Photo of the Week
March 17, 2002

Great early colorized post card of French digging near Mindi on the Atlantic side of the isthmus. The French dug a rather narrow canal from the Mount Hope towards the Chagres River where the Gatun Dam sits today.  This particular post card is titled "Dredges Working on Lock 2, Mindi, during French Days in Panama". It was the French's last attempt succeed with the project.  De Lesseps was hell bent on digging a sea level canal for many years and finally realized that a lock canal was the answer.  Some Zonians will remember crossing over the old French Canal on the way to Fort Sherman.  This section shown above was probably filled in with wet and dry excavation during the American construction days.  Many of these ladder dredges were later found sunk near Mount Hope and were refurbished by the Isthmian Canal Commission and put back in service.

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