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The Panama Canal. An Oral History Project. Panama Canal Location. Background of Parties Involved. (St. George, 1989). NE. (20 ft. tidal difference). SW. (1 ft. tidal difference). (Shepherd, 1911). How do the locks work?. What is Oral History?.

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The Panama Canal

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The Panama Canal

An Oral History Project


Panama Canal Location


Background of Parties Involved

(St. George, 1989)


NE

(20 ft. tidal difference)

SW

(1 ft. tidal difference)

(Shepherd, 1911)


How do the locks work?


What is Oral History?

Oral history is a self-conscious, disciplined conversation between people about a historically significant event of the past to create a record of the event. Although the conversation takes the form of an interview, in which one person--the interviewer--asks questions of another person--variously referred to as the interviewee or narrator--oral history is, at its heart, a dialogue.


Questions

Simple, Structured, Single Topic

Open-ended & concrete

Determined in advance and submitted to the Interviewee

Off-limits questions


The Interviewee

Fits your questions

Willing

Validated


A Few Other Things

Informed Consent

Recording Equipment

Dress

Location

Questioning Techniques

Informal Time After

Thank You Note


Panama Canal Background

NE

Madden Lake

(Madden Dam)

SW

Pacific Breakwater

Chagres River

Atlantic Breakwater

Culebra Cut

Pedro Miguel Locks

Miraflores Lock

Gatun Locks

Continental Divide

Gatun Lake

Gatun Dam

Mr. Robert Dill at 104 years of age telling his story.

(canalmuseum.com, 2001)


Engineers

(St. George, 1989)


  • George W. Goethals, Chief Engineer, 1907-1914

  • John F. Wallace, Chief Engineer, 1904-1905

  • John F. Stevens, Chief Engineer, 1905-1907

(Pictured Left to Right)

(CZ Brats, 2007)


Equipment Used

  • Marion Steam Shovel- Bucyrus type

    • Excavation rate for one shovel:

      • 150 cu.yds./hr.

    • Average of 40 in use per day at Culebra Cut

    • Approximately 100 purchased by U.S.

(canalmuseum.com, 2001)


Bucyrus Steam Shovel

(Gus Steigler’s Days in Panama, 2007)


Culebra Cut Before and After

Before

After

* 20,000,000 cu. yds. added to excavation due to slides

* 25% of total spoil removed

(canalmuseum.com, 2001)


“Path Between the Seas”

The Panama Canal

The Culebra Cut Today

(canalmuseum.com, 2001)


Disease

  • Major Problems

    • Umbrella Ants

    • Standing Water

    • Open Sewage

  • Mosquitoes

    • Malaria

    • Yellow Fever

(canalmuseum.com, 2001;McCullough, 1977)


Disease Solution

  • Dr. William Gorges

    • Drain Swamps

    • Install Plumbing

    • Maintain Roads

    • Use Pesticides

(canalmuseum.com, 2001;McCullough, 1977)


Project Safety

  • Overall 30,000 lives lost between French and American efforts

  • Main causes

    • Rock Slides

    • Explosives

    • Disease

    • Upheavals

    • Sink Holes

(canalmuseum.com, 2001; Canal Zone Images.com,2007)


Dynamite/Blasting

  • Total: 4,535,000 lbs. of dynamite used in canal construction

  • Blast holes were:

    • 15-27 feet deep

    • Filled with 75-200 lbs. of dynamite

(canalmuseum.com, 2001;The Panama Canal)


Blasting

  • Common Problems

    • Steam shovels hit unexploded charges

    • Lightning

    • Human Error

  • December 12, 1908

    • 52 holes; 44,000 lbs. dynamite

    • 26 killed; 40 injured

(canalmuseum.com, 2001;St. George, 1989)


Train/Railways

  • Total: 160 steam locomotives used throughout project

  • Approximately 10 in use at all times

  • 4,000 wagon cars

    • Ligerwood Loader

(canalmuseum.com, 2001; Gaillard Cut, 2007)


Chart of Expenditures

Note: U.S. came in $23,000,000 under budget.

(canalmuseum.com, 2001)


Opening of the Panama Canal

President Wilson detonated the dike at Camboa via telegraph October 10, 1913 in Washington, DC.


Conclusions

  • Greatest engineering accomplishment of it’s time

    • Largest dam until Hoover Dam

  • Trip from New York to San Francisco

    • 7,872 miles and months of travel saved

  • “Nation Sized” project

  • More than just canal construction

    • New towns (still flourishing today)

  • Dredging of canal

    • Rock slides continue

    • More than 232,000,000 cu.yds. since 1914

(St. George, 1989)


Robert Dill

1889-1993

Worked 5 ½ years on the Canal

Special Thanks

The History Channel

Modern Marvels: The Panama Canal

(Permission granted for educational use)

Narrated by Harian Saperstein


Gatun Locks

(Gomex/Routers, 2007)


References

  • canalmuseum.com. (2001). Retrieved November 29, 2007, from www.canalmuseum.com/

  • Canal Zone Images. (2007). Retrieved December 6, 2007, from www.czimages.com/CZMemories/Photos/POWArchives.htm

  • CZ Brats. (2007) Retrieved December 6, 2007, from www.czbrats.com/cz_brats.htm

  • Gaillard Cut. (2007). Retrieved December 6, 2007, from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culebra_Cut

  • Gomex/Routers J.M. (2007). Retrieved December 10, 2007, from news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/06/photogalleries/panama-canal/

  • Gus Steigler’s Days in Panama. (2007).Retrieved December 6, 2007, from www.czimages.com/CZMemories/Gus/Gus_Index.htm

  • Joel’s Blog, (2005). Retrieved December 10, 2007 fromwww.joelsblog.net/index.php?m=200511

  • Marion Steam Shovel Company, (2007). Retrieved on December 10, 2007, from www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=925

  • McCullough, D. (1977). The path between the seas. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster

  • Shepherd, W.R. (1911). Historical atlas. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company. Retrieved December 8, 2007, from www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/

  • St. George, J. (1989).Panama canal: Gateway to the world. New York, NY: G.P.Putnam’s Sons.

  • The Panama Canal. Retrieved November 29, 2007, from www.eclipse.co.uk/~sl5763/panama.htm


The Panama Canal

An Oral History Project


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