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SEEING THE PANAMA CANAL
A few years ago it was my good fortune, in company with several mining men, to visit the Isthmus of Panama, and see for myself soine of the many wonders it con tains; study the formation of Cul ebra Cut and surrounding country, and to see how they handled the dirt the way they did, and in so short a time. Leaving the boat at Colon, we immediately presented our crede dentials to the board of commis sioners of the Canal, and also the general manager of the Panama Railway Company, who issued us passes good for 30 days too and from any station on their line, also for one trip through the Canal by way of the motor car, and gave us the use of one of their pilot boats, with which we could run up the river to Gatlin, or over to the fortifications which were then under construction. It being a Saturday, they in formed us that they generally spent the week,end at tlit? Capitol, and told us that the hotel accommoda tions were so much better at the later place we decided to go. Af ter taking us to lunch at the Travel er’s Club, which by the way, is built so that it extends out in the bay of the Caribbean sea, we took the 4 o’clock train to Panama City, a distance of about 40 miles. Imagine if you can, on alighting from the train at Panama, to see as far as the eye could reach hacks, hacks, and hack drivers. It seemed to me their were more hacks in Panama, a city of not 30,000 inhabitants, then I had ever seen together in any city in my life be fore. Pushing and struggling with the crowds to get through the gates, (for they have a metropolitan de pot) we could hear hundreds of voices, crying: “Lottery Tickets,” but we will leave the lottery tick et” sellers for a few hours, while we-take one of these many hacks to the Tivolli hotel, where, after reg istering and being informed the rates —for it’s American plan —we could readily see .vhy the Tivolli, to the Zone, is what the Waldorf is to New York; San Francis to San Francisco; and the Gruenwald, to New Orleans. Looking about the well furnished lobby, you could see many beautifully gowned lad ies, and the gentlemen —either in evening dress, or the freshly laund ried white flannels or linens, which is the correct thing for all occasions in the tropics. After dinner we were presented with cards for the “Saturday Eve ning Hall” at the hotel with the compliments of the manager. Looking at the invitation we no ticed that ihe grand march began at 12 o’clock and on inquiry were informed that was the hour they usually began dancing, and lasting until about 4 a. m. Having a few hours to pass before the ball, we decided to go down and see a part of Panama by gas light. We call ed a hack, for nobody on the Zone walks, except fools and Aineiicans, as they express it, and day laborers and even washer women ride to work in a “private” hack, and the fare is only 10 cents, for it’s the same here as Mr. E. read us in his interesting paper on “Argentine” a few weeks ago. One thing which a Northern man notices is that about 50 per cent, of the population are Jamacian negroes, and all use the ‘Cockney” accent in their sneech. On the streets men, women and even little children were selling lottery tickets for the Panama Lottery, which takes place every Sunday about noon. The grand prize is $15,000 “monkey” or “spigotty” as they call it down there, or $7,500 our money, but to those of you who have been in Mexico, I will say it’s on the same plan, and although the prizes are not so large as they were in Mexico a few years ago, there are several different ways by which you may win a small piece of the grand prize. One of our party was lucky enough to win $87.50 gold, or $75.00 “spigotty.” after investing nearly that amount for various tickets. This is one of the big events on the Zone, and many a dollar from nearly every home on the Canal goes into this pool every week. Sunday, after church, and the an nouncing of the lucky number of By M . F. (Paper Read Before the lottery, you can either attend a “bull fight” or a “cocking main;” but pass up the so-called Spanish “bull-fight” on the Zone, as they are a farce, but if you have “red” in your veins, don’t overlook to have some China boy show you- a good pit, for it’s an undisputed fact that they raise some of the best birds in the world in the tropics, and the way the Chinese, Columbian and Jamacian boys bet their “spigotty” on every fly will make you think of an old-time Chicago betting ring on Derby day. Monday morning we took the train back to Colon, where we made use of the pilot-boat up the Charges river to Gatun, w'hich is the first of the three “gates” from the Atlantic side. Colon, today, is not what one of our descriptive writers refers to, as “the sluice box or catch basin of a sewer, gathering all the sediment carried by the waters of the Caribbean sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic ocean, and which he terms as the wickedest city in the western hemisphere,” but an up-to-date American town, and in a few' years will be far lar ger than the Capitol, even if it won’t never contain some of the wonders of the city of Panama. When we land at Gatun, or as near as we can get to the constru tion w’urk, we are surprised to see so many thousands of men each one doing is own little part in the building of these massive cement walls which are to hold back the waters of the Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The hundreds of cables strung all over the works reminds you of a steel rolling mill, the way they carry the ore to the furnace and return it later in iron, is the nearest I can come to describ ing the w r ay they have of handling the crushed rock, cement, etc., on the Gatun locks, and when we look at this great big piece of work, we can hardly realize that only a few weeks ago the daughter of one of our ex-President’s opened and shut this “gate” by the pushing of an electric button. “Silver” or “Gold” employees, is the way they have of designating white and colored help. All color ed labor is paid in silver, and they have their own locations to reside in; their silver cars to ride in to their work; their silver “count” house, or pay car; and their silver coniniissary departments, and same with the “gold” or white em ployee. You can look at any mar ried man’s home, providing he is living there with his family, and tell what wages he receives; same with a single man when he tells you where he his located. Every thing is in grades, from first to third, for all employees on the Ca nal, except the soldiers. Good wages are paid and eveu the “sil ver” men, whom our country bor rowed from Jamacia, receive high wages, and when they draw their pay (twice a month) you would think they would need a basket in stead of their dinner buckets, as they are paid in “spigot ,y,” and that money comes only in 50c, 25c, 10c, 5c and 2 l-2c pieces, and is twice the size of our respective coins. Chautauqua Circle) Alter spending several days at Gatun, going back to Panama everv evening, we decided to take in Gor goua where the machine and rail way shops are located, and here we seen some of the mechanical de vices and the little dump-cars, en gines, etc., that the French had used for awhile on the Canal. Every thing in the way of machinery, or under the head of “railway sup plies” comes from these shops. Here you could see rouud houses, blacksmith shops, machine shops, etc. While in one of the round houses we saw a little Scotch- Irishman come tearing through the building, giving orders here, look ing over a “compound” there, and to whom all looked too as the one man on the job —for he was the M. M., and when he had time he came over to where we were and on conversation we learned that he was an old C. B. & Q. man, who used to work in the shops at Aurora before the strike. He informed us that they had some of the best me chanics in the world down there, men who had been black-listed on American roads for some trivial matter and theu came to the Zone where they were given employment with only these restrictions: “Don’t drink while on duty, or find fault with the commissary department,” and we noticed there was very little drinking on the Canal. From Gorgona, we went to ,Las Cas Cades, which is the home of the U. S. troops, those who police the Zone, for in our treaty we are to police the Zone with American soldiers, and there are several little fracases that we don’t read about be tween the U. S. A., and the Colum bian and Panama city policemen. It was here that we met an old school mate of ours who was the only civilian sub-chief engineer of construction on the Canal, as all the other heads of the engineering staff were government men, aud an army engineer to hold a job there has to show' honors from his class and ten years’ practical service on govern ment work before even being con sidered eligible. From Las Cas Cades we went to Christobal, as this is the commissary department for the Canal where all the laundry is done; all bread staffs, pastries, etc., are baked, and where all meats, fruits, vegetables, etc., are sent up the line three times a day to the smaller departments along the way. Every egg, before leaviug the commissary is candeled, so you get very few bad eggs on the Zone, even if they are storage eggs. They have their own coffee roasting plant and tea seperators, and we were informed that in the ice-cream plant they handled thousands of gallons every day. A c.iviliau not employed on the Canal, can not purchase a thing from the commissary, and an employee can not pay cash. When you start to work you are given a ’silver” or “gold” coupon book, and same is good at any department. You can’t shop by phone; you send your mozo or servant with a basket aud she stauds in line to get waited on. You can’t see no meats or vegeta bles before purchase, as that comes from the refrigerator rooms, and they won’t change a cut of meat or a vegetable order for even Col. Goethels himself. One thiug on the Canal, is: “Live up to this rule, or take the first boat north.” After resting a few days and taking iu Panama City from one end to the other, w'e started out to see what we came for: the cutting of the great Culebra. This is a row or chain of small mountains, ranging from ‘250 to 1500 feet iu height aud extending for ten miles in length.* This was to be cut dow n to sea level on the Pacific side, for the difference in the levels of the Atlantic and Pacific on the Zone is about ten feet. We first took the trip through in the motor-car, from one end to the other, and to see those five and seven-ton shovels all around us was a sight not to be soou-forgotteu by a mining man. We were told that every time the “motor” w r ent through the cut, it cost the government a little over sll2O gold, as all shovels have got to stop working and the laborers get under the cars, out of the sun —washing for the “motors” to con tinue, and when you see the number of men employed, and figure out their wage schedule, you can easily see why they don’t send the mo tor-car through every day. This was interesting work to us and we spent several days on the cut and thoroughly examined the formations, for we were under the impression that on the west side of the cut low-grade gold ore could be found in paying quauties, and al though their is some “color” it would not pay for working, even with all our up-to-date concentrat ing and roasting devices. The dirt is handeled very fast and they work in sections, tive shovels to a sec tion, and although it’s easy, dirt to handle, the success of their great yardage is “no waiting for cars,” as they have two tracks for emp ties, in front and on the side of the shovel. This is something that few of our mines in Nevada, Utah and Michigan have room for, and even if they did, there would still be that cry for “More Cars.” On the Zone the men work only 7 hours and 15 minutes a day, and they hold the world’s record for handling dirt — which is 10,184 cubic yards, with five shovels in one day’s work, beating the Michigan record per shovel 250 cubic yards. This dirt is being used to fill-in “No Bot tom” Lake, which is situated near Culebra Cut. In Panama City, you will see many sights which will be very in teresting. The streets are very narrow, more so then even New Orleans and streets in Mexico City. The entrance to the houses is right off the main streets —that is of the middle class. Their parks and driveways are beautiful. They have band concerts in their parks every eveuiug, and what will ap pear strange to you will be to see all couples take the inside circle, ladies without escorts take the mid dle circle, and young men the out side. Each circle walks in opposite direction to the other, and they walk for hours listening to some of the tiuesi band selections you can hear anywhere, and they never forget to render “America” and “Dixie” before they quit. Facing Cathedral Park is the old Spanish Cathedral, which does not look as if it bad stood there for hundreds of years, and thousands of tourists attend services there every chance they get. The towers of this old land-mark are roofed with real mother-of-pearl, and when the suns’ rays reflect back to you from them, it has every color of the rain bow. Out towards the Savannahs, one of the boulevards, you will see many beautiful homes and well kept lawns and also on Ancon Hill, where the officials reside, you would be surprised to see the elegance and grandeur of this “Little New port.” Many books could be written of the history of the Panama Canal, and not farther back than Garfield’s time there was “inside” talk of our country going after it, but we didn’t aud the French started actual work on the Canal, February Ist, 1881, and you know from history what they accomplished and what they spent. They had Madam Sarah Bernhardt and her entire company come from Paris to pre sent the French opera, “Aida” on the openiug day. Orders were left at all drinking establishments to give each and every one a bottle of champagne that passed their doors, aud to collect on the checking up of their empty cases. But the money they spent aud the trouble they had is not for me to criticise, for most of the officers of this gi gautic undertaking, either commit ted suicide or were sent to institu tions similar to what.we are in at the present time. Can you imagine $400,000,000 being spent on the Canal in less then eight years? for the crash came December 13th, 1888. The United States should be con gratulated that they secured such beautiful hospitals and office build ings, which the French had erected, also the magnificent palaces that the members of the board lived in, aud yet when “Uncle Sam” first took hold, you will remember the trouble we had, aud the many diff erent boards that were asked to re sign; also the many changes in the chief engineer’s department, but, after several of these changes it was turned over to the United States Army, with Col. George D. Gotheals as director general. What he has accomplished you all know. ' Although we have lost hundreds of good, brave men, who died from the fever, and whose bodies still rest in “Monkey Hill” cemetery, we are nearing the completion of the great est piece of civil engineering ever undertaken by man. The death rate four years ago on the Zone was second, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, being first as the healthiest .city, so you can see a 'master hand” has ac complished that which was for so many years the one drawback to the Zone. It’s true we are spending a great deal more money than was at first estimated, but the work is beiug done, and Col. Gotheal’s promises us that water will be turned in some time this coming November. There is a few things in closing I want you to remember. Looking at the map it would seem to you that the Canal would run nearly east and west, instead of almost di rect north and south. It will be 47 miles in length, and will shorten the distance from New York to San Francisco 9,111 miles, and the amount of money the United States government has spent up to Jan uary 31st, 1913, was $281,702,030. Oh! to have the light always clear, just ahead, nothing between me and the light, peace all about, no care, no weariness, just quiet and beauty around me forever. Jokers’ Budget. By Paddy It is stated that many of the brew eries in the state have closed down. No doubt they will start up again as soon as they find out that I did not buy that farm after all. Cap. Alexander states that him aud I are the original come-backs. I was wondering why he was wearing that smile Sunday in the bath room, but knew he was due to spring something. A gent by the name of O. Dam mitt has made application to the court to have his name changed, stating that he does not like to hear his friends juggling his name in such a profane way, “aud besides” said he, it might lead to swear iug,” Some people are so high and lof ty in their ideals and clean living, that it is a great pleasure to know aud associate with them; while oth ers are so low in the scales of hu manity that they would have to reach up instead of down to shake hands with a snake. The Irish seem to be in favor of woman sufferage. They are fight ing for home rule. It is claimed that some people are so ugly-lookiug that they can crack a mirror every time they look in one. Was just wondering if my clock stopped for the same reason. It is stated that there will be sev eral extra electric lights placed in Shop E. Wonder what for? Yep. Friday was the 13th and the count stood 13 aud still the shop ran all day. Luck, why there is nothing to it! At ten cents per can, or teu caus for one dollar. Teu multiplied by eight equals eighty, —Oh! just won dering what PendenniS was going to do with that money. Everybody seems to be satisfied that there will be a banner grain, vegetable aud fruit crop this year, aud judging from casual observa tions lately there will be some class to the rubber industry before the season is over. Judging from “Farm Notes” in The Mirror, that cow Betty must be Millitaut Sufferagist. Glad to see that Ileliograms is back on the job again. The song bird is now the tattooed boy aud expects to land a good job in some side show when he gets out, if he can take the paint aud whitewash spots along with him. The gent that has just become the proud father of triplets wont need to go to the ball park to see a bawl game. Judging from the way one of the song birds in the dining room sings it is more meadow lark than ca nary, or did it catch cold while coming over? It all depends which side of the bar you are on whether there is any profit in the saloou business for you or uot. Most of us will have to ad mit that we were on the wrong side of the fence. “Some people,” said Sammie, “are so eager to help an ex-prisoner that they will lay awake nights try ing to frame up something that will rank him when he does get sprung,” A story is going the rounds that Ole was up to see the Parole Board, with the request that he be deport ed back to his own country, and when asked by the Chairman what town he wished to go to, promptly said: “Minneapolis.” Judging from the reform wave that is tearing up Duluth, it won’t be very* long now before anyone can take a clean handkerchief and wipe up the whole town and not even get it soiled. Teacher, to Jimmie the yegg in night school, who is working an example in compound perportion: “What are your means?” Jimmie: “A jimmie, a drill and a bottle of soup.” “What are your ex- Teacher: tremes?” Jimmie: “Five to twenty at hard labor.” An exchange states that a human fly can slide down a distance of four hundred feet on a half inch rope. That’s nothing, ought to see Shorty slide under a radiator after a mouse.