Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Back Matter
 Back Cover

Title: Panama Canal review
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00097366/00085
 Material Information
Title: Panama Canal review
Physical Description: v. : col. ill. ; 28-34 cm.
Language: English
Creator: United States -- Panama Canal Commission
Panama Canal Company
Publisher: Panama Canal Commission
Place of Publication: Balboa Heights Republic of Panama
Balboa Heights Republic of Panama
Publication Date: Spring 1976
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: PANAMA CANAL ZONE   ( unbist )
Periodicals -- Panama Canal (Panama)   ( lcsh )
Periodicals -- Canal Zone   ( lcsh )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Panama
Additional Physical Form: Also issued online.
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with v. 1 (May 1950).
Issuing Body: Vols. for 19 -19 issued by Panama Canal Co.; <Oct. 1, 1980-> by Panama Canal Commission.
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: "Official Panama Canal publication"--19 -19 .
General Note: Description based on: Oct. 1, 1980.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00097366
Volume ID: VID00085
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01774059
lccn - 67057396
issn - 0031-0646
 Related Items
Other version: Panama Canal review en espagñol


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
        Front Matter 3
        Front Matter 4
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
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        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
    Back Matter
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
    Back Cover
        Page 45
        Page 46
Full Text


Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries


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the Governor

of the Canal Zone

on the

200th anniversary

of the

United States


the Bicentennial of the United
States, the construction of the Panama
Canal stands out as one of the greatest
milestones in the history of the nation.

It not only opened the way for
v.estward expansion, it also gave the
maritime world one of its most
important links in the lanes of
international commerce.

Among the great peaceful endeavors
of mankind that have contributed
significantly to progress in the world,
the construction of the Canal stands
as an awe-inspiring achievement.

To fully appreciate the magnitude
nf this unprecedented engineering
feat, it is necessary to remember that
its successful completion in 1914
involved digging through the Conti-

nental Divide; constructing the largest
earth dam ever built up to that time;
designing and building the most
massive canal locks ever envisioned;
constructing the largest gates ever
swung; conquering devastating
landslides; and solving environmental
and health problems of enormous

As we look back over 200 years of
history, it is fitting that we pay tribute
to the builders of the Canal, to those
men and women of many nationalities
whose initiative, determination, and
devotion to duty were responsible for
its successful completion.

Since it opened on August 15, 1914,
the Canal has become a main
thoroughfare of world commerce with
over half a million vessels making
the interoceanic transit.

This outstanding record was made
possible by a dedicated work force
of Americans and Panamanians, who
continue today, as they have done
in the past, to operate this vital
utility for the benefit of all the
nations of the world.

. .

At left:
A giant container ship passes through
Gaillard Cuit, site of devastating
slides during construction of
the Panama Canal.


A* 1~4"


The ditch grows wider each day
The ditch grows longer they say
The slides and the floods, the rain and
the sun
Are obstacles big in the race we have
But the end of the job is in view
Our dreams all soon will come true
But what of the town
That the waters will drown
Oh, what will become of you, of you?

printed in the Fourth of July
program that appears in the center of
the front cover expressed the feelings
of thousands of workers in 1913 as the
day drew near when the Canal would
be completed.
The song was about Gorgona, a
construction-day town, doomed to be
"drowned in a day by the world's
highway" as the chorus of the song
said. The employees marked their last
Independence Day in Gorgona with a
banquet at which Col. George W.
Goethals was the guest of honor. The
dinner featured roast duck and a varied
musical program including a song called
"Patriotism, Politics and Possibilities."
Morale was high as everyone had a
well justified feeling of great accom-
plishment. They had tackled a job that
had stymied men for centuries. They
had succeeded and they were enjoying
their triumph but there was a certain
sadness at the passing of the little
towns along the line.

Special recognition is given to Nan
S. Chong, Panama Collection Librarian
and Beverly C. Williams, Chief of
Readers' Services at the Canal Zone
Library, for research assistance.

Roosevelt Medal
Theodore Roosevelt had seen this
pride, this great esprit de corps when
he visited the Isthmus in 1906 and
had said, "1 shall see if it is not possible
to provide for some little memorial
which will always distinguish the man
who has done his work well on the
Isthmus." So in 1908, copper pipe col-
lected from old French excavators,
bronze bearings and 200 pounds of tin
found in an old French warehouse were
sent to the Philadelphia Mint to be
cast into "Roosevelt Medals."
The Roosevelt Medal on the front
cover was presented to Robert W.
Claw for service between 1904 and
1914. He was one of the few men to
earn the medal and the maximum num-
ber of 2-vear bars, having served the
entire construction period.
Souvenir Shovel
Another farewell function marking
the closing of the Corgona shops was
a smoker where souvenir shovels were
given as favors. These shovels and the
star-shaped device which is inscribed
"The I.C.C. Won't Let Me" were cast
from scrap at the Gorgona foundry.
I.C.C. stands for Isthmian Canal Com-
Identification Tags
Scattered over both sides of the
cover are brass identification tags which
were issued by the Accounting Depart-
ment of the I.C.C. Employees presented
these to receive their pay and to gain
access to various construction sites.
Even Fido had his own identification
tag. The dog license at lower left on
the front cover was issued at Empire,
another construction-day town. The
photo type identification disc attached
to the key ring was issued in 1918.
Fire Department
The first paid fire company was es-
tablished in 1906 and badges, like the

silver colored one on the front cover.
were issued to 320 volunteer firemen
who supplemented the regular force .4f
27 paid members.
Athletic Medals
At Ancon on the Fourth of Jul\.
1908, gold, silver, and bronze medal.
were awarded in each athletic event
The one lying on the program was for
the pole vault.
Commemorative Medal
engraved on the face of the silver com-
memorative coin-medal in the upper
left corner of the front cover. It was
privately struck by the National Com-
inemorative Society. On the reverse is
a portrait of Goethals.
Other items on the front cover are
postage stamps honoring Stevens, Goe-
thals, and Gorgas, a matchbook cover
advertising the Tivoli and Washington
hotels, a snapshot of a group visiting
Gaillard Cut; and a box of damp proof
matches made in Sweden "expressly for
the Panama Canal," a brand still sold
in the Canal retail stores.
The I.C.C. Band
The I.C.C. Band was organized in
1905 and the insignia at lower left on
the front cover was worn on the khaki
uniforms. Concerts were given once a
The Locks
The yellowed photograph on the fold
is described on the back as "Gatun
Locks during construction-bridge and
crane used for gate erection."
Commissary Books
Also on the fold is a commissary
book. These coupon books were used
in lieu of money in commissaries,
hotels and clubhouses during and after




Lieutenant Governor



RLk. Viu r''?* *

Editor, English Edition

Editor, Spanish Edition


anal Information Officer Official Panama Canal Publicatian Vic CANEL, FANNIE P. HERNA
Review articles may be reprinted without further clearance. Credit to the Review will be appreciated.
The Panama Canal Review is published twice a year. Yearly subscription: regular mail $1.50, airmail $3, single copies 75 cents.
For subscription, send check or money order, made payable to the Panama Canal Company, to Panama Canal Review, Box M, Balboa Heights, C.Z.
Editorial Office is located in Room 100, Administration Building, Balboa Heights, C.Z.
Printed at the Panama Canal Printing Plant, La Boca, C.Z.

the construction of the Canal. An open
book showing the coupons is at bottom
left on the back cover.
Patent Medicine
"Two worldwide wonders, the Pan-
ama Canal for universal commerce and
Hostetter's Stomach Bitters for dyspep-
sia, indigestion and malaria" is the ad-
vertisement on the postcard, at the top
of the back cover, which was typical
of patent medicine promotion during
construction days.
Opium Bottle
The small bottle, called an "opium
bottle," contained a Chinese medica-
tion which still can be bought today.
The bottle dates from the late 1800's,
the French Canal construction period.
Ancon Cemetery
Also illustrative of the ravages of
disease on the Isthmus is the snapshot,
on the back cover, of the Ancon Ceme-
tery, which was later relocated.
The Swill Ticket
Malaria and yellow fever are well
known as diseases which took their toll
but cholera was also a problem. In an
intensive effort to stamp out cholera,
the Canal Health Department required
that all swill, which was composed of
food scraps from the clubhouses,
hotels, and mess halls, be cooked before
being fed to hogs. Tickets were issued
to farmers entitling them to purchase
prescribed amounts of cooked swill.
Hog Farm
Since little was available on the Isth-
mus, the Canal had to operate a hog
farm, as indicated by this shipping tag,
bakery, dairy, mattress factory, and
numerous other plants and services.
Panama Canal Toy
On July 9, 1912, a patent was issued
for a Panama Canal puzzle which has
.1 drawing of Miraflores and Catun
Locks inside a small box. The object of

the game is to roll each of three small
balls through the gates of the locks.
Tiny metal strips represent the locks.
inscribed on the right rim of the ash-
tray and "The Society of the Chagres
Annual Dinner, 1915" on the left rim.
This society was composed of I.C.C.
and Panama Railroad Company em-
ployees who had earned the Roosevelt
Medal with two bars prior to the
opening of the Canal.
The tinted postcard shows members
of the Third Isthmian Canal Commis-
sion. From left to right (with Goethals
in center) are: Lt. Col. William L.
Sibert, Joseph C. S. Blackburn, Rear
Adm. Harry Harwood Rousseau, Joseph
Bucklin Bishop, Col. Harry F. Hodges,
Col. William C. Gorgas, and Lt. Col.
David Gaillard.
French Coin
A reminder of the long hard valiant
years of digging by the French is the
French coin at top right on back cover.
On it is engraved "Decret du 30
Avril 1880."
Tourist Brochure
The Canal has always been a popular
tourist attraction. In lower right of
back cover is a 1913 brochure dis-
tributed by the Panama Railroad Com-
pany. It offers "reserved seats in ob-
servation cars" for a close-up look at
the construction work.
Museum Items
All of these items, except for several
from the private collection of Adrien
Bouche, of the Transit Operations Di-
vision, are in the Canal Zone Library-
To create the cover, these articles
were arranged on a sheet of plate glass
which was suspended over an Amer-
ican flag. Cover design by Willie K.
Friar, cover photograph by Don Goode.


Governor's Bicentennial
Message 3

Col. George WV. Goethals' Address
at Cristobal, July 4, 1911 6

Fourth of July Programs 8
From aquatic wrestling
to submarine rides,
celebrations reflect
changing times

The Panama Railroad 10
Without the railroad
there would have been no
Panama Canal
A Diverse Labor Force 17
An efficient operation
made possible by
far-sighted engineers and
carefully trained personnel

A View From the Bridge 22
The evolution of the pilot
force and a review of some
of the ships that have
transited since 1914

Bicentennial Molas 30
The Cunas contribution
to Curundu's Bicentennial

The "Chief" Joins
"Operation Sail '76" 31

Women and Construction Days 32
The men said
"No women, no work"

Shipping Statistics 37

Credits: Photos inside front and back cover ore
by Don Goode. Centerspreod photos by Arthur
L. Pollack.


Panama C


_______________ -~


This is the sixth formal celebration of the Fourth of
July by Americans on the Isthmus of Panama. There was
no observance of the day in 1904, because Canal work
had scarcely begun at that time. In 1905 the black shadow
of pestilence, which was hovering over the Isthmus, was
at its deepest tinge when the anniversary of our nation's
birth to freedom arrived. There were, or had been, in
hospital stricken with yellow fever, more than 100 Amer-
icans, a third of whom were gathered into the final harvest
of death. Those who had escaped were in no mood for
jubilation of any sort. The one desire of the large majority
was to flee as quickly as possible from what they believed
to be an accursed land. Their fright-dimmed eyes could
not see so far into the near future as to catch the first
glimmer of the coming dawn of a veritable day of free-
dom for the Isthmus-the day that was to mark its lasting
deliverance from the scourge of centuries, and convert it
from a valley of death into a land of health and comfort.
Yet a visible sign of the coming deliverance was held
up before them on July 4th, 1905. On that day an abun-
dant supply of pure water was turned into the new mains,
constructed by Americans under the streets of Panama,
and the event was celebrated by a solemn high mass in
the cathedral. This was the forerunner of the transfor-
mation of the cities of Panama and Colon from the lead-
ing pest holes of the earth into the best paved, best
sewered, and best watered cities in Central America. It
was also the first formal demonstration that the onward,
irresistible, and uplifting march of American progress
had penetrated the tropics. Surely there could be no more
suitable day for the celebration of an event so momentous
as this than the birthday of American freedom.
Since 1905, every succeeding Fourth of July has been
celebrated with fitting observances, and with patriotic
enthusiasm, by the Americans on the Isthmus. To my
mind, no citizens of the United States anywhere, either
within the borders of the Republic, or in other lands,
have higher claim to a voice in the great national chorus
of pride and rejoicing on this day, than is possessed by
the workers on the Canal. They constitute the advance
guard in the new era of progress upon which our nation
has entered. The American Republic of today is a greater

and grander one than that which our forefathers founded
135 years ago. It has expanded from a little group of
13 sparsely settled States, with a population of barely
2,000,000, with an empty treasury and undeveloped
resources, into a great nation of 48 States, and four out-
lying possessions, with a population of 100,000,000, a
treasury which sustains easily an annual national expen-
diture of more than a billion dollars, and with resources
so abounding as to be virtually unlimited. From an iso-
lated unit among nations, it has expanded into a world
power second to no other on the globe. Impelled by the
imperious hand of destiny, it has broken over its borders,
and has carried its banner of enlightenment into some
of the darkest regions of the earth. Its war with Spain,
into which the march of human progress, moving with
the unceasing and resistless force of a glacier, thrust it,
and which history will record as among the most right-
eous of all wars, opened the way into this new era. The
nation had no choice but to move forward into it, to
rise to the new duties forced upon it, and perform them
to the uttermost of its ability. How well it has met the
test, conditions in Cuba, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Philip-
pines, and on the Isthmus of Panama, bear eloquent testi-
mony. In all of these places, the stamp of American
energy, intelligence, justice, indomitable perseverance,
has been affixed so clearly that all the world may see
and understand.

I have said that in this new era of American progress,
the workers on the Panama Canalare the advance guard.
They hold that position because of the region in which
they are carrying it to its successful completion. They
are cutting a highway of commerce through what was a
plague spot of the world, and, in doing so, they are show-
ing the world how to rid itself of all plague spots. As
agents of the American Nation, they are showing the world
what can be accomplished by a government which rests
upon the popular will, and which is a government of, and
by, and for, the people; showing it that popular govern-
ment, administered honestly and intelligently, is an
agency for human welfare and happiness, as well as for
national glory. Said a Japanese official, recently visiting
the Isthmus: "No nation but the great, rich American
nation could build this Canal. No nation can imitate it.
We have many things to learn from you."

What the work here has accomplished for the welfare
and happiness of the human race can only be dimly
perceived now. When the Canal is thrown open to the
shipping of the world; when the coast line of the United
States thus becomes almost continuous from Maine to
Alaska; when, in the American Navy, there is no longer
an Atlantic or a Pacific fleet, but simply an American



Against a background of American flags held by girls and boys
dressed in white, Colonel Goethals gives the Fourth of July
address, which is reprinted on these pages. At far left, on the --
speaker's stand, are Federico Boyd, at that time Panamanian
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and other dignitaries /
from Panama and the Canal Zone. At right, is the 1911 j,.
program which featured the Liberty Bell stamped in gold on I
the cover.

fleet, patrolling that coast line as national police for the
maintenance of order and the preservation of interna-
tional peace; when American commerce and American
capital, seeking new fields through the shortened line
of communication, enter into, and develop, the resources .
of those countries past whose shores that line extends,
carrying with them American principles of government @ ,I
and American energy, enterprise, and perseverance-when
all these sure developments of the future shall come to
pass, then the whole world will recognize the well-nigh
limitless value of the contribution to human welfare and
happiness which the American nation made when it built
the Panama Canal.


sist of running 100 yards,
picking up a pipe, box of matches,
and pack of tobacco that have been
placed on the ground about 33 yards
apart, the winner being the first man
to cross the line with his pipe
This race was one of the many
events on the program when Coethals
gave the Fourth of July address in
1911 and was typical of the fun and
games that were a part of the
enthusiastic celebrations that began
on the Isthmus in 1906.
During construction days,
entertainment depended on the
creativity and initiative of the local
residents and the Fourth of July
provided an occasion, not only for
patriotic celebrations, but for everyone
on both sides of the Isthmus to get
together for a day of band concerts
and contests of all varieties.
A look at the carefully executed
red, white and blue programs over
the years gives some insight into the
changing times on the Isthmus and
the world at large.
The Fourth of July was one of the
biggest events of the year and plans
started far in advance. Committees
were formed, responsibilities assigned,
and bv the time the fourth rolled
around, there was an impressive
program of entertainment to suit
all tastes.
Bv 1914, the program had grown
to 24 pages and featured tennis
matches, all types of track events and
an "aquatic wrestling match" which
was described as a 'free for all to take
place on a greased 20-foot floating
platform between Piers 8 and 9.
Winner to be the last on the platform."
Scheduled for the evening was a
grand ball at 9 p.m. at Pier 9 in
By 1917, World War I was reflected
in the thick program which featured
Uncle Sam in red, white and blue in
the centerspread. In one hand he held
a battleship which he was placing in
the Canal locks. In the other a pick
as a tribute to the builders of the
Movies first appeared in the 1918
celebrations with "War Pictures" and
"Charlie Chaplin" listed as the titles
of the films to be shown at the Balboa
The high point of the evening was
an open-air dance at the Administra-
tion Building Promenade at 8:30 with
music by the 15th Naval District
and the 5th Coast Artillery bands.

In 1920, there was an exhibition
flight of a dirigible and by 1923, the
airplane had become a part of the
entertainment with an aerial exhibition
including stunt flying by two "SE5s"
over Limon Bay. Instructions for the
"Triangular Airplane Race" included
the information that "the spare wheel
and all armament equipment may be
removed; large size wheels will be
used and any type propeller."
"Miss Liberty" arrived by seaplane,
accompanied by maids of honor and
train bearers. This was followed by a
baby contest.
To add to the festive atmosphere,
flags, horns, squawkers, patriotic
cockade hats for boys and Miss Liberty
hats for girls, blowout ticklers, lolly-
pops and Eskimo pies were distributed
to all the children. Mule and "electric
truck" joy rides and raspberry punch
were also available.
The program advised that "tiny tots
are expected to be dressed in red,
white and blue (if possible)."

Fourth of July

Programs Reflect

Changing Times

Spectacular fireworks were a part of
every program. The 1908 program
featured 46 different scenes and a
typical display was that of 1916 which
included rockets, and stars shot from
submarines in Limon Bay followed by
a grand display near Cristobal docks.
Listed on the program was a portrait
of Theodore Roosevelt, a portrait of
George Washington, American beauty
roses, a bicycle race, destruction of a
battleship by submarine and
Niagara Falls.
According to Mrs. Bruce Sanders,
who came to the Isthmus in 1910,
and is visiting here this year, these
elaborate displays were made possible
by donations from employees, civic
organizations and Panama businesses.
Mrs. Sanders also mentioned that
in 1920 one of the highpoints of the
day, for adults and children, was a
ride on a submarine which included
submerging in Limon Bay.
The Fourth of July continues to be
a popular celebration in the Canal
Zone where the best known street is
Fourth of July Avenue.


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Royal palms lining the Prado were not yet
fully groun when this picture was taken
on July 4, 1919. But many present day
residents will recognize the concrete
family quarters lining the avenue and
the Balboa Elementary School at left.
The wooden structure at right, originally
the Balboa Police Station, subsequently
served as the Civil Affairs Building
and as the women's dormitory for
Canal Zone College before it was
finally torn down.

tli "

Except for the profusion of flags, the
American eagle topping tlhe tile roof and
i, h.':./,-q I.a/,lii the natty uniforms, the Balboa Fire
nm '. .* i jr,.I Station looked much the same 60 years ago
(lam.i.: ,trait J.ipi.jm.r' as it twill on July 4, 1976, when the
lt,.: 1'r-rp ,f1 ,'l. United States celebrates the 200th
,r0,,,, anniversary of its independence.

TnlE P%\.M% C.A\NL RE'--IEV. 9

safe to travel between Colon an
Panama these days. Just board any
the red, white and blue Panama Rai
road cars, and relax. Want to be co,
and dry, insulated from the torrenti
rain and merciless sun? Choose an ai
conditioned car and, if you didn't bu
a ticket at the station, pay the coi
ductor $1.50 when he comes around
Prefer an open window so you can se
the Canal better, search for alligator
savor the surrounding jungle and tl
soggy swamps over which you skin

Panama Railroad the most audacious
piece of engineering the world has
known. Begun barely 20 years after
the first railroad had been built in the
United States, it presented difficulties
of a sort no man had struggled with
before. As Willis J. Abbot pointed out
in 1914:
6; "'Engineers had learned how to cut
down hills, tunnel mountains and bridge
9 rivers, but to build a roadbed firm
e enough to support heavy trains in
D a bottomless swamp; to run a line
d through a jungle that seemed to grow
d up again before the transit could fol-
l- low the axe man; to grapple with a
ol river that had been known to rise 40
al feet in a dav; to eat lunch standing
r- thigh deep in water with friendly alli-
ly gators looking on from adjacent logs,
n- and to do all this amid the unceasing
d. buzzing of venomous insects whose
>e sting, as we learned half a century
s, later, carried the germs of malaria and
ie yellow fever-this was a new draft upon
I? engineering skill and endurance that

In late 1848, the Government of
New Granada (Colombia) awarded a
railroad concession to Aspinwall and
his associates, and a few months later
the Panama Railroad Company was
incorporated under the laws of New
Hardly had the first of Aspinwall's
steamships left on its round-the-Horn
trip to Panama than news of the dis-
coverv of gold in California hit the
East Coast. By the time the steamer put
into port at Panama, there were hun-
dreds of would-be prospectors fighting
for space on the ship.
These Forty-Niners had traveled the
water route across the Isthmus, debark-
ing at the town of Chagres below Fort
San Lorenzo and hiring boatmen to
pole them upriver in dugout canoes.
Leaving the water at Cruces, they
proceeded on muleback through the
jungle to Panama. The 4-to-8-day trip
was a harrowing experience.
The Cold Rush was on. So, soon,
was the business of building a railroad,

The Panama Railroad
By Pandora AlemAn

Pick a regular coach, and when the
man comes give him a dollar. Either
way, you'll clatter across the Isthmus
in about an hour and a half.
Unless you're carrying a copy of the
Railroad Division's pamphlet Your Trip
on the Panama Railroad and watching
the mileposts, you won't even notice
when you cross the continental divide,
so effortless \will the trip be. It was not
always so.
Those who know its story call the

might well stagger the best."
An average of only 8 miles of track
were laid a year, until, after 5 years,
the first train ran from sea to sea.
Since that time, the railroad has been
rebuilt twice. In 1905, it was necessary
to rehabilitate the original road so it
could withstand the burdens imposed
on it by Canal construction. And when
it was at last decided to build a lock
canal, which required damming the
waters of the Chagres River to form
the largest man-made lake the world
had vet seen, some 40 miles of the
roadbed were relocated on higher
ground. It is on this line that today's
passenger rides.
The story of the first Panama Rail-
road begins with steamships. In 1847,
William Henry Aspinwall, a wealthy
New York merchant, contracted to
carry the U.S. mails between Panama
and Oregon. This raised a few eve-
brows in Wall Street, for the contract
showed no promise of profit. But As-
pinwall was a man of vision; he wanted
to build a railroad across the Isthmus
and combine sea and land routes into
one great system that would open up
the whole Pacific.

as engineer George M. Totten and a
small workforce set about clearing the
island of Manzanillo, chosen as the
Atlantic terminus. His workforce, drawn
from the four comers of the earth-
England, France, Ireland, Germany,
Austria, China, India, Jamaica, Colom-
bia-eventually numbered in the thou-
The passenger boarding at Colon
today will see little that suggests the
sight that greeted the first railroaders.
Separated from the mainland by a
narrow strait, the island was little more
than a square mile of virgin mangrove
swamp abounding with alligators and
other reptiles and swarming with mos-
quitos and sandflies.

An old woodcut captures the
flavor of the Aspinwcall station
in the mid-1800s.
At left:
Flash floods like this one near Mindi
on the old line in 1906 plagued
railroad construction and operations
from the day work began.

10 SPRING 1976

Today, the train pulls smoothly out
of Colon station and about 5 minutes
later arrives at Mount Hope. It took
a 400-man workforce 4 months to cut
a swath through the tangled vegetation
to this, the first high ground on their
route. They called the place Monkey
Hill "owing to the multitude of mon-
keys gamboling and chattering in the
Getting the tracks laid to this point
was another matter. When Manzanillo
Island had been cleared and partly
filled, they built a causeway across the
narrow channel to the mainland. Over
the years, the entire channel was filled
in and Manzanillo became a permanent
part of the mainland.
Coming into Mount Hope, the trav-
eler sees a cemetery on the hillside to
the left, with the date "1908" over the
arched gate. The date is misleading,
for the cemetery antedates the Canal
by over half a century. In March 1851,
the official railroad cemetery was es-
tablished here. As the number of
graves grew and the monkeys vanished,
the place was christened Mount Hope.
ThrouJhojut the construction years,
there %%as a daily funeral train to
M.jount Hope.
Leig-nd has it that one man died for
tern tie laid-a gross exaggeration. But
it is fact that by 1855 there were more
than 6.,00i graves at Mount Hope, and
the total number of railroad deaths
has been estimated at 12,000.
Thi-.iih it may be apparent to the
trjKler today that from Mount Hope
to Catun he has sped along through
.*'arrnpy terrain, there is nothing in the
eas' 10-nminute ride to indicate his
pro\mnitr. to the legendary Black
Suamp, which nearly defeated the rail-
road.l project when it had barely begun.
Le.. irn Monkey Hill, the rails were
to ioll.,-. Navy, or Limon, Bay about
.3 miles to the "Mindee" River, and
trorr there cross a 3-mile stretch of
quicksand and sinkholes, where in


Its new coat of red, white and blue paint in honor of the Bicentennial of the
United States of America does not exempt Engine 901 from work.
Here, with a string of passenger cars in tow, it rounds the bend near Pedro Miguel Locks
on one of its three daily transcontinental trips.

places bottom was not found even at
200 feet. Tons upon tons of trees and
rock were fed into the maw of the
swamp, with no apparent effect. At
last, flatcars were chained together and
sunk in sections to make a floating base
for the roadbed. The rails in place,
trainloads of rock were dumped on
either side in hopes that the fill would
hold the floating foundation steady.
The desperate trick worked. But, in
ears to come, cars left too long on
this section would simply disappear,
leaving "only a muddy blank on the
right of way."
The first train of work cars ran to
Catun on October 1, 1851. The very
worst of the construction work was
past, but the company's funds were
exhausted-and what investor would
risk more money on a company that
had spent 20 months laying 8 miles of
track in the wilderness? Nature, which
so far had given nothing but trouble,
now offered a helping hand. Beset by
a hurricane that prevented transfer of

their passengers to the tiny native boats
at Chagres, two steamships took shelter
in Navy Bay. They dropped anchor
near the railroad company's pier on
Manzanillo, and when the gold-rabid
passengers spied the train, there was
no keeping them back.
They piled themselves and their
baggage onto the work cars and rode
to Catun, where they hired boats and
proceeded to Cruces without waiting
for the storm to subside.
When Wall Street heard that the
far-from-complete railway had already
carried over a thousand passengers,
confidence was restored, credit was re-
established, and work went on. Steam-
ers made Manzanillo their stopping
place, the railroad went into the pas-
senger business in earnest, and Chagres
faded into the jungle.
At Catun the train today offers
travelers an excellent view of the mile-
long Canal locks and, if it is not hidden
by a transiting ship, the spillway of
Catun Dam, at whose immenseness he

can only guess by the vastness of the
waters it holds back.
From here to Gamboa, the train
skirts the lake, alternately penetrating
stretches of dense jungle and offering
an unobstructed view of the ships
wending their way along the main
channel. Much of the time those ships
are traveling far nearer to the original
railroad bed, now under 40 to 75 feet
of water, than the observer on the
Navigational charts in the Panama
Canal Company Pilot's Handbook show
Lion Island, Tiger Islands, Bohio
Reach, Buena Vista Point, Frijoles,
Barbacoa Island, Gorgona Islands, Bas
Obispo Reach, Empire Reach, and
other names that conjure up memories
of way-stations on the original railroad.
After the railroad's first transporting
of California-bound passengers to
Gatun, the tracks pushed on through
the Chagres Valley past Lion and Tiger
Hills-so named by the railroad con-
struction crews because, as Joseph L.
Schott says in Rails Across Panama,
"their monkey population filled the
nights with a roaring sound that was
at first mistaken for the sounds of
lions and tigers." By March 1852 the
road had been completed to Bohio Sol-
dado, 8 miles beyond Gatun, and pas-
senger trains met every steamer arriving
in Navy Bay.

- .~ ,~..

Fifty-one engineers

and draftsmen

died in the

cholera epidemic

Passing through Buena Vistita, the
line reached "Frijoli" 2 months later.
The passenger today may take note of
Frijoles Station, about 20 miles from
Colon on today's route, only if his train
pulls to a stop to allow passengers to
catch a launch for Barro Colorado
Island, where the Smithsonian Institu-
tion maintains a wildlife preserve.
By July 1852, the tracks extended
to Barbacoas, 23 miles from Aspinwall,
as the Atlantic terminus was now
called. Travelers could come halfway
across the Isthmus by train, but the
road had cost far more than antici-
To make matters worse, in the spring
and summer of that year, a cholera
epidemic had struck the Isthmus. Many
of the workers, hit suddenly with
cramps, managed to drag themselves
to the tracks, where they were picked
up and carried to the hospital at Aspin-
wall. The less fortunate were swal-
lowed up by sinkholes or eaten alive
by ants and land crabs. All but one of
Totten's entire technical staff-51 engi-
neers and draftsmen-died in the epi-
demic, which paralyzed progress on the
road until it ran its course in late
Into this death trap marched the
Fourth Infantry Regiment of the U.S.
Army, which was being sent to Cal-
ifornia. The group traveled by rail to

Above: Even before its completion, the Panama Railroad was beset by accidents
like this one near Gatun on top of all the disasters a hostile nature could send its way.

Above left: Close by Miraflores Locks and Spillway, this stone railroad bridge
dating from 1855 stands in niite tribute to the men who gave their all to build
the world's first transcontinental railway.

At left: An Istlimian Canal Connmission locomotive steams across a trestle in 1907,
hauling loaded dirt cars to one of countless dump sites while work on
a culvert goes on below.

12 SPRING 1976

Barbacoas; from there, the main body
of men marched over the trail from
Gorgona to Panama. The sick, the
women and children, the baggage and
one company were to go upriver by
boat and then take the somewhat
shorter trail from Cruces.
With the second group was Capt.
U.S. Grant, the regimental quarter-
master. Though mules had been ar-
ranged for at a reasonable rate, the
owner held out for the higher rates he
was offered by civilian travelers. After
a dozen cholera deaths and a 5-day
wait, Grant in desperation paid the
higher rate for the promised mules.
Of that terrible transcontinental jour-
ncy, Schott wrote: "As long as Grant
lived he would tell more of the hellish
march across- Panama than of any of
his famous battles. The rain, the mud,
the sick, and the dying on the jungle
trail made a lifelong impression on
him. In his old age he told his inti-
mates that the burdens put on him . .
had served at least one good purpose
b.. re% ealhn to him his own 'unguessed
powers at this business of managing a
comrn.iid of military men'." It was this
sainme Ul\sses S. Grant who, as com-
mranlder of the Union army, later ac-
cepted Confederate Gen. Robert E.
Lee's surrender at Appomattox and
%ent on to become President of the
Uiit md States.
Ontie the cholera had subsided, the
railroaders faced the challenge of build-
ing a bndge across the Chagres at
Barlbac.oas. Totten argued hotly in favor
of aui iron bridge. But the board of di-
rctors, wanting a less costly temporary
v.ooden structure, contracted out the
rnainder of the railroad work.
So Minor C. Story, who had earned
.1 repuitatnor as a boy wonder of the
railroad business, came to the Isthmus
and set about building a bridge span-
nini the 300-foot-wide river that had
been kno\\n to rise 40 feet in a single
'rilt All through the dry season his
men v.orked; but when the rains began

in April the nearly finished bridge was
swept away by the first flood. The rail-
road again placed Totten in charge.
Totten completed a 625-foot, six-
span bridge of boiler iron at Barbacoas
by the end of November 1853. Mean-
while, crossing the Isthmus by train,
boat, and mule, was still a 36-hour
journey, most of which was taken up
by the ride over the road from Las
Cruces. This excerpt from the journal
of one who crossed the Isthmus that
year shows why: "The road, a narrow
bridle-path through the forest, was bad
beyond description; in many places the
mud was so deep that it covered the
legs of both mule and rider, while
those who were not thrown off into
it, were frequently obliged to unseat
themselves to allow the animal to get
out of it." Totten sent a workforce to
widen and repair the road in an at-
tempt to shorten the transit time.
Today, arching the malodorous Cu-
rundu River just outside Fort Clayton's
Curundu Gate No. 2 and beside Fran-
gipani Avenue, stands a small bridge,
unheeded and overgrown. Its well-
hewn stones and careful mortar work
mark it as one of those that Totten's
men built or rehabilitated on the fabled
Las Cruces trail.
From Gorgona on the west bank of
the Chagres, the road was to go to
Matachin (now under water in the gen-
eral vicinity of present-day Gamboa),
then follow the valley of the Obispo
Leaving the river, it would climb to
Emperador (Empire) and finally to the
Summit, or Culebra, 40 railroad miles
from Manzanillo Island. From there,
the rails would begin a winding des-
cent to the Pacific, cross the Rio Grande
and follow its east bank across the
Pedro Miguel, Caimitillo and Cardenas
rivers. Then it would traverse the beau-
tiful valley of Paraiso, the broad plain
of "Corrisal" and the swamp of "Cor-
rendeu" till it neared Mount Ancon
and, finally, the sparkling cathedral


At left:
Few today would recognize this building
as the old Panama station, here
festooned and bedecked with flags to
celebrate the third anniversary of
Panama's independence.

The famed Las Cruces Trail, which
formed part of the old Isthmian
"water route," before the railroad
was built.

towers, red tile roofs and ancient for-
tifications of the city of Panama.
Around the end of March 1854, a
thousand Chinese laborers arrived at
Panama and were put to work, along
with Irishmen and others, excavating a
cut in the red clay between Gorgona
and Matachin. The small, slight men
worked steadily and well. But their
opium smoking scandalized their Irish
coworkers, whose protest, together with
a New York bookkeeper's decision that
it was an unnecessary expense, put a
stop to the importation of the drug by
the railroad commissary. Within weeks,
there were mass suicides. According to
Schott, Totten's investigation of the
Chinese incident showed that their
depression over the deaths of a number
of their group from fever had been
deepened by withdrawal from the drug
to the point where they chose suicide


At right:
Motor Car No. 4, the "Yellow Peril" carried Chief Engineer
Goethals on inspection trips. Here, he and Mrs. Goethals .Ij x
are seen with a group of visitors. --
Below left:
This view of the work in progress at Pedro Miguel Locks
in 1911 underscores the vital role played by the railroad. -.
Below right: *
Before the Panama Railroad manager invented a mechanical I
track-shifter, gangs like this one of 150 men had to move
the tracks, ties and all, to new locations in the Cut so
steamshovels could attack new ground.
Bottom left:
Gone are the days when a train pulling out of Panama Station
would hold up traffic on Central Avenue. The station,
visible in the background of this 1930 photograph,
has been renovated by the Panamanian Government and is
soon to become an anthropological museum.
Bottom right:
At the Balboa Heights station, a plaque (marked with arrow)
honors George M. Totten, who as chief engineer of the
Panama Railroad pushed the transisthmian railway through "
to completion in 1855. ,....

^ 9" .... 3;" .' .. ".' ..2 ,.
"b r A 6".'_ -:.4/''. ,,' !.

I' .;.7.



as the only escape from the hell of
their existence.
Work was at last inching along at
the Pacific end, and on the rainy night
of January 27, 1855, the last rail joined
the two sections-14 years before com-
pletion of the first transcontinental rail-
road in the United States.
The next day, 4 years and 9 months
after work had begun, a train ran from
ocean to ocean. The road, 47.51 miles
long, crossed 170 waterways, 36 of
which required bridges more than 10
feet long. Then, as now, it was a single
5-foot-gage track with sidings at points
along the way.
It had cost around $7 million-about
$150,000 a mile. But even before it
was finished it had earned roughly a
third of its cost by transporting pas-
sengers and freight. By the end of
1858, it had grossed over $8 million.
The company fixed what it thought
would be prohibitive tariffs in the hope
of controlling the number of users
clamoring for its services. It set the
first-class rate at $25 gold, and "steer-
age" passage at $10 gold. For $5, one
could walk the track from sea to sea.
The outrageous fares stood for 20
The railroad had given Panama a
tremendous advantage over other pos-
sible sites for an interoceanic canal.
Its construction had given engineers an
intimate knowledge of the problems
posed by the terrain and climate, and
it was itself the most indispensable of
all tools for digging a canal.
Under the terms of its concession,
the Panama Railroad had the right to
prevent construction of a canal near its
own transit line. So in 1881 the French
canal company purchased nearly all of
the company's stock for $20 million.
The French canal enterprise folded,
and the railroad collapsed along with
it. Its condition, when in 1904 the U.S.
Government bought it from the French
canal company and the remaining
stockholders for a mere $9 million, has
been succinctly described as "two
streaks of rust and a right of way."
It was the chief engineer of the
Canal, John F. Stevens, who rescued
the railroad from chaos and created the
organization that would carry the Canal
construction through to completion.
Stevens, a respected railroad engi-
neer, came to the Isthmus in 1905. He
postponed large-scale excavation and
gave priority to the construction of
housing, shops and docks and to the
sanitation work. Above all, he concen-
trated on the problem of transporta-

To construct the Canal, an enormous
amount of earth and rock would have
to be excavated and moved over dis-
tances ranging from 3 to 30 miles.
Stevens set about preparing the rail-
road for the enormous job it had to do.
Heavier rails were laid, new rolling
stock was purchased, and the organiza-
tion became a model of efficiency. By
the end of 1906, 37 miles of the Pan-
ama Railroad had been double-tracked
to accommodate not only the endless
stream of dirt cars but also the vastly
increased commercial traffic of Canal
construction days.
He carefully selected dumping sites,
laid out a complex trackage system in
Culebra Cut, and coordinated dirt train
schedules with the excavation work.
Today, as the train pulls out from
Camboa and crosses the 1,320-foot
steel-girder bridge that spans the
Chagres, passengers may be able to

John F. Stevens

rescued the railroad

froin chaos and

created the

organization that

built the Canal

see a ship emerge from the narrow
confines of the Cut. But in Canal con-
struction days a passenger on the
world's busiest railroad was afforded a
different view.
In 1912, Forbes Lindsay wrote: "In
the Cut, the scene is of the busiest.
Dirt trains are moving in every direc-
tion, or standing to be filled. Steam
shovels take 5 cubic yards of material
and make a dump every 15 or 20 sec-
onds. Not a moment is lost unneces-
sarily. . The strings of cars move
back and forth like shuttles in a loom
and nothing is allowed to interfere
with their regularity. All other traffic
gives way to the dirt car."
There were in reality two systems
operating together. The Isthmian Canal
Commission operated the work lines,
and the Panama Railroad, still a sep-
arate entity though government owned,
handled passenger and commercial
freight traffic in addition to supporting

the Canal operation with its steam-
ships, commissaries, bakery, laundry
and cold-storage plant. In all there
were about 300 miles of trackage.
A peculiarity of the excavation rail-
road system was aptly described by
Abbot: "One of the witticisms of the
Zone is that the Panama is the only
railroad that runs crosswise as well as
lengthwise. This jest is . based on
the practice of picking up every night
or two some thousand feet of track in
the Canal bed and moving it bodily,
ties and all, some feet to a new line.
This is made necessary when the steam-
shovels have dug out all the rock and
dirt that can be reached from the old
line, and it is accomplished by ma-
chines called track-shifters, each of
which accomplishes the work of hun-
dreds of men."
Another oddity seen along the tracks
was the gasoline-propelled pumpkin-
colored contraption-something between
an automobile and a locomotive-which
every morning took Stevens' successor,
Chief Engineer Col. George W. Coe-
thals, to inspect the work. Known vari-
ously as the Yellow Peril and the Brain
Wagon, it would on a typical day carry
the Old Man to Pedro Miguel, where
he would alight and, umbrella in hand,
walk along the construction line north
to Gamboa or south to Corozal.
Surveys for the new, relocated rail-
road line had been completed in No-
vember 1906, and in June 1907 work
began. It progressed rapidly, as in con-
trast to the pioneer railroaders the
Canal men had a well-trained, well-
housed, well-fed, and healthy work-
force of some 40,000 men-not to
mention their superior equipment.
At first it was planned to carry. the
railroad through Culebra Cut on a
berm along the east side, 10 feet above
the water level, but the slides made
this impossible. So after passing Gam-
boa today's traveler leaves water's edge
at Bas Obispo. The train follows a line
cut around Cold Hill through a ridge
of solid rock, and runs down the Pedro
Miguel Valley to Paraiso. From there,
it practically parallels the Canal to Pan-
ama, passing the locks at Pedro Miguel
and Miraflores. The new line has at
least one feature the old one lacked:
a 736-foot tunnel cuts through Mira-
flores hill, providing a bit of novelty
and, with its sudden blackness on a
bright day, startling children making
their first transcontinental journey.
The new 47.2-mile-long railroad was
ready by May 1912. After half a cen-
tury of service to world progress, the
original Panama Railroad line was


M "
Paymasters and guards relax in the
Isthmian Canal Commission's Pay Car
after paying workers along the route.

abandoned to make way for the Canal
it had helped create. Fittingly, when
the Canal was inaugurated on Au-
gust 15, 1914, the ship chosen to make
the initial transit was the Panama Rail-
road steamship Ancon. It traveled from
Cristobal to Panama Bay in 9 hours
and 40 minutes under the watchful
gaze of Coethals, who stationed him-
self at vantage points along the way.
Since that day, as before it, the Pan-
ama Railroad has carried on its proud
tradition of service to the Canal, to
Panama, and to the world. The only
year-round passenger and freight oper-
ation of its kind run by the United
States Government, it runs seven trans-
continental round-trips for passengers
daily (six on weekends) and a round-

trip freight train with one car for
passengers nightly.
Its 1,600-horsepower 75-ton Diesel-
electric Alco-CE road and switching
locomotives are a far cry from the tiny
wood-fueled steam engines that per-
formed a heroic task in the early days
of railroad building. And its long,
roomy air-conditioned steel coaches
with comfortable reclining seats are
hardly reminiscent of the original little
wooden cars, with their venetian blinds
and canework seats.
The Isthmus' most effective means
of mass transit, the railroad carries a
good share of the freight moving be-
tween Colon and Panama-about evenly
divided among the Canal, U.S. military,
installations in the Zone, and Panama-
and handles most of the container cargo
between the two ports. In fiscal year
1975, it transported 779,700 passengers
and 213,000 tons of freight.
From the early 1920s until 1951,
railroad headquarters were at Balboa
Heights. But with the incorporation of
the Panama Canal Company and the
consequent merging of the Panama
Railroad and the Panama Canal, the
railroad became one of five divisions of
the Transportation and Terminals Bu-
reau and moved its headquarters back
to the Atlantic side, where it started
126 years ago.
The visitor to Colon today can view,
between the oceanfront Washington
Hotel and the first Episcopal church
in Latin America (built with the help
of the Panama Railroad), a memorial

to the founders of the railroad. And an
unobtrusive brass plaque at Balboa
Heights station acknowledges Totten's
But perhaps the best monument to
those who accomplished the most daring
engineering feat of the mid-1800s
stands, overlooked, in the midst of the
Canal works.
Close beside the bridge on the road
leading from Gaillard Highway to Mira-
flores Locks, not far from the southern
end of the railroad tunnel, stands one
last remnant of the original Panama
Railroad: a stone bridge built around
1855. It once spanned the Dominica
River, the channel of which lay where
the Miraflores Power Plant now stands.
The Panama American reported in
1930 that A. E. Meigs of Pedro Mi-
guel had had the stonework repaired
and the brush cleared away. In the
46 years since then the jungle has
again encroached, and the water pour-
ing over Miraflores Spillway has eroded
the bridge at its base. Without Meigs'
work, perhaps there would be nothing
to see at all.
Here, beside the great locks and the
dam that holds back the waters of Mi-
raflores Lake, one can contemplate in
solitude the last vestige of the world's
first transcontinental railway and pay
silent tribute to the men whose blood,
sweat, toil and tears marked every
inch of the road that made it possible
to realize the dream of centuries-the
Panama Canal.

Old 299, an American locomotive engine dating from 1906, has been enshrined at
Balboa Heights Railroad Station in tribute to the men and engines
that performed heroically during railroad and Canal construction days.

Glimpses of the Canal are of little interest
to this young passenger, who takes
advantage of her reclining seat to nap.

16 SPRING 1976

Brawn and brains

built the Canal

... but it takes many

skills to run it

By Willie K. Friar

Workers, headed for their jobs in the Cut, walk down the "big stairway" in 1911.
Coming down was easy but climbing the 154 steps after a 10-hour day
was a formidable challenge.

created by modern technology
and premium pay have made the
current Alaska pipeline project popular
as well as practical. But in the early
days of the American effort to build a
canal across the Isthmus of Panama,
the only incentive that could be
offered was good wages.
The environment was a formidable
obstacle to recruiting workers. Dis-
"cussing this problem, some years later,
Chief Engineer John F. Stevens, who
was responsible for changing living
conditions on the Isthmus said, "Colon
at the northern, and Panama at the
southern terminus of the Canal,
were, up to 1907, two of the most
forbidding, dirty, unhealthy places on
With the discouraging news of
disease and death being printed in
most of the newspapers in the United
States, recruiting labor was a difficult
task and there was no surplus labor in
the Republic of Panama. The popula-
tion was sparse and during the entire
construction period, Panama supplied
only 357 workers.

Laborers came from many

lands to work on the

"big job" in steaming

jungle, tropical sun

and pouring rain
Since the United States was not only
constructing a canal but providing all
auxiliary services ordinarily available
from other sources, an enormous
amount of labor was required. The
United States had to conduct the
Government of the Canal Zone, create
fire and police departments, a depart-
ment of schools, construct and operate
hospitals, commissaries and hotels,
run the Panama Railroad, and provide
all other services that would be
required in a community in the United
Firemen, policemen, cooks, stewards,
nurses, doctors and all types of skilled
and unskilled laborers had to be
imported to perform these functions.
With no surplus of skilled labor
available in Central and South
America, it was recognized that most
of the foremen, and the higher grades
of skilled labor would have to come
from the United States.


A diverse labor force but great esprit de corps

Attractive pay was offered and
large numbers of Americans were
brought down in 1905. But the living
conditions were so bad that many'
went back home. By 1908, due to the
success of sanitation efforts and
building of adequate quarters, more
Americans came and stayed. During
the construction period, the number
of Americans employed at any
one time averaged more than 5,000.
Additional sources of labor had to
be found, however, and recruiters
fanned out over the world. The
American work force was soon
supplemented by laborers from many
other countries including Spain,
France, Italv, India, Germany, Greece,
Armenia, China, Russia, Cuba, Costa
Rica and Colombia.
The work force increased from
1,000 in 1904 to over 30,000 in 1907.
Considering the problems of those
days, it is easy to appreciate the
difficult task of recruiting and
organizing a work force of over 30,000
men in less than 3 years.
By 1914, the work force had
reached 45,107. Taking into considera-
tion the size and type of work
performed as well as the diversity of
the work force, one of the greatest
triumphs was the creating of an
enthusiastic esprit de corps.
Writing about the Canal workers in
1916, Maj. R. E. Wood, who was with
the Canal Quartermaster's Department
from 1905-15, said: "The Canal will
always remain a material monument
from a construction and engineering
standpoint; it will also stand as a
monument in the minds and hearts of
the employees who worked on it during
the construction period-a monument
no less enduring than its physical
presence. Every wage earner, whether
a high salaried superintendent or
division head, or the lowest paid
laborer, was given a chance in every
sense of the term, and was able to earn
more than his living expenses. The
handling of the working force during
the construction of the Canal will
always stand as a model of an intelli-
gent, just, and liberal treatment of
D. T. Lawson, one of the construc-
tion day employees who came to
the Isthmus in 1906, wrote proudly in
later years, "Nationals of every tribe,

race and color, from all parts of the
world, contributed to the building of
the great waterway."
But after conditions had improved,
Government red tape and strict
personnel regulations, including
thorough medical examinations, still
presented a problem in recruiting
skilled laborers.
A story, told about the 1905 Civil
Service Commission at a meeting of
engineers in Chicago, was typical of
the problems.
According to the story, in the early
days, boilermakers were badly needed,
and a request for 20 was made in the
regular way. Some time passed and
the following cables passed between
the Isthmus and Washington:

"Why have you not sent boiler-
makers, as per my cable?" The reply
came back. "Forty applicants exam-
ined. All failed account of defective
From the Isthmus to Washington,
"Never knew of good boilermakers
that could hear. Send twenty of the
deaf applicants as soon as possible."
But as health and organizational
difficulties were overcome, the work
force became stable and there was a
certain sadness felt by many laborers
the day the Canal opened. As the first
ship transited, one man, recalling the
esprit de corps of the construction
days said rather wistfully, "1 would
almost like to see it filled up so we
could start all over again."

The SS "Ancon" arrives at Cristobal with 1,500 laborers from Barbados in 1909.


o- A Made possible by

fK -M^ .. .the sweat of

P Thousands of laborers

and the far-sighted

vision of great

engineers, the Panama

Canal owes its efficient

.h..................... ... "- -.....-- operation to carefully
East Indian laborers, wearing their native turbans, line
up for paychecks in Balboa in 1913. trained competent

S.. personnel
-. -."* ;''S* r ,

~ -.- - .. ^- .. -..,~ k '.c -,, ".'. .. As traffic and size of ships increased
... '~-.. , .:. -. e:. over the years, the Canal became a
complex operation with 1,754 occupa-
-.', S. . i. "y tional designations. The only other
"eoe wer .. le nt U.S. Government agency having a
greater range of jobs is the Depart-
0,. .mcnt of Defense. On the following
i [" - pages, illustrating the diverse occupa-
.W ww 14,000 employees who operate the
Canal today. As in the construction-day
- .-_ -work force, man' nationalities are
.represented. Occupations of
employees shown are:
First row-Bureau director, secretary-
Spanish workers remove tracks from Culebra (now Gaillard) Cut in 1913 stenorapher, special assistant to bu-
before water is let into the Canal prism. teodiraheore, Cal iloist t
reau director, Canal pilot, secretary.
T .-police officer, audiovisual specialist,
.... ., ~~ operating room nurse, linehandler.
Second row-Administrative officer,
firetruck driver, veterinary aid, pool
F' guard, electrician, painter, civil engi-
I IN a I neer, attorney, Canal Zone guide.
a y Third row-Pharmacist, systems ac-
countant, statistical draftsman, pro-
gramier, clerk typist, boatman, custo-
-' dian, gynecologist, locks helper.
_44.- Fourth row-Rigger, medical techni-
q1 cian, security guard, messman, school-
n ,_r ~ teacher, motor launch operator, ma-
~ ,chinist diver, police private, supervi-
7" .sorn mechanic.
S.. .tu, Fifth row-Linehandler, budget an-
4 1-. -alvst, civil engineer, mechanic leader,
"office supervisor, tugmaster, mechanical
'" '".engineering technician, control house
,, ,,-.operator, community relations assistant.
L -Sixth row-Towing locomotive oper-
Fumigation gangs, which required large numbers of laborers, armed with mops, brooms, ator, hoatman, welder, launch captain,
buckets, and ladders prepare for work in Panama in the early days of the receptionist, chauffeur, translator, cus-
United States effort to rid the Isthmus of yellow fever and malaria, todian foreman, radiologist.


A view from the bridge


* 'Q*
.~- ..-
N. ~1


sixty-two years of
Panama Canal piloting

Senior pilot Capt. L. S. Hart, at far right of the bridgewing of the "Zannis Michalos,"
concentrates on the job as the supership enters Pedro Miguel Locks, while
Capt. S. Kalogeras, master of the ship, and another officer observe the transit.

By Capt. Norman A. Werner



opened to world commerce 62
years ago the ships that have transited
and the men who took them through
have played a significant role in the
maritime history and progress of the
United States.
This is a look at the evolution of the
Canal pilot force and a review of
some of the over half-million ships that
have been piloted from ocean to ocean
since 1914.
The controversy leading up to the
first official Canal transit was signifi-
cant. Col. George Goethals, Chief En-
gineer and Governor of the Canal Zone,
had planned as early as 1911 that pilots
would board vessels for transit as soon
as they entered Canal waters and steam
them up to the locks approach walls
where they would then be moored.
When safely alongside the locks and
made fast by cables from towing loco-
motives, two locks employees would
board the ships, one to direct the lock-
age from the navigation bridge, the
other to stand by in the engine room.
The locks employees, who were ba-
sically skilled mechanics, were to lock
the ship through without the use of the
ship's engines. This practice was based
on barge-canal ideas used on the
Mississippi River.
Capt. Hugh S. Rodman, the first
Marine Superintendent of the Panama
Canal and a naval officer, voiced strong
opposition to the proposed plan. He
objected to pilots surrendering control
of the ships to unlicensed landsmenn"
who had no experience in shiphandling.
Rodman stated that the planned con-
cept would lead to "delay, confusion,
and danger." He wanted to speed up
the operation by eliminating the moor-
ing procedure and allow ships to use
their engines while moving through the
locks with the locomotives serving as
"traveling capstans" alongside the ships.
Although Rodman persisted in his
opposition to the proposed lockage plan
the first Canal regulations provided for
locks personnel to lock the ships
Shortly before the scheduled official
opening of the Canal, the Secretary of
War ordered that a trial transit be
made: The ship that made the transit
was the Panama Railroad vessel SS
Cristobal measuring 489.5' x 58' beam.
The Cristobal was a twin-screw steam
ship of 9,606 gross tons. Her draft
during this trial run was 25 feet.
On board was Dr. Richard H.
Whitehead, a doctor of engineering,
inventor, economist, author, and scholar,

in charge of the transit on August 3,
On this test transit the lock force, as
shiphandlers, did not prove satisfac-
tory. At Gatun Locks, the current
caused by the mixing of the heavier
salt water and the less dense fresh
water coming out of the chamber,
caused the Cristobal to take an un-
controllable sheer and an electric tow-
ing locomotive burned out a motor.
This current reaches a maximum velo-
city of 4 knots at the sea entrances of
Miraflores Locks as well as Catun.
At Pedro Miguel Locks, one of the
cables from the locomotives parted and
it appeared that the ship would collide
with the lock gates before it could be
stopped. Goethals witnessed the in-
cident at Pedro Miguel and was con-

Comipetent personnel and

finely atitnned procedures

keepl the Canal

operating efficiently

vinced that competent mariners should
take over control of the towing and
handling of ships inside the locks.
Rodman got his pilot force of experi-
enced mariners.
The original pilot force was divided
into two groups, locks pilots and lake
(channel) pilots. The more experi-
enced locks pilot reported to the locks
and went out to meet the approaching
ship by skiff. He then relieved the
channel pilot and maneuvered the ship
in and through the locks. Whereupon
he was in turn relieved by the channel
pilot who navigated to the next locks.
This process was discontinued in 1920
to reduce the number of pilots needed.
1914-August 15. The SS Ancon has
been gaily rigged for the occasion.
Flags of all nations were hauled to the
wind to mark the international aspect
of the event.
Capt. John A. Constantine, decked
out in a high collar cream-colored Palm
Beach cloth uniform with brass buttons
and a stiff cap with the word "pilot"
embossed on it, ordered the mooring
lines to be singled up in preparation
for sailing from Pier 9 at Cristobal.
Constantine has the distinction of
being not only the first Panama Canal
pilot but also the most famous-a
legend in his own time.

Stroking his handle-bar moustache, at
7:10 a.m., Constantine ordered the re-
maining lines cast off, thus commencing
the historic first official transit that
opened the Panama Canal to world
commerce. Instead of heading directly
for Gatun Locks, the Ancon turned
north and went out to the Atlantic
entrance so as to include the entire
length of the Canal in the first transit.
The SS Ancon took 9 hours and 40
minutes to reach the end of the Pacific
channel. Thousands of construction era
workers and their families cheered as
the ship steamed by the townsites along
the banks of the Canal.
Constantine, who had emigrated to
the United States from his native
Greece, had sailed extensively for a
number of years before coming to work
for the French Interoceanic Canal Com-
pany as a harbor pilot. When the U.S.
Government formed the Isthmian Canal
Commission in 1905, Constantine was
appointed master of the steam crane-
boat LaValley.
1919-July 24. The U.S.S. New
Mexico (600'x97') is secure in the
lower chamber of Gatun Locks with
cables attached from eight electric
towing locomotives. She is part of the
Pacific naval fleet returning to San
Diego, California after World War I.
The fleet is under the command of
Hugh S. Rodman-by then an admiral-
who had been transferred from Canal
Zone duty in 1915. He specifically
requested that Constantine be the pilot
of his flag ship, the dreadnaught New
Mexico, during Canal transit. There
were 30 ships in the Pacific fleet and
lined up stem to stern they would
stretch more than 2Vz miles. The de-
stroyers were locked up in two ranks of
three in each chamber. One pilot was
in charge of each group of three
In 1919 there were 27 pilots working
on the Panama Canal. During the 5
years of operation the fame of the
Canal and the reputation of the pilots
had been well established throughout
the world wherever ship masters got
together to spin sea stories. Constan-
tine, or "Capt. John" as he was affec-
tionately called, was known for his skill
as a ship handler as well as for his
congenial "pilot house manner."
He once told a pilot-in-training who
was obviously over speed with the ship
he was maneuvering, "Son, if you're in
a big hurry to get this vessel alongside,

Guest writer Norman A. Werner
has been a pilot on the
Panama Canal far 8 years.


The SS "Cristobal" passes through
Gatun Locks on a trial transit,
August 3, 1914, to test procedures prior
to the official opening of the waterway.

The SS "Ancon," with
Capt. John A. Constantine as pilot,
moves through Gaillard Cut,
August 15, 1914, officially opening the
waterway. (The small tugboat is
escorting the "Ancon" and
is not made fast to the ship.)

Below right:
The U.S.S. "New Jersey" is shown at
Pedro Miguel Locks during her last
transit of the Canal on June 4, 1968.
With a length of 800 feet and a
108-foot beam, the "New Jersey" and
her sister ships are the widest vessels
to transit the waterway.

then, I would advise you to go very
slow." This has become a classic phrase
in the vernacular of professional ship
Constantine was injured while board-
ing the Ionic on January 21, 1929
when a pilot launch crushed both his
feet against the side of the ship. He
was 80 years old at the time and
had received special dispensation from
the Government to continue working
beyond the mandatory retirement age.
He died in 1930.
In 1943 a WW II Liberty class ship
was named for him. This is an honor
bestowed posthumously upon distin-
guished Americans and he was the only
ship pilot to receive such a distinction.
1932-April 1. The roaring 20's had
been reduced to a whisper by the econ-
omic reality of the depression. But not
everyone was feeling the pinch. The
well-to-do could book passage on the
quadruple screw Canadian Pacific flag


%"~"'A dvjjj.


Locks personnel were

used as shiphandlers

on trial transit in 1914

ship Empress of Britain (733'x 98') and
see the Panama Canal from their living
room windows.
Capt. W. J. H. Peterson was on the
bridge as she increased speed to ex-
peditiously cover the 21 miles of Gatun
Lake. Peterson was well known to the
ship's master, Capt. Latta, who specifi-
cally requested his services whenever
the Empress transited. Frequently, the
entire transit was made without tug
boat assistance.
Peterson brought a broad maritime
background with him when he became
a Canal pilot in 1918. He had been a
master on Dollar Line passenger ships.
As master of a merchant ship at sea
a man develops great confidence in his
judgment. His decision can mean the
difference between a ship and her crew
surviving or sinking. Such autonomous
responsibility makes a mariner ir-
reverently independent and suspicious
of change. These characteristics transfer
well to piloting on the Panama Canal.
A Canal pilot must have quick and
true judgment plus decision making
abilities. The confined nature of the
Canal demands not only the judgment
of channel and harbor pilots but also
an extraordinary degree of timing skill
to maintain a consistent flow of ships

into and out of the massive concrete
and steel locks without incident. Expe-
rience is the basic requirement of a
successful pilot.
1934-January 21. Not all transits of
the Canal are routine. At 1:15 p.m.
this clay in history Capt. W. J. Kennedy
was piloting the 769-ton Dutch vessel
Brion north in Gatun Anchorage. As
the ship came into the anchorage a
five degree list to port developed which
the ships crew was unable to correct.
It was later learned that a crew mem-
ber had accidentally opened the sea
valves allowing water to enter the hull.
As the vessel continued to sink, Ken-
nedy maneuvered the Brion to the east-
ward out of the anchorage. When it
was apparent she could not be saved,
captain, crew, and pilot climbed into
the life boat and rowed ashore. The
Brion sank in 13 fathoms of water 150
feet from the bank. The railroad tracks
ran adjacent to the lake at this point
so once ashore Kennedy flagged down
the 4:40 p.m. train out of Colon and
went home.
At the inquiry the following day the
pilot was asked why he had not ma-
neuvered the sinking ship to the west-
ward behind Guarapo (Navy) Island
where a spoil area had already been
established. His sense of humor, getting
the better of him, the pilot answered,
"Had I gone westward with the ship,
I would have missed my train."
The Brion remains today where Ken-
nedy left it. It is now used as a diving
school. The first divers to visit it were
the boys in the Gatun townsite diving
for it's cargo of ivory nuts. The boys
involved were easily recognizable to
their school mates as the fuel oil from
the ruptured vessel had permeated their
hair which had to be shaved off.
1938-October 10. The 100,000th
transit of the Panama Canal is logged,
the SS Steel Export (424'x 56') oper-
ated by Isthmian Steam Ship Lines.
Capt. R. H. Wyle navigates into Bohio
Turn, the sharpest in Gatun Lake, with
the propeller churning the water to
foam as the bow wave curls away.
No maritime port, anywhere in the
world, guarantees the safety of a vessel
maneuvering in its waters to the same
degree as the Panama Canal organiza-
tion. Management relies on the ability,
judgment, and good seamanship of its
pilot force as part of a transit team
to help protect it from the financial
liability that goes with this guarantee.
Originally, the Panama Canal Com-
pany had accepted liability for it's em-
ployees and equipment only while a
ship was in the locks. The pilot func-

--t, til V -, .~

Capt. John A. Constantine, the first Panama Canal pilot and a legend in his own time,
inspired this poem, which was published in 1926 along with his photograph.

tioned in an advisory capacity to the
ship's master during the rest of the
transit. However, with the grounding
of the French Line ship Wisconsin in
1935 and ensuing litigation it was
realized that in order to protect the
Canal and the ships that used it, the
pilot must have complete control of the
vessel at all times. A problem with one
ship not only affects those in the im-
mediate vicinity but hundreds of people
behind the scenes throughout the
The outcome of the Wisconsin inci-
dent led to the extending of Canal
Company liability to the entire Canal
and broadening the pilot's responsibility
from advisory to "control of navigation
and movement of a vessel within Canal
Zone waters." This became law when
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed
Executive Order 9227 on August 19,
1943. World War II saw a frantic
build-up of allied shipping capacity. In
U.S. shipyards, "Rosie the Riveter"
turned out Liberty and Victory ships
faster than the German U-boats could
sink them.
In a German prisoner-of-war camp,
66 master mariners, who literally had
their ships torpedoed out from under
them, debated on what man-made
structures ranked as the greatest feats
of engineering. They decided on the
Panama Canal as one of the world's
great engineering achievements. During

their enforced leisure they designed an
elaborate scroll stating their opinion.
They singled out the smoothness with
which a vessel passes through the
Canal as a tribute to the pilots and the
Marine Division of the Panama Canal
The war years also saw a marked in-
crease in naval vessels passing through.
Some of the aircraft carriers required
five pilots to navigate them through the
locks. The flight deck of the larger
flattops actually overhung the 110-foot
wide locks chambers. The hull had to
be centered perfectly in the chamber
to prevent damage as the locks were
emptied during descent.
In 1945, 8,866 vessels transited the
Canal piloted by 87 pilots.
1950. Gen. Douglas McArthur's forces
landed at Inchon, Korea. Once again
the Panama Canal provided an inter-
oceanic aqueduct 85 feet above mean
sea level. American war supplies were
transported through the Canal on board
ships such as the Tillie Lykes, President
Tyler, and Pioneer Tide.
Capt. E. B. Rainier headed the SS
Pioneer Tide (459'x 63') into Gamboa
Reach. "South three proceed" he said
aloud as he studied the block signal
at the entrance to Gaillard Cut. Rainier
sailed as master on the original Cris-
tobal when it was operated by the
Panama Railroad Company. After a
number of years piloting he became
the first civilian Port Captain for the
Canal Company.



.MR- nl 2 -m r

26 SPING 1976

WOfL7 kj


Control pilot Capt. L. S. Hart guides the "Zannis Michalos," which is
738 feet long and 105.8 feet wide, into Mliraflores Locks. The large radio in his right hand
is used for communication with assisting tugs and towing locomotives on the lock walls.
The small radio is for contact with the three other pilots aboard, two of whom are
visible on the platforms rigged on the forward portion of the ship.

At left:
Bow pilot Capt. G. R. Cooper is seen on the platform and on the deck as the ship is
guided into the locks. His function is to relay information to the control pilot.

Left below:
Control pilot Capt. L. S. Hart (seated) directs the transit from the navigation bridge.

At right:
The "Verrazano Bridge," which is 867 feet by 105.6, leaves Pedro Miguel Locks.
Arrow marks position of the bow pilot who is seen close-up below.

As a large vessel

approaches, moves

through and leaves

the locks, the

pilot's role is

particularly important

come to be known). He instructed that
a temporary cat-walk be constructed
athwartships in the forward part of the
vessel prior to transit. During the lock-
age at Gatun, he conned from this
forward position assisted by three addi-
tional pilots, two stationed on the ex-
tremities of the navigation bridge.
Capt. C. G. Didrickson, who was the
second control pilot, tried it from the
navigation bridge aft during the de-
scending lockage at Pedro Miguel and
Miraflores Locks. Eventually all control
pilots on "stem winders" worked from
the navigation bridge but forward tem-
porary platforms are still required for
assisting pilots on stem winders over
100 feet in beam.

1956-December 12. "Its Cotton,
Says Billion-Ton Captain" read the
banner headlines in the Panama-Amer-
ican newspaper. The SS Edward
Luckenbach (498'x 69') transported the
billionth ton of cargo to pass through
the Canal since it was opened in 1914.
Capt. Kenneth Roscoe was the Canal
pilot on board the 7,870 gross ton
freighter as she reduced speed passing
the dredging headquarters in Gamboa
and the mouth of the Chagres River.
Roscoe, a native of Boston, Mass., grad-
uated from Massachusetts Maritime
Academy in 1930. He sailed as master
with American-Hawaiian Line out of
San Francisco, Calif., before coming to
the Isthmus to take on the challenge
of the Panama Canal.
Pilots navigate the Canal, north or

southbound, depending on the number
of ships that arrive at either terminal
for transit. During the course of each
transit a ship will be affected by wind,
current, hydraulic suction, and other
forces. The pilot learns through many
transits how to compensate for these
1957-December 17. The dry bulk
carrier Cosmic (744'x 101') making
it's first transit enters Gaillard Cut. The
unique feature of the Cosmic was the
navigation bridge which was well aft,
leaving the remainder of the ship
measuring the length of two football
fields put end to end ahead of the
Capt. C. S. Townshend was the first
control pilot of this first large "stem
winder" (as bridge-aft vessels have


A ship transits with the help of the
extensive lighting which was installed
along the banks of Gaillard Cut.
It is a different Canal at night as any pilot
or ship's master will tell you.

Capt. Robert Rennie sits on top of the
amphibious jeep "Tortuga" as it
approaches Pedro Miguel Locks in 1955.
Pilots are accustomed to coping with
the unusual as well as the
conventional transit.

Ships such as the Cosmic, especially
when deeply loaded require a pilot's
full concentration when navigating
Gaillard Cut. This part of the Canal
(originally called Culebra Cut which is
Spanish for snake), was chiseled out
of the rock on the Continental Divide.
Until 1971 the cut was 300 feet wide.
When a large and unwieldy vessel of
over 100-foot beam moves in such
a confined waterway, asymetrical hy-
drodynamic forces are created. The
moving ship will actually cause the sur-
face watcr level on one side to be
higher than the other. This creates a
force that will cause the ship to sheer
off course. To counter this, the pilot
must order the use of the ships rudder
and engines with unerring precision.
A system of securing a tug boat
astern with a two-line bridle was de-
veloped at the David Taylor Model
Basin in Carderock, Md., expressly for
ships navigating Gaillard Cut. This pro-
vides a "second rudder" and has proven
quite successful.

Even smaller ships that are allowed
to meet in the restricted confines of
the Cut create an interaction. Again
the experienced pilot will counter the
sheer with precisely the proper degree
of rudder angle and engine power.
When the Cut was 300 feet wide
the standard method of meeting an-
other ship was to steam head on to
the approaching vessel until both ships
were about one ship length apart. At
this point both pilots would order the
rudder put to the right on their re-
spective ships. As the bows of the
two ships swung to starboard a cushion
of water built up between the ships
allowing them to pass without collid-
ing. Needless to say this maneuver re-
quired absolute precision and strong
Ship masters who bring their vessels
to the Canal for the first time are
understandably apprehensive as they
witness the margin of clearance re-
duced from miles such as it is in the
open ocean to feet as it is in the Canal.
One pilot couldn't resist the tempta-
tion of having fun with a particularly
nervous and obviously new skipper.
The situation was a meeting of two
vessels in the Cut as described before.
As the two 10,000 ton ships ap-
proached each other dead on, the new
skipper's pacing increased. When the
two ships were about to reach the
point when the maneuver to starboard
was called for, the pilot, turning to the
skipper took off his glasses, rubbed his
eyes, and asked "Captain, my eyes
aren't so good anymore. Can you tell
me if you see a ship ahead?"
Another problem that is particularly

acute in the Cut is the accumulation of
fog (pea soup variety) at night during
the rainy season. On the average, ships
are tied up for fog 65 nights a year.
1962-September 16. With then Pres-
ident of Panama Roberto F. Chiari and
Canal Zone Gov. Robert J. Fleming as
special guests, the nuclear powered
ship NS Savannah (595'x 78') enters
the "jaws" at Pedro Miguel Locks. The
entrance to the locks chamber is
termed the jaws because the slightest
error here, either human or mechan-
ical, can result in the ship's hull being
ripped open if it strikes the concrete.
Capt. C. V. Torstenson is the pilot
during this maiden transit. He was
sent to the United States to go on
board the Savannah during her sea
trials to determine what special pre-
cautions would be necessary when the
first atomic powered merchant ship
1970-June 2. The ore carrier
Oswego Venture (760'x 102') carries
the 2-billionth ton of cargo through.
Unlike the Edward Luchenback, which
made history when it carried the bil-
lionth ton 13 years earlier, no ceremony
accompanied this transit. It was busi-
ness as usual for control pilots Capts.
E. G. Evans and W. Cronin who were
unaware of the significance of their
1972-April 19. The Tokyo Bay
(950'x 106') departs Pedro Miguel and
glides effortlessly across Miraflores
Lake. The first of the super container
ships that have come to be called
"Panamax" was guided by Capts. A. L.
Wilder and T. W. Cove, control pilots.
The Panamax designation is applied

THE SHIPS DWARF THE LOCKS-Four destroyers move
through Pedro Miguel with space to spare in 1925 while today,
the "Kowloon Bay," a regular customer, which is
950 feet long and 106 feet in the beam, squeezes through.

28 SPRING 1976


to ships designed to take maximum
advantage of the limiting dimensions of
the locks.
Originally, the Canal was designed
with extra capacity and the locks
dwarfed the ships of that era. Fifty-
eight years later it would be the ships
that dwarfed the locks.
By now the Canal has gone to a
24-hour operation starting January 1,
1963. Vessels had transited at night as
early as 1940 on a selective basis. This
was made possible by the installation of
bank lighting in the Cut. In 1964 pilots
gave up using hand signals to the loco-
motives as new radios permitted pilots
to communicate with locks, tugs, and
marine traffic coordinators. And the
original electric towing locomotives
have been replaced by more versatile
1974-May 8. The Pennsylvania
Getty (799'x 105') awaits the gates to
swing open in Miraflores Locks. She is
en route from Hampton Roads, Va. to
Japan with 51,686 tons of coal. The
Getty is the 400,000th ocean going
vessel to transit. Capts. F. D. Saunders
and T. W. Cove are the pilots. Seven-
teen years earlier, Saunders took the
200,000th commercial vessel through
the waterway. That ship was the Santa
Mercedes (459'x 63') operated by
Grace Line. It took 43 years of Canal
operation before the 200,000th ship to
transit and about half as long for the
second 200,000th transit.
1976-July 4. More and bigger ships
create greater demands on the skill of
the pilots. In 1975 reported mechanical
failures aboard transiting vessels aver-
aged 28 a month. It is during these

unforeseen emergencies that a pilot
must frequently utilize all the knowl-
edge and experience at his command
to avoid disaster.
A dip into the pool of statistics in-
dicates other significant Canal transit
Fastest transit
ocean to ocean:
Ondine (456'x 55') 4 hours and
27 minutes on September 30,
1961, piloted by Capt. John F.
Fastest transit
locks to locks:
Brunskappel (446'x 55') 3 hours
53 minutes from entering Mira-
flores Locks to clearing Gatun
Locks on December 30, 1968,
piloted by Capt. Robert Rowe.
Most transits in a
calendar year:
15,523 in 1970
Most transits started
in a day:
65 on February 29, 1968.
Largest ship:
San Juan Prospector (975'x 106')
on April 6, 1973, piloted by
Capts. C. J. Gundersen and
W. Hopkins.
Greatest volume of cargo
in a ship:
61,078 long tons on the Melodic
on May 29, 1973, control pilots
A. T. Wilder and J. W. Cham-
Largest passenger ship:
Queen Elizabeth II, March 25,
1975, control pilots Robert F.
Boyd and Furman D. Saunders.

The largest commercial ship to transit,
the "San Juan Prospector"
(now the "Marcona Prospector"), with a
length of 975 feet and a beam of
106 feet, is a tight fit in the
1,000 by 110 feet lock chamber at
Miraflores. Since the bridge is amidships,
she required only 2 pilots.
She transited in ballast in April 1973
and paid $40,951.44 in tolls.

Wearing a pith helmet as protection
against the tropical sun, a
Canal pilot boards a launch and heads
for home after a transit.

scene in Gaillard Cut was photographed in 1923 when southbound ships were moored on the left bank, while
northbound ships passed in close formation following a slide. At right below: The "Tokyo Bay," one of the
largest ships to transit, moves through Gaillard Cut with the help of one tug which is attached to the stern
by a bridle to act as a second rudder. The tug ahead of the "Tokyo Bay" is escorting the vessel and could be
made fast to the ship in an emergency.

0 .F-


-w -~ '~

Above left:
Seventh grade art teacher Bill Koons gives instructions to
Kimberly Montgomery how best to combine the mola art
form with her Bicentennial design.
Above right:
Although painted on paper, these colorful molas,
with patriotic motifs, look very much like the cloth ones.
Lower left:
Barry Novack works on an eagle design.
Lower right:
Two Cuna women are wearing molas, sitting on molas,
and surrounded by molas as they stitch up some new molas at
Miraflores Locks.


Rom*' F=t=A/

>J' jV L




, 46,o4

I but the Cuna Indians of the San
Blas Islands have made a colorful con-
tribution to a Curundu Junior High
School bicentennial project.
The unique art form of the Cuna
culture-the mola-inspired art teacher
Bill Koons and his enthusiastic seventh
grade students to paint a series of
patriotic posters depicting such stand-
ard symbols of grass roots Americana
as eagles, stars and stripes, liberty bells
and, even a hamburger.
Imitating the intricate designs and
bright colors favored by the Cuna
women in their cotton cloth "cutwork
stitcherv" the Curundu students are
creating their own molas on manila
Using real molas as visual aids,
Koons and his students first discussed
the special qualities of the Cuna art
and the characteristics that make it
unique. The abundant use of black,
orange and red; the special feeling for
beautiful shapes and outlines and artful
use of space and attention to detail.
Once having established the theme
and the guidelines, Koons gave the stu-
dents a free hand to create, with some
very imaginative results.
As an art form exclusive to Panama,
molas are popular souvenir items among
tourists. They are also widely used as
wall hangings, sewn on shirts, skirts and
jackets or used to make items of cloth-
ing and accessories ranging from tote
bags to bikinis. Clubs and fraternal or-
ganizations often have their seals or
emblems copied and made into molas
by the skillful Cuna women.
Made basically to be worn on fronts
and backs of their own blouses, the
brightly colored molas are now pro-
duced by the San Blas women in large
quantities and sold at almost every
curio shop and department store on the
Isthmus-even outside the entrance to
Miraflores Locks.
Cuna girls are taught the art of mola
making at an early age. They cut out
intricate designs on several layers of
contrasting colored cloth that have been
sewn together. After cutting the design
into each layer so that the contrasting
color underneath it creates the desired
contour, the edges are carefully folded
under and sewn with tiny stitches.
The paper molas created by the Cu-
rundu students show that the distinc-
tive design techniques can be adapted
to depict a great variety of artistic
expressions, reflecting the ingenuity,
creative ability and often the mood of
the mola maker.

Cand? zcon ickoonel joiM

Op tl Sal? 76

maritime heritage of the United States, the Canal Zone Sea Explorer
schooner Chicf Aptakisic will sail up the Hudson River, July 4 along with
more than 100 other sailing vessels.
Plans are for the President of the United States to review the vessels
from the deck of an aircraft carrier as they enter New York Harbor.
The two-masted vessel, which has a crew of Canal Zone Sea Explorers
and adult volunteers, will join "Operation Sail '76," one of the major events
of the Bicentennial. More than 25 to 30 of the few remaining tall-masted
sailing ships and approximately 100 smaller sail training ships and sailing
yachts will come to the United States for the event.
Chief Aptakisic will compete with these vessels in a race from Bermuda
to Newport, R.I. and from there will sail to New York for the spectacular
parade up the Hudson River to George Washington Bridge on July 4.
After the celebrations in New York, Chief Aptakisic will begin her return
voyage to the Canal Zone, visiting enroute several Bicentennial "Operation
Sail '76" host cities.
Following completion of her 12,000 mile voyage, the 53-foot schooner,
which was refurbished and outfitted through the financial efforts of Canal
Zone Project Windjammer Inc. '76, will be used locally by Sea Explorers
for instruction in sailing.

The "'Chief Aptakisic" attracts the interest of the crew of a transiting ship
as she sails under the Thatcher Ferry Bridge Lwhich spans the
Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal at Balboa.


Men Dug the Ci

-'c: '-I-

...but women played a vital role

By Fannie P. Hernandez

contended that building the Pan-
ama Canal was a man's job. The Isth-
mus was no place for a woman. The
men could come and live in tents and
rough it and when the job was done,
in 5 or 10 years, they could pack their
grips and go back to their wives and
Although the First Canal Commis-
sion discouraged American women from
coming to the Isthmus, it was soon
realized that it was impossible to keep
the men here without them. In the first
2 years of the construction, turnover
was so great among the foremen, sub-
ordinate engineers, and skilled crafts-
men that it was impossible to organize
an efficient work force.
After a few months on the Isthmus,
many of the American men became dis-
enchanted and lost interest in their
work. There was none of the excite-
ment of the city and they found the
energy-sapping heat, the lack of women
and social life, and the dense steaming
jungle demoralizing.
Complaints and murmurs of discon-
tent were heard among laborers. Boldly
asserting their disgruntlement, a group
of West Indian workers held a sitdown
strike announcing, "No women, no
work." About that time American men
made it known that they too were
ready to do some "sitdowning" for the
same reason. Commission officials soon
were convinced that workers needed a

normal social life, and changing the
policy, hired more married men and
encouraged bachelors to marry.
In those early days of chaos and con-
fusion, women workers were not re-
cruited from the United States mainly
due to the lack of suitable housing and
the general rigors of the unhealthy
climate. But a few wives and daughters
of employees were hired.
The Isthmian Canal Commission had
obtained more than 2,000 houses from
the French Canal, most of them in poor
condition. These were renovated, box-
cars were placed on sidings and fitted
out as quarters, and tents put into
service. Anything with four walls, a
roof and a floor was considered living
quarters. Food familiar to Americans
was scarce and very expensive. There
was no cold storage, no fresh milk and
little meat. There was no potable water;
distilled water was delivered to each
house daily. When it was not available,
water was boiled.
As time went on and conditions im-
proved, Canal officials began urging
women to come and to stay. They
came and with their arrival life in the
construction towns began to change.
They were soon influencing the choice
of furnishings, food and clothing sent
to the Isthmus and they not only beau-
tified their own quarters with plants,
but also the public grounds.
Housekeeping was almost as much
of an adventure as digging the Canal.

There was the constant battle with
ants, roaches and spiders. Fleas came
with the dry season and, at certain
times of the year, big black ants
swarmed through the houses. The sugar
bowl was kept in the ice box. Table
legs were immersed in oil. Cooking was
done on a coal or wood-burning stove,
and at times the smoke got very thick.
The first woman to be employed by
the Isthmian Canal Commission was
Mary Eugene Hibbard who was ap-
pointed Superintendent of Nurses in
June 1904, 1 month after the transfer
of the French property to the United
States Government. Two weeks later,
she arrived in the Canal Zone with her
commanding officer, Dr. W. C. Gorgas,
Chief, Sanitary Officer, and two trained
nurses who were to work with her.
Miss Hibbard wrote of her first day
at the Ancon Hospital: "We foun1
about 75 buildings, very scattered. Our
work was to study the situation and find
the best possible for the patients who
were to be accommodated." After se-
lecting the five buildings she wanted
to use for wards, sanitary conveniences,
diet kitchen, and linen rooms, she
wrote: "The amount of cleaning after
15 years of neglect can be imagined."
She spent 4 years here and a bronze

Women brave the mud to observe
the work in the Cut.

SPImN 1976

plaque at Gorgas Hospital honors her
as "Nurse, patriot, gentlewoman, hu-
manitarian, friend, who rendered out-
standing service to the development of
better health in the tropics."
The nurses who came to the Isthmus
were highly qualified, having served as
Army or Red Cross nurses in the
Spanish-American War, the Russo-
Japanese War, or at hospitals in Cuba,
Italy, Switzerland and the Philippines.
Among those who soon followed Miss
Hibbard was Jessie M Murdock, who
later succeeded Miss Hibbard as chief
nurse. They were well aware of the
problems and challenges that faced
them. An obstacle they did not an-
ticipate was the hostility of the French
nursing nuns who had been caring for
the sick and understood that the
coming of the American nurses meant
their departure.
An even more serious problem for
the new nurses developed from the
religious vows of the nursing nuns,
whose intentions were far better than
their training. Surgeon's orders that
post-operative patients be fed nothing
were ignored by the nuns who vowed
to "feed the sick and pray for the
dying.' Despite these drawbacks, Miss
NMurdock wrote in "Ancon Hospital in
1904 and 1905" in the Society of
Chagres Yearbook, 1913, that the nuns
were "women of much refinement and
charm" and she praised their heroic
work in the face of great difficulties.
She noted that the buildings were
not screened, but each bed had a mos-
quito bar making it difficult to attend
the patients. The French nuns thought
the netting unattractive and tied it
back with bows of ribbon to the dismay
of the American nurses. When yellow
fever patients were admitted, a wire
cage was built around the bed. For the
nurses who had night duty, their only
protection from the mosquitoes was
swathing themselves in bandages soaked
in oil of citronella.
Early in December of that first year,
as vellow fever and other forms of
sickness became more prevalent, almost
causing panic, she wrote: "Had we
allowed ourselves to do so, we would
have lost heart completely, for death
seemed to dominate the situation. But
the unselfishness and splendid admin-
istrative skill by which our work was
arranged made everyone feel that we
too must do our work courageously.
and in the trying days when one of
our number was stricken, no one
showed the white feather but all stood
faithfully to their tasks." Ada Jane Nice,
one of those valiant women on the

Ancon Hospital staff, was the first
nurse to die on the Isthmus. She was
from Riegelsville, Pa.
In closing her account of those early
days at Aneon, Miss Murdock wrote,
"Hefore two years were over we were
surrounded by all the modern comforts
and conveniences. Telephones buzzed,
electric lights were flashed on, and we
recognized ourselves as only a part of
an ideal community. It would be hard
for anyone today to believe that Ancon
had ever gone through a pioneer stage.
We are glad to have had a hand in the
work of those early days, and although
as women we achieved no distinct
celebrity, vet we flatter ourselves that
we plaVed an important part in the
building of the Canal."
In addition to the nurses, a few
women were employed as teachers.
Most were wives or daughters of em-
ployees. Feminists today would wince

"It's not an easy

work. Sometimes

it's rough on

the mnien and

a little rougher

on the women."

at the reference to the employment of
women teachers in the 1907 Canal
Record: "On account of their natural
qualifications for the work and because
at the salaries paid it was easier to
secure women with requisite expe-
rience than men." Their salaries ranged
from $30 to $110 a month.
The first Canal Zone free public
school was opened in June 1906 at
Corozal with Emily Kvte as the teacher.
"Line teachers" received the highest
pay. They were the "permanent sub-
stitutes" who taught wherever there
was a temporary vacancy. They also
did tutoring wherever they were as-
signed. Line teachers put in a 12-hour
dav, leaving for school on the 7 a.m.
train and returning at 7 p.m.
Among those substitute teachers was
Winifred Ewing, who celebrated her
90th birthday on the Isthmus last Jan-
narn. Recalling those days, she com-
mented on the tropical rains and the

mud in the wet season. But for her,
hardships and inconveniences have
been smoothed out or forgotten with
the passing of the years.
Her husband Ora Ewing had come
to work in the Sanitation Department
in November 1906. A year later he
returned to his home in Glensville,
W. Va., married and brought his bride
to the Canal Zone. They were assigned
a little house on the Ancon Hospital
grounds. It had one room with a tiny
kitchen and woodburning stove. Though
she had graduated from Normal School
and would have qualified for a full-
time teaching job, Mrs. Ewing pre-
ferred to devote most of her time to
homemaking. Her two daughters were
born in Ancon Hospital. Later, after
her husband's death, Mrs. Ewing was
for many years the housemother at
Canal Zone College. Reflecting on those
early days, Mrs. Ewing said, "We got
along alright with what we had. It was
no problem. It did rain a lot but it
didn't bother us. We became used to
it. I've lived here since 1907 and I've
loved it."
The early Canal Zone high school
was a migratory one, located at various
times in Culebra, Cristobal, Gatun and
When it was on the Atlantic side,
slides on the railroad frequently pre-
vented students from the Pacific area
from getting home and they would
have to overnight with friends on the
Gold Coast. Although high school
pupils were enrolled in the Canal Zone
as early as 1907 (before there was a
high school) the first high school com-
mencement was not until 1911. It was
at Catun and there were 'wo girls in
the class. At that time the Canal Zone
high school diplomas were signed by
the President of the United States.
Mamie Elizabeth Miracle, the first
American schoolteacher at Empire, was
the principal of the high school at
Cnlebra. She came to the Isthmus in
March 1906 to marry Frank W. Mira-
cle, a storekeeper in the Quartermaster
Department at Empire. The\, had the
distinction of heing the first couple to
be wed in the Canal Zone after it came
under U.S. control.
Reminiscing on what it was like
teaching at Catun School, a construc-
tion-dav teacher recalled that during
the rainy season it involved the chang-
ing of shoes several times a day.
Teachers would board the train and
before reaching Gatun would change
to boots to walk through the mud to
the schoolhouse, then change to shoes
and then back to boots when it was


"We are glad to have had a hand in the work of those

early days and although as women we achieved no distinct

celebrity, yet we flatter ourselves that we played

an important part in the building of the Canal."


time to go home. It was a bothersome
chore considering the high buttoned
shoes of the day.
In 1907, so many were the incon-
veniences faced by families in the
Canal Zone, President Roosevelt sent
Gertrude Beeks, of the Department of
Welfare of Government Employees of
the National Civic Federation, to look
into labor conditions to try to find out
why the men would not stay on the
job. A capable investigator, Miss Beeks
got closer to the American workers than
the officials and they talked frankly
with her without the fear of being
called complainers.
Though living conditions were much
improved and quite good compared to
those found by the first workers who
came here, Miss Beeks made a report
to the Isthmian Canal Commission and
the Panama Railroad including such
criticisms as no hot water in the
showers; inadequate quarters for about
1,000 men living in boxcars; the exist-
ence of bedbugs and vermin; the nurse's
dormitory at Colon Hospital where
during rain storms nurses sleeping on

the ocean side got drenched and were
known to sleep with umbrellas over
them; no adequate supply of fresh
vegetables; lack of rain sheds along the
Canal for the workers; and a number
of other complaints.
Miss Beeks also found that women
were lonely without the social and cul-
tural activities they had enjoyed at
home. To remedy the situation, she
recommended that women's clubs be
formed. At her suggestion, Helen Bo-
swell, of the Federation of Women's
Clubs in the United States, was sent
to the Isthmus. During a month-long
visit, she encouraged women to form
clubs affiliated with the Federation.
Nine clubs were formed. Soon, they
were holding meetings and finding out-
lets for their mental and social talents
in club work.
They developed home gardens, pro-
moted the organization of the Humane
Society in the Canal Zone, sponsored
home nursing programs and many other
educational and cultural projects. Their
recommendations on community im-
provements generally brought results.

A few women held important positions
during construction days.

Above left:
Christiana Benson, who managed the
hotels at Las Cascadas and Bas Obispo.

Above right:
M.lamie Elizabeth Miracle, who was
principal of the first high school in
the Canal Zone.

The families of Canal laborers wait
at the free clinic sponsored by
the Cristobal Woman's Club
in the early days.

El-ight pupils and their teacher pose on
the porch of the first free public school
operated by the municipality of
Gorgona in 1904.

Construction-day employees used lively imaginations to create a homey atmosphere
within the bare wooden walls of early Canal Zone quarters
as shown by this sitting room in a four-family house in Culebra in 1914.
The bead curtain and hanging lamp lend a touch of French decor.

34 SPImNG 1976

"And they

made it home.

Ah, that's the


Above right:
A typical street in Cristobal in 1907
before paving. Despite the mud and
makeshift housing, the women of the
Canal Zone created a pleasant
home environment.

Above left:
Mrs. Gaillard pours tea for herself
and her husband,
Col. David Du Bois Gaillard,
utho directed the work in Culebra Cut,
which was renamed in his honor.

Above right:
1. Bucklin Bishop, secretary of the
second Isthmian Canal Commission,
relaxes with his wife and daughter
on the front porch of their quarters.

Family photographs and a doll adorn the walls of this bedroom in family quarters
which show exposed studs on the wood siding. (Housing of this type is still in use today.)
The door with wooden louver inserts and the shuttered window were built-in
"breeze conditioning" of that era. The French influence is evident in the furniture.


A woman was one of the first swim-
mers of the Canal. Elaine May Golding,
billed in the local press as the "cham-
pion lady swimmer of America," by-
passed the locks and the Cut but swam
most of the Canal in stages between
December 12 and 16 in 1913.

In 1908 the personnel rolls of the
Isthmian Canal Commission showed
6,100 American males and 205 Amer-
ican females employed. There were 117
female nurses in the service, 25 women
schoolteachers, and 45 were employed
as copyists, coupon counters, clerks,
postal clerks, dietitians, timekeepers,
telegraphers and storekeepers. A total
of 18 women were working for the
Panama Railroad.
Among the few American women
employed in the early days was Flor-
ence Williams who came to the Isthmus
in 1906 from Buffalo, N.Y., to live with
her doctor father and her brother who
had come earlier. After living at Em-
pire for about a year, she moved to
Catun and was one of the American
women who lived there in tents until
the houses were built. She recalls wit-
nessing, in September of 1906, the first
cut of Catun Locks as the steam shovel
began excavating at the lock site.
A Roosevelt Medal holder, Miss
Williams worked for the Isthmian Canal
Commission from 1907 to 1909 as a
telephone operator at Empire. After
attending school in the United States,

Viewing the beautiful royal palm lined Prado in Balboa today one would find it
difficult to visualize the Canal Zone as the grim muddy place it was when the first women
arrived to establish horn-'s. In the foreground is the monument to
Gen. George \V. Coethals, chief engineer during the construction of the Canal.
In the background is the U.S. built Thatcher Ferry Bridge which spans the Canal.

she returned to the Canal Zone and in
1922 went to work in the Canal's
Accounting Division, retiring in 1954.
During her many years on the Isth-
mus, she saw important landmarks
being built in the Canal Zone. A few
years ago, looking on as the Balboa

Mrs. Bruce Sanders came in 1910


Mrs. Ora Ewing came in 1908


"tropical rains and mud"

"upside down biscuits"

Club House was being demolished, she
reflected, "I saw it built at Empire,
I remember when it was moved here,
and now it is being torn down.'
The demise of the Tivoli Hotel was
even more disturbing since she had
lived there for more than 17 years fol-
lowing her retirement. At 84, she still
has happy memories of gala social
events, white formal frocks and long
.white gloves and young men in starched
white suits and high collars. Then, the
average ratio of men and young women

ran about 25 young engineers or other
Canal bachelors to each American girl
in her late teens or early twenties.
Stories told and recorded by women
Roosevelt Medal Holders who attended
the Theodore Roosevelt Centennial in
the Canal Zone in 1958 give a vivid
insight into life in the construction-day
Among these historical accounts is one
by Mrs. Bruce Sanders, whose husband
came to the Isthmus in 1908 to work
as a nurse. She came in 1910, as a
bride, and lived for a few months in
Panama City and then moved to a
little house just reclaimed from the
jungle. It was in a settlement called
Caimito Mulato, a part of San Pablo
on the banks of the Chagres River, so
close to the water that it was possible
to fish off the back porch. There were
30 or 40 houses and no one knew the
town existed until some engineers run-
ning a line for the Canal discovered it.
The house had no ceilings, only a tin
roof. Cooking was done on a wood-
burning stove and old railroad ties were
used for fuel. She remembered that
blasting on the Canal played havoc
with cake-baking because the blasts
shook the whole house. A cake would
either fall flat or spill out into the
bottom of the oven. However, she con-
tinued to bake what she called "up
side down biscuits" explaining that the
uneven temperature burned the his-
cuits on the bottom and all she had to
do was pop them out of the tin, turn
them over, and put them back into the
oven. She said that the dirt trains ran
along the door and always seemed to
pass by at meal time so that cinders


Three Quarters Fiscal Year 1976
TRANSITS (Oceangoing Vessels)
1976 1975
Commercial 9,096 10,168
U.S. Go% ernment 75 144
Free --- -- 26 6
Total- 9,197 10.318
Coa ...r ial $98,723,926 S105,916.438
U.S. Govern-
ment 639,723 ],166,946
Total $99,363,649 $107,083,384
CARGO0o (Oceangoing)
Commercial 87,541,026 107,167,621
'.S. Govern-
ment ------ 149,386 431,250
Total-. 87,690,412 107,598,871
Includes tolls on all vessels, oceangoing
and small.
** Cargo figures are in long tons.

were a daily item on the family menu.
The Sanders moved 13 times that first
year. While living at Corgona, they
were notified on a Monday morning
that they must be out of the house by
1 o'clock and the next time she saw
the house it was half way down the
banks of the excavation.
Their next house was on the top of
a hill in Paraiso. What was supposed
to be a "choice house" had two rooms
and a small porch where you could
place a rocking chair if you were care-
ful how you turned it. She noted that
Paraiso was the only town along the
line that had fresh drinking water. The
first soft drink plant was installed there
because of the good water.
Recalling their first Christmas on the
Isthmus in 1907, Mrs. Steve Calvit re-
membered that the men went into the
jungle and cut down an orange tree
laden with ripe and green fruit. They
set it up in the schoolroom and de-
corated it with whatever they had
available to make it colorful. Among
the few presents distributed was some
guava jelly made by Mrs. Mattie Mor-
rison, who came in 1905. They had no
jelly jars and used heavy drinking
glasses. To seal them, they fashioned
tops out of correspondence paper and
dipped them in egg white to make
them stick.
Mrs. Calvit, her four daughters and
a nephew, Joe Ebdon, arrived in May
1907, to join her husband and two sons.
They were assigned a cottage in Cor-
gona much too small for their large
In 190S, when they were assigned a
larger house; it burned down 2 hours
before they were to move in. "Three

July- -----------
August ---------------
September -----------
October ------------
November --------
December -----------
January----- ------
February ............---------
March -------
Total--- ----

.Vo. of Tot

Nationoalty transit

Belgian---- ..
British __--
Chilean -...- ---
Chinese, Nat'l .. .
Colombian -----
French ----- -__-
Cerman, West ..
Creek ----.--
Japanese--- ----
Liberian .-- -
Panamanian ----
South Korean-.---
Spanish _- ____- __
United States.....
All other--.--


of cargo

No. of Tons
transit of cargo
116 954,290
1,013 10,712,339
103 1,224,265
115 1,476,153
1Q7 215,958
186 1,328,858
232 1,745,108
85 587,527
176 1,060,991
558 3,387,423
878 13,013,069
183 1,261,500
949 8,116,625
1,417 26,470,028
641 10,174,947
316 1,401,772
789 5,611,117
145 1,484,837
130 815,365
56 703.406
90 607,457
45 386,893
260 2,668,527
819 6,649.544
759 5,109.622
10,168 107,167,621

Acg. No.
1976 1975 1965-69
1,089 1,219 1,067
1,039 1,121 1,044
954 1,095 1,015
1,045 1,125 1,049
994 1,086 1,021
992 1,111 1,035
1,018 1,142 1,003
912 1,052 922
1.053 1,217 1,098
1,142 1,087
1,209 1,110
1,090 1,052
13,609 12,503

I Before deduction of any operating expenses.

Avg. No. Avg. tons
transits of cargo
60 160,062
1,025 7,554,799
86 572,605
82 615,551
166 341,884
11 83,457
285 1,658,981
51 62,551
162 669,842
913 3,182.940
369 3,807,322
169 1,147,676
679 5.080,587
1,013 13,657,609
1,098 10,760,813
390 1,687,381
394 1,823,641
114 548.033
46 344,944
N.A N.A.
23 123,777
13 58.014
329 2,151.847
1,188 6.632,992
589 2.429.933
9,255 65,157,241

Three Quarters Fiscal Year
Avg. No.
Trade routes-(Lorge commercial vessels, 300 net tons or over) 1976 1975 1965-69

East coast United States-Asia -
Europe-West coast South America ----- --------
East coast United States-West coast South America -----
Europe-West coast United States/Canada --------
Europe-Asia ----------------- -----------
East coast Canada-Asia -------- ---------
United States Intercoastal( including Hawaii)
East coast South America-Asia -----------------------
West coast South America--West Indies-
All others
Total -- -------_




Tolls (In thousands of dollars)l

1976 1975
$11,753 $11,834
11,367 12,254
10,639 11,928
11,150 11.855
10,846 11,150
10,722 11,487
11,043 12.081
9,900 10,682
11,269 12,607

6.85 1


Three Quarters Fiscal Year

Vessels of 300 net tons or over-(Fiscal years)

weeks later," she said, "21 men stood
at the door and the boss said that they
were to move us and they did, carrying
everything down one hill, around the
ravine and up onto another hill where
six four-family houses had been com-
In a Star & Herald editorial repro-
duced in the Society of the Chagres
Yearbook, 1916-17, S. P. Verner wrote
of the Women Who Made the Canal,
"And then they made it home. Ah,
there's the point. The government might
have build barracks of silver and floored
them in gold, it might have put on its
hotel tables the vintages of fair cham-
pagne and pat6s of old Strasbourg-but
no woman, no home, for God made it
so from the beginning of creation, and
ordained it to the end of time."
In an address to the employees of
the Isthmian Canal Commission in
November 1906, President Roosevelt
said, "It is not an easy work. Mighty
few things that are worth doing are
easy. Sometimes it is rough on the men
and just a little rougher on the wom-
en. It has pleased me particularly to
see as I have met the wives who have
come down here with their husbands,
the way in which they have turned in
to make the best of everything and to
help the men to do their work well."
According to personal interviews and
written accounts, the great majority of
construction day wives and women em-
ployees of the Canal in those early days
were happy to have lived on the Isth-
mus at such a momentous time and to
have been a part of the beginning of the
Panama Canal. In the words of Mrs.
Sanders, who recently returned to the
Canal Zone to visit one of her six chil-
dren born here, "Those were the hap-
piest days. They were hard times and
we griped and fussed but one did not
give up. If you didn't have the pioneer
spirit, you just left."
Today, women constitute approxi-
mately 20 percent of the Canal's work
force. In addition to teachers and
nurses and other professions tradi-
tionally known as women's jobs, the
Canal's personnel rolls show they are
employed as physicians, lawyers, engi-
neers, geologists, police officers, and in
other fields formerly considered ex-
clusively the realm of men.

At right:
Twio large vessels move through
Pedro Miguel Locks. In the background
is Gaillard Cut where the Canal passes
through the Continental Divide.


P.-Cilic i'wAtlainlic

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956. -4IS
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