Photo of the Week
September 1, 2013

Michael J. Carroll

I just recently received an envelope from a descendent of a Canal Construction worker, Mr. Michael J. Carroll, and quite a hero in his time.  For the next few weeks I will be posting some great photos and memorabilia that this worker kept and then safeguarded by his son John Carroll for all these years.  Michael J. Carroll was a Roosevelt Medal recipient - Medal No. 4201 and 1st Bar No. 2568.  His employee Number was 33147 (round ID tag) and 51211 (star ID tag).  I will show these medals and the collection of photos in these next few weeks.  Great stuff here as it tells a story of a great man and his life while building the Panama Canal.

Here are some articles from both the book The makers of the Panama Canal, 1911 and The Canal Record, September 25, 1912:

Michael J. Carroll makes a most excellent official in the position of General Foreman at the Spillway Mixing Plant and Unloading Dock at Gatun. It is here that the rock from Porto Bello quarries and the sand from the pits at Nombre de Dios are unloaded and the concrete mixture is made ready for use. It is a very busy place and needs in the position of General Foreman a man who can keep his eyes on a lot of things at once. Such a man is Mr. Carroll and he has been successful from the first day that he went into the job. He has had two periods of Isthmian service and has tried several lines of work. He first came to the Canal Zone on the first of June, 1907 and was employed for five months as a Fireman on a steam shovel. From Fireman he was promoted to Craneman, but after two months gave it up, and for six months was a Night Hostler in the Central Division. He then returned to the United States, but the call of Panama was too great and so he came back to the Zone. This time he went to work on a locomotive crane at the Gatun Spillway, and at the end of the year was promoted to his present position as General Foreman at the Spillway Mixing Plant and Unloading Dock. He is married and is member of the Brotherhood of Steam Shovel and Dredgemen ad also belongs to the local fraternal order named the Independent Order of Panamanian Kangaroos. In addition to these his an enthusiastic member of the Spillway Volunteer Fire Company, No. 3. Mr. Carroll is a native of the New England states having been born in the Connecticut city of Naugatuck. It was there that he attended public schools, securing a good education, and it was in Connecticut that he learned the steam shovel business, working in Waterbury for five years before coming to the Isthmus.

Steamshovel Record:

Steamshovel No. 134 (H.F.Huth, engineer and Michael J. Carroll, craneman) working in the red clay borrow pit for Gatun Dam
excavated on September 20, a total of 3,910 cubic yards in the working day of eight hours. This is the highest daily record for a 70-ton shovel since the beginning of operation by the Commission.

Previous high daily records were made on September 16 , 17, and 18 by steamshovel No. 120 (Kellcher and Simonson, operators)
which loaded 199, 196 and 214 large Oliver cars, respectively, in the working day of eight hours.

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