The Forgotten Engineer: John Stevens and the Panama Canal

by Virginia Fairweather, Production Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY. New York, N.Y.,


Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1975, Vol. 45, Issue 2, Pg. 54-57


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: John Frank Stevens was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 to take over the flagging Panama Canal project when John Wallace quit. Stevens had been an outstanding railroad engineer and he reluctantly accepted the job. He applied railroad techniques to the job, convinced the Congress to build a lock canal rather than a sea level canal, built up the morale of the men and backed Dr. Gorgas in his methods of ridding the Isthmus of disease. All in all, he is the man who should have been credited with making the canal possible. He left unexpectedly in 1906 and Goethals, his successor, is instead generally given credit for Steven's accomplishments. Stevens later became a president of ASCE.

Subject Headings: Civil engineering landmarks | ASCE officers | Panama Canal | History | Construction | Canals

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