National Geographic : 1905 Oct
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE 450 other plant at an estimated cost of $29,000,000. It is said that the terre plein of Christobal Colon, on which the superintendent's residence was built, was constructed almost entirely of dis carded material from this purchase. In fact, I saw a great amount of material so disposed of myself. It should be noted that the Panama Railroad, which ran over practically the same route as did the canal, was of great importance to the canal company in con structing the canal, not only on account of its facilities for handling supplies, but because the railroad company's conces sion covered any system of transporta tion which might be adopted along its line. This made it necessary, in order to control the road, for the canal company to purchase most of its stock, which alone took out nearly $19,000oo,oo worth of assets. FEARFUL LOSS OF LIFE It should also be noted that the sani tary question was not only an impor tant, but a very expensive, item to the company. There was ample provision for caring for the sick, with large and expensive hospitals under control of the company, but little or no attention was paid to precautionary measures, which now are considered such important fac tors in sanitary science. Those of us who visited Colon in the height of the boom may recall the ghastly scenes which met our eyes. One might wit ness on almost any morning a scaven ger's wagon going about the town gath ering up the bodies of those who had succumbed during the night in the hov els of the place or in the streets to the prevailing disease which fed on the filth of the land. The celebrated suburb of Colon, " Monkey Hill," was the recep tacle for these corpses, which received in transportation and burial less consid eration than would usually be given to a dead dog. The plan adopted by the new Panama Canal Company,as stated in the Isthmian Commission's report, involved two levels above the sea level; one of them, an arti ficial lake to be created by a dam at Bohio, to be reached from the Atlantic side by a flight of two locks, and the other, the summit level, to be reached by a flight of two locks from the preceding, the summit level to have its bottom 68 feet above the sea and to be supplied with water from a feeder leading from an arti ficial reservoir to be constructed at Alha juela in the upper Chagres Valley; the ascent on the Pacific side to be likewise of four locks, of which the two middle ones are combined in flight; the canal to have a depth of 29.5 feet, and a bot tom width of about 98 feet, with an in creased width in certain specified parts. Its general location was that adopted by the old company. The cost was estimated at $101,850,000 for the work, which did not include administration or financing; this matter of financing was estimated at nearly $Ioo,ooo,ooo. While this was the plan recommended by the French engineers, they worked out in detail a second plan, which is an extension or modification of the fore going, which they seemed to prefer in itself, but which they feared would re quire more time to execute. Under the second plan the upper level was omitted, the cut through the continental divide being deepened until its bottom was 32 feet above the sea; Lake Bohio was made the summit level and was fed di rectly by the Chagres; one flight of locks on the Atlantic side and one on the Pacific was omitted ; the feeder from Alhajuela was omitted, but the dam at that place was retained. The estimated cost of completing this plan was not much greater than that for the other, being about $105,500,000. In both plans the dam at Bohio converted the river between that point and Obispo into a lake of such dimensions as not to be seriously affected by the partial floods admitted to it, while diversion channels.