Panama's Forgotten Designer: John Frank Stevens

by Catherine R. Taylor, Sr.; Ridgewood H.S., Ridgewood, NJ,

Serial Information: Engineering Issues: Journal of Professional Activities, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 4, Pg. 465-480

Document Type: Journal Paper


John Frank Stevens was the Panama Canal's second Chief Engineer. He planned and started the canal's construction, yet he has seemingly been forgotten in historical accounts of the building of the canal. For the most part, Stevens' work at the canal is studied in the paper. This includes his appointment, the initial improvements he made in the working conditions, preparations to start construction, his involvement in the question of canal type, problems which developed as the work progressed, and finally, when he felt he had carried out his responsibilities, his decision to resign. Some attention is also given to Stevens' background before his appointment as well as his accomplishments after he left Panama.

Subject Headings: Canals | Developing countries | Distinguished engineers | Construction management | Civil engineering landmarks | Historic buildings | Working conditions | Panama | Central America

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