After transiting the Panama Canal, a friend told me there wasn't much to see. I realized that there was a tremendous -- even an unbelievable -- amount of effort that went into the canal and that nearly 27,000 men died during the construction.That works out to one man for every 10 feet of the 50-mile-long canal. However, it is a canal, and nearly all of it is underwater today. I was determined to do a pictorial history to show what happened beneath the ships so they could make the transit today.
What is considered by many to be the finest collection of construction-era photographs in existence is the Goethals’ collection of 45 volumes which he donated to his alma mater, the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.
Col. George Washington Goethals, affectionately known as “The Colonel,” was the chief engineer on the Panama Canal project. He had been given virtual dictatorial powers over the Canal Zone by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt with the orders to get it done.
I traveled to the USMA, West Point, and digitally photographed every print in the Goethals’ collection. From the thousands of photographs, I selected approximately 250 to showcase the effort. They are arranged in order by sections from the Caribbean to the Pacific so that the traveler can see what happened below the ship at various points.
I hope this book will add tremendously to the traveler's transit of the canal.