Photo of the Week
November 19, 2017

Continuing with photos from the same collection for week's photo are in my opinion two very valuable captures in time.  The photos are in rough shape as the others, but I cleaned the scan up as best as I could.

What is valuable about these photos  is from where they were taken from.  The event is the blowing up of the Gamboa Dike on October 10, 1913, that has held the waters of the Chagres River and newly formed Gatun Lake back while the Culebra Cut was being dug.  Some water was pre-released into the Culebra Cut by pipes starting on October 1st so not to cause a major flood event when the dike blew.

While doing research at surfing the web, I have never seen a photo taken from this hill on this day.  This hill would be the future home of the Gamboa Signal Station as part of the Panama Canal's Aids to Navigation.  I found it very interesting while zooming in and studying these two photos.  Of course, the photo above is the before and after the blast below.  What a fantastic view from this hill.  To the left of the dike on the west bank, are a few houses/buildings that remain of the construction town of Matachin and quite a bit of land along the Canal west bank that will eventually be excavated.  The new Gamboa Bridge can be seen in the lower foreground and the newly relocated Panama Railroad tracks. The old power or telegraph lines are fascinating with all the glass insulators mounted on pegs to hold the wire. I found many of these old insulators when out in the jungle looking for old bottles and relics.  The people gathered are very interesting indeed with their caps and straw skimmer hats.  Umbrellas were very popular in Panama during the construction days, not on for rain but top shield from the hot Panama sun. You see lots of umbrellas being carries by both men and women in the old Canal Construction Days photos.  Most outside photos of Goethals shows him with an umbrella. What a pair of outstanding and historical photos; maybe ones of a kind!  This is what makes personal photo albums so valuable.

Here are two link with more information about this day:

President Wilson Sets Off Charge that Opens the Gamboa Dike.

October 15, 1913 Canal Record pages .pdf.

Shoulder repairs are healing nicely, but still can't use right hand.  One day at a time.


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