Day 77 - FDR visits the Panama Canal
Throughout his travels FDR made many trips through the Panama Canal, including a visit to the nearly completed Canal in 1912. The work on the Canal started under President Theodore Roosevelt and was finished in 1914. FDR traveled to Panama with his brother-in-law Hall Roosevelt and his friend and Republican Senate colleague J. Mayhew Wainright. The trio was given their own personal observation car to use through the nine-mile Culebra Cut. FDR wrote home to his mother Sara saying:
I can’t begin to describe it and have become so enthusiastic that if I didn’t stop I would write all night. The two things that impress me most are the Culebra Cut, because of the colossal hole made in the ground, and the locks because of the engineering problems and size. Imagine an intricate concrete structure nearly a mile long and three or four hundred feet wide, with double gates of steel weighing 700 tons apiece!
Our museum collection includes this watercolor painting of the U.S.S. Houston at the Panama Canal by Ian Marshall. This painting depicts the scene of the Houston passing through the Panama Canal on July 11, 1934 with President Roosevelt on board. This was the first passage through the completed Canal by a U.S. President while in office.
Cape Cod Canal Centennial!
The Cape Cod Canal first opened to limited traffic 100 years ago on July 29, 1914. Located at the base of Cape Cod where it joins the Massachusetts mainland, the canal runs 17.5 miles from Cape Cod Bay to Buzzards Bay and enables nautical traffic to cut at least 65 miles off the trip around the hazardous outer shore of the Cape.
Find more photos and records on the Cape Cod Canal →
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June 13, 1898 Photograph of Dredges
The photograph’s caption reads: “Dredges excavating canal trunck, mile 19, June 13, 1898.”
This photograph is from the series “Photographs of Works Relating to the Improvement of the Illinois and DesPlaines Rivers” from the Office of the Chief of Engineers at the War Department.