The reasoning behind the canal was to create a passageway that united the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific. It would minimize the length of travel.
It was started in 1881 by the French.
Panama was one of the only areas in South America that a canal that great would be possible
They tried to build a sea level canal which failed miserably.
In 1889 their funding ran out and the project went bankrupt. Many engineers lost their life savings.
At this time they were missing a lot of technological advances that could have helped make the canal successful.
Colombia hoped to gain control over Panama after hearing of the Canal and knowing how much revenue it would bring.
In 1903 they rejected a treaty that would give the U.S. control of the canal.
This lead to a revolt in the state of Panama.
The new republic entered into negotiation with president Theodore Roosevelt and signed a treaty giving the U.S. the rights to build the canal.
When beginning the construction of the canal, President Roosevelt set up a health and sanitation campaign. Panama was a place full of disease that killed many of the French workers when construction first took place.
They put in over $90,000 worth of wire screens to protect people from the mosquito's which carried the malaria virus.
They fumigated houses.
Panama was looking much better.
John Stevens was the chief engineer of this project. He had a great idea to create electrical “Gatun Locks.” These would lift the ships up to the water level of the Panama Canal.
There are a total of 6 steps.
There are two control gates. One named “Mira Flores” allows people to lift and lower the ships.
Panama Canal was first opened on Aug. 15, 1914/
It cost less than estimated and was finished ahead of schedule.
The total cost with French and American efforts together was about 639 million dollars.
It is a number one attraction for tourists.
William Mulholland started out as a very ambitioned ditch digger.
He climbed through the ranks and became superintendent of the LA water system.
He eventually became one of the highest paid public officials in California.
Many things were named after him.
Best known as the savior of the LA water supply.
The Los Angeles water supply was coming solely from a tiny river which was eventually sucked dry in 1903.
The rapid growth of this city was sabotaging the water supply.
Mulholland heard of a potential new source of water that was in Owens Valley.
The Owens Valley had the Sierra Nevada on one side and mountains on the other. It was a remarkable river because the city was mostly dry and never had rain.
Mulholland wanted to move the river but it was owned by the town’s farmers and the Federal government.
He slowly and secretly bought the rights to parts of the river.
The river was a great source of water for the city of Los Angeles. To their surprise it was more than 4 times the water they needed.
L.A. flourished agriculturally. This was when all the palm trees were planted.
The beautiful city was attracting many people and population grew during this time 11 times faster than New York.
After a while LA was running out of water once again.
In 1924 the city bought more land and siphoned more water from the Owens valley.
The less water the river had the more it destroyed the living conditions for the residents living there.
The people of Owens Valley rallied together and tried to put a stop to the flow of water.
Their efforts soon turned violent. They blew up the aqueduct using dynamite.
Mulholland sent 600 police to secure the area from this point on.
New water supply sources included Monolake.
LA eventually returned water back to Monolake to preserve the animal life and nature.