Balboa is looking forward to a
larger population, more work, and greater importance than
it has yet known.
A Canal-Builders' Village.
At the headwaters of the Rio Camacho, there is a broad
basin between the surrounding hills, half a mile in width
and several miles long, but gradually becoming narrow
at either end. At the broadest part of this basin is situated
Empire, most of its houses on the low flat ground, but a
few built on the sides of the hills. It is taken as the typical
Canal village because here are all the features of any of the
settlements, many that are not included in some. A road
runs across the valley and climbs the hills on either side,
and at right angles to it runs another highway connect-
ing the village with Culebra on the south and Las Cascadas
on the north. Along these roads the village has built up,
although there are a few short side streets. There are four
distinct sections of this village-that where the white Ameri-
cans live; that occupied by local merchants and those natives,
Chinese and negroes, not at work on the Canal; the negro
settlement; and the European labor camp.
COLON TO PANAMA.
The best part of the village the Americans have natur-
ally monopolized for themselves. Their homes and bache-
lor quarters are built along the principal streets, and there
also are the public buildings. The homes of the better-
paid officials are really handsome structures, all of wood,
two stories high, and so openly constructed that the air
can blow through and keep them cook
A typical house has a veranda on two sides, two big airy
rooms in front, an open room at the back with only mos-
quito screen between it and outdoors, used as a dining-
room, alongside it on one side a kitchen, and on the other
a servant's sleeping-room. Upstairs are bed-rooms, bath,
and toilet. The house will comfortably accommodate four
or five persons, and the occupants usually number a man
and his wife and a child or two. One who receives a salary
of $400 a month or more is assigned such a house as this or
a better one. Another typical house is a one-story bunga-
low, with a veranda across the front, two living-rooms, a
bed-room, a dining-room, kitchen, and bath and toilet.
All the rooms are tiny. They are built for young married
people presumably; but more frequently than not they
are occupied by a man and his wife and four or five children,
because, somehow or other, poor people breed most. One
who draws a salary or wage of $200 or less lives in such a house,
or perhaps he has one of the four apartments in the four-
family houses; if so, his accommodations are about the same
as those in the cottages. All the houses, large and small,
are of this type, unless it happens that there are left some
of the three-room cottages provided by the French for their
employes, and irreverently called by the Americans, "dog
There are two features of the housing that are rather
unique-the broad verandas which are used almost en-
tirely as sitting-rooms (the families practically live there),
and the lack of cellars. The houses are built on piers of
concrete and sticks, and if one lives on a hillside there is
left a good place under the house for the children to play.
Altogether the housing effect is good, and the accomoda-
tions excellent. Electric lights are furnished.
The commissary is situated in the center of the Ameri-
can village-a long low building, neatly divided into de-
partments; for this is a general store of the
Commissary type known as "country store" in the United
and Other States, only better. Here every morning meet
Stores. the housewives of the village to select the
food for the day. Here all day long people
straggle in to buy food, clothing, and toilet articles, or
perhaps to invest in some of the pretty china exposed for
sale. The prices are lower than in the States, generally
speaking, and the service is just as prompt. You must
carry the goods home. Every morning, however, the order
boy calls at the house and takes your order for the day, if
you choose to buy that way. This order is delivered to
the house before noon. But it is better to go down to the
store, because one meets others there, and if there is any
news floating around it is there that one hears it.
The other storesare run principally by Chinese. They are
situated outside the American village, and are patronized
chiefly by the native, non-Canal worker element, although
the Canal worker often finds there articles that are not car-
ried in the commissary. One of these stores is run by East
Indians, and is a fancy-goods shop where there are sold
very pretty articles of oriental make, such as fans, silks,
brasses, and fancy crockery.
The Commission clubhouse, conducted by a secretary
of the Y. M. C. A., is the chief center of the village life.
This building is two stories high, roomy,
Social Centers. and cool. In the center is a broad lobby,
on one side of this a pool and billiard room,
on the other a reading room with magazines and books,
behind it a quick-lunch counter. In the annex at the back
are barber shop, locker and toilet rooms, baths, bowling
alleys, and a pavilion in which soft drinks and ice-cream
are served. Upstairs is the assembly hall, with a stage at
one end, and here are given moving-picture and other shows,
and are held the bi-weekly dances. Also on the second floor
are retiring-rooms for women, and a game-room, where
mighty battles are fought by bishops, knights, and pawns,
to decide the old foolish question as to which king shall
A building used as a church and lodge hall stands a
little distance away from the main street, and there meet
the religious organizations that have no meeting places of
COLON TO PANAMA.
their own; and upstairs, over the chapel, such secret socie-
ties as are established here. Among these are the Kan-
garoos, Odd Fellows, Pythians, Red Men, Rebekahites,
Knights of Columbus, and Masons.
This is really not a hotel but a mess hall, because one
can not rent a room here. It is a long one-story building,
with a broad veranda (on which men who
Commission have their coats on may eat), a big room filled
Hotel. with tables (where eat the coated and coat-
less), and a kitchen where the food is pre-
pared. An employee pays 30 cents a meal, and kicks; a tour-
ist pays 50 cents, and says it is excellent. Both are right.
The meals are much alike every day, and that is why the
regular boarder complains; but they are the biggest thirty-
cents' worth of food imaginable. Yet they actually cost
only 30 cents, because the hotels are self-sustaining. There
are two features that wear on the nerves-the heaped up
bottles of catsup, chowchow, jelly, pickles, mustard, chut-
ney, mayonnaise, and other delicacies and relishes in the
center of the table; and the clatter of dishes that always
characterizes a "hash house." But this must be expected
in a place where a wholesome meal with an abundance of
food costs only thirty cents.
The Episcopalians have a church of their own, and so
have the Roman Catholics. They are very act-
Churches. ive congregations, with something doing three
nights a week. The Empire Union Church,
the Baptists and other sects meet in the public church and
lodge hall, and there are two churches outside the Ameri-
can settlement for negroes,
The baseball park occupies a lot near the center of the
village; and here, while the players in the States are tend-
ing bar or resting during the winter months,
Sports. the Canal Zone nines contend every Sunday
for the championship. There are good games,
and no end of enthusiasm. At one end of the village are
the tennis courts, and here, too, good games are played,
with regular tournament series during the dry season.
At noon and at night the trains pass through on their
trip across the continent. Scores of men gather here to
watch the pretty faces that are poked out of
The Train, the car windows. Some people get on the
trains and others get off, there is an exchange
of greetings all around, and then they all go home, in pairs
or groups, talking about one another, or discussing the latest
news of the Canal Zone and the world, as brought to them
by the newspapers.
This typical village comprehends all kinds of working-
men. The engineering and administrative office for the
excavation of Culebra Cut is on the hill on the
TheWorkers. east, at the foot are the shops, at the other
end of the village on the toe of the opposing
hill are the offices of the Comptroller and of Disburse-
ments. Here live steamshovel, transportation, and powder
foremen-laborers, clerks, officials, engineers, and drafts-
men-all classes of Canal workers. All told they number
quite five thousand people, making the Canal Zone metrop-
COLON TO PANAMA.
The ordinary economic bar between the laborer and the
more advanced economic classes is added to on the Isthmus
by the fact that the laborer is either alien
European in language and nation, or alien in race. It
Laborers. is natural, therefore, that there is little in
common between even the European laborer
and the white American. The Spaniard lives in a labor
camp apart from the remainder of the village, and has his
mess nearby, (where he is served food in a rough fashion for
40 cents for 3 meals), and has his interests in the camp and
in the cantinas run by men of his nation. The Govern-
ment has not been eminently successful in feeding the
Spanish laborer, because he does not like the American way
of cooking, and anyway prefers the atmosphere of the can-
tina, where he can have his wine and can sit long over his
dinner, discussing with his fellows questions of common
interest. There are only 200 Spanish-labor families on the
Isthmus living in the small quarters provided for them by
the Government. There are probably twice as many more
living in privately rented quarters in the various villages
and in Panama and Colon. More about the Spanish laborer
will be found in the chapter on Social Conditions and Forces,
which follows this.
The insurmountable bar of race is between the negro
and the other canal workers. He lives alone with his kind
and since he is numerically four times as
West Indian strong as the white men on the force, he is
Negroes. self-sufficient. His labor camp consists of
barracks where from 40 to 80 men are housed,
a kitchen where he is served three meals for 27 cents, and
a clubhouse run by a negro society, church, or church
guild. He is distinctly sociable, drinks little, and sings
much, and appears in general to enjoy his higher economic
status. It is proposed to move all the negroes back to the
West Indies when the time for turning the Canal Zone into
a military reservation comes. This will be hard on the
West Indian planter, because the negro has learned in the
Canal Zone that the wage paid in Barbados and Jamaica
is about fifty per cent too low. More about the negro laborer
will be found in the chapter on Social Conditions and Forces,
which follows this.
Social Conditions and Forces.
The best analysis of social conditions in the Canal Zone
yet made is contained in the book on Panama, in "Porter's
Progress of the Nations" series (George Routledge and Sons,
Publishers, London, 1912); and, because it is the best, it is
Social institutions and conditions in the Canal Zone can be
understood only in view of the nature of their being and the varied
class of people that influence them. It is commonly said that the
villages along the Canal are well regulated American towns. This
is true only in appearance.
The effort of the Government was to transplant the life of Ameri-
can villages to the Canal Zone, but in the truest sense this can not
be done, because such life is the result of slow growth and can not be
picked up and transplanted, any more than an apple-tree can be
made to grow in the torrid zone. Every Canal village has churches.
schools, meeting halls, libraries, and social organizations; but they
are like similar institutions in the United States in form only. Even
the people themselves are different.
Taking as an instance only the white American population,
these differences are deeply marked. In a village such as Culebra,
the capital of the Canal Zone, there are people from the South, New
England, North, and West, of the United States. The analysis of
the representatives of these four distinct social sections, made by
James Bryce twenty years ago, is still correct in all important
respects. Any generalization must fail of the truth, but it is indica-
tive of the diverse background of the people from these sections to say
that the New England man is a penurious Puritan tainted with
intellectual snobbery, the northern man has a distinct commerical
bent, the western man is a trader of strong progressive political
thought, and the southern man not entirely free from the belief that
the civil war of 1860-65 is still being waged, and delightfully con-
vinced that his people have a monopoly of refinement in America.
These people meet one another daily, and learn more in a month,
from a social standpoint, than they could have learned in years in
their home communities.
In the ordinary American community it is seldom that the son
of a merchant fraternizes with the son of a mechanic; and in cities of
25,000 inhabitants or over, lines are usually drawn between the mem-
bers of various churches, not because of religious convictions, but
because the church is a social center. Then there are differences of
education, culture, birth, and profession, that tend to make people
in long-established communities form little coteries, with a conse-
quent narrowing of both knowledge and sympathy. In the Canal
Zone there are not enough people of any one industrial class, with
common church, professional, and cultural interests, to form these
little cliques for social stagnation, and the result is a broadening of
social and intellectual horizon that keeps most of them in a fever of
Nor should one lose sight of the fact that practically everyone
on the Canal work is on a higher economic plane than ever before.
This has resulted in a forcing of cultural and social standards,
COLON TO PANAMA. 49
pathetically evident in the efforts of some women to emulate others,
and of a few to emphasize the differences between themselves and
their social sisters.
It has been said that social institutions in the Canal Zone are
like similar ones in the United States in form only. Canal Zone
churches, clubhouses, and meeting halls are furnished by the Govern-
ment. The benevolent despotism, of which Col. Geo. W. Goethals
is head, h,as been too kind for the social good of the community,
although its policy has been justified in the smooth working of the
Canal building machine.
There is no participation in politics. The laws are made in
Washington and Culebra, without question as to the wishes of the
people, and there is a consequent loss of social development. If one
wishes to know what to do or how to do it, he consults The Canal
Record, the weekly bulletin of the despotism, and finds there the
law as the despot has issued it. And the people like it. After the
policital strife of every American city, it is pleasant to live where all
is quiet. One who has experienced both kinds of life knows why the
"chosen people" longed to turn their backs on Moses and return to
the flesh pots of Egypt.
Here there are no elections to determine whether a new school
building shall be erected, or certain streets paved, or a municipal
water-system installed; and therefore little thought of municipal
government or improvement. Here are no mass-meetings to arouse
enthusiasm for a new church building, an orphan asylum, or other
social palliative. The Government has decided, or will decide. I
say this Government has been too kind, because no matter how pleas-
ant it is to have others do one's thinking the effect of five years or
more of benevolent despotism in the Canal Zone, has convinced me
thoroughly of the educative value of a democratic form of Govern-
There are many other similar influences, but those cited are the
most important in coloring the social conditions and institutions of
the Canal makers. It is patent that they are fundamental, and one
of their most frequent results is that grown-up people of convictions
long settled find themselves, after a few months of the Canal builder's
life, drifting from their conventional moorings.
Under the conditions outlined it will be readily understood how
formal religion has suffered loss by the migration to the Canal Zone
of people who were regular "church-goers" in the United States
The sudden broadening of mental and spiritual horizon, consequent
upon the abrupt change from a highly formalized mode of living to an
entirely different atmosphere, has crystallized in many people an
impulse, felt everywhere in the United States, towards a rejection of
formal religion. Even Roman Catholics in the Canal Zone are in-
different to a greater degree than in the United States.
Another influence in this rejection of formalism is the breaking
up of the home routine. In the United States the average middle-
class family eats breakfast at 8 o'clock on Sunday morning, adorns
itself in holiday clothing at 9 o'clock, and at 10 o'clock goes to church.
The church-going is as much a part of the routine as the breakfast.
At church one meets his friends, listens to a sermon that is often
good and seldom displeasing, takes part in music that is at least as
high-class as the average taste of the congregation, and on the whole
is pleasantly diverted. In Canal Zone villages the sermons are poor
and the music not so good as the taste of the listeners.
If each congregation of Canal workers had a feeling that it was
building up a permanent organization for social advancement; had
before it some tangible ambition, such as building a church and pay-
ing for it; or if it could feel in some way that it was being persecuted,
the handicaps of environment and unattractive services might be
neutralized. But there is no persecution, no tangible goal, no feeling
of permanency, with the result that the attitude of the average
Canal worker towards formal religion is that of indifference.
In the scope of this chapter it is impossible to give more than a
suggestion of the admirable work various religious organizations are
doing under these adverse conditions.
The longest-established church in the territory of the Canal
Zone is the Roman Catholic, which draws no color line, and embraces
in its membership, Americans, Panamans, European laborers, and
negroes. As an organization its spiritual power over the Europeans
and Panamans has been weakened by the fact that it has uniformly
stood, both in Spain and Spanish-America, for reaction, and in the
minds of the mass, which can not draw the line between church
government and the spiritual church, it is identified with political
and economic oppression. With this handicap it yet draws to its
services men and women of all classes, and every mass on Sunday is
said in the presence of scores of people. There are six churches in the
Canal Zone, and the pastors of three of them (a Spanish, a French,
and an American priest) are men of distinct intellectual and spiritual
The second-oldest church organization is the Protestant Episco-
pal, which opened Christ Church in Colon in 1865. In 1883 when the
West Indian negroes came to the Isthmus in large numbers to work
for the French Canal Company, the work was placed under the
jurisdiction of the Anglican Church, to revert in 1907 to the Protest-
ant Episcopal Church of the United States. Its work among the
negroes is of more importance than that among the whites, because
the former are more in need of spiritual guidance. There are thirteen
congregations of negroes and five of whites.
The change in surroundings and the rise in the economic scale
experienced by the West Indian negroes, by reason of their migration
to the Canal Zone, has had the opposite effect on them from what it
has had on the Americans; and they have become more diligent in
their church-going. This assertion is made on the authority of the
Rev. Henry Bryan, one time archdeacon of the Canal Zone and
Panama, who quotes the undivided opinion of the Anglican clergy
of several West Indian islands, scores of whom he questioned on this
subject. The most evident reasons are, first, that the negroes on
the Canal Zone have their own churches, and there is none of the
feeling that they are inferior to anyone in the church work; second,
the Govern.nent of the Canal Zone has insisted upon marriage as a
prerequisite to cohabitation, and there is a distinct increase in the
self-respect of the negroes who are living together under the formal
sanction of religion and law.
Among the sectarian or evangelical churches the Wesleyan is
the most potent. It was established on the Isthmus in 1882 to care
for negro laborers of that sect, and now has two ministers and sixteen
COLON TO PAMANA. 51
lay preachers in the Isthmian mission. The Methodist Episcopal
Church maintains a mission and school in Panama city, and works
chiefly among the white Americans, although its missionary society
has begun to proselytize among the Panamans. The Baptist Church
works among both negroes and whites, and one of its missionaries,
the Rev. S. M. Loveridge of Culebra, is accorded by the Canal
workers the distinction of being the most powerful spiritual influence
among the 30,000 negro workmen. A nonsectarian organization
known as the Union Church was organized by,several Canal employes
in 1907. and now conducts services in the Government chapels in
five different Canal villages. Among other organizations doing
spiritual work along definite lines are the Christian Science, Seventh
Day Adventist, "The Remnant of Israel" (Hebrew), and the Chinese
temples at Panama and Colon.
Church work was authorized by the Isthmian Canal Commission
on October 4, 1905, as one of the means of stabilizing the working
force, and promoting social order. Of forty church buildings in the
Canal Zone in 1911, seven were Roman Catholic, thirteen Episcopal,
seven Baptist, two Wesleyan, and eight undenominational. All but
two of the buildings are on land set aside by the Government, and
twenty-six are owned by it. Fifteen chaplains are maintained by
the Government, of whom four are Episcopalians, four Baptist,
three Roman Catholic, one Wesleyan, and one Presbyterian.
Although it is carrying on a more vital class of work than any of
the churches, the Salvation Army is classed with them, because of
the fact that it also conducts religious services. The work dates
from May 19, 1904, and is confined almost entirely to West Indian
negroes. A rest house, where free lodging and meals may be pro-
cured by the needy, is maintained in Colon in a building erected by
the Canal authorities, and outposts are maintained for welfare work
in Panama City, and the Canal villages of Gatun, Gorgona, and
Empire. The Army emphasizes the fact that it is assisting the labor-
ers by lending them meals and a place to sleep, and in consequence
at least fifty per cent of the people who accept its aid do not leave the
Isthmus before paying the entire indebtedness, while many more
make some payment. Services of the characteristic Salvation Army
kind are held at street corners, and in the various posts, and they are
THE SICK AND INJURED.
In every Canal village there is a public dispensary presided over
by one or more physicians, and equipped with an emergency operat-
ing-room and a good drug-store. The physicians have regular office
hours for making calls on patients confined to their homes. Only
the simplest cases are treated at the home of the patient, the aim being
to send everyone who is likely to become very ill to one of the two
main hospitals, situated at Ancon (Panama), and Colon. Emer-
gency cases are treated in the dispensaries only to the extent of giv-
ing first aid, and the patient is then sent to one of the main hospitals.
The hospital at Ancon can accommodate 2,000 patients, though
the wards are rated for 1,500 only, and the staff is organized for that
number of patients. At Colon the hospital is arranged for 200
patients, but in emergency can accommodate half again that number.
These hospitals are modern in equipment both for medical and surgi-
cal cases, and at Ancon there is a large laboratory in which tropical
diseases are investigated under the distinguished pathologist, Dr.
S. T. Darling. On the island of Taboga in Panama Bay is a con.
valescent hospital, where a few of the patients spend the week im-
mediately following their discharge from the hospital.
This system of free medical treatment has been in effect seven
years. With a carefully selected class of employes, and a population
where the average age is not above 35 years, the results, viewed
from a statistical point, would be misleading. From a social stand-
point they are probably typical. There has been no noticeable
development of the "chronic," as might be expected where drugs are
dispensed without cost. The physicians are not tempted to encour-
age illness, and the people are not encouraged in it. In consequence
there is very little medicine dispensed, outside of quinine for malaria
and salts for constipation.
Taking away the incentive of private fortune has had no appar-
ent effect on the physicians employed by the Government. These
men are selected after competitive examination, and as a class are
above the average of their profession in the United States. They
are paid salaries varying from $1,500 to $7,000 a year, the average
being $2,800 a year. They have a medical society which holds
monthly meetings, and they have maintained an esprit du corps no
less remarkable than that of the remainder of the Canal force.
The investigations of malaria which have recently won for Dr.
W. E. Deeks and Dr. W. McC. James election to various English
and American societies of specialists were conducted in connection
with regular practice among the patients at Ancon Hospital. Others
of the medical profession are doing just as serious work in connection
with their other duties; and this spirit of professional enthusiasm
is characteristic of the whole staff.
Many of them who entered the Canal service merely as a step-
ping stone to more lucrative practice, are now frank to say that they
would remain in the Government medical service at purely nominal
salary, rather than to take up the occupation of a private-adventure
physician in general practice.
Two schools for primary instruction are maintained in the
Canal Zone by Spanish laborers, but except for these the schools are
maintained by the Government. There are two distinct systems-
one for colored children and one for white children.
Teachers in the schools for white children are recruited in the
United States, and the requirements are fully as severe as those in
the average small city in the United States, including professional
training and actual teaching experience. There are ten primary
schools, and one secondary or high school.
Teachers for the colored schools are recruited with the assistance
of the Government of Jamaica, and are chiefly Jamaican negroes
who have had professional training in that island. There are sixteen
schools for colored children. In addition to the primary branches
an effort is made to teach the rudiments of farming to the negro
COLON TO PANAMA.
children, on the assumption that they may remain in the Canal
Zone where the opportunities for small farming are good.
A statement of the school attendance in 1911 follows:
Sex. Enrolled Enmulled Total
W hite. Negro. Enrolled.
Male.................................... 682 775 1.457
Female.................. .............. 728 793 1,521
Total.. ..... ... .................. 1.410 1,568 2,978
The work is directed by a Superintendent, assisted by two
inspectors, 43 white teachers for the white schools, and 24 for the
colored schools. Education is not compulsory. Text books are
supplied free of cost.
The educative idea does not enter into the penal system of the
Canal Zone, the imprisonment of offenders being entirely on the
assumption that they owe a debt to the community. Persons con-
victed of misdemeanors are imprisoned in local jails at Ancon, Em-
ire, Gorgona, and Cristobal, and are made to do work about the
jails and police stations, and sometimes on the municipal roads and
streets. Persons convicted of crimes are imprisoned at the peni-
tentiary in Culebra, and the majority of the men are set at work on
the Canal Zone highways. Their services are valued at 10 cents an
hour. In the year 1910, when the Canal Zone population was
largest (approximately 65,000) there were 6,407 males and 477 fe-
males placed under arrest, and 80 per cent of these were convicted,
the majority of misdemeanors, for which the sentence was a fine or
imprisonment for not more than 90 days. One hundred and thirty-
seven felony convicts began sentence at the penitentiary during that
year. There were sixteen homicides, in which cases there were
five convictions, eight acquittals, one dismissal, one sent to the insane
asylum, three awaiting trial. Capital punishment is by hanging,
and is inflicted only for premeditated murder. The policing of the
Canal Zone, a territory of four hundred square miles inhabited by
65,000 people, is done thoroughly by a force consisting of one hundred
and forty-six white and one hundred and eleven negro policemen, di-
rected by a chief and assistant chief of police.
In six of the Canal Zone villages the Government maintains
public clubhouses for its white American employes. The buildings
contain waiting, reading and game-rooms, billiard-
Y. M. C. A. room, bowling-alleys, and dance-hall that is also used
for public entertainments. When the policy of
establishing these clubhouses was determined upon the only trained
conductors of such institutions in the United States were the secre-
taries of the Young Men's Christian Association. The Association
was called upon to take charge of the Canal builders' social centers
for the dual reason that it had the machinery and men ready, and
that it makes a good impression in the United States to have Govern-
ment functions under the guidance of an organization definitely
54 PANAMA GUIDE.
opposed to such social evils as alcoholism and gambling. It is a
disadvantage that the clubhouses are furnished free (although ten
dollars a year is charged for each person using them regularly, as
a maintenance fee) because it is human nature to feel less interest in
things given than in things striven for.
Part of the effort to establish home life, was the organization of
women's clubs under the American Federation of Women's Clubs.
These organizations flourished for a period of eighteen
Women's months; but soon the novelty wore off, and the diffi-
Clubs. culty of making the meetings attractive to scores of
women of divergent interests and ideas could not be
overcome. In an American city these clubs are organizations of
women of comparatively similar tastes and interests and therefore
are self-cohesive. In the Canal Zone they were started by the
Government, and gradually their membership has diminished until
it numbers less than two hundred. These few, however, belong to
the clubs because they wish to, and they make a much stronger
organization than the larger numbers of 1908 and 1909 did. The
meetings are devoted largely to discussions of questions of current
interest, regular study courses are pursued, and domestic problems
are discussed. A tropical cook-book, sanitary drinking cups in the
schools and railway trains, free lectures on tuberculosis and other
diseases prevalent in Panama, public playgrounds in Colon, Panama,
and Gatun, and essay competitions in the schools are among the
more tangible results of the organization.
Fraternal Friendly or fraternal societies, such as the
Societies. Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Foresters,
Knights of Columbus, and Kangaroos, have lodges
and hold regular meetings. Their influence is negligible.
The prime object of the trades unions, that of increasing wages
and bettering the conditions of employment, is anticipated in work
for the American Government by the enforcement of an eight-hour
working day, and by higher wages than are paid in private employ.
Therefore the trades unions represented among the Americans on the
Canal and Panama Railroad are practically restricted to presenting
petitions of the employes, and keeping alive the spirit of organiza-
tion against the time when the men shall again enter private employ.
Committees of the men are always at liberty to present grievances
to the Chief Engineer, whether they represent a regularly organized
union or only a local organization. Individuals are accorded a like
privilege, although it is naturally much better to consider grievances
of a whole class and decide them at one time than to take up indi-
vidual cases. The unions represented among the Canal workers
include the International Brotherhood of Steamshovel and Dredge-
men, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the Machinists,
Boilermakers, Molders, and Electrical workers. There is a local
organization of railway conductors. Meetings are held regularly,
and contributions are made to the central organizations in the
United States. In every case where there has been a threat of
strike the central organization has advised the Canal men not to
leave their work, because the conditions of it are so much better
than in the United States.
The Spanish laborers have a political organization made up of
men of various radical beliefs, called variously liberals, socialists
and anarchists. Their meetings are held openly and the discussion
COLON TO PANAMA.
is largely confined to such questions as temperance, gambling, and
political conditions in Spain. In the only concerted movement of
Spanish laborers that has taken place on the Canal or railroad, the
leaders of the liberal clubs were the leaders of the men.
Such organizations as they had in the West Indies, the English-
speaking negroes have transplanted to the Canal Zone. One is the
West Indian Protective Association, which endeavors to present the
claims of the negroes as a body, and its influence is unquestionably
good, because its weekly bulletin emphasis the need of right living.
"The Land Ship" is an organization with several lodges, its claims
on the men seeming to be like that of many of the American fraternal
organizations, largely self-improvement and the joy of holding high-
sounding offices, such as Admiral, Commodore, and the like.
56 PANAMA GUIDE.
FERDINAND VICOMTE DE LESSEPS THEODORE ROOSEVELT
Ferdinand Vicomte de Lesseps. Born Versailles, 1805. Died 1894. Began
Suez Canal project 1854; canal opened 1869. Panama Canal project 1879 to 1894.
Lesseps was not an engineer but a promoter. Although convicted with his son of
misappropriation of Panama Canal funds, it is believed he knew nothing about
the frauds. His name was capitalized. He was not in actual charge of the admin-
Theodore Roosevelt. Born, New York, 1858. Harvard College, 1880. Pres-
ident of The United States, September 14, 1901 to March 4, 1909. During his
administration the independence of Panama was realized, and canal work organized.
WILLIAM CRAWFORD GORGAS. JOHN F. STEVENS.
William Crawford Gorgas, (Colonel, Medical Corps, U. S. A.) Born Mobile,
Alabama 1854. Bellevue Hospital Medical School, 1879. First lieutenant, Med-
ical Corps, 1880. Colonel by special act Congress 1903 for work as health officer
of Habana. Chief Sanitary Officer, Isthmian Canal Commission, since June 1904.
Member Isthmian Canal Commission, since March 4, 1907.
John F. Stevens. Born West Gardiner, Me.. 1853. Builder, engineer mana-
ger of railroads. Chief Engineer Panama Canal, July 20, 1905 to April 1, 1907,
Chairman of the Commission, February and March, 1907.
The Panama Canal
When the Panama Canal is opened to navigation in 1915,
it will be three hundred and eighty-one years since the first
survey for a Canal was made; for neither the Americans nor
the French were the first to dream about a canal across the
Isthmus, nor even to investigate its possibility. Columbus
touched at Nombre de Dios and Porto Bello, quite likely
sailed into Limon Bay, in 1501, and he died believing that
such a route existed. There were traditions of it among
the Indians, or of what sounded like it to the Spaniards;
and Balboa, Pizarro, and others of the conquistadors, must
have thought many times of the advantage of such a pas-
sage, as they toilsomely drove the enslaved natives, over-
laden with parts of ships and other cumbrous freight,
over the mountain passes and through the jungles of Darien.
As early as 1530 the Chagres River was used as a means of
crossing to within 15 miles of the old city of Panama on the
Pacific; and in 1534 Charles V of Spain had a survey made
for a canal from the end of navigation on the Chagres to
the Pacific. This is the route of the present Canal. At
regular intervals from that time forth the project was dis-
cussed, and in 1814, Spain actually took active steps to con-
struct a canal, but the revolution of her colonies put an
end to the plans. The discussion, renewed by Von Hum-
boldt in the closing years of the 18th century, has never
Although the Spaniards were the first to make a survey,
and to consider as a national measure, the construction
of a canal, the interest of the United States
Atrato, San has been constant since 1825, and more has
Bias, Cale- actually been done by that Government in
donia Routes, the matter of surveys and investigations than
by all others together. Of the many routes
surveyed between Tehuantepec and Colombia, the Nicar-
agua and Panama are the only ones ever seriously con-
sidered, and yet there are three others that have been nrade
the subject of several investigations.
The Atrato route is the most commonly known of these.
There is an Indian legend that at a point on the headwaters
of the Atrato a canoe can be carried for a distance of a mile
and then floated on a river through which it can go with-
out danger or interruption to the Pacific. The idea is that
there is a point in the cordillera of Colombia at which the
headwaters of the Atrato are very close to those of the Traun-
do, Napipi, Doonado, Bando, and San Juan. This is true.
But the obstacles in the way of building a Canal on this
route are greater than on any of the others. They include
continual dredging along the Atrato River for a hundred
miles, a cut through the continental divide that is greater
than the cut at Culebra, and the canalizing of rivers on the
Pacific side which for many miles are rugged mountain
torrents. It is a dream of the Colombians that some day
they will build a barge canal along this route, thus connecting
their eastern with their western domain.
A glance at the map will show that the Gulf of San
Miguel on the Pacific side, and Calidonia Bay on the Atlan-
tic are so close to one another that a route for a canal would
seem to be possible there. This route has been surveyed,
and the amount of excavation required makes the project
many times more difficult than the Panama route. The
same is true of the route from the Bay of San Bias on the
Atlantic to the Bayano or Chepo River. The Isthmus at
this point is at its narrowest, 35 miles, but the excavation
required is so great that the only projects ever suggested
included a tunnel 4.2 miles long, through which ships with
masts 180 feet high must pass. The project has long been
regarded as chimerical.
The Nicaragua route became the subject of actual in-
vestigation in 1825, when the newly federated state of Cen-
tral America, having established its independ-
Nicaragua ence from Spain, advised the United States
Route. that it would encourage in every way any proj-
ect by Americans for the opening of a canal
from the Atlantic to the Pacific by way of Nicaragua. A
company was immediately formed in New York, but it
failed to raise the money for the surveys. An effort made
by an English capitalist from 1826 to 1838 to interest capital
in the project resulted in a reconnaissance survey, but no
actual construction work. In 1839 the United States Govern-
ment sent John L. Stephens to report upon a canal route,
and after an examination of the isthmus both in Nicaragua
San Mitg >5 -t
-. i Uaba (Arao &te)
ISTHMIAN CANAL ROUTES.
Nicaragua, Panama, San Bias, Calidonia Bay, and Atrato.
and Panama he reported in favor of Nicaragua, as being
the less expensive. He later became one of the organizers
of the Panama Railroad.
The canal projects were given a definite status by the
ratification on July 5, 1850, of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty,
by which the United States and the United King-
dom agreed to enforce the neutrality of any canal. Under
this treaty, and an agreement with Nicaragua, a sur-
vey was made in 1850-1852 by an American, O. W. Childs,
and a land transit route was opened, which carried on an
extensive business by steamer and stage coach for several
years, while the plans for a canal advanced. The conces-
sion was forfeited in 1858, and was renewed for a French-
man, Felix Belly, who in turn forfeited his rights, for nonac-
tion, ten years later. Another Frenchman, Michel Chevalier
was given the franchise, but he also failed to begin the work.
In 1869, upon the recommendation of President Grant,
the United States Government began a systematic survey
of all the isthmian routes from Tehuantepec to the Atrato
River, and in 1876 the commission, under which the surveys
were executed, reported in favor of Nicaragua. A more com-
plete survey of this route was made in 1885 by A. G. Menocal,
and in February, 1889, the Maritime Canal Company of
Nicaragua was incorporated under concessions from Nica-
ragua and Costa Rica. It was an American company with
enough capital to make a beginning, and results of its work
are still evident at Greytown and along the San Juan. It
failed for lack of funds in 1893. The United States Govern-
ment had meanwhile become interested in the project of
its citizens, and on March 2, 1895, the Nicaraguan Canal
Board was appointed to make further plans, it being under-
stood that if the work were ever to be done the Government
itself must do it. On November 16, 1901, this board, later
known as the Isthmian Canal Commission, reported in
favor of the construction of a canal across Nicaragua, pro-
viding the property of the New Panama Canal Company of
France on the Isthmus of Panama, could not be purchased
at $40,000,000, about one-third of the price actually asked.
The Panama Canal project went through much the same
course of development as the Nicaraguan. Surveys were
made and remade, none of them thorough,
Panama until 1890, and each resulted in the verdict
Route. "feasible," and estimates now known to have
been grotesquely small. Bolivar in 1827 sent
an English surveyor, J. A. Lloyd, to the Isthmus of Panama
to survey a route for a wagon road or a canal. He recom-
mended a wagon road from Limon (Navy) Bay to Panama,
along the line of the Chagres River, knowing that the cost
of a canal was far beyond the resources of the government.
In 1835, Charles Biddle, sent by the United States Gov-
ernment to investigate routes across the isthmus, obtained
from New Granada a concession for a railroad, but the prose-
cution of his plan was not deemed expedient at that time.
In 1838, New Granada granted a similar concession to a com-
pany of Frenchmen, and a misleading report of a pass 37
feet above sea level caused the French Government to send
Napoleon Garella to make a survey. He corrected the error,
but recommended that a canal be built with summit level
at 48 meters above the sea, a tunnel 31 miles long, through
the continental divide, and 18 locks to make the lift from
the sea to the summit level. The opening of California
and Oregon to settlement and the discovery of gold in Cali-
fornia in 1849, gave the isthmian crossing new value, and
the United States made a treaty with New Granada in 1848
to guarantee an open transit across Panama. The con-
struction of the railroad (1850-1855) had a deterrent effect
on canal enterprises in Panama for some years, although
surveys were made under direction of the United States
Government in 1854 and 1866.
In May, 1876, the Government of Colombia (formerly
New Granada) granted a concession for a canal to a French
company, and under this concession the first work was
The French Attempt.
Surveys made for this company by Lucien Napoleon
Bonaparte Wyse were the basis of the decision (May 15-29,
1879) by an international congress at Paris, in favor of
a sea-level canal from the Bay of Limon to Panama Bay
by way of the pass at Culebra. In 1881, The Universal
Interoceanic Panama Canal Company, with Ferdinand de
Lesseps as nominal head, took up the work. The canal
was to be constructed, as the Suez Canal had been, as a
business venture. On January 10, 1881 a ceremonial break-
ing of ground was performed by Lesseps himself at the
Pacific entrance. Then followed a period of hasty surveys,
assembling of machinery, and organizing and housing a
working force. The first excavation was begun (January
20, 1882) near the summit of the continental divide, at
Empire, in the section now known as Culebra Cut. That
was thirty years ago, and, barring three years, from 1888
to 191, work has been carried on at that point ever since.
Their occupation was of much the same nature as the
Americans, except that the French employed West Indian
negroes in many positions where white men are now em-
ployed, and the proportion of French to the total force was
therefore less. The work was done by contract, as the barge
canal in New York State is now being constructed, and scores
of Americans were employed in that way.
Right from the start they were handicapped. Yellow
fever found the non-immune French easy victims, and ma-
laria attacked both negro and white man.
Failure of The administration was hampered by inter-
First French ference of the Colombian officials, the plans
Company. were incomplete, and it was found at an early
date that the estimate of cost ($127,600,000)
was ridiculously low, and that more money must be raised.
Meanwhile, the reports of death and sickness, the real magni-
tude of the enterprise, and the extravagant use of money
in France, were making a bad impression on the French
people; and the bonds of the company sold at a continuously
lower price. In 1887 the sea-level project was abandoned
for the time, as too costly, and a lock-level canal, to be deep-
ened gradually to sea level, was decided upon.
On February 4, 1889, the company went into the hands
of a receiver, and in the investigation that ernsued great
frauds in the administration of the company's affairs in
France were disclosed. Ferdinand de Lesseps and others
were convicted of fraud, although there is little evidence
that Lesseps the elder was more than a figurehead, and it
is likely that he knew nothing of the dishonesty. At the
time of the disclosures, he was 86 years old, and he died soon
after having been found guilty.
Little work was done on the isthmus until 1894, when
The New Panama Canal Company, a receiver organization,
began in earnest to complete the cut through the continental
divide. It made extensive studies, and proceeded on the
plan of a lock canal at two levels above the sea, to be reached
by four locks on either side of the summit level. This canal
was to have a ruling depth of 29 feet 6 inches, and a least
width of 98 feet, as compared with 41 -foot depth and 300-
foot least width of the present canal. The French continued
to work in Culebra Cut until the Americans took possession
on May 4, 1904. In all they had spent $255,000,000 procured
from securities of a face value of $435,000,000. The loss
was distributed among 200,000 bondholders, chiefly mem-
bers of the French middle-class.
The value of the work done by the French was estimated
in 1901 by the Isthmian Canal Commission of that time at
$40,000,000, and on this basis the rights of
Work Done by the French company were acquired. An
the French. estimate made by the present Commission
in 1911, based upon the known value of the
French excavation and equipment is $42,799,826, divided
Dry-23,138,000 cubic yards at $1.03. $23,832,140
Wet-6,770,000 cubic yards at $0.23.-- 1,557,100
Total.. ...- ..................... ........ $25,389,240
P. R. R. stock, 68,888 shares at $140 ...... 9,644,320
Maps, drawings and records- ......- 2,000,000
Material and equipment ........................ 2,112,063
Buildings.-.. . --- .............. ..... ..- 2,054,203
Lands ............- ---.............. 1,000,000
Use of Pacific ship channel...................... 500,000
Roadmaking and clearing----................... 100,000
Grand total....... ....... ............. .... $42,799,826
At the Pacific entrance the French had dredged a narrow
channel from deep water three miles inland and this was
used by ships going to Balboa (La Boca) docks. At the Atlan-
tic entrance they had dredged a channel to Bohio, a dis-
tance inland of 15 miles, but it was navigable only by small
boats of about seven feet draft. As far as Gatun, seven
miles inland, it was fifteen feet deep, and the channel is used
today in hauling materials between Cristobal and Gatun.
All along the line of the Canal, work had been done, and one
of the reminders of the failure up to a year ago were the old
dredges and excavators which the tourist saw along the
banks of the Chagres River as his train passed through the
bottomland of the lake region.
The French canal line was practically the same as the
American, utilizing the valleys of the Chagres and Rio
Grande, in order to avoid excavation. The failure to build
a canal was due mainly to the failure of the Paris manage-
ment to retain the confidence of the French people. In
four other ways the Americans have an advantage which the
French did not possess-political control of the canal region,
modern methods of maintaining health, more effective meth-
ods of excavating, unlimited money. In view of these dif-
ferences Americans should be the first to join with the pres-
ent Canal engineers in admiration of Lesseps' bold dream,
and praise of the results accomplished by the men in the field.
The American Canal.
The story of the birth of Panama as a nation is told in
another section of this book. The result of it was that
the United States Government took possession of the effects
of the French on the Isthmus on May 4, 1904, and the con-
struction of the Canal under American auspices began on
For several years the French had maintained a working
force of a few hundred men in Culebra Cut, for the sole pur-
pose of holding the franchise until a purchaser could be
found, or until a new organization with greater capital could
be effected. Their machinery was stored all along the Canal
line in sheds and shops, the larger pieces such as dredges and
excavators not housed. All was well cared for, however, and
much of it was immediately useful to the new builders. Yet
there was much to be done before the work could proceed
economically, and at first the Americans showed great lack
of good sense in meeting their problem. The Commission
in Washington was too cautious for success; and requisi-
tions for material of all kinds were badly handled, because
the men on the work were unable to persuade the officials
in Washington that large quantities of materials were badly
needed, and at once. Out of the conflict that thus ensued
there came three definite policies: (1) Effective sanitation
of the Canal Zone and the cities of Colon and Panama; (2)
Recruiting a force and proper housing and feeding of em-
ployes in order to maintain it; (3) Concentration of power
on the Isthmus.
Sanitation and Health.
It was recognized in all comprehensive discussions of
the Canal project that the work could not be done by Ameri-
cans unless measures were first taken for placing the region
of the work on a secure health basis. Plans for sanitation
of Colon and Panama formed part of the discussion of the
Commissionof 1899-1901. The discovery and proof that mos-
quitoes carry yellow fever and malaria came just prior to
PANAMA CANAL. 65
the determination of the American Government to build
the Canal, and this made the work of sanitation more
easy. Yellow fever and malaria (in its worst form malaria
was known as Chagres fever) were the diseases that had
worked most havoc with the French forces, although there
had been comparative freedom from the former for seven
years prior to the American occupation.
The theory that malaria is carried by mosquitoes of
the Anopheles species was demonstrated as true by Sir
Ronald Ross of the British Medical service in India, who
reached the conclusion after a long series of experiments
by himself and others in 1898. The story of the yellow-fever
mosquito (Stegomyia) discovery is well told in an address
delivered by the Secretary of the Isthmian Canal Commis-
sion, Mr. Joseph Bucklin Bishop, in 1910. In this case
also the demonstration followed a long series of experiments
begun by Dr. Carlos Findlay in Habana in 1881. It was
made by Drs. Walter Reed, Jesse W. Lazear, James Carroll,
and A. Agramonte of the American Army in Habana in 1901.
In January, 1904, the quarantine of Colon and Panama
was turned over to the United States, and in June of that year
the permanent sanitation organization was established,
with Col. W. C. Gorgas, who had been Health Officer at
Habana as head; and Dr. H. R. Carter, a yellow fever
expert, as director of hospitals. This work like all the
others was hampered by scarcity of supplies, notably
copper wire screening, which could not be purchased
in the United States in large quantities. An epidemic
of yellow fever, lasting from July, 1904, to December,
1905, accelerated the delivery of supplies, and made it
necessary to expedite the sanitation work, lest the force
slowly organizing be depleted. There were 246 cases and
84 deaths, of which 134 cases and 34 deaths were among
Canal employes, while all the cases were among the non-
immunes who had come to the isthmus on account of the
The sanitation has in view the prevention of mosquito
breeding and the maintenance of a high standard of clean-
liness in all the settlements along the Canal.
Mosquito The anti-mosquito campaign is directed
work against two species, the Stegomyia, which
carries yellow fever, and the Anopheles which
carries malaria. The Stegomyia lives in and about habita-
tions, breeding in wet places. The measures taken against it
were the fumigation of houses, and the exercise of care that
no tins or other vessels in which water might collect be al-
lowed to lie around the yards or houses. It took over a year
to stamp out the yellow fever, but it may never again be
known in Panama; because, if a rigid quarantine is main-
tained, there will be no chance for it to get a start here. The
method of contagion is for a Stegomyia to bite a person
infected with the fever and then to bite one not so infected.
If the person first bitten is in a certain stage of the disease,
and the mosquito biting him is in a certain stage of its de-
velopment, the disease may be carried.
The Anopheles is less easy to control, because it breeds
anywhere that there is a damp place-on the edge of pools
and streams, in the hoof marks left by cattle in the fields,
in cans containing water, and even in high grass into which
the sun does not penetrate. It carries malaria in much the
same way as the Stegemyia carries yellow fever. Measures
taken against it are the cutting of all grass and shrubbery
around settlements so as to let the sunlight dry the damp
places; covering pools, that cannot be drained, with a film
of oil, which smothers the larvae before they reach maturity;
and pouring into other streams and pools a mixture of car-
bolic acid, caustic soda, and rosin, known as larvacide, to
kill the larvae.
The screening of houses is directed against all mos-
quitoes, but especially against the Anopheles. The ordinary
method of treating malaria is with large doses of quinine,
while many people take small doses continually for prophy-
lactic purposes. By systematic treatment the type of malaria
has been reduced from one of great violence to a very
mild one, and the sick rate from 821 cases per thousand
employes in 1906 to 187 cases per thousand employes in 1911.
An important part of the sanitation work was the muni-
cipal engineering in the cities of Colon and Panama, and in
the Canal villages. In Colon it consisted of fill-
Municipal ing the swampy land upon which the city was
Engineering. built, laying sewers, and installing a general
water system, and laying pavements; in Pan-
ama the laying of sewers and pavements, and installing
water mains; in the Canal villages, sewer and water work,
and the laying out and macadamizing of roads. This work
was begun in 1905 and finished in 1906. In the cities of Colon
and Panama it is being paid for by water rents collected by
an American Superintendent of Public Works.
At present a strict quarantine against contagious dis-
eases is maintained; the villages and quarters are kept in
the cleanest possible condition; light, air, pure
Health water, and good sewerage are insisted upon.
Statistics. The corollary is that the general health is
good. The effectiveness of the public-health
work can be beat judged from the following statistics of
employes admitted to hospitals, rate per thousand of em-
ployes, and death rate per thousand of employes for each
YEAR NUMBER RATE PER DEATH
ADMITTED THOUSAND RATE PER
1904* .... ... ...... ... ....................... 13.26
1905* ... .........- ..---- .---- .........-.......-... 25.86
1906* ..... 31,025 ..... --... .... 1,169-... ...... 41.73
1907........ 31,037 .......... .... 960 .. .. .... 39.47
1908....__ 21,361 ...................... 496.. ........ 18.32
1909.. .. 21,782............. ..... 492....... ..... 11.97
1910...--- 20,753 ........................ 411.... ... .. 10.84
1911.-- .... 22,832.......... ....... 465 .. ..... 11.34
1912 ~..... 21,919 ............... 438. ......--.. 10.16
These figures would be misleading were they not con-
sidered in view of the facts that all employes are given a
physical examination before being allowed to enter the
service, the force is made up of young men, and chronic in-
valids are deported to their home countries as soon as their
services are no longer available for the Canal work. Making
allowance however for these qualifying conditions, the sani-
tation of the Canal Zone and the cities of Colon and Panama
justifies the statement made by Col. Gorgas:
"Natives in the tropics, with the same sanitary pre-
cautions that are taken in the temperate zones, can be just
as healthy and have just as small a death-rate as inhabitants
in the temperate zones. To bring this about, no elaborate
machinery is necessary. The result can be attained by any
community, no matter how poor, if it is willing to spend
sufficient labor in cleaning, and to observe well-known rules
with regard to disease. The Anglo-Saxon can lead just as
healthy a life, and live just as long in the tropics as he can
in his native climate." (See also pages 37, 51,)
Labor Force, and Housing.
The working force is composed principally of West
Indian negroes and Spanish laborers, and white Americans
who do the skilled labor and administrative work. When the
force was at its highest point, March, 1910, there were at work
68 PANAMA GUIDE.
38,176 men and 500 women, and the total number of names
on the pay rolls was 50,774. These included 5,235 Americans,
5,263 European laborers, and 28,178 negro laborers. The force
grew from 700 on May 4, 1904, principally negro laborers,
to 3,500 in 1905; 17,000 in 1906; 29,000 in 1907; and is now
decreasing gradually, and will decrease until the Canal is
opened, when there will be employed about 3,000 men to
maintain and operate the Canal, and do the work of sani-
tation and government.
The development of the force during the first three years
depended largely on the rapidity with which quarters could
be furnished. Immediately upon his arrival on
Quarters. the Isthmus in June, 1904, the first Chief
Engineer, John F. Wallace, began to perfect an
organization, and in it was included a division of building
construction. Old French buildings were repaired as rapidly
as possible, and a few new buildings were erected. Under
the second Chief Engineer, John F. Stevens, this work was
carried forward, and the quarters as one now sees them on
the Canal Zone were practically completed during the first
year of the Goethal's regime, 1907. The organization of the
labor force was directed by Mr. Jackson Smith assisted by
Lieut. R. E. Wood.
Laborers' barracks are one-story buildings in which
standee bunks are erected, and where provision is made for
the storage of a limited amount of baggage on the lofts.
These buildings are screenedagainstmosquitoes and cleaned
daily. When the force was largest, 5,000 Spanish laborers
and 6,000 negroes were quartered in these bunk houses.
Barracks for white American bachelors consist of buildings
of from four to thirty-two rooms, where the men sleep usually
two in a room. They are furnished with beds, chiffonier,
bureau, table, and chairs.
Family quarters of the lowest grade (all quarters are
graded according to salary of employee) are two-room houses
with kitchen and toilet room, occupied by families of laborers.
There are only a few of these. White family quarters are gen-
erally of four rooms, kitchen, and bath, except those for the
higher officials, which contain more rooms. Furniture is
supplied with each house. All quarters are lighted with
electricity, furnished with water, and coal is supplied for
cooking. It is part of the contract with employes who en-
tered the service prior to January 1, 1908 that their quarters,
light, water, and fuel would be furnished without charge.
All bachelors are employed on this understanding. The
statement that the Government furnishes them free is
therefore erroneous because many employes have been in-
duced to come to Panama by these little "extras," and they
form, therefore, part of the pay. The Qpartermaster's De-
partment has charge of the housing and labor recruiting.
Food is supplied through the commissary stores, and
messes. See page 99.
The Canal Zone.
In the treaty of February 26, 1904, Panama conceded in
perpetuity to the United States the use, occupation, and control
of a strip of land 10 miles wide, 5 miles on either side of the
center line of the Canal, extending from a line in the Pacific
ocean 3 marine miles from mean low water mark to a simi-
lar line in the Atlantic, with the cities of Colon and Panama
excepted. The rights of sovereignty were conceded, within
this territory. In return the United States paid to Panama
$10,000,000 cash, and will pay an annual rental of $250,000
after February 26, 1913. The territory is 448 square miles
in area, about 322 square miles of which is held by the United
States Government. (See also Canal Zone census). The
government is an autocracy limited by a code of laws based
upon the "bill of rights" of the United States Constitution.
The Constitution extends to the Canal Zone only by special
act of the Congress. All officials are appointed by the Presi-
dent of the United States.
After the many experiences that the United States has
had in its short history to demonstrate the futility of such
a policy, it was almost ludicrous to attempt to direct the
greatest work it has ever undertaken from the capital at
Washington. Yet this was the plan that so independent
a thinker as Theodore Roosevelt, and so careful an execu-
tive as William H. Taft, as Secretary of War, allowed to be
tried in the early days of the canal. They were among
the first to see the mistake, and acted as quickly as they
could to overcome it. The Isthmian Canal Commission
of 1904 was composed of Rear Admiral John G. Walker,
U. S. N., chairman; and members Maj. Gen. Geo. W. Davis
U. S. A., W. B. Parsons, W. H. Burr, B. M. Harrod, C. E.
Grunsky, civil engineers; and F. J. Hecker. General Davis
was sent to Panama as resident agent of the Commission
and Governor of the Canal Zone. Under adverse conditions
he did good work. This is true also of the first Chief
Engineer, John F. Wallace, who for a whole year was not
a member of the Commission.
.The unwieldiness of the Commission made President
Roosevelt and Mr. Taft recommend to Congress that the
commission form be abolished and power be given the Execu-
tive to appoint a more wieldy administrative body. This
Congress refused to do. Roosevelt overcame the difficulties
partly by appointing a new commission in April, 1905, of
which the Chief Engineer was a member. This consisted
of Theodore P. Shonts, chairman; Charles E. Magoon,
Governor of the Canal Zone; John F. Wallace; Rear Admiral
Mordecai T. Endicott, U. S. N.; Brig. Gen. P. C. Haines,
U. S. A.; Col. O. H. Ernst, Corps of Engineers, U. S. A.; and
B. M. Harrod. On June 28, 1905, Mr. Wallace, the Chief
Engineer, resigned, and John F. Stevens was appointed in
his place. This organization continued until March, 1907.
Under it the work of preparation was completed, and ex-
cavation in Culebra Cut was begun on an extensive scale,
and on the plan since pursued.
The first concentration of power came in the appoint-
ment of an executive committee composed of the Chair-
man, the Governor of the Canal Zone, and the Chief Engi-
neer, and the latter two, residing on the Isthmus, had power
to bind the Commission with regard to purely isthmian
affairs. In September, 1906, Mr. Magoon was made Govern-
or of Cuba, and the organization was further concentrated
by placing all affairs of the Canal in the United States under
the Chairman of the Commission, and all those on the
Isthmus under the Chief Engineer. Early in 1907, Mr.
Shonts resigned, and Mr. Stevens was made Chairman
and Chief Engineer, with practically unlimited power.
On April 1, 1907, Mr. Stevens resigned, and a new com-
mission was appointed composed of Geo. W. Goethals,
Chairman and Chief Engineer; D. D. Gaillard, W. L. Sibert,
of the Corps of Engineers, U. S. A.; W. C. Gorgas, of the
Medical Corps, U. S. A.; H. H. Rousseau, of the Civil Engi-
neer Corps, U. S. N.; Jackson Smith, who had organized
the working force and quartering system under Mr. Stevens;
and Jo. C. S. Blackburn, as Head of the Department of Civil
Administration. Mr. Smith resigned in June, 1908, and
was succeeded by H. F. Hodges, Corps of Engineers, U. S. A.
Mr. Blackburn resigned in December, 1909, and was suc-
ceeded by M. H. Thatcher.
On January 6, 1908, President Roosevelt made an execu-
tive order further increasing the administrative power of
the Chairman. By law and the development of conditions,
the Chairman has exercised since that time a practical
dictatorship over the Canal work and Canal Zone Govern-
ment. The organization of the work as now carried on
under him is as follows:
ISTHMIAN CANAL COMMISSION.
Col. George W. Goethals, U. S. A., Chairman of Commission, Chief Engineer of
Canal. Governor of Canal Zone. President of Panama Railroad, Resident member
of Panama Fortification Board.
Col. H. F. Hodges. U. S. A., Assistant Chief Engineer, Vice President Panama
Lieut. Col. D. D. Gaillard, U. S. A., Division Engineer.
Lieut. Col. Wm. L. Sibert, U. S. A., Division Engineer.
Mr. H. H. Rousseau, Civil Engineer, U. S. N., Assistant to the Chief Engineer.
Col. W. C. Gorgas, U. S. A., Chief Sanitary Officer.
Mr. Maurice H. Thatcher, Head of Department of Civil Administration.
Mr. Joseph Bucklin Bishop, Secretary of the Commission.
DEPARTMENTS AND DIVISIONS.
Construction and Engineering. Ben Jenkins, Chief Clerk.
Headquarters, Culebra. Maj. J. P. Jervey, U. S. A., Maj. G.
Col. Geo. W. Goethals, Chairman M. Hoffman, U. S. A., Resident
and Chief Engineer. Engineers.
William Howard May, Secretary to the Geo. M. Wells. Office Engineer.
C. A. McIlvaine, Chief Clerk. e al vsin
Ad. Faure, Chief Accountant. Central Division.
H. S. Farish, Surveying Officer. Headquarters, Empire.
Lieut. Geo. R. Goethals, U. S. A., Lieut. Col. D. D. Gaillard, Division
Assistant Engineer. Engineer.
-W. I. Beam, Chief Clerk.
Col. H. F. Hodges, Assistant Chief A. E. Bronk, General Insector.
Engineer. A. S. Zinn, Resident Engineer.
C. 0. Carlson Secretary. Mark W. Tenny, Assistant Engineer.
Edward Schildhauer. Electrical and J W. Sneed, J. M. Hagan, Joseph
Mechanical Engineer. Little, W. T. Reynolds, Superintend-
ents of Construction.
Henry Goldmark, L. D. Cornish. T. B. A. Sessions, Superintendent of Trans-
Monniche, Designing Engineers. portation.
Walter F. Beyer, Assistant Engineer. William H. Bates, Superintendent
Civil Engineer H. H. Rousseau, Dan E. Wright, Superintendent Muni-
Assistant to the Chief Engineer. cipal Work and Pipe Lines.
J. C. Parsons, Secretary.
Maj. T. C. Dickson, U. S. A., Inspector Pacific Division.
A. B. Nichols, Office Engineer. Headquarters, Corozal.
Civil Engineer U. S. N., F. H. Cooke, S. B. Williamson, Division En-
Assistant Engineer. gineer.
James G. Craig, D. E. Irwin, Traveling John M. G. Watt, Assistant Division
J. C. Keller, Chief Clerk.
Atlantic Division. W. G. Comber, H. O. Cole, Resident
Headquarters. Gatun. Engineers.
Lieut. Col. Wm. L. Sibert, Division Frank Cotton, H. D. Hinman, W. L.
Engineer. Thompson, Assistant Engineers.
Major Chester Harding, U. S. A., James Macfarlane, Superintendent of
Assistant Division Engineer. Dredging.
72 PANAMA GUIDE.
ISTHMIAN CANAL COMMISSION-DEPARTMENTS AND
Mechanical Division. Circuit Court, Third Circuit-Thomas
Headquarters, Gorgona. E. Brown, Jr., Judge.
A: L. Robinson, Superintendent. M. C. Rerdell, District Judge, Cristobal.
William Taylor, Chief Clerk. S. E. Blackburn, District Judge, Ancon.
Henry Schoellhorn, Mechanical En- Edgar S. Garrison, District Judge, Em-
S SubJ. B. March, District Judge, Gorgona.
Headquarters, Cristobal. Law.
Lieut. Col. Eugene T. Wilson, Headquarters, Ancon.
U. S. A., Subsistence Officer. Frank Feulle, Counsel and Chief
Capt. Frank 0. Whitlock, U. S. A., Attorney.
Assistant Subsistence Officer. William K. Jackson, Prosecuting Attor-
John Burke, Manager of Commissaries. ney.
V. F. Shipley, Chef Clerk Chas. R. Williams, Assistant Prosecut-
Quartermaster's. A. A. Greenman, Land Agent.
Headquarters, Culebra. Sanitation.
Col. C. A. Devol, U. S. A., Chief Headquarters, Ancon.
Quartermaster. Col. W. C. Gorgas, Chief Sanitary
Capt. R. E. Wood, U. S. A., Assistant Officer.
Chief Quartermaster. Col. John L. Phillips, U. S. A.,
Lieut. Walter D. Smith, U. S. A., Con- Assistant Chief Sanitary Officer.
structing Quartermaster. Maj. R. E. Noble, General Inspector.
C. H. Mann, Chief Clerk. Harry E. Bovay, Chief Clerk.
Capt. Courtland Nixon, U. S. A.. Depot
Quartermaster, Mount Hope. Lieut. Col. Charles F. Mason. U. S. A.,
C. L. Parker, Assistant Depot Quarter- Supt. Ancon Hospital, Ancon.
master, Mount Hope. Surgeon Wm. H. Bell, U. S. N., Super-
-- .intendent Colon Hospital.
Civil Administration. Surgeon J. C. Perry, P. H. and M. H.
Headquarters, Ancon. S., Chief Quarantine Officer, and
Maurice H. Thatcher, Head of De- Health Officer. Panama.
apartment. Surgeon Claude C. Pierce, P. H. and
G. A. Ninas, Chief Clerk. M. H. S., Quarantine Officer, Colon.
C. L. Luedtke, Assistant Chief Clerk. Dr. Fleetwood Guver, P. H. and M. H.
Tom M. Cooke, Chief, Division of Posts, S., Quarantine Officer, Panama.
Customs, and Revenues, Ancon. Joseph A. LePrince, Chief Sanitary
Arthur McGown, Deputy Collector, Inspector, Ancon.
Ancon. Dr. M. E. Connor, Health Officer.
Jno. L. Storla, Deputy Collector, Cris- Colon.
Capt. Chas. W. Barber, U. S. A.,
Chief of Police, Ancon.
C. E. Weidman, Fire Chief, Cristobal.
Chas. F. Koerner, Assistant Fire Chief,
M. E. Gilmore, Superintendent of
Public Works, Ancon.
J. J. Reidy, Assistant Superintendent
of Public Works. Colon.
F. A. Gause, Superintendent of
Edgar P. Beck, Treasurer of Canal
W. G. Comber, Chairman; James Mac-
farlane, C. J. Anderson, Board of
Local Steamboat Inspectors.
Canal Zone Judiciary.
Supreme Court-H. A. Gudger,
Walter Emery, Clerk, Ancon.
Thomas E. Brown, Jr., Associate Jus-
William H. Jackson, Associate Justice.
Circuit Court, First Circuit-H. A.
Circuit Court, Second Circuit-William
H. Jackson, Judge.
Edward J. Williams, Disbursing
Wm. M. Wood, Assistant Disbursing
Examination of Accounts.
H. A. A. Smith, Examr. of Accts.
T. L. Clear, Assistant Examiner of
Headquarters, Washington, D. C.
Maj. F. C. Boggs, U. S. A., General
C. E. Dole, Chief Clerk.
Capt. Courtland Nixon, Purchasing
Agent on the Isthmus.
Panama Railroad Company.
(General offices, 24 State Street, N. Y.)
E. A. Drake, First Vice-President.
J. A. Smith, Gen. Supt., Colon.
R. L. Mock. Chief Clerk.
Lieut. Frederick Mears, U. S. A., Chief
A. K. Stone, Master of Transportation.
Sea Level or Lock Plan.
"I cannot venture to predict the time required and
the amount of money necessary for the construction of
a sea-level canal," said the present Chief Engineer, Col.
Geo. W. Goethals, before a committee of Congress when
asked to give an estimate for a sea-level canal. As a matter
of fact the only sea-level project scientifically considered
was that of the Consulting Engineers of 1906. The estimates
for the lock-level project then made were soon found to
be grossly inadequate, both as to the cost of the original
project and the size of the project itself, so these are of
little value in estimating for a sea-level canal. The reasons
why a sea-level canal is not being constructed are that it
would cost so much, take so much time, and in the end be
of less value than the present Canal, with its broad lake
The question was settled in January, 1906, when the
International Board of Consulting Engineers, by vote of
8 to 5 decided in favor of a sea-level canal, and President
Roosevelt recommended that Congress adopt the plan for
a lock-level canal submitted by the minority. In favor
of the minority plan were 5 of 7 members of the Isthmian
Canal Commission and Chief Enginee? Stevens. The
Board consisted of Geo. W. Davis, U. S. A., Messrs. Alfred
Noble, W. B. Parsons, W. H. Burr, Brig. Gen. Henry L. Abbott,
Corps of Engineers, U. S. A.; Frederick P. Stearns, Joseph
Ripley, and Isham Randolph of the United States; W. H.
Hunter of England, Eugene Tincauzer of Germany, Adolph
Guerard of France, E. Quellennec of France, and J. W.
Welcker of The Netherlands. The report in favor of the
canal at sea level was signed by Messrs. Davis, Parsons, Burr,
Hunter, Guerard, Tincauzer, Welcker, and Quellennec.
President Roosevelt summed up the case as follows:
"A careful study of the reports seems to establish a strong
probability that the following are the facts: The sea-level Canal
would be slightly less exposed to damage in the event of war; the
running expenses, apart from the heavy cost of interest on the
amount employed to build it, would be less; and for small ships the
time of transit would probably be less. On the other hand, the
lock Canal at a level of 80 feet or thereabouts would not cost much
more than half as much to build and could be built in about half
the time, while there would be very much less risk connected with
building it, and for large ships the transit would be quicker; while,
taking into account the interest on the amount saved in building,
the actual cost of maintenance would be less. After being built it
74 PANAMA GUIDE.
would be easier to enlarge the lock canal than a sea-level canal.
Moreover, what has been actually demonstrated in making and oper-
ating the great lock canal, the Soo, a more important artery of traffic
than the great sea-level canal, the Suez, goes to support the opinion of
the minority of the Consulting Board of Engineers and of the majority
of the Isthmian Canal Commission as to the superior safety, feasi-
bility, and desirability of building a lock Canal at Panama."
The essential features of the plan adopted, and now
nearing completion, are a lake at 85 feet above mean sea-
level, and two approaches to it at sea level. The lake is
held at its high level by two dams, one at Gatun and one at
Pedro Miguel, and ships will pass from one level to another
in locks. The route chosen is 50 miles long, and it follows
the bed of the Chagres River on the north side of the con-
tinental divide, and that of the Rio Grande on the south
side, thus making use of the natural lay of the land to mini-
mize the amount of excavation.
In trying to understand the plans for the work the
tourist should keep in mind that the isthmus runs east
and west, that Colon and the Atlantic ter-
Passage of minal of the Canal are north and west of
Ships. Panama City, which is near the southern
or Pacific terminus. With the directions
in mind suppose yourself on a ship bound from New York
or Liverpool to San Francisco, then the general direction
of your voyage, which is from east to west, will be changed
when you reach the Panama Canal to a north to south
The ship will enter the Canal in Limon Bay, and under
its own steam proceed to Gatun. The place on the isth-
mus where the plan can best be seen is at Gatun, where the
Atlantic entrance, the locks, the partly filled lake and the
ship channel through it, all lie before the eye. Gatun Locks
are seven miles inland. At the entrance to the locks the
ship will anchor and wait until it is taken in tow by four
electric towing locomotives, two ahead pulling and two
behind exerting such back pull as will keep the ship steady
between lines of taut hawsers, while it moves through the
locks. It makes its ascent in three steps each lifting it
281 feet, the total of 85 feet representing the difference be-
tween the level of the sea and the lake level.
Entering one of the sea-level chambers, the gates will
be shut behind the ship, and water will be let in from the
ATLANTIC ENTRANCE AND GATUN LOCKS AND DAMS.
lake through a system of culverts in the lock walls and under
the floors, until the ship has been raised 281 feet above sea-
level. It will then be towed into a second lock chamber,
the gates will be closed, and the water let in from the lake
will raise it another 281 feet. In a third lock chamber,
this process will be repeated, and the ship will then be at
85 feet above sea-level, when it will be towed out from the
locks into Gatun Lake.
Under its own steam the vessel will proceed up a broad
channel past scores of little islands, green with the unfail-
ing verdure of the tropics, past native hamlets and isolated
huts, for a distance of 16 miles, when the broad waters will
be left behind, and the hills will close in, leaving a channel
only 500 feet wide. Six miles farther on, the channel will
narrow to 300 feet, and the ship will enter the pass through
the continental divide, commonly known as Culebra Cut.
In this section, nine miles in length, the hills will rise
sheer at places, and again will slope gradually away, but at
no point will one be able to see the surrounding country
from the deck. At Culebra the opposing hills will rise five
hundred feet above the water level, great masses of igneous
rock. This is the summit of the divide, and within sight
is the lock at Pedro Miguel, where the descent to the
Pacific is begun. After leaving this lock, the ship will
sail through a small lake called Miraflores Lake, a distance
of one mile, at an elevation of 55 feet above sea level; and
then entering the double flight of locks at Miraflores will
be lowered to the sea-level channel, through which it will
sail a distance of seven miles to deep water.in Panama Bay.
The time of passage need not exceed eleven hours, at least
three of which will be used at the locks.
The sea-level channels or approaches will have a bot-
tom width of 500 feet. That at the Atlantic entrance will
begin at a point in Limon Bay, 41 feet below mean sea-level,
about four and one-half miles from the shore line. The
maximum tidal oscillation in- this bay is two feet, and the
channel will therefore be 40 feet deep at the lowest stage of
the tide. A breakwater extending from the west shore of
the bay in a northerly direction guards the entrance against
the heavy winds that blow from the north during Novembet,
December, and January. The excavation here is done by
two elevator-dredges brought to the Isthmus by the French,
a dipper dredge of American make, and a sea-going hopper
~ Y~'t~N,'. *
~~~~t Mfl I$Ij(
II' **' ..(~---; "
*x~r LSL etRCO L
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PACIFIC ENTRANCE-MIRAFLORES AND PEDRO MIGUEI. LOCKS.
suction-dredge, also made in the United States. Inside
the shore line the channel location ran through two small
hills, and these have been dug out by steam-shovels to a
depth of 41 feet below sea level.
The Pacific entrance or sea-level channel is subject to
a maximum tidal oscillation of 20 feet, and therefore the
depth has been made 45 feet below mean tide. At the low-
est stage of the tide this section of the canal will be 35 feet
deep. The channel begins in Panama Bay about four
miles from the shore line, and, excepting a mile at the
outer end, follows the line of the French canal to Mira-
flores Locks, a distance of 7 miles, utilizing the French
excavation almost the entire distance. The excavation in
this section is accomplished by two elevator-dredges of the
Belgian type and two Scotch-type elevator-dredges left on
the Isthmus by the French, a modern Scotch elevator-dredge
built at Renfrew in 1911, and a subaqueous rock breaker
of the Lobnitz-ram type. A breakwater extending from
the mainland to an island in the bay, parallel with the canal,
protects the channel in the bay from cross currents.
There are three flights of twin locks on each side of
the Isthmus, to accomplish the lift from sea level to the
lake level, and vice versa. Thus ships can be locked both
up and down at one time, and a stoppage of traffic on account
of an accident in one series of locks is anticipated by having
a duplicate series. Each lock is a concrete chamber that
can be closed at either end by steel gates, so that a ship
can be raised or lowered in it simply by admitting or with-
drawing water. Each chamber will admit a ship 1,000 feet
long and 110 feet wide with a draft of 40 feet. This draft
is provided for by a depth of fresh water over the gate sills
of 411 feet. This is also the greatest depth at which a ves-
sel can enter New York harbor, and thus there are two fac-
tors that will be potent in making it the maximum draft
of future ships. The largest ship now projected can easily
use the locks of the Panama Canal. Most of the vessels
in the isthmian trade or that are likely to be in it for many
years to come, in fact 95 per cent of the ocean vessels in the
world, are less than 600 feet long; and in order to save water
and time in making lockages each lock is dividedd by inter-
mediate gates into two chambers 400 and 600 feet long,
CROSS SECTION OF LOCKS.
Showing one chamber and method of filling chambers by side and lateral culverts. (A) Operating
gallery. (B) Wire Conduits. (C) Drainage culvert. (D and G) Supply culverts. (E and H) Lat-
eral culverts (F) Outlet of Lateral culverts.
80 PANAMA GUIDE.
A cross section of the locks is shown herewith. The
main features are the large culverts in the side and center
walls through which water is conveyed from the lake level
to any part of the locks. From the large culverts it is allowed
to flow into or out of the chambers by culverts which open
through wells in the floor. The flow into and out of the locks
is regulated by valves at the beginning of each culvert. The
gates are of the miter type, built up of steel trusses covered
with steel plate, forming a series of water-tight bulkheads.
Each leaf is 65 feet long, 7 feet thick, and they vary in height
from 47 feet to 82 feet, according to the position in the locks.
The gates are set in two pairs, one pair being guard gates
for use in case the other gates become damaged or can
not be operated, because of repairs to machinery, or from
other causes. The arrangement of the gates in the locks
is shown by the drawing herewith. In all there are 41 gates
POSITION OF MITERING LOCK GATES.
of two leaves each. They are opened and closed by a steel
wheel mounted on the lock wall. By rotating the wheel
through an arc of 190 degrees the gate is opened or closed,
just as one would reach out his arm and open or close a door.
(See pages 284 and 285.)
At both entrances to each flight of locks a fender chain
is stretched across the channel to prevent ramming of the
gates in case a ship should become unmanageable and enter
the locks under its own steam. These chains are lowered
to allow a ship in tow of the electric locomotives to pass
over them into the locks. In case all the precautions to
prevent accident to the gates fail, of if for any reason it is
desirable to let the water out of the locks for repairs to the
gates, an emergency dam of steel has been placed above
each flight of locks, which can be swung across the channel,
as a swing bridge is thrown over a waterway, to keep all water
from the lake out of the locks. Caissons are also provided.
The gates, fender chain-pumps, emergency dams, towing
locomotives, culvert valves, and all accessory machinery will
be operated by electricity generated by water-
Operation power at the spillway of Gatun dam, and all
of Locks. but the towing locomotives and emergency
Material. dams will be controlled from a central sta-
tion on the center wall from which all parts
of the locks will be visible. The locks are constructed
of concrete, of which it is estimated about 4,500,000 cubic
yards will be used. The proportions are one of cement,
three of sand, and six of rock, and about one barrel
of cement is used to each cubic yard. The thickness of
the floor depends on the underlying material; in one part
of Gatun Locks the floor is 23 feet thick and in another
part only 3 feet. The walls are of uniform size; the side
walls 50 feet wide at the floor of the locks and graduating
to 8 feet at the top, and the center walls 60 feet wide at the
floor with an operating tunnel for machinery and power
cables at the top.
The locks at Gatun are built through the hill that forms
the east abutment of the dam, and are on rock foundation.
The emplacement required six million cubic
Gatun Locks. yards of excavation. They are six in number,
three steps of twin locks; each step represent-
ing a lift of 28' feet, a total lift of 85 feet. Rock was quarried
and crushed at Porto Bello, and sand dug at Nombre de
Dios, both historic ports a few miles east of Colon on the
Caribbean. These materials were towed in barges to Gatun
where they were assembled, and mixed with cement in a con-
crete plant of eight 2-cubic-yard mixers, that can turn out
400 cubic yards of concrete in an hour. The materials were
unloaded at the docks on the French canal, by one set of
aerial cableways, and the concrete placed by another,
the latter extending over the lock site from opposing mov-
able steel towers. There were four duplicate cableways in
the concrete-placing plant and two duplicate and one sim-
plex in the unloading plant. An auxiliary mixing plant of
two 2-cubic-yard mixers was also used, and concrete from it
--- -- -------- -- j"
was delivered by cars on a narrow-gage railway running
through the locks. In all 2,085,000 cubic yards of concrete will
be placed at Gatun. The estimated cost per yard was $7.75
PANAMA CANAL 83
and when the wogk was only 60 per cent completed this had
been reduced to $6.70 a yard.
The locks at Pedro Miguel consist of a single flight or
step of twin locks, two in all, by which a drop of 30 feet
from Culebra Cut to Miraflores Lake, or a reverse lift, is
Pedro accomplished. They are built through a hill,
aed Miguloes on rock, and 1,150,000 cubic yards of excava-
and Miralores tion were required for the emplacement.
s The total amount of concrete required is
837,500 cubic yards.
MIRAFLORES LOCKS, DAM, AND SPILLWAY.
Miraflores Locks are located in low ground, the river
bed of the Rio Grande, and yet are on solid foundation.
The emplacement required five million cubic yards of ex-
cavation. There are two flights or steps of twin locks, each
step representing a lift of 271 feet, a total lift of 55 feet. In
all 1,362,000 cubic yards of concrete are required. At the
lower or sea-level locks in this flight it has been necessary
to anticipate the great differences in pressure due to the
variation of 20 feet between high and low tide; and because
of this difference these locks are the largest on the canal
in point of depth, the maximum lift being nine feet more
than in the sea-level locks at Gatun. The lower gates
at Miraflores are 82 feet high.
The rock for concrete at Pedro Miguel and Miraflores
is quarried and crushed at Ancon Hill, a few miles from the
lock sites, and thesand is dredged at Chame
beach a few miles west of the Pacific en-
trance to the Canal, whence it is carried
in barges to Balboa and by train to the
locks. The cost of concrete runs from $4.50
to $6.00 a cubic yard. At both locks the
materials are taken from storage piles by
cantilever cranes and mixed into concrete
within the body of the cranes, whence it
is ,hauled in cars to any part of thelocks,
to be placed by other cantilever cranes.
There are three dams on the Canal-one
at Gatun and one at Pedro Miguel, to hold
the water of Gatun Lake at 85 feet above
sea-level; and one at Miraflores to hold
the water of Miraflores Lake at 55 feet above
The dam at Gatun, closing the valley of
the Chagres River, extends from the hills
on the east to those on the
Gatun Dam. west of the valley, is 11 miles
long, 115 feet high, and tapers
from 2,500 feet broad at bottom to 100 feet
at the top. The process of construction
is to dump spoil from the canal excavation
in two parallel ridges clear across the val-
ley. Between these ridges suction dredges
pump a light clay from the river bottoms
nearby. This clay hardens as the water
drains out, and forms a core that can not
be penetrated by water. Halfway across
the valley the dam encounters a small hill
rising about 120 feet above sea level, and
through this the spillway, an opening 280
feet wide, was located because it offered a
rock foundation with little excavation. The
purpose of the spillway is to regulate the
surface of the water in the lake, and to
this end sluice-gates are erected on a con-
crete foundation, by the opening of which
the lake can be kept constantly at any given level, no matter
how severe the rains may be in the lake region.
At the spillway there is an intake for water which will
be passed through culverts to a power house below the regu-
lating works, where it will turn turbines that will generate
S'- POWER House.
Showing concrete dam with crest on a curve, Hydraulic Power
Plant and Intake.
enough electricity to run all the machinery on the canal,
operate the Panama Railroad, and light the whole Canal
The Pedro Miguel Dam is an earth-fill with puddle core,
which extends from a hill west of Pedro Miguel Locks to
the locks, and keeps the water of Gatun lake
Pedro Miguel at a level of 85 feet above meantide. It is
and Miraflores 1,700 feet long and the top is 105 feet above
Dams. sea level. A similar office is performed at
the Miraflores Locks for the small Miraflores Lake by a dam
2,700 feet long, which joins the west hill to the locks, and a
concrete wing wall 500 feet long extending from the locks
to the east hill. On this wing wall are erected regulating
gates like those in the spillway of Gatun Dam, and the
wing wall is thus made to serve as both dam and spillway.
OGEE CURVE OF SPILLWAY DAMS.
The concrete dams across the spillways of Gatun and Miraflores
Dams are built on an ogee curve so that the force of the water
will be broken as it rushes over.
Gatun and Miraflores Lakes.
Gatun Lake will extend from Gatun Dam to Pedro
Miguel Locks, through Culebra Cut, a distance of 31 miles
on the center line of the canal. It is formed in the basin
of the Chagres River by raising the surface of the river to
85 feet above sea level. The water, therefore, will extend
into.every part of the valley below that elevation, make
islands of what are now hills, and deep inlets of the scores
of streams that pour their waters into the river. Its area
will be 164 square miles, and it will contain two hundred and
six billion cubic feet of water when the surface is at 85 feet
above sea level. Every rainy season enough water is poured
into the Chagres basin to fill the lake one and a half times.
At the close of each rainy season the surface of the lake
will be at 87 feet above sea level, and evaporation, use of water
for lockages and electric power, and waste may reduce
it to the 85-foot level before the dry season (January to May)
is over. Throughout the dry season there is a considerable
run-off in the Chagres River, and freshets sometimes occur;
so that there will be a constant addition to the great storage
reservoir even during the driest months, probably enough
to counterbalance the evaporation, which is estimated at
about four feet a year. The ship channel through the
lake from Gatun to Culebra Cut varies from 1,000 to 500
feet in width, and necessitated an excavation along the
course of the Chagres River of about thirteen million cubic
Miraflores Lake will be a pond about 2 miles in area,
in which will collect water used in lockages at Pedro Miguel
Locks and the run-off of the Cocoli River. Its surface will
be at 55 feet above sea level. The ship channel through
this lake will be 500 feet wide and a little over one mile long.
The part of the Panama Canal on which most work
has been done, and which will be the last completed, is the
cut through the hills of the continental divide, known as
"Culebra Cut." This section is 9 miles long, extending
from the point where, in its descent to the sea, the Chagres
River turns at a right angle from an easterly course to one
almost exactly north, to Pedro Miguel Locks where the
line of the canal runs into the valley of the Rio Grande.
Excavation was begun here by the French on January 20,
1882, and has continued with only three years' interruption
(1888-1891) up to the present time. The Bulletin du Canal
Interoceanique (issued in Paris by the old French company)
published the following cable message from Panama, under
date of January 20, in its issue of February 1, 1882:
"The first work on the great cut of the maritime canal was
formally inaugurated to-day at Empire in the presence of the.dig-
nitaries of the state, the leading citizens of the city, and the great
assemblage of the people. The first locomotive has arrived at the
newly opened excavation. The city of Panama is celebrating the
event with a grand fete."
The French were working in Culebra Cut on May 4,
1904, with 700 men, when the United States Government
assumed control. In this section they had excavated about
nineteen million cubic yards of earth and rock useful in
the present canal, leaving eighty-four million yards to be
excavated under the American regime.
The digging here, as at other points, is done by steam-
shovels, and it is here that the superiority of modern
methods of excavation has been shown.
Steam-Shovels. Forty-five steam-shovels dig, and load upon
cars, 60,000 cubic yards of material each 8-
hour day. This quantity is said to represent about 120,000
two-horse wagon-loads. Trains of 20 cars, each car hold-
ing 20 cubic yards of rock and earth, hauled by 100-ton
locomotives, carry away the spoil to be utilized in the dam
at Gatun, the breakwater at the Pacific entrance, the new
line of the Panama Railroad, or to dumps where it is
merely wasted. The method of work is to drill holes in the
rock, fill them with dynamite, and then shatter the material
into such fragments as a steam-shovel can handle. Four
main lines of railroad track with numerous spurs enable
an endless chain of trains to pass through the cut, top
beside shovels for their load, and when loaded pass out to
The lot g trench is kept dry by two methods. Diversion
ditches on either side prevent water from the side hills
from flowing into the excavation. The dig-
Drainage. going is carried on from a center point or sum-
mit on a downward slope toward either end of
the cut. A center drainage ditch carries the water by gravity
to a sump at the north end, whence it is pumped over a
barrier into the Chagres River; and to Pedro Miguel Locks
at the south end, whence it flows by gravity through the
locks into the old channel of the Rio Grande.
A troublesome but not serious feature of the work are
the slides from both banks, 22 in number, and in amount
about twenty million cubic yards. Masses of
Slides. earth and rock, from which the supporting
toe has been removed by excavation, slide
into the prism of the canal, and must be dug out. On
account of these slides it may be necessary to excavate the
last ten feet of the rock in Culebra Cut by dredges, after
the canal is opened to navigation; but this will not be allowed
to prevent the opening in 1913, although it may retard the
actual completion. There are no ships in the Panama
trade that could not use the canal with a minimum depth
of 35 feet of water, and none in the American Navy that
might net be taken through with perfect safety.
Supplies and Equipment.
Practically all the supplies and equipment in use on
the Canal are purchased in the United States, because a
law, passed by the Congress in 1905, makes home purchases
obligatory, unless the President should deem prices asked
by United States manufacturers exorbitant in comparison
with those quoted in foreign countries. This law has had
the effect of keeping American manufacturers within bounds
in their bids. In only two cases has it militated against
them-one in the purchase of the largest dredge in use on
the Canal, which was built in Scotland at 50 per cent of the
price asked by the only American bidder; and the other
in the purchase of Mannesman tubes for the stems of valves
in the lock culverts, after the only manufacturer of this
class .of material in the United States had arbitrarily in-
creased the price with direct reference to the Canal work.
Under the law, any article or supplies of a value not exceed-
ing $10,000 may be purchased in the open market without
advertisement or bid. In practice this privilege is seldom
used, and nearly all equipment and supplies are purchased
on competitive bid, after due advertisement. The award
must be made to the "lowest responsible bidder." This
system does not always procure the best machines or ma-
terials, but it is the most economical in the end; because any
other would be a constant nuisance by giving endless oppor-
tunity for charges of unfairness by bidders, and of dishonesty
by a vigilant and not overscrupulous sensational press.
In making purchases the methods long used by the
United States Army, Navy, and other Government depart-
ments are followed. Since 1907 the administration has
been able to determine from year to year about what amount
of materials and supplies is necessary during the following
year; and standard articles are purchased in sufficient
quantities to last twelve months. The contract entered
into obligates the contractor to furnish more of a given
article up to 50 per cent, in case the Canal authorities so
wish, and absolves the Canal Commission from purchas-
ing within a certain per cent (usually 20) of the estimated
amount required. Inspection of materials is made by the
technologic bureaus of the United States Government,
or, in case such knowledge is not required, by inspectors
in the Canal service. Only materials that comply with
specifications are accepted. All supplies are handled by the
Quartermater's Department, Colonel C. A. Devol, Chief
Quartermaster; Capt. R. E. Wood, Assistant Chief Quarter-
master; Capt. C. Nixon, Depot Quartermaster.
It is difficult to find terms that will convey a true im-
pression of magnitude where one is dealing with such quanti-
ties as are required in the canal work. One easily senses
a barrel of cement, less readily a thousand barrels; but
4,500,000 barrels are beyond visualization. Broadly speak-
ing, 3,500 barrels of cement were required every day while
the lock building was at its height; and the delivery of
this material from New York took all the time of two 10-
thousand-ton ships, and several smaller ones aggregating
ten thousand additional tons. So with steel, dynamite,
and other supplies; the amounts are so large as to mean
little, because they baffle familiar comparison. In 1910,
the year when the work was at its height, there were pur-
chased 350,000 tons of materials, valued at $10,000,000.
The dry excavation is done by steam-shovel and the
wet by dredges of various types. When dry excavation was
at its highest point, in 1910, 560 drills were
Equipment in used in drilling the material for blasting,
Canal Service. 100 steam-shovels dug the earth and rock and
loaded it upon cars, 3,600 cars carried it to the
dumps, and 158 modern locomotives hauled trains. In addi-
tion to these there were 700 cars in general service, and 1,470
freight cars on the Panama Railroad, 112 old French loco-
motives, 32 narrow-gage locomotives, and 12 electric loco-
motives in use. Miscellaneous equipment for the dry exca-
vation consists of 25 machines for spreading spoil on the
dumps, 10 machines for shifting track, 30 for unloading
spoil from the large flat cars, 57 locomotive cranes, and
20 pile drivers.
In the wet excavation there are in use 7 ladder or eleva-
tor-dredges left by the French, one modern ladder-dredge,
3 dipper-dredges, 2 sea-going suction-dredges, and 1 clam-
shell dredge, 1 subaqueous rock-breaker, 11 self-propelling
barges (clapets) left by the French, 2 drilling barges, 1 pile-
driver, 14 launches; and, in the wet-excavation and rock-
and-sand services, 12 tugs, 1 tow-boat, 1 crane-boat.
This equipment is supplemented by that used in mixing
and laying concrete in the locks, which is referred to under
the section on Locks.
Among the manufacturers supplying materials are the
Name Materials See Page
Bucyrus Co. ................................ Steamshovelss. ........................ 291
Dupont Powder Co....................... Dynamite, etc.........-............ 292
General Electric Co............ .... Motors, etc.,.............. 294
Globe-Wernicke Co.................... Office Supplies..............-... 288
Keystone National Powder Co... Dynamite............................. 290
Trenton Iron Co.............. .......- Wire Rope....... ............... 281
Western Wheeled Scraper Co..... Dump Cars........................... 286
Wheeling Mold and Foundry Co. Lock Gate Machines, etc.. 284-5
Commissaries and Messes.
The United States Government is in the department
store business on the Isthmus, runs hotels, has a cold
storage and manufacturing plant, and in general carries on
a great provision and clothing establishment. It does this
work so much better and more economically than similar
enterprises are conducted in the United States, that the time
one spends in investigating this branch of the canal work will
be profitable as well as interesting. The men who man-
age this branch are Lieut.-Col. E. T. Wilson, Chief
Subsistence Officer; Capt. F. O. Whitlock, Assistant Sub-
sistence Officer; Mr. John Burke, Manager of Commissaries,
and Mr. W. F. Shipley, Chief Clerk.
The subsistence branch has the work of feeding all the
employes not living in family quarters. There are three
classes of such employes and a separate system
Mess Halls. of messes is maintained for each-(I) hotels
for white Americans; (2) mess halls for Euro-
pean laborers; (3) kitchens for negro laborers. The hotels
are really mess halls, because no sleeping accommodations
may be obtained by transients. They consist of a large room
set with tables, a balcony arranged in the same way, and
a kitchen and ice box. The meals cost 30 cents each to em-
ployes and 50 cents to transients. They are good meals
for the price and the service is good, considering that most
people want their food in a hurry and must be accom-
modated. The messes for Spanish laborers are conducted
in halls, and the laborers sit down at long tables upon which
the food is placed with a great clatter. Meals cost 40 cents
for three, and they are usually good. Negro laborers get
their food in pans or pails at the mess kitchens, and three
meals or rations cost 27 cents. There are 19 hotels, 16
messes, and 14 laborers' kitchens. About 3,000 employes
eat at the hotels, 3,000 at the messes, and 6,000 get food
from the kitchens. The negro laborers do not patronize the
kitchens regularly because no provision is made for service,
the food being dished out to be eaten elsewhere. The
Spanish laborers who do not eat at the mess halls patron-
ize some cantina run by one of their own people, where they
can get wine, and take as much time as they please for their
meals. The subsistence branch maintains itself and pays
a small profit. See also "A Canal Builder's Village" and
"Social Conditions and Forces."
The present commissary system is an outgrowth of the
old railroad commissary store. It maintains an ice plant
where 100 tons of ice are made daily, a bakery
Commissary. which produces six million pounds of bread a
year, an ice cream factory, a cold storage plant,
meat cutting shop, soup factory, corned beef plant, coffee
roaster, butter printer, and laundry. Thereare 18 retail stores,
of the character of a country general store, situated in vari-
ous Canal Zone villages, and they are supplied with stocks
of food and clothing from the warehouses at Cristobal.
The total annual business amounts to about six million dol-
lars, and 90 per cent of this money is spent in the United
States, 5 per cent in Panama, and 5 per cent in Europe.
For five years the Commissary has succeeded to the
extent that it has paid an annual dividend, paid living
wages to its employes, and sold meat, bread, butter, ice,
coffee, sugar, shoes, underwear, and other necessaries at a
lower price than they could be bought at retail in the United
States. It handles no "cheap" stuff, works off no bad foods
or shoddy clothing, strives always to "give the money's
worth," and it usually succeeds. It is the most striking
instance in history of the economy of collective effort in meet-
ing the common problem of "how to live."
Terminal, Repair, and Supply Facilities.
The terminal facilities now under construction pro-
vide for a system of piers at both entrances of the Canal,
with appliances for rapid handling of cargo. It should be
remembered that a large amount of the trade by way of
the Canal will not be through traffic; that is, ships from
New York, New Orleans, Liverpool, and other ports, will
touch at Colon, unload part of their cargo, and then sail
to other ports on the Atlantic seaboard. Ships for the west
coast of the Americas and for the Orient will stop at the
docks, pick up this freight, and carry it to its destination.
At the Atlantic entrance a mole has been constructed
from the village of Cristobal, at right angles to the Canal
channel for a distance of 3,500 feet. Pro-
Atlantic jecting from this mole inland, almost parallel
Entrance. to the Canal, will be the terminal docks. A
quay-wall and two piers are under construc-
tion; the layout is such that, as soon as the trade demands
it, three more piers can be built. The piers are 1,000 feet
long and the slips between them 300 feet wide, so that two
1,000 foot ships may dock at one time without entering
the Canal itself. The direction of the mole is such, with
relation to the Canal entrance and the breakwater which
juts out from Toro Point, that it will aid materially in
breaking the force of the heavy seas which the violent
northers of November, December, and January, pile up in
Colon harbor. It is believed that this method of con-
structing the docks will make unnecessary the construction
of the east breakwater, contemplated in the original plans
of the Canal.
At the Atlantic entrance in close proximity to the docks
will be a coaling plant, from which the Government will
supply coal to its own vessels and to such
Supply commercial vessels as may require it. It is
Dep[ot proposed to maintain the present commissary
plant at Cristobal as a base of supplies for
the Army and Navy, and it may be necessary even to enlarge
this supply depot.
At the Pacific entrance the terminal decks will be at
Balboa, about five miles inland from the beginning of the
Canal. A quay-wall 2,000 feet long has been
Pacific constructed along the edge of the ship basin,
Entrance and it will be supplied with machinery for the
rapid handlirg of lumber and materials of
this class. Here, also, ships will tie up while minor repairs
are in progress at the marine shops. North of the quay-wall
will be a series of piers, similar to those-at the Atlantic en-
trance, jutting out from the mainland as the fingers stick
out from the hand. Each of these will be 1,000 feet long,
and the slips between will be 300 feet, thus allowing two
1,000-foot ships to use each dock at one time. The piers
will be equipped with cranes especially adapted to the rise
and fall of the tide, for the variation between high and low
tide at the Pacific entrance is as high as twenty feet. Any
ship that can use the Canal can likewise use the docks at
the Pacific entrance.
Alongside the terminal quay and piers will be a dry dock
capable of taking any ship that can use the Canal. It will
be situated behind Sosa Hill in a position
Dry Dock where the fire from an enemy's guns can not
and Shops. reach it. Between the dry dock and the
wharves will be marine shops in which repairs
to Government vessels, and to such commercial ships as
may require them, will be made by the Government.
It is theavowed intention of the Government to place
its terminal, coaling, and repair facilities at the disposal of
commercial vessels, because it is believed that in no other
way can a monopoly of the use of the Canal by powerful
interests in the United States and elsewhere be prevented.
For instance, if any private interest controlled the coaling
facilities or the repair shops, commercial vessels competing
with the vessels of "the interests" would be under a serious
handicap. On the other hand, it is not the policy of the
Government to prevent private companies from maintain-
ing coaling places or marine shops at either entrance of the
Canal, provided they wish to do so, and there are evidences
that such facilities will be maintained by private companies.
It is estimated that the cost of the Canal ready for use
will be $375,20',000. This estimate was made in October,
1908, and is the only one based on actual experience in
the developed work. In 1906 the minority of the Board
of Consulting Engineers, who advised the construction of
a lock canal, placed the cost of construction, engineering,
and administration, at $139,705,200, and the same items
PANAMA CANAL. 97
were estimated in 1908 at $297,766,000. The items of the
estimate of 1908 are as follows:
Construction and Engineering............. $297,766,000
Sanitation .................. .........--- 20,053,000
Civil Administration ___-......-... .......... 7,382,000
Paid to New French Canal Company...... 40,000,000
Paid to Panama................... ...........-- 10,000,000
Total...........--.....-.... .........-... ......... $375,201,000
Reimbursements to Treasury, not including salvage
from present plant, $15,000,000.
It is apparent, therefore, that the estimated cost, less
reimbursements and salvage, will be about $358,000,000.
Since 1908 the force has increased so much in efficiency,
that unit costs have decreased, and it now seems probable
that the $358,000,000 will cover not only the items mentioned
above, but also the $12,000,000 estimated for fortifications.
Distances by Way of Panama.
Tables of distances from leading ports to other ports
by way of the Panama Canal follow:
PANAMA TO VARIOUS POINTS.
New York.-.... ---------..---.------
Valparaiso ..........- --
Yokohama, via San Francisco...... .---..----
Hong Kng, via San Francisco ............-----
W ellingtoon.--..------- ------ ---------- -------
Melbourne, via Wellington.............- -----
Sydney, via Tahiti ......----- ------.-
Manila. via San Francisco and Yokohama..
Strait of Magellan, via Valparaiso .-.......
Honolulu ..............-- ---------------- ------
NEW YORK TO VARIOUS POINTS.
Yokohama .......... 9,966 (a) 13,566
Manila........... ..... 11,548 (a) 11,589
Hong Kong .....- 11,691 (a) 11,673
Melbourne .........- 10,392 13,385
Sydney............. 9,811 13,960
Wellington........... 8,851 14,441 (c)
Colon .............. 1,981 ---
Valparaiso--........ 4,630 (b) ....... .......
San Francisco.__... 5,299 ..- .
Puget Sound...--..... 6,074 ....
(a) Via San Francisco
(b) Via Strait of Magellan 8,461.
(c) Via Strait of Magellan, 11,344.
New York to Honolulu 400 miles longer than by San Francisco and Great Circle
MR 22928- 7
LIVERPOOL TO VARIOUS POINTS.
Via Via Via
To Panama. Suez. Cape Town
Colon__................... 4,720 (a) ..-.. --....... .........
Colon. ..................... 5,034 (b) ... .......................
Valparaiso............... 7,369 (g) .................... ...........
Sydney ............. 12,406 (c) 12,036 12,940
Wellington............. 11,261 12,949 13,853
Melbourne.............. 12,749 (d) 11,461 12,365
Yokohama-. .........-- 12,197 (e) 11,640 ...........
Yokohama.. ........... 12,330 (f) .....--....... ......... ....
Manila................ 14,300 (e) 9,677 ...........-
Hong Kong ......... 14,483 9,731 .......-......
(a) Via Jamaica. (b) Via New York. (c) Via Tahiti. (d) Via Wellington.
(e) Via San Francisco. (f) Via Honolulu. (g) Liverpool to Valparaiso
via Strait of Magellan 8, 830.
Fortification and Neutralization.
Little is known on the isthmus about the fortifications
which are to guard the entrances to the Canal, because,
here where the construction work is in progress, a com-
mendable secrecy is maintained in regard to the forts.
The forts at the Atlantic entrance will be at Toro Point
and Margarita Island, guarding, respectively, the west and
east sides of the Canal. At the Pacific entrance they will
be on the islands of Flamenco, Perico, and Naos in Panama
Bay; and on the mainland at Balboa, points from which
they command the entrance at this end. They have been
named as follows:
The Reservations at the Pacific Entrance-Fort Grant and
Fort Amador, the first in honor of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant,
U. S. A., President of the United States from 1869 to 1877,
who died on July 23, 1885; and the second in
Names of honor of Dr. Manuel Amador Guerrero, first
Forts. President of the Republic of Panama, who
died on May 2, 1909. The Reservations at the
Atlantic terminus-Fort Sherman, Fort Randolph, and Fort
de Lesseps, named in honor of Gen. William T. Sherman,
U. S. A., who died February 14, 1891; Maj. Gen. Wallace F.
Randolph, U. S. A., who died September 9, 1910; and Count
Ferdinand de Lesseps, promoter of the Panama Canal, who
died December 7, 1894.
FORT GRANT MILITARY RESERVATION.
Battery Newton, in honor of Maj. Gen. John Newton,
U. S. Volunteers (Brigadier General, Chief of Engineers,
U. S. A.), who died May 1, 1895.
Battery Merritt, in honor of Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt,
U. S. A.. who died December 3. 1910.
Battery Warren, in honor of Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K.
Warren, U. S. Volunteers (Lieutenant Colonel, Corps of
Engineers, U. S. A.), who died August 8, 1882.
Battery Buell, in honor of Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell,
U. S. Volunteers (Colonel, Assistant Adjutant General
U. S. A.), who died November 19, 1898.
Battery Burnside, in honor of Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burn-
side, U. S. Volunteers (First Lieutenant, Third U. S. Artil-
lery), who died September 13, 1881.
Battery Parke, in honor of Maj. Gen. John G. Parke,
U. S. Volunteers (Colonel, Corps of Engineers, U. S. A.),
who died December 16, 1900.
FORT AMADOR MILITARY RESERVATION.
Battery Smith, in honor of Maj. Gen. Charles F. Smith,
U. S. Volunteers (Colonel, Third U. S. Infantry), who died
April 25, 1862.
FORT SHERMAN MILITARY RESERVATION.
Battery Howard, in honor of Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard,
U. S. A., who died October 26, 1909.
Battery Stanley, in honor of Maj. Gen. David S. Stanley,
U. S. Volunteers (Brigadier General, U. S. A.), who died
March 13, 1902.
Battery Mower, in honor of Maj. Gen. Joseph A. Mower,
U. S. Volunteers (Colonel, Twenty-fifth Infantry), who died
January 6, 1870.
Battery Kilpatrick, in honor of Maj. Gen. Judson Kil-
patrick, U. S. Volunteers (Captain, First Artillery), who died
December 2, 1881.
FORT RANDOLPH MILITARY RESERVATION.
Battery Tidball, in honor of Brig. Gen. John C. Tidball,
U. S. A., who died May 15, 1906.
Battery Webb, in honor of Brevet Maj. Gen. Alexander
S. Webb, U. S. A. (Lieutenant Colonel, 44th U. S. Infantry),
who died February 12, 1911.
Battery Weed, in honor cf Brig. Gen. Stephen H. Weed,
U. S. Volunteers (Captain, 5th U. S. Artillery), who was
killed in action, July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa.
FORT DELESSEPS MILITARY RESERVATION.
Battery Morgan, in honor of Brig. Gen. Charles H. Morgan,
U. S. Volunteers (Major, 4th Artillery), who died Decem-
ber 20, 1875.
The right of the United States to fortify the Canal was
seriously questioned at one time by statesmen and publi-
cists because of a clause contained in the Clay-
Right to ton-Bulwer Treaty of April 19, 1850, providing
Fortify that neither the United States nor the United
Kingdom would fortify the Canal or exer-
cise any dominion over any part of Central America. In
the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of November 18, 1901, it is pro-
vided that the first Treaty is superseded without impairing
the general principles of neutralization as established in
Article 8 of that Convention. The Treaty further provides:
"It is agreed that the Canal may be constructed under the
auspices of the Government of the United States, either directly at
its own cost, or by gift or loan of money to individuals or corpora-
tions, or through subscription to or purchase of stock or shares, and
that, subject to the provisions of the present Treaty, the said Govern-
ment shall have and enjoy all the rights incident to such construction,
as well as the exclusive right of providing for the regulation and
management of the canal. * The canal shall never be
blockaded, nor shall any right of war be exercised nor any act of
hostility be committed within it. The United States, however, shall
be at liberty to maintain such military police along the canal as
may be necessary to protect it against lawlessness and disorder."
The question of fortification is no longer an open one
because the United Kingdom, the only nation that had
a right to object, has acquiesced in the erection of forts.
The ground taken by the United States was, that in order
to insure the neutrality of the Canal, as it is bound to do
by Treaty, it was necessary to have such forts and naval
bases at both entrances as would enable it to repel the
attack of an enemy, and to insure the use of the Canal by bellig-
erents in accordance with the rules laid down. (See Treaties.)
The forts as planned are in a position to protect not
only the entrances of the Canal, but to make it practically
impossible for the ships of an enemy to de-
Other Military stroy or injure the only vulnerable part of
Protection, the waterway-that is, the locks. Gatun
Locks are seven miles inland from the forts
at the Atlantic entrance, and Miraflores Locks nine miles
inland from the outermost fortification at the Pacific entrance.
In addition to the forts which will guard either entrance,
a system of inland defenses for the locks has been agreed
upon. The headquarters for the Army, Navy, and Marine
,Corps on the isthmus will be at the Pacific entrance of the
Canal, but posts will be maintained elsewhere, including
the Atlantic entrance, the locks, and probably at a
point along Culebra Cut, opposite Culebra.
The Panama Railroad is owned by the United States,
but the form of a private corporation is maintained because
it enables the railway to do business more promptly thad if
all its acts were scrutinized by the Auditor and the Comp-
troller of the Treasury. Each of the board of directors holds
one share of stock, but this must be turned over at any time
on demand of the Secretary of the Treasury. The railroad
is conducted by a railroad man of 25 years' experience, Mr.
J. A. Smith, the General Superintendent, and the steam-
ship line by Mr. E. A. Drake, first Vice President, whose office
is in New York, and who has spent his business life in the ser-
vice of the company. Col. Geo. W. Goethals is President.
This first railroad to be owned by the United States pays
dividends, and is run on business principles. Although
it has been a Government railroad eight years, under three
distinct Canal administrations, it has not yet attracted to
itself or had inflicted upon it the "political favorites" that
we are commonly told would run the trains on Government
The first concession for a railroad across the isthmus was
granted to a Frenchman in 1847, but he failed to raise the
money necessary to build the road. In December, 1848, a
concession was granted by Colombia to William H. Aspinwall,
Henry Chauncey, and John L. Stephens, Americans, and
this was modified to the advantage of the company on April
15, 1850, and again on August 16, 1867. The concession-
aires had in view the handling of the immigrant trade bound
for California and Oregon, recently opened to settlement, and
Aspinwall had already (1848) established a steamship service
between San Francisco and Panama. The discovery of gold
in California made it possible to raise the money to begin
At that time railroad building was in its infancy, and the
project of a line 50 miles long across a notoriously unhealth-
ful country was regarded as a distinct hazard. Money ran
low in 1851 and the progress of the work was not encourag-
ing, as the line had been completed only to Gatun, seven
miles inland. In November of that year a ship unable to
land its passengers at the mouth of the Chagres, as was cus -
tomary for the transit, landed them at Colon, and at once
the railroad came Into use. The rates charged were high,
but the service, as far as the trains went, was prompt com-
pared with the canoes on the river. From 1852 to the present
time the road has paid a dividend of from 3 to 61 per cent
Clearing was begun in May, 1850, and the first train
crossed the continent on January 28, 1855. As originally
constructed the line was 47 miles, 3,020 feet, and the summit
was at 263 feet above mean sea level. From the beginning
the passenger and freight trade were heavy, as the road was
used by all the west coast of North and South America, and,
until an arbitrary decision of the management drove them
from the trade (1868), there were several ships carrying
European freight from Panama to the Orient. In 1869
the railroad across the United States was completed and
thus a considerable amount of freight and almost all the
passenger traffic for California and Oregon were diverted.
Notwithstanding, the road continued to pay good dividends.
In August, 1881, the French canal company purchased
68,887 of the 70,000 shares at $291 a share. The railroad
was absolutely necessary in the canal construction. When
the United States completed its purchase of the French
rights (May 4, 1904) it came into possession of the 68,887
shares of railroad stock, and by private purchase acquired
The heavy equipment purchased for the American Canal
work made it necessary to relay the road with 80-pound
rail, double track 40 miles of it, and otherwise improve it.
Since 1904 the equipment has been renewed and it now has
100-ton oil-burning locomotives, large and comfortable
day coaches, parlor cars, and 40-ton freight cars.
Its commercial usefulness has been somewhat handicap-
ped by the Canal work, because all considerations are made
secondary to this. At present it cannot handle all the
freight between the east and west coasts of the United States
that could be procured, but it does transfer an average of
35,000 tons of commercial freight a month. This is about
half of the total freight carried, the balance being for the
canal and the railroad.