Glimpses of Panama and of The Canalby Mary Louise McCarty
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Glimpses of Panama and of The Canal was written by Mary Louise McCarty and published in Kansas City, Mo. in 1913. This is a story of her journey from New York to Panama by steamer and is a very detailed account of the work that was going on at the time building The Canal. From a meeting with Col. Goethals, to describing the concrete work underway in the locks. (202 pages)
This book also contains 30 illustrations/photos of the Canal Zone taken in during the construction. These are located at the end of the book.
The Publisher has copy-edited this book to improve the formatting, style and accuracy of the text to make it readable. This did not involve changing the substance of the text. Some books, due to age and other factors may contain imperfections. Since there are many books such as this one that are important and beneficial to literary interests, we have made it digitally available.
.....Presently we arrived at Pedro Miguel — in local parlance, Peter Megill — where we were switched to the construction tracks and taken out close to the lock work. There we got out and at last found ourselves face to face with one of the concrete monsters. Here words fail me. "Stupendous" seems to be the favorite adjective with most people and I can't think of a better, but, really, a brand-new one should be coined. Those locks look like the work of giants and as if they would stand forever, "Eternal as the hills," I said to myself, but just then a man of the party remarked, "Well, I suppose some thousands of years hence archaeologists will be digging around here and will come across the remains of these locks and wonder what on earth they were, anyhow."
.....One pair of gates were done and closed and as they are seven feet thick and equipped with a hand-rail along the top for the use of the public, we walked across them—an umbrella procession—to the center wall where we could see both sides and get a better idea of the thousand feet of length and the two hundred and twenty feet of breadth of the double chamber. All the locks are double in order that vessels can go in opposite directions at the same time; also, if one is out of commission, the other can be used. Pedro Miguel lock is single in that it will raise and lower ships only one step, of thirty feet. It is the link between the Cut and Miraflores Lake, a small artificial body of water with an area of two square miles, formed by impounding the waters of three small rivers by means of the Miraflores locks and dam.
.....As we stood on the walls we thought of all that had been told us of their construction, and imagined the water rushing in for the first time, through the huge tunnels, eighteen feet in diameter, passing lengthwise of the lock through the center and side walls, then through lateral tunnels which branch out from the first ones at right angles and run under the lock floors, then through openings in the lock floor into the lock chamber. And we pictured to ourselves a great ship coming in, attended by four electric locomotives operating on the walls, two in front towing, one at each side, and two behind, one at each side, to stop her when she gets into proper position.
.....By the time we had gone over all this in our minds we were summoned to climb back into the car and go on, across the bed of the future Miraflores Lake, to the Miraflores locks. These are two in flight and will raise and lower vessels fifty-five feet, in two steps, between the lake and the sea-level end of the Canal, which connects with the Pacific Ocean eight miles away. The work here was just the same as at Pedro Miguel, only there was twice as much of it, and we were still more deeply impressed with the immensity of the task which our country is accomplishing.
.....From here we went on to Balboa, where the Canal enters the ocean, and saw the great dredges at work in the channel and the long, stone breakwater now under construction. The latter is four miles long, extending from the mainland to Naos, one of the group of three beautiful islands which the United States is fortifying to guard the entrance of the Canal. These islands are exceedingly rocky and picturesque, their steep sides rising abruptly from the water to a great height, relieved here and there by trees and shrubs, whose varying greens contrast exquisitely with the dark rock. The three islets seem to have been dropped by nature exactly into the right position to fulfill their office of protecting the Canal terminus.
.....Drills and cranes and steam-shovels and dirt-trains and concrete mixers and track-lifters had been thrown in to make good the measure of our afternoon's entertainment, and by this time we began to feel the need of a rest for our minds; so the return to Panama between five and six and the sight of the big Tivoli Hotel up on the hill were very agreeable.
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