Photo of the Week
November 26, 2017
Above is a SUPER capture in time that
came from the Library of Congress showing an island or peninsula of what
is left of the dike on the West Bank of the Canal. To me, these
people are crazy as this piece of dike can wash away any minute. I
never heard of anyone being killed during the dike removal, but could
seeing this. Once again, like last week, you can see some houses
in the bush in the background that would have been the old construction
town of Matachin. The pipes you see are left over from the
dynamite drill holes.
picture above is one of the rare photographs in the Canal files taken
shortly before the event. It shows the dike shortly before the big
blast was set off by President Woodrow Wilson from the White House
through a complicated telegraph and cable relay to the Isthmus.
view is rare because it is one of the very few pictures showing Mrs.
Goethals while on the Isthmus. It also shows Nicholas Longworth,
veteran Ohio Congressman, and his wife, Alice Roosevelt Longworth,
whose father, the famous "Teddy" Roosevelt, was largely
responsible for the building of the Canal.
Goethals is third from the left in the picture and the Longworths are
standing next to Colonel Goethals at the extreme right. The others in
the picture are not identified.
Ohio legislator served in Congress from 1903 until 1913 and again from
1915 until his death in 1931. He was speaker of the House for the last
six of those years. At the time this picture was taken he was not in
Congress, having lost his seat in the national Democratic victory in
1912 when President Wilson was elected. He and Mrs. Longworth were
personal friends of the Goethals family.
Gamboa dike was blown by a heavy charge of dynamite sunk in 400
four-inch holes drilled into the dam across the Chagres River. Drill
rigs were still working when this picture was taken and the galvanized
iron pipes into which the dynamite was loaded may be seen along the
The actual blast failed to be as spectacular as was expected and a half hour after the dam was broken a cayuco went through the opening. Hundreds of spectators lined the banks to watch the blast, among them being Colonel Goethals. He declined, however, to have his picture taken that day by a States news photographer who had been assigned to cover the big event.
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