Photo of the Week
April 2, 2000

Here is a another really great photo that I acquired recently.  It is a printed photo that was cut out of the Isthmian Canal Commission's (I.C.C.) Annual Report from 1914.  The photo is captioned: Cristobal Coaling Station, showing east bridge tract wall and south end of caissons under unloading wharf.  Looking north, July 9, 1914.

The really great thing about this photo is a historical event happening.  Note the large barge with a large structure on it.  The barge is being towed by an ocean going tug, and am sure it is a German tug.  The barge and structure that is being towed, is either the "Hercules" or "Ajax" base structure.  The boom is probably on another barge or disassembled on the aft section of the barge.  This was the day the "Hercules" or "Ajax" arrived in the Canal Zone.

World War I officially started on July 28, 1914.  The "Hercules" and "Ajax" were built in Duisburg, Germany during the pre WWI years. This photo was taken just before the war was officially declared. Times must have been quite turbulent at this time because the U.S. Department of War requested that hostilities be delayed for 3 days to allow the floating cranes to pass through the British blockade and proceed to the Panama Canal.  There are two flags flying on top of the superstructure.  The are not clear in the scans on this page, but one looks like the flag of Germany at that time.

I have never seen any other photos pertaining to this event.

Other photos of the "Hercules" here on the CZ Images web site.
Click the link to view.
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Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4

The lower scan is a blow up of the same photo showing the tug and barge.

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