Photo of the Week
May 24, 2020

This week we have some old photos taken back in the 1940s when the new Special Engineering Division (SED) was created to assist with the construction of the 3rd Locks Project.  My dear friend Kibby Bouche (RIP) used to tell me about the SED and how he used to go to this building to get information about studies done by engineers working in the SED.  The building stood on the tallest hill in Diablo Hts. and later this hill would be built the new cement elementary school.  The SED fell under the Department of Operation and Maintenance of the Panama Canal.  Among the responsibilities of the SED was the study of soils and foundations with the 3rd Locks designs.   In addition, route studies within the existing Canal, future Canal with the3rd Locks competed and long term a sea level canal.  Yes....sea level.  I wonder if ACP took in account any of these studies, especially the soils and foundation studies from these days.

Below is a SED photo taken from the floating crane Ajax sister to the floating crane Hercules showing the newly constructed town of Diablo Hts.  Diablo Hts. was built to help augment housing for 3rd Locks emplyees.  I the distance just beyond the roof tops is a large building which is the same building in the photo above. I have a yellow arrow pointing to it.

The next photo is not the best as it is a bit out of focus and zoomed in on, but I still wanted to post it so you can see the other side of the building.  This was quite a large building and could accommodate lots of people and offices.  After WWII broke out and the 3rd Locks project was stopped, Diablo reduced in size and shape to accommodate employees of the Panama Canal.  The old SED building was used up until the later 1950s as office space for different Panama Canal and Canal Zone Government offices until the new elementary school took over the hill.


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