Photo of the Week
September 8, 2019

This week we are looking at another photo from the collection of Fay H. McCain.  This photo shows Fay posing on one of the steam cranes that he probably worked on during his tenure in the Panama Canal Zone.  This is Panama Railroad (PRR) Crane #4, a 75 ton which was purchase in January 1906 for a price of $11,688.46.  This photo had to be taken between1910 and 1921 during Fay's employment in the Canal Zone.

Fay H. McCain - Roosevelt Medal #6401, First bar# 3846

I found this photo in a book that my brother gave me years ago and I use it all time for research.  The book is called Makers of the Panama Canal.  It is a wonderful book set up like a school yearbook and has pretty much all the US rate employees within.  I pulled it off the shelf this morning and sure enough, Fay is in the book.  This proved to me that the guy on the steam crane above is in fact Fay.

Here is a small bio I found about Fay:

"Fay H. McCain arrived in Panama in 1910 to work as a Railroad Car Steel Repairer for the Isthmian Canal Commission (ICC) during the construction of the Canal. In 1911 he was promoted to Rerated Steam Engineer Crane Man and after the opening of the waterway he began working for the Panama Canal as Steam Engineer (Wrecker). McCain also worked as Rerative Locomotive Crane man and Engineer Steam Locomotive Crane Man. Due to a reduction of work force, he was discharged on September 1921. 

While in Panama he documented his family life and work with personal photographs developed as real photo postcards. 

Many of his views were from railroad wrecks, derailments, canal cut landslides, washouts and of workers lifting, repairing or removing equipment. Others were from sights with family and friends." 

I have found all the photos that I have been posting on the Internet on a website called Worth Point and appears that these photos have been sold on-line. Considering that the bio above notes that Fay documented his family life and work with personal photographs, this photo documented story that Fay created is now broken up and lost forever.  This is one of he saddest things that happen today with old photo albums and personal collections from the original owners.  They get broken up and sold.  So sad.  So much history is being lost like this today.

More of Fay's photos in the next few weeks.


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